Friday, January 30, 2015

Why I'm Completely Sold Out to Personal Training

HAPPY FRIDAY! The first thing I want to say today is a massive THANK YOU to Elizabeth at Elizabeth Loves Blog for fixing a few layout issues on this site. You're a gem, Elizabeth! If you're a blogger and looking for some design help, head over to her design shop here.

One of the first things I did when we moved to Kansas was join a local gym. As a SAH mom I crave some kind of routine, so getting in a morning work out is necessary for me to start our day off on the right foot!

I picked a big local gym about two miles away because they have a great childcare set up for an additional $25 per month for unlimited visits. Sweet! I met all the workers, and they are wonderful! Hadley loves them so much too, which obviously makes this momma's heart really happy! I love that if we have nothing going on the rest of the day, she's at least gotten in some social play time with other kids in the morning.

With my membership came a free 30 minute personal training session. I was super nervous to go the first time because I've never worked with a trainer before, but he kicked my butt and I loved it! Of course the purpose of the free training is to convince clients to sign up for more sessions, but there was definitely no room in the budget for steep personal training fees. I wasn't too bummed not to sign up for more because I usually just stick to cardio anyway.

Over the course of the next few weeks, my trainer Chase would see me dabbling with dumbbells or squatting with a weighted bar and would casually come over and correct my form. Every time he did I immediately felt a huge difference in the areas I was trying to strengthen. He would always laugh at me and say "See! This is why I want you to sign up for a few sessions with me - so that I can teach you what to do correctly on your own!". I knew he was right; I definitely had a few lightbulb moments.

So I talked to Jamie about it, bit the bullet, and signed up for a package of six 30-minute sessions. While all of this was going on, my sister was living with us and also decided to sign up for six sessions! She'll be the first to tell you that she was a nervous wreck going in there for the first time, but by her second session she was Miss Confident and totally kicking butt!

My birthday was a couple weeks ago, and when my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday I told her another package of personal training sessions. Before she got me the gift, she asked me a couple times if I was sure I didn't want a gift card to go get a new pair of shoes or just to go shopping, but I quickly told her no because I love how good I feel during and after my workouts. The way I look at it, how I feel physically will leave me feeling much happier currently and in the long run than a new pair of booties or a new rug ever would!

Would you believe that even Jamie got on board with his own trainer?! We DeSpains are hooked! A few weeks after I started working out at the gym, Jamie had a small ear surgery which put him out of work on convalescent leave for a week. Since he wouldn't be working out on post, he signed up for the free 10 day pass at my gym which also included one free personal training session. Even though he's incredibly fit, he decided to be teachable and learned so much from his trainer! He was immediately hooked and wanted more sessions, but he also knew that just wasn't something we could do right now.

Since our family members came to me asking what Jamie wanted for Christmas, I told them personal training gift certificates. He ended up receiving enough for 16 sessions! He's been going once or twice a week ever since, and he's totally hooked. Even though he is super knowledgable about how to get the best bang for his buck in the gym, he's loving the fact that he can walk in and have somebody push him harder than he would probably push himself. He's also learned a lot of new routines that he can knock out when he's working by himself.

The best take-away from the training is the knowledge I'm gaining. After every session I jot down in my notes on my iPhone what work outs Chase had me do, and when I work out alone I just pull out my phone and pick a few routines that he taught me how to do. Like many women, I used to feel so insecure in the weights section of the gym, but now I feel confident every day to do whatever I want to do in the gym without looking like a fool.

Money well spent! If you need a shake up in your fitness routine, I'd highly suggest signing up for a small personal training package! Of course the prices are steep, but a couple months of sessions will teach you so much that you can then do on your own without a trainer.

I love the way my sister describes why she loves training so much. "It's the perfect solution for the person who doesn't like to work out! You sign up (so you have to go!), and you walk in and do whatever they tell you to do! You don't even have to think about it!"

Give it a go! If you live in Manhattan, Kansas, I highly suggest Chase or Benton at Max Fitness West! Tell them I sent you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Homemade Valentine Idea for Relatives from Your Baby or Toddler

Happy Humpday! I usually don't start my posts with mentions of the weather, but the high temps are absolutely blowing my mind this week! It's 70 degrees with bright blue skies and absolutely gorgeous! We had plans to soak up this gorgeous day with some friends today, but Hadley started running a 100.3 degree fever, so we decided that we better not infect any other babes!

Some morning snuggles while watching Mickey Mouse in mom's bed and an oreo during lunch made her feel much better. :)

After her fever broke, we decided to get out of the house for a little bit to browse Marshall's and play at the park around the corner. We are so into the swings lately! She giggles like a fool, and we can't get enough!

With my fave Hallmark holiday/Valentines Day just a couple weeks away, I want to share an idea for a little card that I (I mean Hadley of course) put together last year for her grandparents, aunt, and uncles.

Please don't judge how messy it is! I've never claimed to be any good at arts and crafts, but it's the thought that counts, right? 

So here's the card! I combined a few ideas I'd seen on Pinterest and got to work.

I traced her hands so that the paper hands could be as close to her actual size as possible. You can't tell, but the yarn is actually taped to top inside flap of the card.

These cards made her relatives so happy; I loved getting their happy texts that said how much they loved them! Homemade valentines are definitely going to be a tradition for Hadley and me to make together.

Almost forgot! Here's an idea that your babe can make your husband. I can totally tell you this because Jamie would tell you himself, but this little gift definitely made him tear up!

If you're interested in more homemade valentine ideas, take a look at this portion of Pinterest
So many great ideas!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ready in 30 Minutes: Our Go-To Healthy Dinner

When I have to sacrifice taste in order to eat healthy, I'm not a happy camper. I love to enjoy my meals, but I also love how great I feel mentally and physically when I've eaten the right foods for my body. #thestruggleisreal

When I can find a dinner combo that put checkmarks in the "healthy" and "delicious" boxes, I ring the bell and call it a winner! Here's one of those winning dinner plates that's been in our dinner rotation once or twice a week for a while. I'd hardly call this a recipe but rather what combo of things I whip together to create a balanced meal.

From the time I start prepping to the time hot food is on the table, we're talking 30 quick minutes. Here we go.

I was never a big rice eater until I accidentally boiled the rice in too much water and overcooked it a few minutes. Then it tasted more "mushy" and creamy. We love love love Minute Brown Rice that comes in a box. As soon as I fill the pot with water (that I don't measure), I pour in a bunch of rice (that I don't measure) before it's even boiling and just let it cook for 25-30 minutes. Call me crazy (or lazy), but this is my magic set of steps for perfect rice. No butter needed! 

Once I get my rice going, I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cut up my broccoli. Next I toss my broccoli with olive oil and minced garlic. For every two cups of raw broccoli, I use one tablespoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of garlic (we used the store bought kind in a jar). Next I'll lay it on my baking stone and cook for 25 minutes. This broccoli is SO GOOD! The first time my sister made it, I almost ate every tree off the pan before she served it. I'm not veggie lover, but I always get a second helping of this stuff. DE-LISH. Side note - If it looks a little charred, it's because it's supposed to!

The chicken is easy. If I have one pound of boneless chicken, I'll toss it around in a bowl with half of a packet of McCormick's Low-Sodium Taco Seasoning. If I have 2+ pounds of chicken, I'll go ahead and use the whole packet. Once each piece is coated, we grill it outside (in the summer) or more recently on my FAVE kitchen gadget, our Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddle/Grill for about five or six minutes. 

Once the chicken is done, I drain the rice, pull the broccoli out of the oven, and serve a dinner that was way too easy to make.

To recap:

1. Boil Minute whole grain brown rice on high heat for 25-30 minutes. Drain and serve topped with your favorite seasonings (we love Tony C's).

2. Preheat oven to 400. Toss four cups raw broccoli with two tbsp olive oil and two tsp minced garlic. Bake for 25 minutes.

3. Toss 2 lbs boneless chicken with one packet of McCormicks taco seasoning and grill until done.

With this meal you've checkmarked your lean protein, vegetables, and complex carbs. 

Winner winner chicken dinner! ;)

Thanks for the link up, Two Purple Couches blog!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mommy Moments Blogger Link Up

So I'm super excited today to introduce that Whimsical September is now offering extremely affordable advertising space! Wahoo!!!

The opportunity to use my blog as a way for YOU to experience growth in your own small business, Etsy shop, or personal blog is something that REALLY excites me. I'd love to work with you on ad space, sponsored posts, giveaways for my fabulous readers, or just dream with you about an idea you have. Click over here in you're interested in learning more. Let's get to work!

Anyway, this week I'm super honored to be a guest host for the Mommy Moments Link up!

Welcome to Mommy Moments! We hope you all a week filled with wonderful memories! Let's keep it up by sharing and promoting Mommy Moments and the wonderful community we have here! I have enjoyed getting to know all the new mamas linking up and sharing their lives with us! I can't wait to hear more from you all again this week!

Motherhood has its seriousness and frustration as well as its laughs. That's why we are here. Life is much easier when traveled with companions! So mamas, let's join together in the spirit of motherhood and share our moments together. We want to hear the happy, sad, tough, terrible, hilarious moments that make being a mother the best job in the world!

The top viewed link once again this week belongs to Saved by Grace and her post Eden's Triplets of Mercy. Laurie shares in this post how God expresses his triune nature frequently throughout the Bible including our story of Sin, Judgement and Redemption. Thanks for sharing with us Laurie!


The Not Quite Military Wife

Post can include anything related to mommy-hood, children, homemaking, pregnancy etc. If you aren't a mom yet, feel free to link up your preparation for motherhood, your journey as you try to conceive, or even a post that would be encouraging to the other moms in the party!

Then, explore some of the other posts in the link-up and say hello to some new blog friends! 

Please, pretty please, we'd love it if you would tweet or share the link up on Facebook so we can all make even more friends!
We would also love it if you could add the Mommy Moments button to your post or blog so everyone knows where you are linking up! If you are not able to copy/paste the code on your page, please e-mail one of us and we would be happy to send you the code!

The Life Of Faith
<div align="center"><a href="" title="The Life Of Faith"><img src="" alt="The Life Of Faith" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

P.S. We will be having a new guest host every week! Want to be a guest host of the Mommy Moments Blog Hop? Send Faith a message at farmprincess14{at}gmail{dot}com. We would love to have you!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
Colossians 3:17 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Stitch Fix #2

So I've only received two Stitch Fix boxes so far, and I'm already completely obsessed! I received my January box a few days ago, and I could not wait to see what my stylist Jessi sent me this month!

If you're clueless as to what I'm talking about, let me catch you up real quick! Stitch Fix is a subscription service (that you can stop any time) that sends customers five pieces of clothing each month (or more or less often depending on your preferences). Stitch Fix stylists hand pick what to send each customer based on your online profile you create when you sign up. 

Stitch Fix charges a $20 fee upfront per box but then apply that $20 to any items you want to keep. So if you want to keep only one item, great! If you want to send all five back, that's okay too, but you'll be out $20. Your best bet is to keep at least one thing so that your money doesn't go to waste. Also, Stitch Fix includes a prepaid bag to send all unwanted items back in. 

SO AWESOME! I love this company and concept.

Let's get to this month's box!

Market & Spruce Mattie S/S Cowl Neck Knit Dress

This dress fit perfectly, and it's versatile enough that I could wear it to all sorts of outings. A few problems I have are I don't love the cowl neck look, the pink is really hot pink, and it accentuates my rump area a little more than I'm comfortable with. Sent back.

Milla Vero Woven Drape Vest

I've been so torn about this one! I pulled it out of the box and originally had no idea how I'd style it, but my stylist sent me a few suggestions that helped me envision the number of ways I could wear it during the fall, winter, and spring. The price is a lot less than I expected it to be because the quality feels more expensive. Kept!

Splendid Randy Stripe Pocket Detail Knit Top

Not a thing wrong with this shirt, but I already have a handful of striped shirts. Sent back.

Collective Concepts Rilo Graphic Printed Tab-Sleeve Blouse

This shirt is the perfect example of one of the main reasons I love Stitch Fix! I would have never picked up a top like this in the store. I'm normally not drawn to patterns or blouse-y materials, but I really love this shirt! Depending on how I style it (and the temperature outside), I could wear it all four seasons. I know this shirt will be a staple in my spring wardrobe this year. Kept!

Skies are Blue Julie Lace Insert Blouse

Obviously I'm keeping this one, right? Nope. Not a chance!

It's a size too big, I'm not digging the neckline, and I can't think of one event I'd wear it to. Sent back.

Stitch Fix has something for all women, regardless of your age, size, lifestyle, or style preference. If you're willing to gamble a little bit with $20, try it out! If you hate your whole box, you're only out $20. If you love at least one thing, your $20 goes right to the price!

If you do decide you want to peek around the site, I'd love and appreciate if you got there by clicking this referral code right here. No big deal though. :)

Oh! Here's a link to my first "fix" if you want to check out that one too. 

Hope you're having a fun Saturday! We DeSpains are doing a whole lot of cleaning and relaxing for the first time in a loooong time, and it feels great. See ya Monday!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Eye-Catching Curtain Rods

I've always been a dirt cheap curtain rod buyer, so when my mother-in-law Tonya told me a few months ago that she'd been spending a few days working hard on her bedroom curtain rods I was intrigued. When we visited my in-laws in Kansas City a few weeks later I asked to see her rods and immediately fell completely in love. They added a tremendous amount of character to her bedroom and were extremely eye catching. I had no idea that curtain rods could actually be statement pieces!

Fast forward to last week. We somehow started talking about where I was at with getting curtains for my sunroom, and she generously offered to take care of my rods and curtains for my birthday. I did my best to explain the vision I had in my head for the sunroom and basically let her take the wheel. 

I had no eye that curtain rods could make my heart skip a beat, but when I came home from Colorado on Monday I nearly fainted when I saw my sunroom!

I was absolutely blown away that she brought the visions I had in my head to life, and she couldn't have done a more incredible job! She shared with me all the details of this project, and though it's a little time consuming, the steps themselves are easy peasy. 

First, she purchased two long dark wooden rods, several packs of wooden rings, several brackets to hold them up, and several finials (the fancy things at the end of each rod). She got all of her wooden materials from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but you can find them at many stores. Before painting, she cut the two rods to make six equal pieces. 

Using a small $12 jar of Annie Sloan's Arles paint (a shade of their yellow/goldish paint), she quickly slapped on one light messy coat on all the pieces.

I was surprised at first when she said she didn't need another coat, but she claims that doing that initial light messy coat goes hand in hand with the future distressing. She was definitely right!

After letting the pieces dry, she slowly worked a thin layer of Annie Sloan Clear Wax into each piece with a cheesecloth. Letting these dry overnight is key!

Once the sun came up the next morning it was time to distress! Using a medium level sandpaper, she slowly started lightly distressing each piece one by one. On some pieces she did a much heavier distress but on other pieces she just lightly touched it. The beauty of distressing is that it's hard to mess up!

After wiping down each piece, it was time to pick up her can of Annie Sloan dark wax and her Annie Sloan wax brush. A little bit of dark wax goes a really, really long way, so definitely take your time with this wax if you've never used it before. She gave each piece a thin coat of the dark wax before working it in and ultimately wiping it off with another cheesecloth. 

The final step of creating these rods only involves a little patience. My MIL can't stress enough how important it is to give each coat of wax a full night to dry and cure.

On Monday it was time to hang! Once the rods were up, she tied up these 84" Sheer Voile Tie Top Curtain Panels that she found on Amazon. I'm obsessed with the light and airy feel that the sheer panels give the room. I'm loving the tie tops as well!

Here's a couple before and after shots of the major changes the sunroom has gone through the last four months. I didn't a get a "before" shot until after I'd already painted the first coat on the walls back in September, but you get the idea. The room was originally a pale yellow.

And my favorite room today!

I can't wait to show you what's been going on in Hadley's room too!

I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Thanks for the link up, Two Purple Couches blog! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Let's Just Rip This Band-Aid Off Already Because This is Too Painful

It seems like just yesterday I published this post about what would be the best week ever. And it was! Having roommates has been the best. The last six weeks went by so incredibly fast, and this morning before the sun came up my sister took off for their next duty station at Fort Rucker in south Alabama. I'm no stranger to painful goodbyes before Army moves, but when the "Army wife goodbye" is between sisters, you're talking some major early morning waterworks!

I can still hear my sister screaming after I told her that we'd be joining them in Kansas this past September. With dozens of Army posts around the world, we never thought we'd have the chance to live in the same place, especially in KANSAS of all places (it was such a foreign state to me). I've treasured having her just down the road (and recently just downstairs!) the last few months because I unfortunately know the odds are slim that we'll ever live in the same town again.

Okay! Enough with the sappy stuff or I'm just going to collapse in a puddle all over again.

Today I have a grateful heart that the last few weeks happened. We had so much fun every single day just being together, so I want to recap our time as roomies as told by my iPhone.

We enjoyed plenty of girl time running around Manhattan, eating out, and playing at parks on the pretty days.

We didn't do as much PiYo as we said we would, but I did get her to work out with me at the gym the last few weeks. She enjoyed Jamie's personal training session about correcting her modified pushups. ;)

Hadley enjoyed nightly "Tante Jenn" snuggle sessions ("Tante" means "Aunt" in Norwegian... and we're half Norwegian sooooo....)

Jamie had some help with shoveling our driveway and sidewalks.

We had a few laughs at Josh's selfies when he should have been taking pictures of us. ;) Don't kill me, BIL!!

We had the very best Christmas all under one roof.

We had a great, low-key New Year's Eve night out that included a great dinner and a few games of bowling (Hadley's first!).

I loved having a whole house full of people to cook for, and Josh loved having an ongoing grocery list he could add to. :)

Jennifer and I jammed hardcore one night while painting my master bedroom. Painting hasn't been nearly as much fun since!

We utilized Josh's handyman skills and had him help with changing out our office light fixture.

He also mounted our living room TV and installed my new master bedroom blinds. He's pretty dang handy!

Hadley was spoiled by so much Aunt and Uncle play time.

We attempted to teach Josh how to change a diaper, but somehow he got out of ever changing one.

And finally, Hadley spent every day with her best friend Maddie who let Hadley "pet" her, kiss her, tackle her, pull her hair, her tail, you name it. Maddie is the very best dog for kids, and I know Hadley's already missing her so much!

I'll remember this season of life forever, and I'd be lying if I said I won't hope and pray that we'll all be back together again living the same town soon; Crazier things have happened, right? I can't even imagine how fun it would be to have our kids grow up together and be physically present in each other's lives on the reg. 

If you paid me a million dollars today to tell you what our next 10 years will look like or what their next 10 years will look like, I honestly couldn't tell you. But I'm hoping it includes a lot of togetherness.

Special shoutout to my sweet friend Meg who knew just when to drop by with her son with some birthday flowers to keep Hadley and me company for a bit. Your thoughtfulness totally turned my yucky day upside down. Army friends sometimes make the best friends!