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Thursday, August 15, 2019

My Son Chandler is Married!

Chandler and Sadie were married August 2 and it was a truly magical occasion.

I’ve watched these two really handle the storms of life together and they are so in love. 

Everything comes down to serving the other. Whether it is supporting Chandler through his health issues, setting goals for their future, car shopping or making a meal together, man, they are just so darn compatible. 

I predict a lifetime of happiness.

I'm thankful Chandler has been a seeker of love. Derek and I have encouraged our kids to get married, even while they’re young. 

I think marriage gets a bad rap these days, but Derek and I truly believe it is the key to a happy life.  

Marriage can teach and uplift. It can inspire and motivate. Chandler now has his best friend to share life with and I couldn’t be happier for both of them.

Sadie’s grandparents are serving an 18-month mission. Before they left, they offered Chandler and Sadie the opportunity to live in their home. It is here in Mesa about 10 minutes away. Chandler may be in charge of late night irrigation turns, but it’s a small price to pay for such a huge blessing.

Chandler and Sadie are so loved and they feel it. The support of our friends, family, neighbors and church community is incredible. 

On behalf of Chandler and Sadie, I can’t say thank you enough. One of the highlights of the evening is when I turned around and saw my cousin Chad with his wife Tina standing right in front of me. 

They had decided that afternoon to drive to from Las Vegas to Mesa for Chandler’s reception. Chad was my dearest cousin and when I lived in Utah as a young girl we were inseparable. I just remember begging my parents every chance I had to be able to play with Chad. Chad was a gifted gymnast and incredibly skilled on the trampoline, so together we made up routines, imagined ourselves in the Olympics and practiced, practiced, practiced! I cried to see my dear cousin and his wife is a gem!

At the reception, Chandler took my hand and we had a mother/son dance. Yes, I was the stereotypical mother of the groom, just dotting over my beautiful son, remembering the precious memories of him as a baby, my first baby!

My precious little boy.
The sweetest big brother.
The cutest kid in glasses I ever did see!
Our darling, gifted kid.
A mature, disciplined, chubby kid who gave up sugar so he could be healthier.
My obedient, too responsible teenager.
And now the man I prayed he would become.

He truly is a gift in my life and I have another darling daughter. 
Sadie, we love you and how our family has grown.
That's all Folks!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Thrift Store Goodwill Shopping for Baby

Is it even possible to have this much fun with a baby??? Oh my goodness, to have a little girl is so amazing. Let’s face it, half the fun of having a baby is the cuteness factor and this girl has it!

$2.99 Janie and Jack dress from Goodwill. New, this would be around $50.

Thrift store shopping has been a huge part of our family culture. We literally do it as a family activity. I figure if I were to take my kids to the movie theater or out to dinner, we’d spend as much, so I see this activity as frugal and fun. I don’t shop at the mall, I’ve never purchased anything at Nordstrom or Macy’s. Sometimes I shop at Ross or TJ MAXX, but I’ve got to tell you, for selection and price hands down Goodwill is my favorite place to shop.

It doesn’t matter your income level, if you’re just making ends meet or have some money to spare, I feel good about thrifting because of its impact on the environment. I grew up with 8 siblings and my parents promoted sharing, passing down and reusing things that we had. I also like the idea of giving to a cause that helps those in need. So many people need a hand up and if my shopping goes for something good, I say “Let there be shopping.”

Another $2.99 Janie and Jack dress from Goodwill

I absolutely love the selection. At Goodwill, I’ve been introduced to brands and clothing lines I’ve never heard of. It’s fun to look up what an item would have cost if I purchased it brand new.

New with tag $2.00 outfit found at Goodwill in California

The Phoenix valley has amazing thrift stores. I’ve thrifted in California and their prices seem a little high to me, but I would still rather thrift then not. While thrifting out of state, sometimes I score on a great local find or spot a trend that isn’t in Arizona. I find my kids keepsakes, souvenirs and presents at Goodwill.

How much would this Minnie Mouse outfit cost at Disneyland? $1.00 at Goodwill.

So, with all I’m finding for Ruby, I thought I’d share some of my tips while thrift shopping for a baby.

1)     Use a coupon - In Arizona, Goodwill has a 20% off coupon. You receive this coupon if you are on their email list and can use the coupon as many times as you’d like.
2)     Shop deal days - Every Thursday, Goodwill has their famous $1.00 day. Certain color tags are only $1.00. Every other Saturday is their 50% off sale. Most baby clothes range from $1-$3, so I can pay .50cents to $1.50. This really adds up to huge savings.

3)     Seasonal Items Sell Fast – I’ve learned seasonal items move fast, so when the weather turns cold, it might not be the best time to find cute sweaters or boots. In summer, sun dresses and tank tops might be in short supply. Most the time, if you stick with it, you’ll find what you need, but for tons of selection, shop seasons a little bit early.

Love the .99 cent scarf  as a back drop!

4)     Shop A Size Up – Ruby will be one in September(can you believe it!!), but if I see something darling in a larger size, I’m all over it. I don’t mind holding on to an item for a year or so until it fits her. I keep a box in my closet for these cute, can’t-pass-up finds.
$2.99 Tommy Hilfiger denim dress? Yes, please!

5)     Baby Clothes Get Dirty So Don’t Sweat It – Ruby is a spitter-upper, so a lot of her clothes have a “wear once” policy. I do my best to keep up with stain-blocking fabric cleaner, but much of the times baby clothes get beyond dirty. Spit up, baby blow outs, bottle spills, messy eaters, crawling, I mean, it’s not worth sweating over stained clothes. And why would I spend good money on something that most likely will be “one and done!”
I love this India onesie, but this Goodwill .99 find was a "one and done" outfit.

6)     Donate Back – For the clothes that clean up and are in good shape, I can donate back to nieces, nephews or friends in need.
Ruby in a little Old Navy Hawaiian dress I found on dollar day! Love it!
7)     Clothing Companies Donate Too – Sometimes, I see stock from clothing companies (lately it’s been Target and Zara) and they make donations to Goodwill. I can buy these new trending clothes at bargain prices. Love it!!
I love when I find boutique items, this $1.49 Natalys little dress is from Paris. It's in perfect condition (for now)!

8)     Baby Gifts – With such a huge selection, I can find New with Tags baby clothes all the time. These might free up some money to throw in a box of diapers too.
9)     Open My Mind – Shopping is fun, but spending too much money is not, so thrifting allows me to really think about what I like. In reality, while thrifting I can purchase most things I find, so I don’t have to worry about buying the cheapest item or fitting in a budget, it’s like finding everything on the clearance rack!!
Just for Fun!!

10) Easy Shopping – It’s not easy taking a large family shopping at the mall, heck, even shopping at Target is stressful because my kids get a case of the gimmes, but at Goodwill there is something for everyone. True, every purchase adds up, but my kids might find a toy, a trinket, a baseball bat, a tricycle and it’s all-round a good experience (and a good deal). We find games, puzzles, books, toys, crafts and more. In other words, while shopping for baby I can say “Yes” to most things my kids find because it fits in our budget. 
These little $2.99 Gap jeans have stars on them - true love!

Goodwill allows returns up to 1 week of purchase, so I can try things on and test them out without regret. 

H&M romper for $1.00

In Ruby’s little photo shots, I used vintage fabrics (anywhere from $2-$4)as the back drop.

This pink vintage fabric was $2.99.

Thrift store shopping says “Yes” to so many fun ideas and opportunities. I just love it. 
Ruby's Lucky Jeans and Tommy Bahama blouse, plus the gorgeous fabric, all for under $5.00.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments below and feel free to share this post to new moms.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Exercise While Intermittent Fasting

In the intermittent fasting community, exercising while fasting can help turn up your weight loss. If it’s been 12 hours since you last ate something, your body is starting to switch over from burning food as fuel to fat as fuel. If an intermittent fast is 16 hours, you have 4 hours of fat-burning time. If you start your fast at 8pm, half of your fast happens while you’re sleeping. 
Isn't that awesome!
Intermittent fasting takes exercise up to a whole new level!

Because I’m practically Old Mother Hubbard over here, my exercise schedule has been all over the place. Since having Ruby, I’ve been going to the gym from 9:00pm to 10:00pm most nights. True, I quickly jumped back into working out partly to get away from a very busy nighttime schedule over here and unfortunately, by the time I got back from the gym very little has been done to get the kids to bed, so I knew this wasn’t a permanent fix, but I’ve been working out after eating dinner and it hasn’t been the best. Trust me, I appreciate anything I can get at this point, but comparing that to exercise while fasting, dang, I don’t  ever want to go back to exercise after eating a meal! But, during the school year, school starts so early for my elementary kids that a morning workout is going to need to start around 6am!! I’m trying to get myself prepared!

For now, it’s summer, so I have teenagers who are here if the baby wakes up while I’m out and morning workouts have been starting around 8:00am. I'm 12 hours into my fast, so I should be burning fat by this time.

Still a little bit of shade!

Exercise while fasting has been awesome, hands down the best thing every, truly is helping me change up my weight loss journey. I have a ways to go, but feel so encouraged.!!

 Day date with my honey!

I start my morning with a cup of cold herbal tea and use stevia to sweeten it. I make this berry tea at night, put it in my fridge and by morning, it's so full of flavor, my kids think it's juice. I love this tea so much, I'm working with the manufactor from India to sell it on my store My 100 Daughters.  I found the container at TJ Maxx.

When I leave out the door I wear a hat, I have my 2-pound hand weights, my trusty full-out-nerd fanny pack synced up tight and it’s holding my bottle of water with ice, head phones and my phone set on a motivational/podcast/ebook/course. I like to chew spearmint gum, keeps my mouth from getting dry.

I’m gone for about an hour, usually a bit longer because I’m having such a great time. When I come home, I drink another cup of herbal tea and fast until noon. It’s so rewarding. Let me know what you think about exercise and fasting? Do you like it?

More research? Check out this article. And this one too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

There's Something To This, Isn't There?

We’re surrounded by constant miracles. This push and pull of contrast has highs and lows, but ultimately, it’s the purpose of life. Some good days, some bad, some amazing, while others devastating; do we have any control?

I believe we are all promised divine interaction because we all possess faith, purpose and intention. What do we want? What do we believe? Are we ready for the delight of constant surprises? Can we hold on when things get tough? Ultimately, God takes over and wow, it’s just a beautiful collective orchestra we call life.

I listen to Abraham Hicks. One thing she says is when life is overwhelming, when you forget to stay happy, when the negative momentum gets too strong, just stop and think “Help is on the way.”  

If all we are really in control of is our thoughts, how important is it to think positive? To think things will work out? That we are alright? That help is one the way?

Some things I learn don’t stick, but this concept of “help on the way” has really made a difference in the highs and lows of my life. Just today, Canyon had a mini-seizure (not exactly sure what it is for now) threw up his medicine and once he settled down, I cuddled him for an hour. The love I have for that boy I could lather on like butter on a warm roll, but oh, I cry some big tears with everything going on with him. When Ruby woke up with, let’s just say, an array of smelly brown substance was in her crib and on her little bottom.  She wiggled through a bath and I was able to change her sheets. I had to change out of my clothes into something new. How did I get through both “whirlwinds?” I knew help, or at least something like help, was on its way. I do feel there are guardian angels. I don’t feel alone. I might feel frustrated, but I can always see how I’m blessed. Maybe the “help” is understanding that when things are difficult, they will eventually get better, even if the “better” is feeling God’s love in my heart.

I just finished reading the book Educated. Who out there has read it? 

That was a tough one for me to get through and it took me two months. I never have time to read, so I was literally hiding out in my room just to finish up the next page. Surprisingly, my brother Tadd was handed the book three days before I finished it. Guess what. He read it in three days. He called me last week and we had about an hour mini book club phone session. The conversation was as uplifting as it was draining. I had a lot of emotions to work through. Ideas about family, religion, education, feminism, loyalty – I mean this story doesn’t leave anything out. 

Tara Westover speaking.

I could tell Tadd was a little bit worried about me and although I convinced him I was fine, he wasn’t so sure. His brotherly love always is there, it’s also a part of the “help that’s on the way.” When you know someone loves you at that level, it’s like falling from the sky only to land on a soft fluffy cloud.

Derek worked a long week and on our Saturday date I thought I would talk to him about the book Educated. He should know some of my thoughts and ideas. 

Day night! 

The conversation would be enlightening and I’d love to hear some of his thoughts too. Funny thing about that was as soon as I opened my mouth, I was hit with this fatigue. I can’t explain it, but it was like the whole experience of living in Tara Westover’s world had been so exhausting, so worrisome, even traumatic, that I just couldn’t even start the conversation.

“You’re tired, aren’t you,” Derek said. Yes, I was. I was tired.

“Tadd read it,” I said and as soon as I said the name “Tadd” someone from behind me covered my eyes. I felt a soft kiss on my cheek. I turned and as soon as I could see again Tadd was standing right in front of me. Coincidence that at that very moment, my brother who I never randomly run into, had stepped into that restaurant, saw me, walked over to me without me seeing him and lovingly planted a kiss on my cheek just as I said his name? Also coincidence, I had told Derek just a few nights earlier “We should really start going on double dates. There are so many people I want to get to know more.” Tadd was there with his wife Heather and a double date just unfolded before us. Tadd was able to start the conversation about Educated and I was granted this gift of momentum, where Tadd could share his thoughts and I could chime in if I wanted to. He carried the energy for me, reassuring me he understood. Wow, it was just wow!
At Tadd's house a few years ago.

There’s something to this, isn’t there? There has to be. What would you call it? “Help on its way?” A miracle? Law of attraction? Power of positive thinking” It’s just the most amazing thing. I know it’s happening in your life too. Are you paying attention? Do you consider it a coincidence? Would you call something like this spiritual? I’ve set a goal to start writing these things down because they make life so beautiful.