Crock Pot Recipe: Coconut Curry Chicken

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life this week has been busy. 
  • i'm in the middle of doing some design consultations that i can't wait to share with you.{a new feature for the blog} they are pretty time-intensive, but i think it will be worth it! 
  • i tried a new work-out called xtendbarre and it left my body shaking. i danced in college and tried to catch a work-out here or there up until this last year. it's funny/hard/annoying when you remember how to do something, but you can't get your muscles to cooperate. 
  • we bought all the hardware for our cabinets! {can't wait to get them done!}
  • organized a play-group for eliza with a couple other friends her age.
  • learned how utterly unprepared i am in the case of an emergency.
what have you done this week?

this recipe is great to throw together on a busy day and it always tastes like you bought take-out.





Ingredients:
1 can coconut milk
2 Tbs curry paste {i love golden curry}
2 chicken breasts, cubed or sliced, or whole if you want

Directions:
1) shake the can of coconut milk really well before opening {i always forget}. 
2) in a bowl combine milk and curry paste and heat in microwave for about 30 seconds to warm the curry paste up. mix until the curry paste is combined in the coconut milk.
3) pour over chicken in the crock-pot. cook on low for 3 hours or in the oven for 1 hour. serve with rice or noodles.

valentine's day printable

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my hubby and i have a song. we have two songs. we didn't really start out with having songs, they just kind of evolved as we dated, were engaged, and got married. in fact, i don't think they really became our songs until last year. i love that we have songs. we can pretty much sing every word to both:)

how many of you have your own couple song? 

did you dance to it at your wedding? 

we fought over which song we wanted to have play for our first dance. {because he wanted a country song. bleh} it turns out, we actually got to dance to both our choices. but, neither of those songs are our songs now. funny how life evolves like that. do you want to know our songs? {i mean, that's why you're still reading this, right?}

our first song is by incubus. {think you could guess it?} doesn't sound too romantic does it? well. it fits our story. listen to it here {sorry for the japanese subtitles...} they are one of our favorite bands so it's no surprise our song is one of theirs.

our second song is by dave matthews. You&Me

and, because i have a hard time coming up with gifts that fit in our budget for valentine's day...i made him this art print
featuring the chorus of our song. ****awe****romantic and free. and now free for you.

download printable.

italian sausage pasta

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we've had a rough go this past week. both me and hubby came down with strep! when momma's sick it's like the whole house stops. laundry and dishes pile up, toys are everywhere, and children {ok, and momma too} may or may not stay in their pajamas all day {with the same hair-do for three days}.  i went to the e.n.t. to see if i needed to get my tonsils out {yikes} and thankfully he thinks i can go without the surgery and do some saline flushing of my sinuses instead. {how's that for a visual?} thankfully i've recovered enough to host our monthly book club, babysit my adorable nephew, do a design consult {i can't wait to show you what i've been up to}, visit the pediatrician, library, gymnastics, the children's museum, and celebrate a niece's bday. phew.
needless to say i've been craving some comfort food to nurse my ailments.
it was really hard for me to photograph this recipe getting it to show how tasty it was. i wasn't able to capture the sure bliss the sauce is or document how quickly i shoveled it into my mouth. therefore, you will have to make it yourself and try it. then come back and tell me, using the best descriptive synonyms you can, for how amazing this pasta dish is. this is now my #2 go to recipe. #1 is my chicken, bacon, and ranch pasta.

Ingredients:
8 oz spiral pasta
3/4lb turkey Italian sausage
3/4 c red pepper, chopped
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 Tbs flour
1 c half-and-half
1 c milk
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c romano/parmesean cheese, grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1 Tbs fresh parsley, minced

Directions:
1) Cook and drain pasta. 
2) While pasta is cooking, heat a skillet and cook the sausage, red pepper, and onion over medium heat. When sausage is no longer pink, drain the grease.
3) In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients {except parsley} and add to the sausage mixture. Bring to a boil, then simmer until thickened and remove from heat.
4) In a large bowl, combine sausage mixture and pasta. Before serving, sprinkle with parsley.
inspired by--taste of home

guest post: The How to Blog

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Hey everyone! Name's Lauren, I run "The How to Blog" (link here) which is a blog about personal style, a few delicious recipes, some beauty tips, and lots of ridiculous newlywed stories because the hubs and I have a blast together. 

And this is us:


My hubster Josh and I 
Like I said, we have a blast together. 

My posts usually have an outfit and I'll say where I got everything, then I have a section where I post quirky stories that happened and awesome moments. And of course, there is a post theme song which I listen to on repeat while I write the post.

Ho Hey by The Lumineers on Grooveshark






Where I got it:
Shirt-Old Navy
Skirt and shoes- Forever 21
Belt and tights-Target


Quirkiness 

I'm a germ freak. I don't share silverware with people, not even my husband. When we started dating he could NOT believe that I was so grossed out by germs. Every single day, without fail, he would ask "Is today the day that you'll share a spoon with me?!" Then one day I finally said, "Yes, today is your magical day." I shared my spoon with him. And didn't do it again.

Random tangent, I know. But this story has to deal with my extreme OCD towards germs, especially mouth germs. 

In the bathroom we have a toothbrush holder with 3 holes because Josh has 2 toothbrushes. Don't ask me why, it boggles my mind too. Anyway, my toothbrush is always in the middle. Makes sense, right?

Well, the other night I was very sleepy. And slightly grumpy, but that's besides the point. I mean, come on, who doesn't get a wittle (yep, that spelling error was on purpose, in case you were wondering) bit grumpy when they're sleepy? 

So I reached for the toothbrush in the middle, I lathered it up with toothpaste, and started brushing. I looked around the bathroom,brush brush brush, looked at the clock, brush brush brush, looked at the toothbrush holder, brush brush-stopped.... Noticed my toothbrush was on the far right, and was most definitely NOT being used. 

Oh my heavens, the gagging came full force. I started heaving into the sink, and may or may not have threw up a little on Josh's toothbrush, and may or may not have (yeah, definitely did not) tell him that happened...Holy cow, sickest experience. I then rinsed with the kind of mouthwash that burns and makes your eyes water for like 5 minutes, put our toothbrushes in the CORRECT places, and brushed my teeth again. 

Awesomeness
-Reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis with my Mom, and discussing the deeper meanings of the novel, and trying to figure out what it all means. 

-Having a never ending supply of Dr. Pepper at Josh's grandfather's house, seriously the best.

-Waking up from a bad dream in the middle of the night, and having my best friend cuddle me until I fall back asleep. 



Also, everyone check out my giveaway that's running this week. The winner will receive free jewelry of their choice from Pure Impressions, and this jewelry is very unique and super adorable. You can read all about the giveaway and sign up for it here

So that's about it! I hope you all enjoyed my post, and thank you SO much Carissa for sharing your blog with me. 


XO,




Crochet Infinity Scarf Tutorial

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i know you've been wanting one of your own! i can't wait to share this little project with you. we have a bunch of birthdays in january, and since i'm still recovering {financially, emotionally, mentally, etc} from the craziness of the holidays, i always seem to do last minute things for gifts. that's totally not my style and i feel bad for my sister in law and three of my sisters and two nieces that all have birthdays in january.

this year, i resolved to do differently. i think i succeeded. well, partially at least. i've seen these adorable chunky scarves at nordstrom, soel, and lots of other great retail stores and i knew i could do one for myself! however, eliza needed a scarf more than i did, and i haven't seen many infinity scarves for toddlers {or any scarves for that matter}, so i decided to make one for her first. well, it turned out more than adorable. best part? it didn't take more than a half hour. {or that it was only 1 skein of yarn, or that it was only $3...}so i made one for all my nieces:) and now you can whip some up for all the little fashionistas in your life.

here's the pattern:
i used lion brand yarn in los angeles tan. super bulky weight 6. crochet needle N size 9mm
chain 28 and join in a round with a slip stitch {make sure to keep from twisting}
chain 2, double crochet into next chain. double crochet 26 more times. {28 double crochet total, including chain 2} slip stitch into chain 2.
repeat 7 times for 8 rows. knot and weave in ends. 
feel free to ask me for any clarifications! or Take a CROCHET class here!





stay tuned for the adult-sized version!

Stuffed Pepper with Quinoa and Black Beans

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welcome julie from Tim&Jules all the way in the UK! she is an awesome menu planner {like me:)}. julie is a blogger who moved to scotland a year and half ago and enjoys chronicling her time overseas with her family.  she is the mother of two young girls, madison-4 and rose-2. she tries to improve her cooking by meal planning and experimenting with new healthy recipes for her family. 

i saw she had a recipe for stuffed peppers on her menu, and since those are a favorite dinner of mine, i thought it'd be awesome to feature her review of the recipe with quinoa. i haven't cooked much with it, but am excited to try.


Recipe Review: Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Black Beans, via one lovely life
I love all mexican food and stuffed peppers, so when I saw this recipe, I just had to try it! Plus I was looking for a meatless main dish to add to my menu plan. This recipe did not disappoint.

Rating for Taste: 8.5/10
Let me tell you, these stuffed peppers blow Italian stuffed peppers out of the water. The flavors just explode in your mouth. It has that mexican spicy heat that I crave inside of a tender little red pepper boat. What’s not to like?  If you find it’s a bit hot for you, just add a dollop of  light sour cream and you’ll be all set! It wasn’t greasy or heavy, but felt clean and healthy,which is high on my list right now.

Another plus is that it’s filling enough to be served as a main dish all on its’ own. My husband is a hard man to please when it comes to meatless main dishes. He is a meat and potatoes kind of guy! But even he said this meal was satisfying and left him feeling full. The quinoa and black beans really did the trick and I love the nutritional value they add to the dish.

Rating for Ease to Make: 8/10
It was not hard to make at all which is a plus! The only part that took a bit of extra time was making the homemade enchilada sauce, which you could skip if you are in a rush and use the jarred stuff, but I would not! The flavor in that sauce was so robust and delicate. It really made the dish. But you could always make a big batch and use it for the next time you make it!

All in all, this dish was a keeper. It’s one I would be happy to make for company the night before, then pop it in the oven 30 minutes before they arrive, or just make it for a Tuesday family dinner. So versatile! It’s a GO!


thanks julie!

january sponsors

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this is something i'm so excited to announce! i have quite a few sponsors to feature this month and i can't wait for you to get to know them.

first up, alipyper. she is so talented. she is my inspiration in all things knitting and crocheting. she sells her patterns in her etsy shop.
like this pixie hat pattern! so adorable, right!

she recently posted this free crochet tutorial on her blog. grab her button under the sponsors tab!

next we have tori from toriska bags and crafts. she also has an etsy shop where she sells her designer clutches. i'm currently coveting this one

maybe because i'm a huge glitter fan or something. grab her button too!

i'm sure you all know of crate and barrel's children line The Land of Nod. but if you don't, you are missing out! here is my inspiration board for eliza's room:
1/2/3/4/5/6

next up is Stacy from glued to my crafts. i'll let her introduce herself:
"Hello everyone! I'm Stacey and I blog over at Glued To My Crafts. I'm a mother to a nearly two year old boy, who keeps me on my toes and inspires a lot of my posts. I'm also a wife to a wonderful man serving in the Air Force. I'm a girly-girl who loves cooking, crafting and inspiring. Ok, the last one is more of a "I hope I inspire you." My blog is mainly about life experiences, recipes and craft creations. Everything I post can we be recreated with simple, everyday items you probably already have in your house. Even though I'm a shopaholic, I'm all about saving money and using what you have already. I don't spend a lot to be crafty, and neither should you."

Her button is below as well.

everyone should be excited about this! if you haven't heard of them, thredup.com is a kids clothing website that combines the clearance items from all your favorite brands! you can search by brand, gender, size, price, etc.

check these adorable items out! 



I was so excited to find nectarclothing.com. they are my newest accessories go-to! i mean, look how cute:)
i need these right away!
1/2/3

is that enough eye candy for you? i'm so excited to represent these companies. i love being apart of helping to grow small businesses, especially when they have such high quality product! 

are you interested in being featured? contact me for more info!

dollar store hot pads

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i have been trying to contact Desiree at 36th avenue to feature her fabulous project i did as part of my handmade holidays. but to no avail. so, here is her awesome idea to add some color and cuteness to $dollar store hot pads! they were so easy to whip up. i think i made 8-10 for all the cookers in my fam.
all you need is some dollar store hot pads, fabric, and buttons. you measure the fabric {plus 1/2" seam allowance} to make a pocket and then pin and sew. hand sew the buttons on and you've got yourself some cheap-but-very-chic-hot-pads! {Don't know how to sew? Take a FREE class here!}
even though it's past christmas, these are perfect gifts for all through the year. and seriously, i could use some for myself. hot pads get gross so fast!

go make some of your own and let me know how they go!

january menu planning

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i've updated our menu for the month and you can now find it under the {menu planning} tab. here's a run down of this month. {i know i'm super late with it, but we have been quarantined with strep throat this last week and i'm finally getting back to the computer.}


chicken burritos {cafe rio style}










Chocolate Peppermint Fudge: guest post

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i forgot to share my guest post for my yummy fudge over at bouffeebambini from before the holidays! here it is! {the secret is in the marshmallow!}


i can't wait for you to make this and tell me that you will never ever make regular fudge again. {the secret is in the marshmallows}...maybe you've seen this before or maybe you haven't, but you can't deny how easy it is!

Ingredients:
3 cups chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 c mini marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla
drop of peppermint flavoring

Directions:
1) melt chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in microwave until smooth. i do this in 30 second chunks so the chocolate doesn't scorch. 
2) add marshmallows and return to microwave, heating just until marshmallows puff up. do this step in 30 second segments. stir until completely melted and smooth.
3) add vanilla and peppermint and combine.
4) pour into your buttered square pan. i like to put plastic wrap in the pan and then pour the fudge right into the plastic wrap. you can see it in the pic.
5) crush a candy cane and sprinkle the crumbs on the top of the fudge.
5) chill until you can cut cleanly! a couple hours inside.

chili dogs

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on to not so great note...
are you all as stuffed after the holidays as i am? i can't believe i ate so much! {i totally gained 5lbs hence the new diet
my christmas decor is definitely still up. {i hate taking it down and i'm slow putting it up; therefore, i miss new years decor completely...i plan to have a touch of love in the house for v-day though} maybe that's too ambitious. we'll see. i want to share something that is not ambitious, not healthy, but totally delicious. we crank these out when we need a super quick meal on the go. hence the aluminum foil wrapping:



this is how you put the chili in chili dog--inspired by Our Best Bites
Ingredients:
a couple slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 medium onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chili
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 TBS yellow mustard
1 1/2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
hot dogs and buns
shredded cheese and ketchup of course
Instructions: 
1) after cooking bacon, remove from skillet and throw in the onion and garlic, letting it saute in the bacon drippings.
2) add the chili, brown sugar, mustard, worcestershire sauce. bring to a boil
3) meanwhile, grill hot dogs until nice and crispy. or if you don't like your hot dogs delicious crisped, take them off before they get black.
4) grill your buns with some butter and throw the hot dog on. lather the chili on top and then the cheese and ketchup.

New Years Resolutions....#spoileralert!

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didn't you love hanna's inspirational story yesterday? i totally am hyped up for 2013. hubby and i usually goal set each year on our anniversary, but i always like to do a review of our goals and maybe set some more. i love setting goals. {weird, i know, but i get so satisfied from crossing stuff off of lists.}


do you want your own chalkboard printable? 
{right click to save or open in new window and save}

guest post: weight loss inspiration

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have you written your new years resolutions yet? well today's a great day to do it! i'm sure you won't be surprised that one of the goals that is most popular is to lose weight. i know that a lot of us have a hard time being okay with our bodies exactly how they are. i know i am constantly battling between what i want to eat and what is good for me:) if you've been following me, you'll notice that i do not post very many "skinny" recipes. i figure i'll just work out and that will solve all my weight issues. in honor of new year's resolutions, here is an inspiring weight lost story from my friend hanna at bouffe e bambini...

Is there life after having 2 babies and gaining 100 pounds????

ABSOLUTELY!!!
I'm living proof! 

Hi there,

I'm HANNA!!!!! I blog over at {bouffe e bambini}

I am a busy mom of two toddlers, a full time critical care nurse, runner, blogger, wife, and I am currently expecting my 3rd child. I'm a busy lady!!! 

This is me! 



It's so nice to meet you. Today I am going to share my weight loss journey with you.
I hope I can help inspire some of you who have had a baby or two and found yourself stuck in a rut, struggling with weight and just not feeling like your self anymore. I have been there my friends. I have lost 116 pounds and am so excited to share my story and inspiration with you. 

 I went from a size 22 to a size 4. 



Here I am with my little loves. My son little Milton is 3 now and Ginger is 22 months. I am 28 weeks pregnant with baby #3.   I'm a busy lady!


Meet my husband, big Milton!!!

So this is how my story begins.......

1. First, we were a happy couple!!!!

2. Then we fell in love and got married.


3. Then I got pregnant........

4. Gained 100 + pounds........

5. And had a beautiful baby boy.

My life was forever changed in more ways than one.

First of all let me say that I honestly feel like my life had truly just begun with the birth of my children. I have love for them like I never knew existed. I often feel like my heart might burst with joy when look at their shining little faces. You can read more about me and my transition into motherhood {here}

However, this is what I looked like with my first born. Then I got preganant again 4 month later. WOW! I was pregnant for 2 years straight.


The wonderful news was I was a mom and had given birth to a healthy baby boy and girl. The not so wonderful news was that I had become obese! Yes, obese. Not exactly how I wanted to describe myself but the honest truth.

Honestly, when I was pregnant I thought I was so big because of the baby not realizing that when the baby came out I was going to be just as big. I was completely shocked at my size. When I looked in the mirror I had no idea what I was even looking at. I felt like I was trapped in someones else's body; a very uncomfortable body.


Brutal Honestly of what being Obese feels like:
  • My thighs rubbed together and I would develop a rash if I didn't have pants between my legs at all times.
  • I had little bumps in my armpits where I would shave because they would rub against my upper arm and chafe.
  • I couldn't cross my legs
  • My back ached; I could barley lift my new born baby without throwing my back out
  • I was always sweaty, especially under my breasts
  • I felt disgusting; I have never been so uncomfortable in my life.
  • I was embarrassed. I would run into an old friend and they would kind of look at me like "oh that poor girl used to be so cute but now she had kids and look at her" I HATED THAT!!!
  • I had stretch marks ALL over my abdomen, thighs, upper arms and even down to the back of my shins because I had gotten so big.
  • Nothing fit. I wore pajamas and plus size maternity clothes for a VERY LONG TIME!
  • I stopped caring totally about my appearance; Never making an effort to look nice.
  • My wedding rings didn't fit and I had gained so much weight some of my shoes wouldn't even fit.
    Basically, I just felt horrible inside and out. I felt very unattractive. I would hardly let my husband touch me becasue I felt so ashamed of my body. I stopped wearing make up all together. I wore my hair pulled back every single day and always was in old ratty PJ's. It was so depressing. I was really unhappy.


    It wasn't long before I knew I had to loose the weight and not just a few pounds, I knew I needed to loose A LOT, and so my journey began.........

    I was motivated and darn right DETERMINED to loose this weight. I wanted to be healthy and happy for me, my husband and my kids, It wasn't just about me. I have heard over and over again in my life that "you should just love who you are no matter what size". I love that and I think it's a great sentiment but the honest truth is for me I couldn't love myself in that condition. What's there to love about not feeling good? When I am thinner, I feel healthy, sexy, accomplished and it radiates to all areas of my life. 

    Here are a couple before and after pictures that I hope you find inspiring.


    Starting out is the hardest part of the whole journey. Lossing 100+ pounds is a very daunting task to say the least but 

    I am just an average, everyday woman and I did it. That means you can too! 

     I did it completely on my own. I never joined Jenny Craig or weight watchers. I didn't take diet pills, have surgery or starve myself.   I just had a vision of who I wanted to be and I made that vision come to life, Again, you find my detailed plan {HERE}

    I think it is important to think about it long and hard before committing to something like this because it is a long journey but it is VERY attainable. If you have a little will power and a little discipline you can make it happen.  It's important to set a reasonable, realistic goal and you can read more about that in my {GUIDE}

    I wanted to talk a little bit about common pit falls. Many women who desperately want to lose weight will come up with a list of reasons why they don't think they can achieve their goals so I just wanted to let you know that there is always a way. Here is how I dealt with many typical obstacles while trying to loose weight.

    Common Obstacles:
    • NO CHILDCARE.   I am a full time mom and a full time nurse. I have no childcare whatsoever. I made time to exercise anyway. I bought a double stroller and a baby carrier and I walked everyday. You don't need to go to a gym to loose weight. I did it while taking care of 2 babies under the age of 2.
    • FULL TIME WORK.  I also work full time as a nurse, 12 hour night shifts to top it off. You must make time to prepare food for yourself to bring with you to work so you're not tempted to eat the junk in the cafeteria.
    • A SPOUSE WHO WON'T FOLLOW THE SAME MEAL PLAN AS YOU.     My husband eats pretty much everything I don't eat. He eats sweets, breads, potatoes, pastas. He eats whatever he wants. So, no big deal. Prepare meals that can be shared by both like chicken, mashed potatoes and broccoli. You eat the chicken and broccoli and let him eat everything else. You'll be surprised how easy it is to make it work. 
    • NO TIME. I worked full time and was a full time mom during my entire weight loss plan. My best advice is to be prepared. ALWAYS keep snack friendly food around the house and carry it with you wherever you go; fruit, almonds, and cottage cheese are great examples. This way you won't be tempted to binge on whatever food is lying around the house.
      I have dieted many times in the past and this is the first time in my life I have lost this amount of weight in the healthiest way I know how. I never felt hungry or deprived.


      My best advice is BE KIND. BE GENTLE. FORGIVE YOURSELF and then jump right back on that wagon and try again. Consistency was my greatest tool.

      A few more tips:
      • Be grateful everyday
      • Just let it go
      • Remind yourself how amazing you are, this is hard work
      • Talk about it, accept praise from others, if you work hard, you deserve praise. It feels so good
                           Some of My Favorite Healthy Snack Foods:
      -carrots and celery with ranch dipping sauce
      - Dannon light-n-fit yogurt with fresh chopped berries
      -pickles
      -raw almonds with small cheddar cheese wedges on the side

                               My Favorite Junk Splurge:
      -Probably Nutella. I can eat straight out of the jar.
      -I also love cupcakes
      -I'm a super duper lover of pasta and bread and all things carbs


      You can find a more detailed outline in what I did physically to help lop off the pounds in my original post, but after I reached about 140 pounds I started running. I didn't want to start running sooner than that because I didn't want to get injured so I power walked 2-5 miles a day with the kids for months and months and months until I got slimmer! Then I started running!

      I have had a life long dream to train for and run a full marathon. About 5 years ago I trained but got injured 3 weeks from the race so I did not finish. However, I did start training again and ran  2 half marathons, a 5 K and a 10 K while 4 months pregnant. It was amazing!  

      I just have to say that I feel better now after having 2 babies than I have ever felt in my life. A few days ago my husband told me I look better now at 33 years old, after having 2 children then I did when I was 18 years old. WOW! 

      Not only am I in love with being a mother but now I can truly enjoy my kids and feel great about myslelf. What a great example for my kids as well. They see their mom as healthy, happy and radiant. That is a wonderful thing my friends.


      I truly hope that I have helped to inspire at least one of you to give it a try. It is possible. It is doable even with kids and work and every other crazy thing life throws at you. I am passionate about this and I would truly be happy to answer any questions or just chat about how difficuilt weight loss can be.  Again, you can find EXACTLY how I did it {HERE}.

      AND one more thing!!!!! I L*O*V*E to cook so in light of the holidays, i'm sharing my favorite holiday treat.

      Find the recipe and tutorial {HERE} 

      HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!! 

       Please feel free to email me anytime at bouffeebambini@hotmail.com

      Thank you so much Carissa for having me and letting me steel your lovely readers for a day!!!! 

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