Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When an opportunity comes up, sometimes you’ve just got to take it

So, one of the things that came about recently that has caused me some anguish was a previous employer contacting me about coming back to the design studio part-time.
Oh my gosh, I LOVED, LOVED that job. I worked for a builder in the design studio where homeowners came in to make all their selections when building their new home. It was a dream job for me because I loved interior design (went to school for it) and new home construction, not to mention I worked with the best group of people and made a fantastic living doing something I was so passionate about. My family had been in the new home construction business for many years and it’s just in our blood! I can’t even tell you how those of us that have that gene get excited over new homes being built.
However, after the housing market crashed in 2007, I wasn’t doing much design work and was able to stay home once Reed was born. He was my priority and still is.  When I left, I told them when things picked up, I would love it if they would consider me again. Well, I guess the time has come. When I got the call, I felt like it wasn’t the ideal time at all…if I ever returned to work outside of the home, it would of been once Reed was in school. But if I didn’t pursue an opportunity when it came upon me, I might have to kiss it goodbye forever. I worried I would regret it. However, they were asking for more than what I felt comfortable giving. I held strong even if it meant losing the opportunity because as much as I used to love the job, things are different now. My priorities are totally different now as a mom. But, they gave me everything I was asking for and are being so accommodating about letting me do as much as I can from home and let’s just say, making it well worth my time, how can i not give it a shot? So, even though I had some reservations, I decided to give it a try. And, you know what, it has been pretty darn good so far. I have only done a couple Sundays so far and will be starting the couple evenings in the next week or so since I found a great sitter to come bridge the few hour gap between the time I would leave in the afternoon and Jeff getting home from work.
So, these extra hours working outside the home will definitely change things around here.  I know Jeff will help out even more than he already does. I tease him that I do everything for him…but when I really think about it, he does ALOT around here. I have some friends whose husbands expect their wives still do do everything despite them having full-time outside of the home jobs. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful, supportive husband. He has taken control of making a list of everything that needs to be done and then we can each record what has been completed so the other knows what still needs to be done so we stay on top of homekeeping tasks. I think the biggest impact will just be the home/decorating projects I had wanted to tackle, blogging or my relaxing time, but we will see how it goes.  Sometimes when you have too much time on your hands, your time-management skills are lax because you think you have all the time in the world, so now I will just have to focus my time better.

As I am adjusting to my new schedule I will be a little distant around here…but plan to be back as much as I can in the near future.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Changing brands…can change your life

How was your weekend? We had a nice weekend. We had a great Valentine’s night out and Jeff surprised me with a spa gift certificate from our favorite spa near us. It’s in the Herrington Inn in Geneva. It’s not a big spa-but we have had some of the best services done there and we have tried some pretty decadent spas in our travels. If you live near here, check it out!!! He thought since these first couple months have been a little crazy start to the year, I could sooo use some pampering and relaxation. So sweet & generous! What a stinker though, we normally don’t exchange gifts for Valentine’s, our evening out is the gift to one another. I think I might get a sitter one afternoon and share it with him since we both deserve some pampering!

It dawned on me that I don’t think I ever really shared with you about how I came to know Shaklee’s products and what it has done for my family. You have just heard how much I LOVE their products, LOL!
As I have mentioned before, I had been making many “green” practices in my home for quite a few years. So, I had been using the non-toxic cleaners that were out there in the market place and they were okay, but I was never pleased. I stumbled across a blog, House of Grace early last spring and was immediately drawn in by how Bonnie had such a clean house and was so organized with 3 kids!!!  After reading about her testimonials about how much she loved Shaklee’s products, I finally took the plunge. With a minimum order, I qualified for a free cinch pack for weight loss which I so desperately wanted/needed to try. It arrived within a couple days and I tell you what, things have never been the same! I know that sounds so silly-but after all the hype Bonnie had put on how much she loved the products, I couldn’t wait to start trying them out. I started doing this on a Friday night even after Reed went to bed (that’s how excited I was to try them). I have NEVER, EVER been sooooo impressed with the performance of cleaning products, and the best part is they are all non-toxic. I spent the entire week cleaning every nook and crannie in my house because these products were so effective (hence it was fun, can I say cleaning products are fun?)to use. Okay, so I was hooked on the cleaning products!
Then I tried the Cinch weight loss Plan I got with my first order and was so over the moon with how great I felt. It was exactly what I needed to get me started on losing weight. I had so much energy having the 2 protein shakes, protein snack bars & an energy tea in the typical slump of the day and was feeling so great about doing something healthy for myself. Plus, the more energy you have, the more you are active, the more you lose weight,  the more energy you have…see where this is going? I have lost 30 lbs and 4 sizes. I am 18 lbs less than when I got pregnant with Reed in 2008 and I am a few pounds less than when I met Jeff back in 2000 (although your body is never quite the same after a baby, right?). This is the skinniest he has ever seen me and that makes me so excited! I think he likes it too, wink wink
I was so passionate about these products.  Shaklee, where have you been all of my life? I was telling all my friends and family about my new discovery, it’s like it was a hidden secret. Then it hit me…why should’t I be distributing these wonderful products myself if I am going to be talking about them with everyone? So, I did it. I became a distributor. It’s great to earn money from home on products I so strongly believe in and use myself.
Shortly after, we were in need of some more vitamins so since I had been beyond pleased with every other product, why not give the vitamins a try. You get so much packed into them-we found it actually saved us money from all the vitamins we were already taking, Multi-vitamin, Omega-3 fish oil and probiotics. Plus, Vitalizer gave us even more than what our other supplements were providing us. Then once we started taking them, we realized, we got something here. We feel amazing. In the beginning I would be all snuggled in bed drifting off to sleep and realized I forgot to take them, “oh well…, I am not getting out of bed”. Well, let me tell you, now if I were to forget which rarely happens, I get myself out of bed because I feel a drastic difference when I don’t take them. Yuck!
In a recent post, I talked about Reed taking the children’s multi and DHA vitamins, too.
Over the past few month I have started using the beauty products as my other products have been used up and have not been disappointed, either. I don’t know if I honestly could be. Shaklee puts soooo much research into their products and only wants to produce the very best-so how could really anyone not be happy with them???
So, pretty much everything in this house is Shaklee-itized that can be and I love using the very best, safest products. 
Shaklee’s products are about complete healthy living.  It’s not about buying products you don’t need, it’s about choosing to use better, safer, healthier products than you already are.

So, wouldn’t you say, changing brands…has changed my life? It can change yours too if you are ready to live a healthier life. 

These are the vitamins we take (Vitalizer). See all that you would have to eat to equal what is included in Vitalizer?No wonder we feel great!
Give Vitalizer a try, you’ll feel a difference or you money back!!!
 What vitalizer gives you

Friday, February 10, 2012

Keeping a happy marriage

With Valentine’s approaching…I thought this would be an appropriate topic. Especially when just a year ago on Valentine’s day…I honestly felt a major disconnect with my husband. Our relationship had always been pretty good, but things had just gotten off.
Jeff had been traveling almost every week since October 2008. We didn’t know if we were ever going to be blessed with having children, so we decided if this is a job he really wanted to pursue, go for it. Low and behold, we found out I was expecting right after he took this new job that required travel 3-4 times a week. Talk about Murphy’s Law. Not the ideal situation, but we were just so thrilled to be pregnant that we would make the best of it.
By the time the new year rolled around last year, he was just DONE with his job, even when they offered him a promotion-it just wasn’t what he wanted to do anymore. So, I am sure he was a little down, overweight and tired! All ditto for me. What a pair! Can you imagine why we didn’t have alot of romance? We used what little energy we had to focus on Reed and our relationship was put on the back burner.
Thankfully, a great opportunity pretty much fell in his lap last February and he ended up taking the new job which was local. That has helped tremendously because he was much happier in his job and was beginning to lose weight which equals more energy. And we were able to have family dinners every night which is so important to us.
Last year on Valentine’s we decided that “we” needed to make “us” a priority again. Since then, we have weekly “date” nights after Reed goes to bed and about once a month we get a sitter and go out. Sometimes we go out to dinner by ourselves or with friends, sometimes just for a coffee to chat or a local winery like we did last month. It’s great to go out, but really taking the time to talk to one another is the KEY! I am still amazed how awesome our relationship is now. We feel so connected and are a team again. I have to say, it’s even better than when we first were together-we have grown so much and there is just a deeper connection & intimacy. TMI??? LOL!
Our relationship didn’t change overnight, it actually was an adjustment once he stopped traveling for me. I was used to doing my own thing several nights a week for 2 1/2 years, but now I couldn’t imagine him not being around all the time. It’s so important for us as a couple & for Reed to have his dad around. They have built such a special relationship and I want that for them.
This past year we both got our acts together and got healthy and lost weight. We both feel better about ourselves which makes us happier, we have way more energy and just plain feel good. How can you put a price on that? We have a better relationship and are better parents because we aren’t tired all the time.
I also did some things just for me, besides losing weight and making healthier food choices. I felt I needed a creative outlet. Hence, this blog ‘GreenWay Home’ was born. I wanted to be able to share in a community about decorating, crafting, cooking, homekeeping, being  healthy, living green and the loves of my life, all the things that keep me passionate in life!
I really feel like everything that we implemented in our lives this past year has made our marriage better. If each person is happy, then it’s so much easier to be happier together. And I really think the key to our marriage is that we really just want each other to be happy so we do things or support each other in what they want to do, from even the littlest things. This year when we went away for our anniversary-it was AMAZING. I feel guilty that I wanted to stay longer(not that I didn’t want to see Reed, but gosh it was nice for just the two of us). We are at such a good place in our lives right now that is almost scares me.
They say one of the best ways to help your kids confidence is to show them a loving marriage. Reed often will say, “Daddy kissed Mommy” or vice versa and we tell him it’s because we love each other and then he smiles. It’s not like we are smooching all the time in front of him, but I think it’s important for him to see how much we love each other and I think it makes him feel secure in our family. He isn’t at the age where he is like “ewwww”, yet. LOL!
Saturday we are celebrating Valentine's Day. We used to ALWAYS stay in on Valentine’s day because it was more romantic because we always went out to eat. Now it’s a treat to go out.  We have chosen to rarely eat out for both our health and food allergy safety, so when we do, we so look forward to it. We don’t do a fancy dinner too often anymore, but for Valentine’s or our anniversary, it warrants it. I love to get all dolled up for a night on the town. Hmmmm, now what am I going to wear! :)
Here are some ‘at home’ date night ideas I pinned on my marriage board that I plan to do this year, thought you might be interested too.

What are your plans for Valentine’s day? Do you go out or stay in?

The Cinch Weight Loss plan really helped turn me around…things are just better when you have energy & feel good. Losing weight can do that. And this is the right way to do it and keep the weight off!
banner_WeightManagement (1)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Healthy kids

19(Soft Urban)
I think it goes without saying that besides your love & attention, providing your child with healthy, nutritious food is the best gift you can give them.

I think I have mentioned this before, that I ate terrible as a kid. Although I was not a sickly kid, I remember my Grandma always saying, “you have another cold???”. Growing up, eating well, just wasn’t a priority for my mom to enforce and I pretty much dictated what I would and wouldn’t eat. I ate ALOT of fast food and spaghetti. I was a terribly picky eater and I think my mom felt beat down on trying to make nice meals after working a long day for a kid that would refuse to eat them.I probably ate the best when my grandparents were in town and picked me up after school. We always stayed for dinner, although I don’t remember ever eating any veggies. Thank goodness for Ovaltine (remember that???). My eating habits as a child really did me a disservice and has taken me too long to want to eat better. I know my mom thought she was being “nice” and accommodating, but I think the best thing you can do when it comes to your child’s eating is making sure they eat good food, it’s their health after all that is affected and how important is that!

As I got older, I vowed that my kids would have healthy eating habits from the beginning (although mine were still pretty bad but I knew they would have to change at some point to be a good example). So, when Reed was born, I wanted to do everything right for him to be as healthy as he could possibly be. I breast-fed for almost a year, gave him vitamins, made all his food from scratch (we wanted him to experience what good food tastes like from the beginning, how tasty can food that’s been sitting in a jar for who knows how long be?)and to this day provide him healthy food choices. And, he is a pretty darn healthy kid and a great eater. Him eating healthy has never been negotiable. From time to time we have gotten some resistance when they get to those stages of push-back but overall, he loves eating good, healthy food! I would like to think starting him off right will serve him well with his eating habits & health as he goes through life.

After I fell in LOVE with Shaklee’s cleaning and weight loss products(and became a distributor), I gave their vitamins (Vitalizer) a try. Can I say A-MAZ-ING, there is no comparison with other vitamins out there-even if you think what you are taking is good (I thought I was taking great vitamins before, too)! I of course wanted to give Reed the very best supplements as well.

He takes these everyday with his breakfast.
Reed Vitamins 001

Another thing that I am very conscious about is sugar! Did you know that your immune system is more susceptible to illness & disease if you diet is high in sugar? Instead of giving him syrup with his pancakes, I give him apple or pumpkin butter to dip the pancakes in so they aren’t dry. He LOVES it and I love that I am giving him something healthier that tastes yummy. I keep his “juice” consumption very low. What he refers to juice is about 1-2 oz of juice to 8-10 oz of water. From time to time he does get a full-fledged juice via juice box or capri-sun for a party, but he knows it’s just a special occasion and luckily, easily converts back to his regular “juices”.

Every breakfast he gets a fruit with either a healthy cereal, oatmeal, toast or pancakes. I really want to get him more protein in the morning, but with him not being able to eat eggs (or nuts until he is 3 due to other food allergies) it makes it more challenging. I am looking to find a healthy turkey sausage, not one that has ingredients I cannot pronounce or artificial coloring. Do you know if something like this exists??? Next time I go to Whole Foods, I am going to check their selection out.

At lunch & dinner he always has a vegetable. Sometimes with lunch I also give him unsweetened applesauce or mandarin oranges (I only buy the ones in juice and rinse them off)  for something sweet.

Snacks I will admit we got into a rut not eating whole foods like I would like. HE LOVES PRETZELS (and they are the Snyder’s Gluten-Free ones)! I want to get him back on track so I let him have pretzels once during the day and then he has to have a fruit, raw veggies or non-dairy yogurt for the other snack.

You are probably thinking at this point that I let him eat nothing “fun”.  No worries, he is not deprived! I do make sure I have some dessert whether I make him non-dairy chocolate pudding or some baked good, he always has something fun to eat if he eats a good dinner.  I have used the raw sugar in baked goods and am pleased with results so I am also experimenting with using agave nectar instead of sugar in baked goods. It makes me feel better about giving him the “healthiest” treats I can.

It made me so pleased as a mother when his Pediatrician commented how the only time she sees him is on well-visits. I'd like to think it has something to do with our practices of eating healthy, taking the best supplements, and getting enough sleep!

It’s because we just love this kid so stinkin much, we insist that he eat well to have the very best health he can!

And for you to be your healthiest...


Monday, February 6, 2012

In anticipation of spring

spring anticipation 011
it’s exactly this time of year when I get giddy with the thought of spring and those first few mild days, the plants budding and my endless thinking of what to plant this year and new ways to do planters, etc.

Where do you go for garden inspiration? I am finding some lovely images on Pinterest this year. You can follow my boards here. (If you don’t already have an acct, email me so I can send you an invite).

love these wood planters
Garden Planters

something so bountiful about all the herbs growing out of these baskets-would look great with summer annuals, too
Herbs in baskets

not quite sure about that “head” on the wall, but love the outdoor “mantel” with the HUGE lanterns and plants
outdoor mantel

So far, I have added some “spring” branches in our foyer and picked up this candle at Anthropologie.
sweet olive blossom 
The scent is so fresh & lovely, just what I am craving this time of year!

I know I have at least a months or tow until spring shows up here in the midwest, but it makes me happy to daydream about it anyway. :)

Shaklee Hand on Grass_thumb[1] (1)

Friday, February 3, 2012

New cookbook

Gwyneth 2 003
I LOVE cookbooks. I have found however, that what looked like a great cookbook, has only a couple recipes that I turn to. It seems like such a waste to have a whole book of recipes I don’t use. (The cookbooks you saw in my messy pantry are only 1/3 of all the ones I have). Most recipes I turn to are still Barefoot Contessa’s, some Giada and Everyday Food by MSL. When I hear of a new cookbook, I log onto my local library catalog and see if they have it. Most of the time they do and I can check it out and then see if it’s my type of recipes and worth adding to my collection. Rarely, they are and they go right back, with maybe jotting down or scanning in a recipe or two. So, when I got Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘My Father’s Daughter’ last weekend, I was immediately taken in. Her philosophy of cooking is right where I am these days. Nourishing, healthy, with vegetarian and vegan options. Even her baked goods are "healthy” using spelt flour and agave nectar instead of sugar, no eggs or dairy. I think this is definitely a keeper!!!
I tried this recipe from it for lunch (yesterday I made the oatmeal with vanilla soy milk topped with blueberries & bananas, way more delicious with milk than water!!!) It was super quick, just 15 minutes to throw together. After working out this morning and heading to Trader Joe’s for groceries, I was starving and craving something healthy & yummy. Have I told you, kale is my new favorite??? You must try it if you haven’t. It’s great as a salad green but also great steamed like in this dish and in soup such as Ribollita. I can’t get enough of it and it’s such a super food!

fried rice with kale & scallions
Gwyneth 050

Here’s the recipe if you would like to try it for yourself. :) I am thinking I will add chicken next time when I make it for dinner for Jeff & Reed.
Gwyneth 004

So, what are your plans for the weekend? Are you going to a Super Bowl party or hosting? We are hosting Jeff’s buddies. There’s going to be alot of less-than healthy goodies, so even better that I ate such a healthy lunch, LOL.

I just saw on Martha today a recipe for a kale, sausage, mushroom dip-it looked scrumptious. A great variation from that same old artichoke dip. Would be great to make for the big game.

Where do you find your go-to recipes?


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I dream of organized spaces!

I don’t know what it is about this year so far-but I am obsessed with getting organized, and for good! I’ve done it a zillion times before, but I guess never in a way that actually worked for me since it always got unorganized in a matter of time.
I’ve been pouring over inspiration & tips everywhere to get my home into shape.

I saw this on the newsstand the other day and couldn’t wait to get it home to dive into it.

organize 002

I actually bought this last year and it has GREAT tips, but I guess I wasn’t in “that place”, you know?
organize 007

Here are some images from my Pinterest boards that get me all giddy imagining that I can make my home as beautiful & organized as these. Well, maybe not quite as beautiful since I am not comfortable spending too much $$ right until we decide that this is a long-term home but they are inspiration for incorporating some beautiful ideas into my own home. Can you guess what I am working on organizing right now?

Love the baskets to corral like items

all the glass jars/containers to decant dried goods

old baking pans painted to corral little stuff(somehow, I have acquired 5 bread pans, really how many does one need??)

I guess the theme I am looking for is some uniformity instead of it looking like “dog’s breakfast”. Just because it’s utilitarian doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty, right?
I am lucky to have a walk-in pantry and it’s out of control…we even added extra shelves a couple years ago to maximize. It’s time for an overhaul! Our garbage can is in there, so any time we have guests, they always end up seeing this disaster. How nice would it be to open the door to see a beautifully organized space? I know it would thrill me every day!
Okay, so I am being REALLY brave and showing you the before. If you didn’t see how bad it was ‘before’, you can’t appreciate the ‘after’ as much, right? It ain’t pretty! Don’t judge. LOL!

There is soooo much in there that I am sure is past it’s prime or we no longer need. Cleaning that out alone will make a huge difference. We have at least 4 different gluten free pastas that I have tried to get Reed to eat pasta with no luck of him loving it.
pantry and soft pretzels 006

When we added the extra shelves, I also created labels so we knew what went where. More or less they have kept things in the general idea…but there’s just too much and the bottom shelf is overflow and who knows what really is all down there.
 pantry and soft pretzels 011

my baking shelf has overflowed to this smaller section, my cookbooks don’t fit
pantry and soft pretzels 008

Looking at these pictures makes me ill.
Stay tuned for my pantry makeover.

Are you working on any organizing projects?

Shaklee Hand on Grass_thumb[1] (1)