Books

‘The First Mistake’, book review.

I was sent ‘The First Mistake’ a few weeks ago as a pre-release to read. This was my first Advance Readers Edition and I was super excited! A few months ago I had read ’The Other Woman’ also by Sandie Jones and I couldn’t put it down, so I had no doubt that this book would be just as good. I had to table it for a week or so because I had 2 other books I was in the middle of and really wanted to finish them first…. but I was anxious to begin it.

I started ‘The First Mistake’ and had completed the book in less than a week. I know everyone says “I couldn’t put it down” but seriously that was the it. Something about her writing leaves me wanting answers. I certainly don’t want to give too much away and ruin the book for anyone who plans to read it…because I really think you’ll want to read it. If you like novels that keep you asking questions and curious to the end full of twists and surprises, then this one should be on your ‘to read’ list!

As the book started we are introduced to Alice and get a tiny glimpse into her present life. But throughout the early chapters there are sudden hints about her past and why she is the way she is today, without ever giving too much away. I can’t tell you how many books I have to put down and walk away from because they just don’t capture me. I try to force myself to push pass page 50 before I give up. If I feel like it might go somewhere but I still don’t love it yet, I may even force myself to make 100 pages. But who wants to force themselves to read a book? Not me! I hate to give up on a book, but sometimes the author talks to much, describes too much or doesn’t explain enough and I just can’t take anymore. Sandie Jones gives just enough of a teaser that keeps you curious to find answers. And at some point I thought I had figured things out, only to find out I was totally off course.

Between Alice’s husbands (yes plural, just not at the same time😜 lol) and her best friend, I was back and forth trying to figure out who the ‘bad guy’ was , and I even wondered if I was blind to who Alice really is. This book had me questioning everyone and wondering if anyone could actually be trusted. The ending was shocking and definitely not at all what I expected.

Jones’ writing makes for an enjoyable and thrilling read. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!! This ones on sale 6/11 but I checked and you can preorder now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Let me know what you think! 📖

~Elena 🤓 📚

Food, Uncategorized

Easy donuts for an afternoon treat!! 🍩

Yesterday was Good Friday, which meant no school for the kiddos and my husband was home from work. It was also our last no meat Friday 👏🏻🎉

Good Friday Mass was a long one for my littlest to sit through and the big two were Altar Serving. So I figured everyone could use a little treat! When I was young I remember my mom making these donuts in the morning and I always got so excited. My kids are exactly the same. They hover and wait for the warm donuts to come out of the pan and everyone wants to help sprinkle the powdered sugar on. And don’t get me started on the fighting over the donut holes 🙄 But these are so easy and fun to make for a little unplanned treat.

I used the Great Value biscuits because that’s all they had left when I was at Walmart last week but any brand works. And it’s just the super cheap carton of biscuits, not the fancy big ones. For my family of 5, I use two cartons and I usually don’t have leftovers. On a flat surface I flatten by hand each biscuit as much as I can and then make a hole in the middle. For the hole I just use the top from a water bottle, it’s the perfect size and easy to use. Get your powdered sugar ready now because you want to be able to sprinkle the donuts as soon as they come out of the pan. Heat up a little bit of oil in a pan, just enough to cover the bottom. I use canola oil bit you can use vegetable oil. When it feels warm above the pan I usually drop one of the donut holes in first. If it starts bubbling around the donut you’re good to go and if not you can wait another minute and try again. They cook really quick so after about a minute you need to flip each donut. You want each side to start to get a little golden. After each side cooks for a minute or so, pull out each donut and lay it on your plate. While they’re still hot use your sifter to cover them with powdered sugar. And that’s it! So easy even Erin can do it 😂😜

Seriously though your kids will love these and they take very little effort and cost maybe $2. Perfect for a dessert or breakfast and they don’t take more than 30 minutes of your time start to finish.

Who else had these growing up?? 🍩

Happy Easter 🐣

~Elena 💖

Uncategorized

Ten Things I’ve learned from my divorce.

So I am coming up on the one year mark of my divorce. It’s crazy how much can change in a year. Divorce is a lot of change by itself but I was naive to the trickle effect it would have in all areas. I knew things would change and may never be the same, but I was expecting some things to remain the same. I’ve always had this hope within me that some things will last forever but I’m learning that it’s just unrealistic. So here are 10 things I’ve learned during my 1st year of divorce.

1) Kids are resilient.

My number 1 concern was my girls. How will they ever get over this? Will they ever be the same? Did I ruin their lives? Obviously it hit them hard emotionally but they have grown and overcome way more than I could have at their age.

2) Being alone is better than being lonely in a marriage.

I would take the loneliness of being alone any day over the loneliness I’ve felt being in a bad marriage.

3) I’m a better mom.

When you’re in a toxic relationship everyone suffers. You can’t be a good parent when you’re unhappy and angry all the time.

4) Date someone for at least a year before you marry them.

I only dated my ex-husband 8 months when I walked down the aisle. I think if we were both honest we knew we had made a mistake within the first year of marriage. We didn’t know each other!!

5) You are stronger than you think.

I honestly stayed married longer than I should have because I didn’t think I could make it by myself. But here I am still making it, barely but I’m making it. 🤣

6) Healing takes longer than you think!

Don’t think it happens over night. I thought by being out of that house, out of that marriage I would be instantly happy. And don’t get me wrong I experienced a relief and freedom like never before. But you also have to deal with the baggage that came with it. So it’s a process, a very long process! 😱

7) A Parents love and support for their children never ends.

My parents have been my biggest support mentally and financially. I have put them through a lot over the years but they’ve got my back like no one ever has.

8) You’re not a failure

I thought I was a failure that my marriage ended. I tried so hard for so long for the girls and I felt like I failed them. But I wasn’t doing them any favors by staying.

9) Your Life isn’t over.

I thought my life was over and in some ways a part of my life was over. But I’ve realized it is just the beginning and it’s exciting.

10) You can only control how you are.

Just because your ex talks poorly about you to your children and other people doesn’t mean that you have to. They are the father/mother of your kids and in time they will see for their self who they are as a person.

I want to end by saying it’s important to have at least one good friend to get you through. Thank you Elena for listening to me vent and sharing in my pain. You and your family mean the world to me.

-Erin 💕

Uncategorized

2019 Reading Challenge -Update 📚

I finished a book the other day, Nine Perfect Strangers…which was a pretty long read. I’ve been keeping track so I went to write it down on my list and realized it took me about a week and a half. I was immediately annoyed with myself because looking at my list it seems as though I’ve been doing one book in a week max. I’ve been using almost every spare minute to read. I read on the treadmill, when I’m waiting in the car to pickup kids, at doctors/dentists appts, waiting while my girls do gymnastics, and I even keep a book with me while we run errands as a family so I can read while I’m trapped in the car with 3 bickering kids. And I try to read for at least 15 mins every night before I go to sleep.

After my initial reaction I realized ‘Holy Cow I’ve been reading about a book a week!!’ It’s the last week of March and I am just starting my 13th book!! That’s pretty awesome for me. I see so many blogs and Instagram accounts that share a new book they’re reading every other day and I’m a little jealous. Jealous in a way that I’m super impressed and it pushes me to try harder. Life is busy and I have to squeeze in 15 minutes here and there but I’ve definitely switched my free-time from screen time to book time.

This is what I’ve read so far this year: 📖

* The Other Woman

* The House on Foster Hill

* The Rumor

* Our Souls at Night

* Every Breath

* Give Me Your Hand

* The Night Olivia Fell

* An Anonymous Girl

* The Exes Revenge

* Luckiest Girl Alive

* Elizabeth is Missing

* Nine Perfect Strangers

For the next few months our days are still hectic with after school activities, sports and religion, but come summer I’ll definitely kick it up a notch. This week I started *No Exit* and I still have these 2 ⬇️ on my nightstand waiting (don’t mind the ever growing pile behind them 🤫)….aside from the 8-10 holds I’m waiting on from the library 😳😬.

What are you reading and what do I need to add to my list??

~Elena 💖

Home, Uncategorized

It’s Tuesday!!

My kids watch these silly YouTube shows about life hacks all the time. Most of the things they share are just dumb and I often wonder why people even think of trying these things. But once in a while they’ll show me something and I’m like….hmmmm why didn’t I think of that!

So today’s Tuesday trick is my idea of a life hack! I watch the news every morning on my iPad while I make my kids lunches, in the evening while I’m making dinner I usually put whatever Netflix show I’m catching up on or even randomly throughout the day when I’m doing dishes or baking, something is on the iPad on the kitchen counter. I just finished Netflix ‘You’ and recently started ‘The Killing’ on Amazon Prime Video….sooooo good! But some days there is so much stuff on the counter that the IPad is either in the way or so out of the way I can’t see it.

At my last IKEA trip I bought this little tablet stand which is inexpensive and perfect. But still it takes up space and often gets pushed back so far that I can’t see it around whatever it is I’m doing. I started googling and checking Amazon for some device to mount the iPad. But I’ve seen them mounted in kitchens and I don’t want anything permanent that will get in my way. Plus I cook & bake ALOT so I need my counter as open as possible without obstructions. I also don’t really want to spend fifty bucks or more on something I may not like or even use very often, or what if it doesn’t work for the space I have. I don’t know what made me do it but I opened my corner cabinet and decided to perch the stand I got from ikea inside the door …and perfection! It worked!!! Now it hangs perfectly in the corner, plus it’s not permanent so I take it down whenever I need to move it or the kids want to borrow it. Problem solved! Keep in mind this will only work if your iPad or tablet is in a case so it doesn’t slip. Mine is in an inexpensive rubber case from Five Below so it stays right in place. And I take it down at night because I don’t trust the cat 🐈😂

I’m not kidding it’s perfect. Go spend $3.50 and get this little stand from Ikea!!

~Elena 💕

Food, Uncategorized

Tuesday Trick 🍰

It’s Tuesday and that means I’m sharing something simple that we do around my house! If you’ve been following along with the blog you clearly know that both Erin and I like food. I do more baking and cooking at my house, she does more of the eating at restaurants though. lol. My kids love and have come to expect after school snacks and special desserts on a regular basis. I’m lucky that I get to be a stay at home mom and therefore have more time for all the cooking and baking but some days are too hectic. My husband always says it’s my own fault that they assume homemade goods will be baked often, oh well 🤷‍♀️

Some years ago I came across Cake in a Mug posts on Pinterest and life changed forever!!! I mean instead of me making crazy desserts all the time, I can now just make each kid their own mug from time to time. Which also means that I’m not home alone with a half eaten cake as often, because we all know what goes best with an afternoon coffee. I’ve made a few variations over the years and a few mistakes as well. It’s super simple and just requires 2 box cake mixes. One box of Angel Food cake, but it must be the kind that only requires water. If the ingredients needed require anything else it won’t work for this, I’ve made that mistake! I have found that Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines are the best, I’ve tried some store brands and they’ve never come out as good. The second box can be any cake mix you like. We’ve only used Butter, Yellow or Devil’s Food… whatever you choose make sure it’s one you know you will like because this will last a while. I take a gallon sized bag (or you can use a large container) and mix the two cake mixes together really well. That’s it!!! Depending on how often you make this it should last you a while as long as you keep it sealed.

When you are ready for your dessert, mix 3 tbsp. of the mix with 2 tbsp. of water and microwave for 1 minute. I usually write that on the bag or container with a sharpie so we don’t forget and my kids can make it themselves. I keep an extra measuring spoon in the bag. When we mix it I let the kids throw in chocolate chips, marshmallows or whatever they want in there and mix well. After it’s cooked we top it with powdered sugar or some cool whip, and you’ve got yourself a quick & easy dessert. If the kids aren’t home or asleep, you can double the recipe and cook for 2 minutes. Drizzle with some caramel or fudge….I imagine this would be amazing 😉

Who doesn’t love a little cake without all the mess?!!!

~Elena 💕

Uncategorized

Super Bowl 2019

Ok so last nights game was pretty boring, I was hoping for a little more excitement but whatever. 🤷‍♀️

Since the game was less than exciting I decided to make a list of my favorite commercials. The Ganz family was nice enough to have me over to watch the game and feed me delicious snacks. So with the help of their kids, here is my top ten Commercials of the 2019 Super Bowl.

10. Turbo Tax

9. Doritos

8. Google

7. McDonalds

6. Bud Light

5. Pringles

4. Pepsi

3. Audi (E-Tron)

2. Walmart

1. M&M

Other favorites were: Planters, Mint Mobile, Sprint, Burger King, and NFL 100.

Let us know your favorites because we may have missed a few with food and bathroom breaks! 😜

-Erin 🏈

Fitness, Uncategorized

February Fitness 🏋🏼‍♀️

For the last couple of months we’ve taken a hiatus from our monthly fitness calendars for a few reasons. First of all there are a ton of health & fitness coaches out there and that’s not who we are or intend to be. We both enjoy working out and are totally all in. We aren’t on any kind of weight loss journey or in need of lifestyle changes, so we want that left to those of our friends and followers who focus on that. We also get a lot of messages from people asking us to join their teams or programs, also not what we’re looking for…and lastly because we weren’t doing the exact calendar we were putting out there. We were doing a bunch more and didn’t want to type that up and overwhelm people. Also the holidays were cray cray!!!

That being said, lately a few people have asked what happened to our calendars. Also and most importantly, my daughter wants to know my workout routine daily and it’s exhausting having to remind her all the time!! lol. So this time around I’m going to type up roughly what I’m doing when I workout. And I say roughly because it changes a tad on any given day. If I have time, no kids bothering me and am really feeling it I will do an extra 15 mins of cardio or 30 extra squats, etc.. Then on days when I’m rushing or trying to workout while my kids want me to watch them do 75 cart wheels I might do 5 mins less of cardio. You get the point. Therefore we are jumping in to February with a workout calendar!!

Arms are hard to put in to small text because that may look different for all of us based on what equipment we have. For example Erin uses her dumbbells for a bunch of different exercises. I use mine but also use a weight bench and a pull down machine. As far as squats go, both Erin and I have started doing alternating side-step squats, which are AMAZING!! I’m actually really starting to feel them in the booty! 🙌🏻 And abs can be intimidating because we do a lot….I often do close to if not two hundred(+) each time. After having 3 kids this was the one area I was self conscious of so I started working them hard. Once they got to where I wanted them it just seemed easy to keep it up. Below I’ve included the ab exercises I’m doing daily and some ideas for arms if you only have hand weights.

I’m really excited to get back in to these calendars because it makes me search up different exercises and try out new things. It sounds crazy I know, but both of us really do try new workouts and are constantly sharing with each other what works, doesn’t work and what we want to try next . The one thing I need to emphasize to anyone who’s new at this kind of lifestyle is that it does get easier and less dreaded over time. I wasn’t always this excited about working out. And the best part is that now I’m always looking to focus on a different muscle or part of the body when I’ve achieved one goal. So it never gets old. Ok, so below is the February calendar….I hope you workout along with us!

  1. Abs- 50 Russian twists with 10lb medicine ball, 25 standard crunches, 25 crunches with knees up, 25 crunches elbow to knee, 20 flutter kicks, 20 scissor kicks, 50 punches (slightly reclined, knees up)
  2. Arms- Tricep Kickback 12 reps (3x), Lateral Raise 12(3x), Hammer Curls 12(3)

*I use 2 rest days throughout the week whenever needed. Often not on the weekends but during the week on hectic days. SO move them to where you need them. But I keep it at 5 days and try to remain consistent with that.

~Elena💖

Home, Uncategorized

Tuesday Tip- Love this product! These guard strips are keeping me from being a maniac at bedtime!

If you have a little one that you plan to or have recently moved to a big kid bed or even one that just sleeps like a wild hyena ..then this is for you!!

My 6 year old is all about being a big kid like her siblings. She doesn’t want to do or have anything that makes her look like a baby compared to them. Not too long ago we removed the guard rail from her twin bed which has made me a maniac at ensuring all wooden parts of her bed are covered with something!! I mean really anything I can shove in or over the wood was getting the job done. So at nighttime I would take ALL the blankets and stuffed animals to cram around her bed. It was seriously a giant mound of all the soft things. I’m really not a total nutcase. This one sleeps like I would imagine the roadrunner would sleep. She moves, twists and spins so much even the cat gets caught up 🤣

So I’m basically terrified of her falling out and getting hurt. To be honest she doesn’t really fall out of her bed or at least hasn’t in a long time. She manages to stay up there somehow …but I’m still terrified because there was this one time she did fall out during the night and needed stitches.

So I did some research and stumbled upon the furniture guards people use around their houses on coffee tables, fireplaces etc. for baby proofing. I figured why not try it for her bed. They were really inexpensive and so easy to apply. Here’s what I ordered:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0734JX7YQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_1i2tCbJEN7WNS

The guards came with a bunch of other baby-proofing items free (super sweet) but we didn’t need them. The guard strip is so easy to apply and use wherever you need it. I was able to cut it to the length of her bed frame and attach it myself. I added the double sided sticky tape that came in the package to both sides of the guard strip, peeled off the paper and stuck it to the bed. It went on easily and hasn’t moved since I first applied it a few weeks ago. It’s soft and foamy, makes us all sleep better at night!

(There are plenty of others on Amazon as well and different colors, you can see I chose black)

~Elena 💕

Food, Uncategorized

Lemon Asparagus Chicken Pasta recipe review. 🍋 🍝

One of my recent goals is to make a new meal every week. At least one meal I haven’t ever made before to try to switch things up a bit. It proves to be difficult because our nights are seriously crazy! Between sports practices , gymnastics, religion and any other after school activity that pops up….then there are evenings my husband is home late or traveling. When weekends roll around there are games for said sports, more religion, church & altar serving, birthday parties….it’s usually just easier to make one of my regular go-to meals. But I’ve been off to a pretty good start since I’ve also been trying to use the crockpot and instant pot more. So for now Monday and Thursday are the weeknights that everyone can usually sit and eat at the same time. Last week I decided to try out a Lemon Asparagus Chicken Pasta recipe and oh my goodness it was delicious!!

I stumbled on the recipe on the Delish website while I was looking for something else and printed it out so I wouldn’t lose or forget it. It made enough for the 5 of us for one dinner, a leftover night and just enough for me to have another day for lunch 🤫 (don’t tell my oldest because she usually wants the pasta leftovers for her school lunch)!! We had it with a loaf of Italian bread and Cesar salad for a side.

Here’s the recipe: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a52782/lemon-asparagus-chicken-pasta-recipe/

There were only about 4 reviews that I could see which was so surprising because it was easy and delicious. I didn’t really have to change much of anything. I had a block of mozzarella so I shredded that, I didn’t have a red onion so I used a vidalia and I used about 1/4 cup less of the heavy cream to make it a tad lighter but went a little heavier on the lemon juice. The chicken turned out perfect and I had to remove my 6 year old from the kitchen because she kept stealing it off the cutting board before I finished making the pasta!! We all love asparagus in my house but if it’s fresh it really needs to be cooked perfectly so it isn’t too hard or overdone and mushy. I cut a good inch or so off the bottom and then cut each spear into thirds. I think that simmering it for a few minutes in the sauce really makes the difference so it’s cooked just right.

A few days later and my husband said ‘that asparagus pasta was amazing, you need to make sure you keep that for one of your go-to recipes!’ And honestly since I could eat pasta all day everyday 🤗 he doesn’t have to tell me that twice!!

~Elena 💕