Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September Birchbox

I love getting perfume samples in my boxes! It's a great way for me to try new scents without pay a fortune and having a ton of bottles taking up space on my vanity. This one, however, was just not my style. It was very...'mature' smelling. As in, it's something I would expect Nanny to wear to church on Sunday. It's not a bad scent, it's just not one that I want to wear. [full size $83]

Where was this 8 years ago? You know, when I would actually go over to people's house and stay the night. I needed this then, seriously. The gel cleanser is very gentle, yet effective. The ideal skin perfect finish is awesome and reminds me of a cross between a BB cream and mark.'s matte chance. Obviously my 25 year old self isn't going on any sleep overs anytime soon, so I'm not going to be throwing down the cash for this, but if they sold it in larger portions, I would definitely think about getting the finishing cream. [$19]

This product felt like straight up sand paper on my face. I understand the importance of exfoliating, and it's nice to have soft skin, but this? This is not worth it. I tried this product twice, hoping the second time would be a little better, but no. The back of the container even says that your face will be noticeably softer, a result that I didn't feel. If you have tougher skin, give this a try. If your skin is already soft and/or sensitive, don't even think about it! [full size $34]

This was my favorite item in the box! As soon as I saw the color, I couldn't wait to try it! It's such a perfect color for fall, it's neutrally, shimmery heaven. I'm not typically a huge fan of color club, but they did something right with this one! [full size $8]

Even though my hair isn't long enough to put in a pony tail, I still loved seeing this cute little elastic hair tie in my box. I can't tell you how well it works, but I can tell you that I'm saving it for when I do grow my hair out again! Too cute. [pack of 12 $22]

I was not at all interested in these. I am not huge into make up, so I only have 2 different brushes. And maybe because they were cheap? But don't feel the need to guard them. [variety pack $5.50]

If you're interested in trying birchbox, I definitely recommend it! Also, if you sign up through me, I can earn points!

Also, don't forget to sign up for the Spooktacular Swap!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tricks and Treats

Halloween is right around the corner, and seeing all the fun decorations at Hobby Lobby and all of the yummy candies filling the grocery store shelves is definitely putting me in the mood! Who says adults can't have fun on this awesomely scary holiday? Let's celebrate blog swap style!

Here is what Sara & I came up with....
Swappers will create a box full of Halloween fun! Boxes can include, but are not limited to: Halloween decorations, candies, make up, scary movies….you get the idea! Anything Halloween themed! 

Who can participate? 

• Followers of This is Me; Consequently. & Sara’s Organized Chaos
• US Residents or bloggers with APO addresses 
• Active Bloggers only [at least 1 post per week!]

If you're cool with all of that, click here to sign up!
Also, if you are participating, be a doll & grab the button to put on your sidebar, or tweet about it!
The more people who join, the more fun it will be :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pushing Through the Burn

For months, I've been contemplating buying an elliptical.
Last week, I took the $200 plunge.
Thinking about it was getting me no where.
Prior to this, I considered going to the gym a few days a week since the gym on post is free.
Except they don't have childcare.
And my husband 'doesn't have the time' to watch Adelei when he gets home from work.
So, I'd have to take her to daycare on the days that I wanted to go...which would take the experience from free to close to $80 a month if I went 5 days a week.
Elliptical it is!
It arrived Thursday, and it took me no time to put it together.
I'm not going to lie and say the directions weren't confusing, because they were.
I'm pretty smart & have a ton of common sense though  [thanks, Nanny!], so I didn't have any trouble just figuring it out on my own.
I am loving it!
It's easy to get my work out in while the baby is napping, and it doesn't take up very much room in our garage.
 I didn't realize how out of shape I was until I started my first 'run'. Within the first few minutes, my quads were burning so bad I slowed to a walk. And that was with basically NO resistance!
I set my goals, though, and stuck to them. I pushed my way through the burn, and kept going. 
It wasn't easy the first few days. However, I am working my way up slowly but surely.

Day 1: No resistance - 1 mile, 8 min 23 sec
Day 2: Level 1 resistance - 1.5 miles, 11 min 46 sec
Day 3: Level 1 resistance - 2 miles, 13 min 58 sec
Day 4: Sunday [rest]

I do realize that running on an elliptical is way different than running on pavement or grass. I know I couldn't do a 9 minute mile on an actual surface right now, but I do feel good that I'm at least working towards my goal to get fit.

If you have the myfitnesspal app, you should add me on there! Username = jakintheb0x

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Best Buns Ever

A few weeks ago, while on a thrifting trip, I picked up this bad boy.
It was practically brand new. 
Probably a wedding gift that was never used.
The inside was flawless & the outside was almost just as perfect, 
minus a few blue scratches. 
I made a $15 bet that it would work, and [not so] patiently drove the 10 minutes back to my house.
As soon as I got inside, I plugged it up & wa-la! It lit up like a Christmas tree.
I was ecstatic.
I immediately got online to download the user manual & get recipes.
The next morning I went out to get ingredients so I could begin my bread baking adventures.

Because of my resolve to become healthier, I have greatly limited my bread intake.
But, when I do have bread now, I don't feel bad about it.
I am making my bread fresh, free of nitrates and preservatives.

Not only do I feel like I'm doing something great for my family, but I'm also saving a lot of money!
Never again am I going to spend $3 for a pack of hamburger buns that are going to sit on the shelf and get moldy before I use them all. I'm not going to buy canned cinnamon rolls because I can make them for half of the price & they taste so much better. I will not buy Sister Schubert's rolls [even though they are delicious!] because now that I know how to make them, it is so much cheaper. And [dare I say?] better.

I'm taking you on my bread baking adventures.
You do not need a bread maker. 
The $10 you spend on ingredients will likely make a few loaves of bread, cinnamon rolls, yeast rolls, and buns. Trust me, a bag of bread flour and a jar of yeast will go a long way.

Our first stop--
The Best Buns Ever...

I used this recipe.

1. Put all of your ingredients in your bread maker & turn it on. Walk away & let it do it's magic.
If you do not have a bread maker, you can do this with a mixer, you just need to stand and supervise.
2. Once dough has risen for the first time, dump it out of the bread maker [or mixer] and onto a lightly oiled surface. Separate into buns. HINT: make them smaller than fist size. They will rise again & if you make them any larger you will have ginormous buns. When you get them separated, cover with a cloth in a warm area [I do mine on top of the stove while it's preheating] and leave to rise again. Do NOT skip the second rise.
3. Risen buns, pre-tan. Lather them with an egg wash, sprinkle on some sesame seeds if you're feeling fancy.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, according to the directions. It's 12 minutes to perfection in my oven, so just keep an eye on them.

I have made these on 3 separate occasions. Two of those times, we have had company & I got rave reviews.
Try them. It might take a little time out of your day, but I promise you it's worth it.
You can thank me later.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Daycare Blues

A few weeks ago, I decided that it would be best for both Adelei and I if she started going to daycare one day a week. 
She needs more interaction with children.
She needs interaction with other adults.
I need a little bit of time to myself.
Luckily, hourly care on post is super cheap.
Last week was the first time I took her, and honestly...I was a nervous wreck. She didn't even notice me leave, she was too busy playing with toys.
I was so proud of her! I was scared she would freak out & I would end up taking her back home.
But the entire 3 hours she was there, I spent my time [running errands] constantly thinking about her.
Is she crying? Is she playing? Is she being a sweet girl?
Will she take a nap? Will she eat her lunch?
When I went to pick her up, she was sitting in the teacher's lap, being rocked while most of the other kids took a nap. Not my girl, though. She smiled really big and ran over to me when I came in.
It was the best feeling ever.

Thursday, I dropped her off. This was her second time, so she wasn't as shy as before. She walked right in and started 'talking' to another baby. This time, I wasn't as nervous. I had a dentist appointment, and barely had any time to wonder what she was doing. When I went to pick her up, she was laying down on a cot. She wasn't sleeping, but she was being quiet while the other kids slept. When she saw me, she finally realized I had left her & she freaaaaaked out.
I mean full on water works, hyperventilating and all! Who knew mommy being gone for 3 hours could cause such hysterics!
I know that her going just one day a week doesn't help her social skills a whole lot, but we've also joined a local Mommy Playgroup that meets once a week as well.

What are some free [or cheap] things you've done 
with your children to help develop social skills?

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Easy Way & A New Shake

I've been back on my shake routine for a little over a week now, and I've been looking for more convenience. My spinach doesn't really hold up for very long, and I'm not a fan of going to the grocery store more than once a week. So, I decided to make spinach cubes & keep them in the freezer.
Not only does this keep the spinach from going bad before I'm able to use it all up, but it also saves a lot of time in the morning.
If you have a full size blender, I would definitely suggest using that when making the cubes.
All you need is
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 bag of spinach
Ice cube trays or a mini cupcake tin
 Pour all of the milk in the blender & fill the rest with spinach. If you're using a full size blender, I would suggest still adding just a handful of spinach at a time so you don't over work the blades. It's basically going to look like spinach milk. There is no thickness to this whatsoever.
Once it has blended down, add more spinach & blend again.
 Disclaimer: This process may not work as well if you don't have a super cute helper. ;)
 If you're using a mini blender, you will have to dump some of the liquid before you can continue with the rest of the bag. I had to do this twice. But the steps are pretty simple. Just keep about half full of liquid, half full of  spinach until you're done with the entire bag.
 Then pour it neatly into ice trays or a mini cupcake tin. If you don't use ice trays, you need to lightly spray the surface of the cupcake tin with nonstick spray.
 Pop them in the freezer over night & they will be ready to go in the morning!
I use 3 cubes in each shake. This process, for me, made 8 days worth of cubes.
When you pop these out of the molds, store them in a freezer bag to take up less room.

And as promised, a new shake recipe.
Here's the old one, in case you missed it.
I got tired of bananas.
I tried a few other fruits, but none that were blog worthy.
This, though. This is heavenly.
I can see myself drinking this for a very long time.

1/4 cup Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt
[use vanilla greek yogurt for a creamier shake]
1 tbsp peanut butter
8 oz 2% milk
1 tsp honey
dash of cinnamon
3-4 spinach cubes
4-6 ice cubes

Put all ingredients into blender & blend until frothy.
Milk & honey? I told you it was heavenly. Just try it. Don't be scared of the spinach.
If you're worried that this won't hold you over until lunch, don't be.
It will, unless you're doing a lot of activity.

What is your go to shake recipe? Even though I love, love, love this one, I'm constantly looking for new ideas!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


When Nanny was here, I told myself I would take the chance to indulge. Up until that point, I had quit sodas & sweet tea. I had rarely been drinking coffee. Fried foods were on my cheat list, which didn't happen very often. But I didn't want to spend her time here saying 'no'. The way I grew up eating is vastly different than how I eat now, but I still miss it sometimes.
So, while she was here, we enjoyed coffee on the porch every morning. We had sweet tea.
The few times we went out to eat, I had soda.
When I ran errands, leaving Adelei at home with her, I treated myself to Starbucks [this may or may not have happened every other day].
Because I was drinking coffee in the morning, I quit eating breakfast. We ate sandwiches pretty much every day at lunch even though I had been limiting my bread intake before her arrival.
I didn't even bother weighing myself, because I also didn't take the time to exercise when she was here.
Shame on me.
The biggest problem with all of this? Is that I didn't stop when she left.
I was kind of in a funk. 
I still wasn't eating breakfast, but lunch time also passed me by & I never felt hungry so I didn't eat.
I had to cook, and I knew that if I didn't eat dinner Aaron would be suspicious, so I ate a little every night.
What had gotten into me? 
Whatever it was, I had a breakthrough. One morning last week, I stepped on the scale. 
It was going in the wrong direction!
I was furious with myself. I decided right then, I needed/wanted to get back on track.
So that is what I'm doing. I've starting drinking my shakes again in the morning, going for walks with Adelei, planning my meals so I eat healthy. The first few days of detoxing are always the worst, but minus the caffeine headache, I'm doing well.
 And hopefully soon I'll have a better update.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tot School Supplies

While I was researching and creating Adelei's curriculum, I started writing a list of things that I wanted to get.
My first stop was at the Dollar Tree, and I was so, so surprised by all the wonderful things they had!
I know I'll be picking up more things along the way, but here was my loot from my first trip.
Large Zip Lock bags, Giant Art Pad, Hair Gel*, Disney cardboard book, Wild Animal Fruit Snacks, Die Cut Letters 69 ct, Teddy Bear Cookies, Playskool Shapes workbook, Disney Colors workbook, Sesame Street Alphabet with Elmo workbook, Fisher Price Zoo coloring book, Foam Letter Stickers 124 ct, Playskool Number Flashcards/Alphabet Flashcards/Colors&Shapes Flashcards/First Words Flashcards, Animal Window Clings, Highlighters, Mini Marshmallows, Bubbles, Stickers 300 ct

All of that for less than $25. Can you believe it? I can see SO many projects with all of these goodies we picked up today, I can hardly wait! 

*I know the hair gel seems really random, but I will be using it as well as the zip lock bags to create sensory experiences for Adelei!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Alphabet Board

I have always been a very hands on learner.
I can't just hear something and remember it.
I have to hear it, see it, write it down, read it over & over.
I'm only guessing that Adelei may be the same way.
Regardless, I decided that, to aid in her learning, I wanted to make her an Alphabet Board.
Start out with a piece of 20x30 foam core. You can use poster board if you prefer, I just wanted something that was a little more sturdy & would stand up against my rambunctious toddler.
I bought these die cut letters from the dollar tree, but they also sell them at Walmart.
All you have to do is line up your letters, add a little glue, & ta da! 
Note: I used yellow & blue instead of black & white so this can also be used when I'm teaching her colors!
If you're worried about the letters coming off, you can put a coating of Mod Podge over the top. I skipped that step, though.
This is a very simple project that will act as a visual reference and help enhance the learning process.  The whole project cost about $3 & took less than an hour. I know that we are going to get a lot of use out of it over the coming weeks!

With an alphabet board, you can:
Sing the alphabet while pointing to the letters
Have your little one trace the letters with their finger
Get your little one to point to the letters as you call them out

What kind of learning aids have you created for your little learner?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pure Madness

Last night was the first night this week that I've been able to put Adelei in her crib and walk away. 
Every other night this week was a struggle, a fight.
Teething sucks.
More specifically, molars suck.
Not only is my sweet girl in pain, despite the tylenol & teething tablets, but it's also very emotionally draining for me. Yesterday, after 3 days of whining & grumpiness, my mind kept wondering 'when is this phase going to be over...?' I hate seeing my normally happy baby so...different.
Luckily, today was much better. 
She was still refusing to nap, but she was happy for the most part.
The only real plus side to all of this madness? All of the kisses and cuddles I'm getting. I think she knows it's been just as hard on me as it has been for her. She's been extra lovey lately, and I'm embracing it fully.

Any tips or tricks from experienced moms on how to deal with a teething toddler?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Learning with Adelei

I mentioned a few posts ago how fun my daughter's age is.
She's picking up on things & learning so fast, it's amazing.
Not that she hasn't been learning all along, but her brain is a sponge right now and I love it.
She has inspired me to create a curriculum for her!
My husband looked at me a little crazily when I told him what I was doing, but after all, I do have a degree in education, so it's not like I'm not going into this blindly.
After I put her down for a nap, or put her to bed at night, I pull out my computer and start researching & planning. What I know for sure is that the first step will be a 26 week curriculum learning the alphabet, colors, simple shapes, and numbers 0-9.
I cannot even to begin to express how passionate I feel about this right now. 
I know teaching is something that I am meant to do with my life, and I am so grateful that I have the ability to stay home & teach my daughter.
As we go through the curriculum, I will be sharing our activities, ideas, tutorials, and pictures of my sweet girl in action, so be sure to check back! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ready for Halloween?

With Halloween just around the corner, I wanted to offer all of my blogger friends a sweet deal!
All solid color tutus are on sale for $10
Any size 3 mo - 6 yrs
One color only

All two color tutus are on sale for $13
Any size 3 mo - 6 yrs
Any two colors


Just think of all the costume possibilities:
Ghost, Pumpkin, Bumble Bee, Ballerina, Owl, Witch, Fairy, just to name a few!

Leave your email in a comment on this post if you're interested, or email me at jaksart@rocketmail.com to participate in this offer.
Sale ends Sept. 30th.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Can You Believe It?

My baby is walking.
It seems like just yesterday, we just sat around enjoying each other's company.
And now?
We're constantly on the move.
Have I told you how much I love this age?
Because I do.
Never a dull moment.

Monday, September 3, 2012

August Birchbox, a little late!

Obviously, I'm a little late on sharing my goodies from August's birchbox.
Here is what I got:
via the birchbox website

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25+
I kept hearing about BB's, but was never interested enough to buy one. When I saw this in the box, I gladly tried it. I don't wear make up daily, but I will definitely use this on the days when I need to run to the store but don't feel like doing 'full face' make up. It's just enough to smooth out my skin and still looks natural. [full size $32]
I'm always skeptical about protein bars, but LARABAR never disappoints! This time, I got the Apple Turnover flavor and it was DElish! I will definitely be picking up a few of these the next time I go grocery shopping! [5 bars for $9]
Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy La Fleur
A few months ago I received The Original Viva la Juicy sample & fell in love. This new, sweeter scent is equally appealing & will be on my Christmas wish list. It's the perfect date night perfume! [full size $70]
DDF® Brightening Cleanser
I am a face wash snob. Because of my weird skin issues, when I find a cleanser that I like, I stick with it. Lately, I've been wanting something new, and this may be JUST that. It's gentle, but feels like it's working [I hate face washes that are too smooth!]. It doesn't dry me out, and I have noticed  that my skin looks a bit brighter. The best part? Birchbox sent me a HUGE 'sample'! [Full size $38]
LiQWd Professional Volumizing Catalyst
This is the only thing in this month's box that I was less than impressed with. When I saw it originally I was super excited. After my recent [disaster] haircut, I've been needing more volume. It even came in a cute pen style sprayer. The problem? The sprayer didn't work. I even tried taking it apart to see if it was clogged. It didn't work. I then put a little of the product on my fingers & ran it through the roots of my hair before I blow dried. Unfortunately, my hair still looked pretty lifeless. I know it doesn't mean the product sucks, but the packaging did, and that was enough to turn me off. [Full size $22]

If you're interested in trying birchbox, I definitely recommend it! Also, if you sign up through me, I can earn points!