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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:


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 πŸ’•

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Lemon Asparagus Chicken Pasta recipe review. πŸ‹ πŸ

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 πŸ€— he doesn’t have to tell me that twice!!

~Elena πŸ’•

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Moms need checkups too!

Every new year my husband and I always talk about what the previous year will be remembered for or marked by. Like there’s the year he had his heart attack, the year we moved from Florida to CT, the years marked by fertility drugs and IVF, the year we got our first pet,…etc. Sometimes years are remembered for predominantly medical reasons like the year of the heart attack which was the same year our littlest basically had her own room at the children’s ER for multiple reasons from stitches to Lyme disease. 2018 seems as though it will be remembered as my medical year. I think us moms tend to put our own health on the back burner in various ways sometimes. With 3 kids I sort of feel like I’m always at the doctors or dentists office! My biggest slack off was not having a women’s wellness check since I had my youngest 6 years earlier 😣..well when 2018 began one of my resolutions was to change that!

A few months into the year and I still hadn’t gotten the ball rolling, so my husband took it upon himself to inquire about doctors and make me an appt. He’s pushy like that πŸ™„ It all began with an OB visit and one bad Pap smear, which then led to a second along with a biopsy and thank goodness all was fine. Next up was my first ever mammogram which also was abnormal followed by a second, then an ultrasound which once again thankfully turned out ok. But at my initial OB visit sitting across the room from the doctor she asked me how my thyroid was…I assumed fine. But why was she asking? She said it looked a bit swollen and wanted me to get it checked out, then one thing led to another!

I made an appt with my primary doctor who of course scolded me a bit for being way overdue for a physical, she then referred me to an Endocrinologist. From there it was a 6 month period of multiple biopsies, bloodwork, ultrasounds, genetic testing and various doctors & appointments. Each step told us that there was a cyst like lump attached to my thyroid that was fairly large and noticeable. Blood work and all other tests showed that the thyroid wasn’t an issue but the tests on the cyst continued to be inconclusive. It was frustrating, scary and we were just ready to figure things out and move on.

Eventually the decision was made that the lump would be removed to be safe and would either be taking part or all of my thyroid with it. I’m not much of a sharer and I certainly don’t speak up very often, so thankfully my husband was always full of questions. He immediately began researching and schooled himself on the procedures & possible results all throughout this process. Me not so much! One google search and pictures of women who looked like their throats had been slit in a back alley and I was done πŸ™ˆ Which is the reason I felt it was important to share this on social media. Apparently thyroid issues are way more common than I would’ve expected. Statistics show 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid issue in their lifetime! For me I didn’t have any obvious thyroid issues. I wasn’t overweight or underweight, I wasn’t excessively tired and my blood work was all normal but luckily someone noticed the lump in my throat.

We decided to schedule surgery during the winter break which was perfect for keeping my mind off of it. So 3 days after Christmas my husband took me to the hospital before the crack of dawn. The hospital and staff were awesome and a few hours later I woke up without a lump and minus the right lobe of my thyroid. Thankfully it proved to be benign and I was able to keep half of the thyroid. It’s been 3 weeks since the procedure, so this week I will be going in for blood work to see if I’ll need to be on any thyroid medication. My surgeon was amazing and my scar will be noticeable but minimal. Fortunately it’s scarf season! But seriously I DO NOT look like any of the scary pictures I first saw when I Googled.

A few days with my throat being sore inside & out, and about 2 weeks without exercising but all in all it wasn’t that bad. At my follow up visit the doctor said the ‘tumor’ was the size of a small egg and it was difficult to conceal the scar because I apparently have a skinny giraffe neck πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈπŸ€£. That was the first time along this whole journey that anyone said ‘tumor’ and I’m so thankful for it. I would have been way more scared & anxious all along the way had they used that term.

I’m ready to put 2018 behind me and would love to not have to visit another doctors office again! But despite my feelings at the moment, I do plan to be better about routine medical care. To be honest if I hadn’t had that first OB appt. the lump could’ve remained there for years! So it’s good I followed through and made that appt. for myself 😝🀣

~Elena πŸ’–

Here’s my neck from a few days after surgery to today β†™οΈβ†˜οΈ


How many books can you read in 2019? πŸ“š

I recently read a 2017 article about how much time we waste on social media and electronic devices, and how that translates in to how many books we can read in that amount of time each year. It’s really shocking if you think about it. Here’s the article.   

I’ve definitely done much better in the last 6-7 months. I’ve made sure to always try to remember to have a book with me wherever I go. This way if I’ve ever got time to waste it’s spent reading and not scrolling. I still get caught up from time to time….just a quick check of my email, see what’s happening on Facebook or Instagram and twenty minutes later I haven’t moved! I’ve made sure to log in to my library account weekly to add books I’m interested in to my queue and move others to my hold list. And when I finish a good one I’m itching to get in to another right away. But still after reading this article I’m up for a good challenge.

For 2019 I’m going to push myself and see how many books I can read. I didn’t keep track in 2018. And although I think I did pretty good some months reading 4/5 books especially in the summer, I can’t even give a good guesstimate because some months I definitely slacked off. This year I’m writing down every single book. I’ve already challenged Erin and my daughter Isabella, loser buys winner a book. As of today 1/8 I have started and completed one book, and just started my second yesterday.

Here’s a list of a few that are in my queue at the library so far:

  • Cottage By The Sea
  • Nine Perfect Strangers
  • Every Breath
  • Sleeping Beauties
  • The Rumor
  • Luckiest Girl Alive
  • The President’s Shadow
  • Our Souls at Night
  • An Anonymous Girl
  • Girls’ Night Out
  • The Third Wife
  • (and I always love recommendations)

Who’s in for a friendly competition? Write down every book that you start and complete for the year. Let’s see who can read the most!!! Winner gets a new book! it’s on…… πŸ“–πŸ†

~Elena πŸ’–

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Tis’ the Season πŸŽ„πŸ’Œ

It’s Christmas card season and I couldn’t be more excited! There’s just something about sending cards to family & friends near and far that I truly love. I remember even when I was younger picking out cards and writing a list of who I wanted to send to. I would check each name off as I sealed the card. As I got older my cards got nicer and the list got longer. Since having a family we’ve switched to photo cards and they tend to change from year to year as well. First it was the simple photo paper cards and now we’ve upgraded to card-stock with metallic shimmer or fancy edges. It does get pricier and pricier, every year I gasp as I close my eyes and hit the order button πŸ™ˆ. But there’s something about actual, real mail that just warms my heart. We print or order return address labels to match and my kids pick out special Christmas stamps at the post office.

So much more than sending cards, I love receiving them! We’ve moved quite a bit in our married life and sadly people get busy often loosing touch. But come December I get to see pictures of families who’ve grown, shots from peoples vacations, new homes, pets and a little glimpse into the lives of people I don’t get to see regularly. Every year we hang our cards on display somewhere in the house. A few years ago we moved them to our front entryway. From day to day I catch my kids loitering around the front door reading cards and looking at pictures. Every so often they’ll ask how we know someone and I explain whether it was a neighbor, colleague or distant relative then sharing with them where that person lives or a special memory. It’s such a great, personal way to keep in touch in our digital world.

Recently on a trip to the dollar store my girls asked if they could buy cards to write out for their classmates. My 12 year old has been doing it since she was in preschool. I would let her pick out a box of cards and help her write names on them. Then she would seal them up and tape a candy cane on the outside. Now I find both my girls sitting and addressing cards to their classmates and friends. My littlest making sure she has Christmas stickers sealing up the back and handwriting ‘Love’ followed by her name on each and every one! (My son not so much πŸ˜‚ )

I sometimes worry this tradition will end. It’s cheaper and easier to send a Merry Christmas text, or a mass email. Our lives have gotten so busy. The holidays so hectic. Lists get longer and shopping is out of control. So many people just don’t write cards anymore for whatever reason. I only hope my girls continue as they get older and pass this same Christmas tradition down to their kids, we could certainly all use more happy mail in our lives! πŸ’Œ.

~Elena πŸ’–


What’s your favorite Christmas song?? πŸŽ„

I’m all about the Christmas music this time of year and I definitely have my favorites. I mean there’s so many to choose from…traditional ones, religious ones, fun ones, pop and more modern ones…it’s so hard to choose! So we thought it would be fun to try to see if we could come up with a list of our top ten each. We’re both finding that narrowing it down to 10 is just so hard, but let’s see how we do!! If we don’t have some of your favorites make sure to tell us in the comments, I love to find new ones to add to my playlist!


1. Last Christmas- Wham (it has to be this version)

2. Hey Santa – Wilson

3. Same Old Lang Syne- Fogelberg

4. Step Into Christmas- Elton John

5. You Make It Feel Like Christmas- Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani

6. I’ll Be Home For Christmas- Michael Buble

7. Home For Christmas- N’Sync

8. Baby it’s Cold Outside- Dean Martin

9. All I Want For Christmas- Faith Hill

10. Where Are You Christmas- Faith Hill

*Santa Claus is Coming to Town-Springsteen, Rockin Around the Christmas tree- Brenda Lee, Silent Night…..see it’s impossible to only pick 10 πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ)

Your turn Erin!!

Ok this was super hard but here it goes…

1. Away in a Manger- Lauren Daigle

2. Silent Night- Kelly Clarkson (feat. Reba)

3. You Make It Feel Like Christmas- Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton

4. The First Noel- TobyMac (feat. Owl City)

5. White Christmas- Michael BublΓ©

6. All I want for Christmas is you- Michael BublΓ©

7. O Holy Night- Lauren Daigle

8. I’ll Be Home For Christmas- Brett Eldredge

9. Santa Baby- Michael BublΓ©

10. Mary’s Boy Child- TobyMac (feat. Jamie Grace)

*Rocking Around The Christmas Tree, You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch πŸ€—, Blue Christmas-Elvis, Jingle Bell Rock

Let’s hear your favorites!


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Ten tips to survive holiday shopping πŸ›

This morning didn’t go as planned at my house. We seemed to be getting everything done and I had my day all planned out. But as the bus pulled up my 5 year old took off running back into the house crying. I can’t tell you why and she doesn’t seem to know why, but it knocked my day all out of whack. I had to drive her to school which put off my shower, laundry and errands it was downhill from there. I figured I would get stuff done at home and run errands after lunch. Bad choice! TJMaxx at 12:30 this time of year is not a pretty sight. And there is really nothing I need in the world bad enough that will make me torture myself by standing in that line! Needless to say I didn’t stay and ran to get groceries instead. There are a few things I’m pretty adamant about when I go shopping especially during the holidays! Planning ahead is key, so I thought I would share some of the tips I tend to go by.

1. Write down the sizes of your family members and keep it in your phone. (Stay tuned for Apps that help with this in #5!) It makes gift shopping so much easier when you can easily check shoe sizes and clothing sizes without second guessing yourself . Also helps avoid unnecessary returns and exchanges.

2. An App for all your reward cards is such a time and space saver. The KeyRing App is my favorite. I have all of my reward/loyalty cards in there. You can scan at any store from the app and even keep a photo of the front & back of each card . There’s even a Share option so I can easily share any card with my husband.

3. Make a list. How many times do you run errands and get home to realize you totally forgot the one place you needed to go to most πŸ˜– so frustrating!!

4. List what you need to get at each stop. This helps so much with not forgetting things and also to help stay on track.

5. AnyList App is such a time saver. No more forgetting lists on the kitchen counter and shopping blindly. I have a list for the grocery store, a dollar store list, Costco list, etc. I also keep a list year round with ‘gift ideas’ for people. This is such a huge help!! My husband might randomly mention a cologne at the mall or point out a style of shirt he’s got his eye on, I take a quick second to enter it in my phone and when a holiday comes up I’m all set!

6. Shop immediately when stores open. This one can be tough for me because I want to workout when my kids leave and then shower but I need to adjust my day, especially this time of year . Stores are quieter and so much cleaner when they first open. Plus it’s so much easier to get help if needed when stores aren’t crowded.

7. Check for store coupons before you go. Many stores have coupons right on their websites. You can’t always pull them up while you’re out whether it be bad service, not enough time or you forget. So take the time to check before you go. If all else fails ask your cashier. Lots of places have them at the register and will scan them for you if you just ask.

8. Always ask for and keep receipts. This helps so much with returns/exchanges… and often items may be reduced even more in the next day or two so having your receipt can get you money back.

9. Ask for boxes. I have gotten out of this habit because I didn’t think anyone did this anymore. I was at Loft not too long ago and the girl asked if I needed a box and she even boxed the item for me! It doesn’t hurt to ask πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

10. When in doubt buy it!! I second guess myself and make the mistake all the time of overthinking, without fail the item is always gone when I come to my senses. You can always return the item in a reasonable amount of time but once it’s gone it’s gone!

I actually love shopping but I can’t stand crowds, long lines and messy stores so these ten tips really help things run smooth and keep me from 🀯lol!

~Elena πŸ’–

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How in the world do you find time to read? πŸ“–

I get asked this question all the time! I love to read but I go through seasons in life when I just can’t seem to find the time. My ‘To Read’ list just gets longer and longer. I have a stack of books on my nightstand, a long queue list at the library and a ton of book screenshots saved in my phone. But I seriously love to read! So I decided I needed to prioritize and really do the things that make me happy.

We all find ourselves with ten or fifteen minutes here and there when we have time to kill. But instead of using those minutes wisely we scroll through the phone. What does that get me? 20 minutes of lost time!! We spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting at the doctors office. Waiting at the car mechanics. Waiting for our kids to come out of sports or after school activities. Waiting because we arrived somewhere early and don’t want to walk in yet. So I’ve totally changed my way of thinking. I always have a book with me. Whether you like hard copies or ebooks, you can always throw it in your purse or on the front seat of your car. It doesn’t take much planning to make sure you have it with you when you leave your house. Sometimes I have both the e-book and a hard copy. So now I read when I wait for my middle schooler to come out of cooking class. Or when my son has soccer and it’s freezing out, I’ll wait in the car and read. And I’m not much of a small talker so having a book on my lap in a waiting room really keeps people away πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ Believe me you look 100% smarter in a waiting room reading then you do staring blankly at a phone screen πŸ€“πŸ˜œ

Next …invest in a good book light. Not the crappy dollar store ones (believe me I’ve bought tons) but a good book light that attaches nicely to your book. This comes in handy at night in bed or even evenings when you’re waiting for someone in your car when it’s starting to get dark. When my husband is watching sports, a Halloween movie or a Carpenters documentary on tv πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ (it’s true) I’ll whip out the book light and can read without feeling like I’m disturbing anyone. My 12 year old now takes my book light in the car so she can read when I’m driving the girls to gymnastics in the dark.

Last, and this took my entire life until this past year to learn, if you can’t get in to a book it is ok to put it down! Don’t force yourself to read a book you’re not enjoying. I would hate to give up on a book. Then I would find myself re-reading chapters because I couldn’t understand things or I would avoid reading because the book just wasn’t working for me. So I have a 100 page rule. Some books just have a hard start but if you stick with them they are amazing!! So I try to make it to 100 pages. If I’m near there and still can’t get in to it, I allow myself to put it down. Most of the time I find that around 50 pages in it will grab me and pull me in, but if not I don’t feel bad moving on.

That’s it! It really just takes prioritizing a little bit. I enjoy reading and when I finish one that I really Love I’m so excited to start another. If you’ve read anything amazing lately let us know, there’s a little more space on my nightstand πŸ˜œπŸ“š

~Elena πŸ’–


It’s finally Fall!! And turkey chili is what’s for dinner πŸ₯˜πŸ

My 5 year old daughter has been asking every day for about three weeks if it’s fall yet. Her wish finally came true, it’s Fall!! And the weather was so nice and cool for the weekend so I was immediately ready for some cool weather meals.

I have a crockpot chili recipe that I love but in true form I forgot to get it going early enough in the day πŸ˜– So I decided I would try to whip it up mid afternoon in the Dutch oven and simmer for a while. We’ve converted to turkey for pretty much everything that calls for ground beef. To me ground turkey can taste really dry so it has to be cooked with enough flavor and liquid so it isn’t dry and crumbly. I kind of threw this together as I went so there’s no recipe to attach.

I used 2 lbs of ground turkey, we like our chili on the meatier side. I hate when you order chili and you can barely find the meat. In the Dutch oven on medium heat, sautΓ© the turkey with one onion chopped and a few peppers chopped. I used 1 green, 1 red and 1 orange. When I’m cutting veggies like peppers, mushrooms or onions I always cut the whole thing or whole container. I use what I need and then put the rest in a snack size ziploc bag and toss it in the freezer. This way the veggie doesn’t go bad in the refrigerator forgotten and whenever I need a little bit I can just toss them in a recipe right from the freezer. Drain or use a baster and get any liquid out of the pot once the meat is cooked through. I don’t know how I went so many years without knowing to use a baster!!! It makes it so much easier to drain the liquids without dropping pieces of meat out of the pan πŸ™ŒπŸ»

At this point you can add a packet of chili seasoning if you have some. I didn’t so I sprinkled in some salt, pepper, minced garlic, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin and Italian seasoning. (About 1/2 tsp each, 1 tbs chili powder) The more seasoning of course the spicier and more flavorful it will be, I err on the side of caution because my little one will complain ‘I don’t like it there’s too much seasons!’ πŸ™„πŸ˜œ

Add in 1 can of diced tomatoes with liquid, 1 can stewed tomatoes with liquid and 1 can of beans (kidney, black or chili beans) with liquids then stir well. Mix in 1 small can of tomato paste then fill can with water to get remaining and pour water in to the pot. Stir it all really well and let it simmer on the stove for a while. I think I left my on low for over an hour.

We learned while living in the south that corn chips are AMAZING with chili! So we toss in some Fritos, cheddar cheese on top and a dollop of sour cream… soooooo good!

Happy Fall πŸ‚πŸπŸŒΎ



September Challenge πŸ‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Summer may be coming to an end but I’m determined not to let all my summer progress get spoiled until the spring! We all work so hard to get our summer bodies ready then slack off when the cooler weather hits and we can cover up a bit more. Then spring comes and we start all over again….but I’m thinking if we keep going through spring and winter we won’t fall behind and be even better next summer!! Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself πŸ˜‚

Ok so I’m keeping Sunday rest days knowing full well I probably won’t use it as a rest day. Most weeks I have to skip a night any way due to our crazy schedule that I just replace it with Sunday. I’m keeping the squats and lunges going, although I love the lunges more because I can lunge my way around the house while I’m doing things and I’m finally starting to notice the difference from doing those consistently. I’m certain Erin doesn’t love the cardio as much as me πŸ™„ but I’ve said this before , there really is a difference in my energy levels when I am regularly doing cardio. Even just ten or fifteen minutes. Maybe if she did it regularly too she wouldn’t be so grumpy, lol…kidding Erin kidding 😬 For abs I chose 3 simple exercises but the ones I feel the most when I do them, and those flutter kicks are something πŸ™ŒπŸ»

I’m super excited about the arm exercise. I found some workouts that included a curl done 3 different ways and gave it a try. I loved how I felt it working in the different positions. The one video showed all three curls done intermittently which I think I might try and do them that way.

The great thing about the monthly workout challenge is that in the beginning they really kept me motivated and were a way of staying accountable. But now I always push myself and do more than is listed for the day. We would love for you to join us and let us know how you’re doing along the way!!

~Elena 🍁