Wednesday, July 29, 2015

6 of the BEST Sore Throat Remedies

Maybe it came about because you were cheering at your school's football game, or maybe it's due to allergies or the flu, but either way you've got it-- a dry, scratchy, irritable, possibly swollen, sore throat.

It's awful. It makes it difficult to swallow and can even make it difficult to talk. But lucky for you, everyone in our house has a sore throat so I took it upon myself to find the top 6 home remedies for a sore throat!

sore throat cures

1. Fluids


sore throat fluids
Staying hydrated is very important, especially when your throat is irritated or inflamed. Drinking enough liquids keeps your mucous membranes moist and better able to fight bacteria & allergens. 

2.  Chicken Soup


sore throat chicken soup
Chicken soup is a go to in our house for any type of illness. Not only does it help you get your liquids, but the sodium in broth has anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Saltwater Gargle


sore throat saltwater
This goes along with the sodium in chicken broth concept, but gargling with salt water several times a day can help reduce swelling & rinse out bacteria.

4. Honey

sore throat honey
Not only is honey good tasting, it actually has healing properties. Several studies have found it to be effective with upper respiratory infections, coughs, and sore throats. Try it with some hot water & lemon!

5. Marshmallows


sore throat marshmallow cure
This one is a little strange, but it's not really marshmallows themselves, it's the marshmallow plant they come from. I guess, Marshmallow Root contains a mucous like substance that coats & soothes a sore throat. An excuse to have marshmallows when you're sick? Why not?!

6. Hot Chocolate


sore throat hot chocolate
This one is something I do personally. It's not backed my medical studies, but it works for me every time. I think it's a combination of getting more fluids, mixed with the soothing heat on my throat and hey, if you add some marshmallows you're really killing two birds with one delicious stone ;)

A SIDE NOTE:
I asked my mom if she knew any ways to cure a sore throat and she told me that when she was little her grandmother would have her gargle HYDROGEN PEROXIDE!! hahaha ew! Maybe it works lol, I didn't even bother researching it--it sounded too gross!

Let me know the home remedies you like to try in the comments below!

Good luck you guys! I hope you cure your sore throats!





Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How to lose the last 20 pounds!

The one thing no one tells you about having a baby is how difficult it is on your perception of your body image and your self esteem.

I mean, there's a whole 9 MONTHS during your pregnancy where you really just don't feel like yourself and then at least another 9-12 MONTHS afterward where you pretty much just feel like a milk machine that can clean dirty diapers.

That is a huge chunk of your life.

One of the things that has really helped me feel like my old self again was getting my pre-baby body back.

Now, I'm not completely the same. My breasts will never look the way they did before, but that's okay. I didn't get stretch marks during my pregnancy, but I know other mom's that wear theirs proudly (calling them "tiger stripes") and that is great. You should be proud. Your body did something amazing.

For me knowing that my body is capable of doing something that miraculous made losing the baby weight seem like it would be a piece of cake! Unfortunately, it's not.

Today I'm going to tell you how I lost the weight without the gym. 

BEFORE
before, weight loss

AFTER
after weight loss


It's all about diet. I personally don't like feeling like I can't eat something which is why I've always hating dieting. BUT what I've found is that it's really not at all about what you eat, but rather how much of it.

Okay, now let me introduce you to The Macro Diet!! (commonly known as IIFYM)

It's not even really a diet. It's kind of like a detailed way of counting calories. Basically you look at everything you eat in a day and break it down to grams of protein, fat, & carbs. 

As long as you hit your goals for grams of each for the day, losing weight should be easy.

It is a popular way to lose weight because it gives you flexibility to eat the things most diets don't, you just have to ask yourself If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM).

So I can eat ice cream?


Yes! But make sure you look at the nutrition facts. Most likely you probably shouldn't have as much as you'd like. I typically go for the Arctic Zero brand you can find in health stores/farmer's markets. It is high in protein and usually low in carbs & has little to no fats. Now, I'm not gonna lie to you--it's really not the best, but it helps with those cravings and keeps you meeting your goals.

arctic zero ice cream


Why do I love counting macros?


Short answer: Because it works. I lost the last 20 pounds like that! Jillian Michaels, of The Biggest Loser, says that if you hit a plateau in your weight, it's not because of exercise, it's because of your diet.

Long answer: It really makes you look at the food you eat differently. I used to drink juices everyday without realizing how many carbs there were! I now, typically, only drink water & make sure to get those carbs elsewhere. The biggest change for me was realizing that I really was not getting enough protein--at all! 

Just understanding the nutrition labels in terms of proteins, fats, & carbs will help you make better decisions and make weight loss easy.

How do I know how many macros to have each day?


It all depends on your goals and whether you want to lose, gain, or maintain. 

Here is an easy online calculator you can use: macro-nutrient calculator. My body is not great with carbs, so I would select the low carb preset on there.

I am not anti-exercise by any means. I love working out, but no amount of time you spend in the gym will make up for a poor diet. So try working smarter, not harder. Cleaning up my diet was the best thing I ever did.

Counting macros worked amazingly for me & my husband & I know it's worked for others. I highly recommend it.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

The reality of marriage in memes

Marriage is amazing. It is so unbelievably fun being married to your best friend; someone you can 100% be yourself with 100% of the time.

I asked my husband what my post should be about today and he said that I should talk about how sexy he is.. and just like that I was inspired!

Here are some memes I found that, I feel, accurately depict what marriage is really like hopefully you can relate to these as well.

reality of marriage
Is it just me or do men go number two A LOT?! And why does it always take so long? When I need to go, I just get in & get out, guys have to make sure they have their phones, a couple magazines, & a game of some sort. How long do they plan on being in there?

reality of marriage meme
Scott's actually quite the gentleman with his burps. He does his best not to do it in front of me (same with farts) but sometimes his timing is off. When that happens he usually blames it on a "barking spider" or on my cute David. lol oh well. nobody's perfect..

reality of marriage meme
I literally just lived this one. He's "in a poker tournament right now," but when he's done we'll feed the ducks, fold the laundry, go to the pool, and watch a movie.

reality of marriage meme
I love it that my husband wants to help out around the house, I do. It's just sometimes I find that it makes more work for me.. Especially when half the clothes never get folded & end up on the floor or mixed with dirty clothes & then I have to rewash them.. But it's the thought that counts right?

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme
Scott likes to put clothes in the washer when I'm out running errands. This is a great surprise until he forgets to switch the clothes to the dryer & then it becomes a smelly surprise.

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme
I don't think Scott would ever make those mistakes, but he has been known to come home with all the wrong ingredients from the grocery store. It's just sad because I know he meant well & he was soo close! He would do this all the time when I had cravings during my pregnancy; he'd either get the wrong thing or he'd have eaten half of it on the way home =(

reality of marriage meme
Ladies. I'm sure we can all relate to this.

reality of marriage meme
Scott is always the cutest when I'm mad at him! It is so frustrating. I wanna be mad, but it's difficult when my best friend is trying to make me laugh.

reality of marriage meme
I'm a huge impulse shopper. And I think just about every grocery trip I come home with a bag of chocolate chips. 

reality of marriage meme
Sorry sweetie =/

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme
This is definitely us! Except we grown in our marriage to the point where all Scott really has to do is threaten to do the dishes & I just jump up & start doing them instead.

reality of marriage meme
There are NO LEFTOVERS when you are married. None. At all. If you want to have some saved for lunch tomorrow, hide it!

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme
Guilty.

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme
Usually things get half way done in this house, until I decide to finish them.

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme

reality of marriage meme
I was at the store getting party food for David's birthday & Scott asked me to pick up the charcoal to save him a trip. I stared at that aisle for 5 minutes until I was ready to make a selection and I failed. He had to go back & buy lighter fluid because I didn't get the kind that had it on it already. 

reality of marriage meme
Yep. This is me. Scott loves poker and he explains it to me all the time. I still don't really get it. Same with football..


All in all I love my husband more than anything & I know he feels the same about me. We both have flaws but we accept each other for who we are. And that is the best part about marriage. We can be totally ourselves.



Friday, July 24, 2015

Italian Themed Date Night!

As promised, here is a new date night idea that your husband/boyfriend/whomever will love!

Italian themed date night

My husband & I try to do a date night about once a week or once every two weeks. Typically we go out to eat then pick up our son from his grandparents' and come home.While this is great and fun because I love hanging out with my cute husband, it's been getting a little monotonous. Plus, I've learned that I'm really not a huge fan of restaurant food..

So for last nights' "date night" we decided to do things a little differently with a night in.

The movie was up to my husband. The only rule: Italian theme.

This was an easy pick for him. The Godfather won hands down.

If that's not your thing, here is a list of other, highly ranked Italian movies:


  • Life is Beautiful (kind of sad, but very good)
  • Bread and Tulips
  • La Dolce Vita
  • A Bronx Tale (love this)
  • Goodfellas
  • Once Upon a Time in America
  • Casino

Now onto the food:


Italian themed date night

First up--Zesty Italian Noodles


Italian Drunken Noodles


I was pretty pleased with how this turned out and Scott LOVED it! You can find the original recipe here. The only thing I changed, was that I used white wine vinegar & a little chicken stock instead of the Chardonnay.

Now, we had to have an Italian themed drink to go along with it & we're not really wine drinkers so we decided on...

Italian Sodas!!


Italian soda

If you've never made Italian Soda before, it is super easy! All you need is ice, club soda, half & half, and flavored syrup. 

Pretty much any recipe blog I've visited acted like you can get the flavored syrups everywhere and maybe that's true in other parts of the country, but here I couldn't find ANY! 

I searched everywhere! Walmart, Target, grocery stores, I even checked out the liquor store. The only flavors that were available were Hazelnut & Caramel. So I purchased some grenadine instead and we made some cherry-pomegranatey Italian sodas. Still delicious, but next time I'm planning ahead and buying cool flavors online like these Monin Flavored Syrups from Amazon.

Time for dessert! Dessert was probably my all time favorite out of everything!

Marscapone Chocolate Mousse

marscapone chocolate mousse


marscapone chocolate mousse

This was super easy and sooo delicious. If you don't know what Marscapone is, it's a type of Italian cheese. It is kind of like a mild cream cheese. If you can't find any at a store near you, you can make a copycat version which is 8 ounces of cream cheese whipped with 2 tbs butter, and 3-4 tbs sour cream. The key is the sour cream, because it helps to tone down the cream cheese flavor. If it's too overpowering, it won't taste right. 

I put the mousse in semi-sweet chocolate candy cups that I made using a Wilton candy mold, but I have to be honest. It wasn't my favorite. I had a hard time peeling the chocolate cups off once it hardened; a lot of them broke =(

Check out the recipe for the Marscapone Milk Chocolate Mousse here. 

So there you have it. An Italian themed date night. 

To change things up a bit you could also put one of you in charge of dinner and the other in charge of dessert. Or you could make it a double date and do an Iron Chef style of cook off (provide basic Italian ingredients and see who can make the best meal without a recipe).

Out of things to talk about with your significant other? Check out my post with over 75 conversation starting questions, I guarantee you haven't asked each other yet!








Marscapone Chocolate Mousse

You probably saw this on my Italian themed date night, but even if you haven't you're in for a treat.

This mild cream cheese flavored Italian milk chocolate mousse is a new favorite dessert in our house and will be for years to come.

marscapone chocolate mousse

Marscapone Chocolate Mousse

marscapone chocolate mousse

Ingredients:
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 ounces marscapone cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces white or dark chocolate (optional: for chocolate cups)
Directions:
  1. Melt milk chocolate and beat with softened, marscapone cheese
  2. Add whipping cream and sugar & beat until soft peaks form
  3. Stir in vanilla extract
  4. Chill in fridge for at least an hour
  5. Spoon into chocolate cups & serve
Serving size: 1 serving, makes 8 quarter cup servings
Macros per serving: 22 g fat, 14.4 g carbs, 3.4 g protein (macros calculated without chocolate cups)

* If you can't find marscapone cheese you can make a copycat version using 8 ounces cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, 3-4 tablespoons sour cream.
marscapone chocolate mousse

(11/20/15) Update: I forgot to let you know how to make the chocolate cups.

I put the mousse in semi-sweet chocolate candy cups that I made using a Wilton candy mold, but I have to be honest. It wasn't my favorite. I had a hard time peeling the chocolate cups off once it hardened; a lot of them broke =( I think the problem was that the mold I used was plastic and not as pliable. 

Next time around I plan on using silicone cupcake liners. Since they are part of the rubber family I think they would be a better bet. I also know several people who have used them for chocolate cups and had a lot of success. All you do is melt chocolate and pour into each cup, moving the cup around so it is evenly coated. Stick it in the freezer and let them harden. Hope that helps! 



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Life Update #1

Hello there! Today's post is going to be an update on all the changes going on in our lives. If you're not interested in reading about that, then click on over to this post I wrote awhile back with my secret family recipe for salsa verde because it really goes great with just about anything ;) Or just stay tuned, in a couple days I plan on posting a themed date night idea ;)

Now for the update...


It is almost the end of July and we are thoroughly enjoying this weather. In fact, David & I just got back from the pool! And yesterday we went to the park/splash pad & the day before that we--well. I went to work. But for the most part we are trying to take advantage of the warm weather while we have it & hopefully accomplishing as much from our summer bucket list as we can. 

Honestly, we love summer so much that we are even contemplating moving to Arizona so we can have summer year round! We have about a month before we really have to make a decision because our lease is up in October, so I will keep you posted.

Updates on David: 


He is doing great! He just gets cuter every day! He now says hello! Check out the video below.


It comes out like "uh-row," but he ONLY says it when he's got a phone to his ear so we're pretty confident that's what he's saying. 

He pretty much gets into everything now! The other day I saw him attempting to climb out of his crib & he's reaching for door knobs to open doors! He's still not quite tall enough for either yet (thankfully), but literally just a half an inch more and he'll be unstoppable!

Check him out in this cute suit =)

babies in suits

baby in a suit

I know every mom probably says this, but I have the CUTEST baby on the planet! And does he not look like a little 5 year old in these pics? lol well maybe not 5, but he definitely doesn't look like he just barely turned 1!

Being a mom is so much fun! I definitely recommend it. Plus, seeing your baby grow & develop is just amazing. I'm constantly impressed by this little boy's imagination. He has no siblings, and is the first & (currently) only grandson on both sides so he really has no one to teach him how to play so everything he does he came up with on his own.

Take this next video for example. 




Since he was around 8-9 months old he's been making sound effects when he plays with cars & also when he throws balls. We never did that with him! Or when he wanted dad to chase him back when he first started crawling! He just started doing that on his own one day! 

I know it doesn't sound like much, and before I had kids I didn't think I would be like this. But I am literally so proud & impressed by everything he does. 

If you have kids you know what I'm talking about, and if you don't, you will...

Anyway, that's it for now.

Let me know some of your favorite memories with your kids in the comments below =)


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Meteor Shower 2015

I know I have referenced our summer camp out in several posts and lately, that's what all my posts have been about (check out my camping foods post). But today I'm going to share with you all why we are picking the second week in August as our date. 

The Perseid Meteor Shower is one of the brighter meteor showers of the year and tends to peak around August 9th-August 13th. Supposedly, during it's peak you can see around 60 to 100 meteors in ONE HOUR! That's a lot of shooting stars! And, I don't know about you, but I need all the wishes granted that I can get ;)

How to watch meteor showers:

  • Get out of town--find a place as far away from artificial lights as possible.
    • This includes your phone! If you're staring at your phone all night, it will make it harder for your eyes to adjust to the dark, making it more difficult to see the meteor shower.
  • Be patient--be ready to wait. Most astronomers say the best time to watch is just before dawn. 
  • Be prepared--since you're going to be in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, pack blankets, snacks, possibly even chairs, and bug spray or whatever you need to make this an enjoyable experience and not an annoying one.

What day should I watch?

  • While the shower is supposed to peak between August 9th & 13th, several astronomy sites I've visited have suggested watching on the night of the 12th to early morning on the 13th and to look in the Northeast part of the sky, so that is our plan.
2015 meteor shower dates


Alright, so there you have it! That is the big secret plan behind our midweek camping trip. In fact, if all goes well, I'm hoping this can be a new family tradition. So keep your fingers crossed, or maybe just make a wish on one of those stars for me ;)

Happy Stargazing!!