Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bucket List for Married Couples

I'm a big fan of bucket lists, especially for summertime. It's the only way I can really ensure I make the most out of my time. Otherwise the entire summer could pass by and I all I did was sit on the couch.

For this reason, I decided to make a marriage bucket list as well. There are lots of things my husband and I talk about doing, but never get around to. But, having a list where we can physically check off items helps us!

Check out our list & make your own! It makes for a fun date night to dream up all sorts of adventures you want to have together!

ultimate marriage bucket list! tons of fun date ideas & things to do as a married couple!



  1. Couples Massage
  2. Go Skinny Dipping... in the ocean
  3. Kiss in the rain (done!)
  4. Kiss under water (tried & failed--I always laugh!)
  5. Watch the sunrise
  6. Role Play as strangers meeting for the first time
  7. Eat a romantic dinner on the roof of a building
  8. Take a cooking class together
  9. Wear matching Mr & Mrs Tshirts on a date
  10. Go Kayaking
  11. Visit the hot pots (natural hot springs)
  12. Spend the night in an over water bungalow
  13. Camp on the beach
  14. Take a carriage ride
  15. Go salsa dancing
  16. Do a sexy photo shoot
  17. Take a spontaneous road trip/getaway (check! when we were dating we were long distance for a couple months & couldn't stand it one day, so I drove my car from Utah & he rode his motorcycle from Texas & we met in this little ghost town in the middle [Tucumcari] & had the best 2 nights!)
  18. Have sex... everywhere (we have a separate bucket list for this!)
  19. Have a day of pictures. Take one picture every hour doing something different. (we don't take enough couples pictures)
  20. Make a video of how we met/our love story
  21. Cook dinner over a campfire
  22. Go on a honeymoon (unfortunately, eloping didn't really allow us time to plan one of these)
  23. Train & run a 5k (or race of some kind) together
  24. Do volunteer work together
  25. Read a book together
  26. Have a picnic (check!)
  27. Don't leave the bedroom all day (check [multiple times]! w/the exception of answering the door for the pizza man)
  28. Lead the other on a surprise date & blindfold them
  29. Join a co-ed sports team
  30. Make holiday cards
  31. Go shopping & pick out each other's date night outfit with no input from spouse
  32. Make cute babies together (check!)

I would love to put together a Couples Pictures Bucket List. Mainly because like I've said before, we hardly have ANY couples pictures. It's a bucket list I'd personally love to have completely checked off by summer. Would you be interested in reading something like that? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Keeping a clean house...with a TODDLER!

Honestly. David is 20 months old. This means I have had almost two years to figure out how to keep my house clean with this little munchkin, and somehow I've only just barely started to master it. The bummer is that just when I feel like I've figured this whole thing out life is going to throw another twist my way with a new baby in just a few weeks. Hopefully I've got this thing down enough, that we don't revert back to cluttered messy houses!

Anyway, without further ado, here are my best tips for keeping a clean house with a toddler:


best tips for keeping a house clean with a toddler, quickest & easiest way to clean!


  • Don't stress the little messes. Toddlers are messy. Period. Let your toddler get messy. Let the house get messy. I speed clean twice a day. Once before my husband comes home & once after David goes to bed. If I pulled out a wet wipe/paper towel every time David made a mess it'd take up my whole day & drive me crazy. Obviously if there's some crazy spill, address it immediately, but little messes can wait.
  • Teach your toddler to clean up after themselves. If David has trash I tell him to throw it away & he does. He loves it. He's at that helping stage. He even insists on throwing his dirty diaper away for me. If he spills his water, I hand him a paper towel to wipe it up himself & he actually thanks me for doing it! He wipes up his mess & then throws it away. Less work for me! (He is still 1, so sometimes he doesn't do the best wipe-up job, but he is learning & getting better every day & spilling less & less).
  • Have a toy bin. I have a bin for David's toys. I just throw them all in there. I don't organize it because my toddler doesn't care if his toys are organized. He's just going to dump them all over the ground when he wakes up the next day anyway. 
  • Establish cleaning priorities. I take care of any trash first (which is usually minimal) then I do the dishes & take care of any clutter before my husband comes home. Dirty dishes & cluttered kitchen counter tops make the whole house seem dirty. Usually while I do the dishes, David gets into everything else. But that's life. I don't even think about it. As long as he's doing his thing and letting me get those dishes done it's fine. Then I just toss all the toys he took out in his toy bin & call it good. 
  • Give your husband a job. Why should I be the only one who cleans? Scott vacuums our house everyday when he gets off work. It's his job. He knows it & it's one less thing for me to do. It's become a routine. David actually expects it & goes to get the vacuum for dad right after he comes home. Make sure his job is clearly defined; vaguely asking for "help" never gets me much.
  • When you do laundry, fold it immediately. Laundry seems to be never ending in our house. I don't mind throwing clothes in the wash, but for some reason putting them away is just the worst for me. I just have to remind myself to muscle through it & get it done otherwise it could literally sit in the dryer for up to a week before I do anything with it.
A lot of people suggest cleaning as you go. And I agree with this to a point. If I'm making a meal, I will put away the ingredients as I use them. If my son & I are working on a specific activity I will quickly put the supplies away when we are finished. But I can't do it with everything. It just doesn't work for us. Most likely, if I put something away when David is done with it, he will immediately want it again. It's frustrating. So like I mentioned in the first bullet point, I just leave it all out & speed clean right before my husband comes home from work & then again before bedtime. It takes seconds to throw toys in a bin & put them away.

If you are really pressed for time, you can also create a mail bin or a clutter basket to throw miscellaneous items in when you don't have time to put them in their proper spots. Just make sure you get to it by the end of the night otherwise it will just pile up =)

Good luck & happy cleaning!



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Chicken Taco Boats

Lately we've been working on phasing out starchy & grain-based carbs from our dinners. It's surprising how little we miss them.

For dinner the other night we made chicken tacos. Honestly, I love corn tortillas, but they weren't even needed. And I didn't feel like I was being "healthy" if you know what I mean. It was the perfect little indulgent pick me up that didn't ruin our "diet."

Low carb chicken tacos-iifym life, diet food


I actually used a new recipe I found on Pinterest from Repeat Crafter Me for Crock Pot Ranch Chicken. It's super easy, made in the crockpot & literally uses only 4 ingredients.

Check out their site that I linked for the super easy recipe.

After I had the chicken prepped, I just washed some hearts of Romaine lettuce, & doubled each lettuce leaf up for extra support. Then you just add your toppings. On ours I did homemade pinto beans, quesadilla cheese, shredded chicken, sour cream, & diced tomatoes.

After which, you just pick it up & eat it like you would a normal taco. Super simple!! We might try this for our normal ground beef taco recipes too!

Low carb chicken tacos-iifym life, diet food

Low carb chicken tacos-iifym life, diet food

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Things to clean before baby gets here

We are just weeks away from welcoming our baby girl. I can't believe it. This pregnancy really just FLEW by! I've got all sorts of mixed emotions right now and not feeling ready is one of those!

There just seems to be so much to do and so little time. Well. In all reality, there's probably plenty of time, but at this stage in the pregnancy game, all I want to do is nap, but I know I am going to want to rest a ton once baby is here too so I just need to step it up now & get things done--starting with deep cleaning!
list of things to clean before baby arrives


Here's a list of things to clean before baby gets here!


1. Bathrooms. Toilets, Showers, Floors, get those bathrooms cleaned & organized.

2. Laundry. I feel like I am ALWAYS doing laundry, it's the worst! But it's even worse to fall behind, especially once the new baby is here. So do your best to stay on top of it, and throw in any bed sheets, comforters, pillow cases, etc while you're at it!

3. Declutter. Anything you don't need, throw away. Things are about to get so much more crowded once baby's here so might as well clear out as much as possible now.

4. Carpet Stains. We have major carpet stains thanks to our toddler. I've been putting off cleaning them since it almost seems pointless because I know he will keep making them. But I know the in-laws will be bombarding us with "surprise" visits shortly & I really don't need to hear any comments. The day we came home from the hospital with David, my MIL looked at the ground and said "do you own a vacuum?" The carpets weren't even messy! Maybe she didn't mean it as rude as it sounded,  but there are a lot of hormones pumping through your body right after baby so it's definitely the last thing you need.

5. Wash couches. Again. Another thing I put off. Every time I clean them, there are stains the next day. Regardless of how heavily I enforce the "no food in the living room" rule. Usually, couch stains aren't my toddlers fault though lol (thanks Scott! jk)

6. Kitchen. Yes. The kitchen. I clean our kitchen on a daily basis, so it's really not that bad. But. I do feel like it was custom built for a giant sometimes. So I took the time this past weekend to reorganize the cabinets so they are easier for me to access. Also, a great time to stay on top of fridge organization, since hopefully someone else will be cooking meals for the first weeks after baby (i.e. your husband).

7. Walls. Most likely, not a big deal, unless you have a toddler who likes to color on them. But even if you don't, it is a smart idea to sanitize any door knobs & light fixtures (things you touch on a daily basis) so that it's as germ free as possible before baby arrives. 

There you have it! This is what my pre-baby cleaning checklist looks like! Hopefully it helps you as well! The best scenario would be to have all of this done a couple weeks before baby & just touch it up the week of as things get messy again.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Easter is right around the corner, and even though at this stage in my pregnancy I have been pretty much anti-sweets, I had to cave so I could give you guys this recipe on Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Carrot Cake is not really my thing. Truthfully, I am not even really a huge carrot fan in general. UNLESS they are super soft & you can hardly taste them, like in soup. But one day a girl from work made these (in bar form) and I gorged on like 10! Honestly, I had no idea it was Carrot Cake. It didn't taste overly carrot-y and it didn't have shreds of stringy carrot, like most cakes do. It was orange, and delicious, and she made it in the fall so I just assumed they were pumpkin bars that had very little pumpkin in them. My father-in-law loves carrot cake so when she told me that's what it was, I knew I needed the recipe.

These are so addicting, even if you don't like carrot cake (like me) and perfect for Easter. You can make them in bar form using a Jelly Roll Pan, or if you know you want to give a lot of them away (so you don't over indulge) you can do what I did & make them into cupcakes.

Enjoy!

I made these Carrot Cake Cupcakes last Easter! They are soo good! Very moist & the texture is great, no stringy carrot pieces!


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 ounces baby food carrots (pureed carrots)
Directions:

  1.  In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, & sugar until smooth.
  2. Mix in dry ingredients.
  3. Add pureed carrots.
  4. Once well combined, pour into cupcake liners. (made 25 cupcakes for us)
  5. Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes (18 minutes was perfect for our oven)
  6. Let cool and top with cream cheese frosting (recipe here)

Best cupcake liners! Pattern Never Fades!

I love these Reynolds Staybrite Cupcake Baking Cups, they're lined with foil so the pattern never fades!

I made these Carrot Cake Cupcakes last Easter! They are soo good! Very moist & the texture is great, no stringy carrot pieces!

Yes, I always do the fork test lol 18 minutes at 350* was perfect in our oven.

I made these Carrot Cake Cupcakes last Easter! They are soo good! Very moist & the texture is great, no stringy carrot pieces!

If you're lucky like me & have a cupcake sneak in the house, you might want to keep them further from the edge! Or your cupcakes might end up like the one in the next pic with fingerfulls of frosting missing! lol

I made these Carrot Cake Cupcakes last Easter! They are soo good! Very moist & the texture is great, no stringy carrot pieces!

I made these Carrot Cake Cupcakes last Easter! They are soo good! Very moist & the texture is great, no stringy carrot pieces!

They even passed the Toddler Taste Test!






Sunday, March 6, 2016

Cure for Bloating, Gas, & Heartburn During Pregnancy

If you've ever been pregnant then you know that there are some definite embarrassing & even uncomfortable side effects due to the extra hormones pumping through your body. 

For me my least favorite are: bloating, heartburn, & gas. Gas being the most embarrassing.

Some women just own it & blame the baby, but I just can't. I know it's natural. I know it's nothing to be ashamed of. I know people will understand. And even though I know all this, I'm still beyond embarrassed. 

Thankfully I've found a cure--.Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

natural cure for gas, bloating, & heartburn during pregnancy- no more embarrassing pregnancy symptoms!


Initially I started taking this to help boost my sluggish pregnancy metabolism, but it turns out it has other benefits as well. 

I noticed it completely alleviates any heartburn & gas I have. On the days I don't take it those symptoms return. 

I had no clue Apple Cider Vinegar did all that so I researched it. It turns out it also helps with bloating and so many other things as well! I even read that it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which is great if you are at risk for gestational diabetes. It is literally a must have pantry item for any pregnant woman!

Here's how I drink it!

I take a glass and add the vinegar til it fills the glass about 3/4 of an inch (I just eyeball it, but I'm guessing about 1-2 tbsp) I then add a dash of cayenne (for a metabolism boost) & 2 dashes of cinnamon (this also helps with gas) & then about an inch or two of water & voilĂ ! The perfect remedy to those embarrassing & unpleasant pregnancy symptoms

I'm not gonna lie to you, it's not the best tasting. Some people mix it with Apple juice for more of a cold apple cider with a kick kind of taste. I prefer it the way I described above. It's only a couple ounces. I just down it quickly & chase it with some water. 

Take it every morning to start your day right (& symptom free!) 

natural cure for gas, bloating, & heartburn during pregnancy- no more embarrassing pregnancy symptoms!


*The Bragg's website says their Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar is safe to take with pregnancy, but always consult your physician if you have any concerns*

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Best foods to pack in your picnic basket!

The  weather has been so amazing lately! I am in love! It has me wanting to spend all my time outside, which is something I'm sure you could've guessed from my recent post on Sporty Date Ideas lol So today I'm going to talk to you all about picnic food!

The ideal picnic foods are ones that can be easily packed, eaten with your hands (or minimal utensils), and are fine at room temperature (i.e. nothing that melts or should be served hot). I've compiled a list of my favorites that I hope you will enjoy as well!


Best picnic foods! Love everything on this list! yum!


Okay first off let's cover the essentials. 

Sandwiches!


Chicken Stuffed French Bread from Life in the Lofthouse

Chicken Stuffed French Bread- Best picnic foods! Love everything on this list! yum!


This looks unbelievably easy, but also sounds so yummy! Just check out those ingredients!



Chicken Bacon Avocado Sandwich with Secret Sauce from Natasha's Kitchen

Chicken Bacon Avo Sandwich w/ Kneaders Sauce- Best picnic foods! Love everything on this list! yum!


I don't know if you're familiar with Kneader's at all, but they have this delicious sauce they put on their sandwiches that you need to try! I'm not even a huge sandwich fan & I love it. Thankfully, Natasha's Kitchen has come up with a great copycat version in her Chicken Bacon Avocado Sandwich!

Perfect Pulled Pork from Kevin & Amanda

Pulled Pork Sandwich- Best picnic foods! Love everything on this list! yum!


Everyone's different, I personally don't mind a room temp pulled pork sandwich, so I would take this on a picnic. Plus, pork shoulder is literally so cheap compared to other meats at the grocery store!

Bacon Sriracha Potato Salad from Peas & Crayons

Bacon Sriracha Potato Salad- Best picnic foods! Love everything on this list! yum!


I actually made this one for my son's first birthday party last summer & I loved it! I didn't have any bacon though (I subbed hard boiled eggs), so I imagine with all the ingredients it's even better. My recommendation is make this the same day as your picnic, I made this the day before our party & just like with most foods prepped ahead, some of the flavor becomes more mild as it absorbs into the food. Still delicious, just 10 times more amazing the first day =)

Pomodoro Fresco Pasta Salad from The Parsley Thief

Pomodoro Fresco Pasta Salad- Best picnic foods! Love everything on this list! yum!


I'm a big fan of balsamic vinegar (and pasta and tomatoes lol) so this really looks like something I will be making very shortly!

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad from Spicy Southern Kitchen

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad- Best picnic foods! Love everything on this list! yum!


This pasta salad also looks like a winner!

Salted Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Crispy Treats from Sweet Salty Tart

Salted Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Crispy Treats- Best picnic foods! Love everything on this list! yum!


I love the idea of these "grown up" rice crispy treats! They look delicious! Plus they follow the picnic basket dessert rule--they don't melt.

Chocolate Filled Strawberries from Lily Shop


Chocolate Filled Strawberries- Best picnic foods! Love everything on this list! yum!


If you're looking for something a little more decadent, possibly more romantic? Try these chocolate filled strawberries! It's a great "picnic hack" so that you can have chocolate strawberries without having to worry about them melting all over your fingers!

Banana Fritters from RACQ Living

Banana Fritters- Best picnic foods! Love everything on this list! yum!


I've included this recipe before in my best foods for tailgating post, but seriously how delicious?!



Aside from these delicious foods, I would probably include some fresh fruits & possibly some potato chips.

Speaking of fruits, have you tried my Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip? It was a hit at my son's birthday & is so easy to make!

For drinks, we take things easy with some bottled water & Capri Sun pouches =) Don't forget to pack a blanket (I love this one: Picnic Blanket Tote) and plenty of napkins!! Have fun!



Side Note: Have you seen this hack for repelling flies from Making Lemonade? I can't wait to try it! I just want to know if plastic cups work as well... Anyone know?