Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Create Your Own Motion Sickness Kit

As you may recall, we're expecting our first baby in February and we just moved across the country. What you probably don't know is that the wife suffers from motion sickness during any trip that we take (this has been going on since childhood). Pregnancy meant saying no to the usual meds and finding safer remedies for our multiple days trip. Today, we're bringing you a guide to creating your own kit and saying goodbye to those meds for your next trip! (This kit seriously works - there was no throwing up that took place during the trip!)

*Affiliate links have been used in this post. Don't worry - they won't bite you! They help you find the items that we're talking about. They also bring in a little money so that we can keep this blog up and running!*

Most of these items can be found at the dollar store or your local grocery store. We've included links in case you want more information on the items or are an order online lover. 

Closed Container
Any container will do for this first item. I do recommend making sure that it will hold all of the other items and is big enough for you to use as a puke bucket. (Yes, I said puke on our blog.) Growing up, we always had a puke bucket for me to use in the back seat. On this last trip, I decided to buy a cheap container with a lid that would hold all of the goodies for my kit. (Seriously - don't spend a fortune on something you might be vomiting into!) I opted for a round container from the dollar store, but you could easily go with a shoebox shaped container instead. (Hopefully that gives you a size idea as well!)

Acupressure Wrist Bands
These were an absolute life saver and probably the most expensive item in the whole kit. There are several different bands out there, but I opted for these colorful Psi bands. I kept them on the entire time we traveled and I really think they helped a lot. I will say that I felt they helped the most on the first day or two. As my body got used to them, I feel like the effects wore off some. (That's where the other contents of the kit were helpful though!) I do highly recommend trying out the wrist bands if you're prone to motion sickness.

You're probably wondering if I'm losing my mind. Surely sugar and candy is the last thing you want to put into an upset stomach. I'd agree with you on this except for one thing - mint and ginger are both extremely powerful nausea aids. I packed Tic Tacs, peppermint gum, and ginger chews into our kit. I discovered that I'm not much for ginger; however, the Tic Tacs were a life saver on more than one occasion. Whenever my stomach would start feeling queasy, I'd pop a couple in my mouth and it would make a huge difference! (Want to make sure you get the right ones? Click here to double check!)

I'm going to recommend a few different drinks to have on hand. (I kept these in the cooler rather than the kit itself so that they would stay cold.) The first I'm going to recommend is an old remedy I remember from my childhood and that's 7-UP. This was our go to drink as a kid for upset stomachs and I still use it for that to this day. Another drink that's good for upset stomachs is ginger ale (remember that ginger comment above? Yeah - ginger ale doesn't work so well for me.) I also recommend having water and Gatorade on hand for rehydrating as needed. The water can also be helpful if you need to clean up at some point... (Hopefully you won't have to though!)

Bags are super important for two reasons - they work for storage and clean up. I packed several gallon sized sipper bags that could be used for clean up or storage. I also packed a few small trash bags that could be used for clean up. We ended up using them for our trash more than anything. 

This one is especially helpful for kids since they tend to be messier and less in control of their actions. It never hurts to have a change of clothes handy in case there is an inevitable mess that happens. I also recommend having a towel or two on hand for those messy moments that might happen!

I hope these items help you as much as they helped me! Do you have any other suggestions for motion sickness or morning sickness remedies?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ultimate List of Themed Dinner Nights

I love meal planning and finding new recipes to try. I also love being creative and planning themed parties. So, imagine my excitement when I discovered there was a way to combine these two loves! It’s a super simple method called themed dinner nights!

There are two different ways that you can use themed dinner nights to help you make dinner time a little more fun. I’m going to explain the different ways and then I’ll be sharing a list of ideas for themed nights!

Assign Each Night a Theme 

If you’re someone that plans your meals according to the days of the week, themed nights can make it a lot more fun. Simply pick a theme for each night and use it as a guide when coming up with ideas. Most of the themes allow for a lot of variety within them. You could pick different themes each week or reuse the same ones over and over again.

Use Themed Nights for Special Occasions 

You can also use the themed nights to make dinner just a little bit special every now and then. If you’re using them sparingly, then I suggest adding a little extra fun with decorations or activities that keep with the theme of the night. It’s a great way to bring your family together – no matter how big or small!

Ideas Organized by Days of the Week 

Manly Monday – Have the men of the house pick what’s for dinner on this night.
Mexican Monday – Use the many Mexican dishes out there as inspiration for this night!
Meatless Monday – See if you can create an entire meal without using meat.
Meatcentric Monday – Plan your entire meal around your meat. Allow it to take center stage tonight.
Make It Together Monday – Pick out a meal that the family can make together.

Taco Tuesday – Who doesn’t love tacos? You could also add a little variety with taco soups, casseroles, and more. This theme doesn’t have to be limited to just tacos!
Tossed Around Tuesday – Pick out a dish that is usually “tossed” in some manner and use it for inspiration. Salads of all sorts are a great example. The tossed around dish may just be a side but make it a special side!
Try It Tuesday – This is the perfect time to try out that new recipe!

Women’s Choice Wednesday – The women of the house get to choose the meal for tonight!
Winner Wednesday – Have a game night earlier in the week. The winner gets to pick tonight’s dinner.
Wacky Wednesday – Make tonight’s dinner slightly strange.

Throwback Thursday – Pick out something from childhood or that you haven’t enjoyed in a while.
Thrifty Thursday – Use things that you already have on hand. Think of it as the perfect way to save money and use up items in your kitchen.
This or That Thursday – Create a meal that can be used in two different ways. For example, taco meat can be used for tacos or for nachos. Then, create a serving bar and allow everyone to make it their own way!

Fun Friday – Center tonight around a fun activity and plan the food accordingly!
Festival Friday – Think in terms of festival foods. What could you serve at home?
Flat Friday – Tonight’s meal should be flat in appearance – think pizzas, flatbreads, sandwiches, and more!
Fried Friday – If your family loves fried foods, why not limit it to once a week with this themed night?
Fresh Friday – Create a meal using only “fresh” ingredients. No boxed or canned foods for this one!

Saucy Saturday – Let the sauce take center stage tonight! How many foods can you think of that feature a sauce of some sort?
Sandwich Saturday – I think this one is pretty self explanatory…
Souper Saturday – This one is great for fall and winter when soups are all the rage.
Special Saturday – Make Saturday special and make it the day that you eat out.

Spaghetti Sunday – Who doesn’t love spaghetti?
Something Leftover Sunday – The perfect way to get rid of all the leftovers is to assign them a day!
Sleepy Sunday – Make today’s meal a lazy one so that you can lounge around and relax before the busy workweek.

Additional Themes

Pasta – There are so many things that you can do with pasta that it really should get it’s own night!
Italian – Pizza, pasta, calzones…the list goes on and on.
Pizza Night – I’m a pizza lover through and through. I’d be perfectly happy with one night a week dedicated to it. Perhaps it’s a different food for you…
Movie Night – Theme the dinner around a movie. For example, spaghetti is the perfect dinner for Lady & the Tramp.
Someone’s Choice – Involve the whole family in meal planning by assigning each person a different night. This way, everybody gets something that they want throughout the week.
Pantry Clean Out – Start with the items you already have on hand and see what you can create!
Seasonal – Use the seasons to influence what you have. Fall might lend itself to soups while summer lends itself to cold cuts.
Casserole – There are so many different casseroles that you can make. These are perfect for busy nights as well since they can often be prepped in advance!
Crockpot – I love my crockpot! Crockpot night would be perfect for those busy nights that inevitably show up on our calendars!
Specific Meat – If family is big on eating meats, you could theme the nights around specific meats. Turkey Night, Chicken Night, Beef Night, etc.
Grill Out – Pick one night a week and make it the night you grill out. Just make sure you have a rain plan or flexibility in your schedule for this one!
Event themed – Theme it all around a certain event – a ball game, circus, TV show premiere, awards show, etc
Special Occasions – Use the special occasions in your life to create dinner themes. It could be birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, or other things you celebrate with your family.

What other fun nights can you come up with? Share them in the comments so everyone can benefit from them!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Adopting a Dog Before the Baby Comes

Even before we met each other, we’ve both always been dog people. To the point that a dog is part of the reason we’re together today. Right after we met, the husband was texting me and trying to get me to come over to his place. We had just met and I didn’t really feel comfortable going to an almost stranger’s place alone. I threw one excuse after another to him and he kept trying. The final excuse – I haven’t seen my dog all weekend and should really spend some time with her – was met with a “bring her with you” and that was the end of my excuses.

For the first two years of our marriage, we lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment in California. The apartment was within budget and helped us out financially, but it had many flaws – including the cats only policy. For two years, we gave love freely to the dogs we encountered at friends houses, parties, and when visiting our families.

When we found out we were moving, one of the things that became a priority on our list was getting a dog. We weren’t sure if it would be one of our dogs (both happily living in good homes with our parents) or a new shelter dog, but we knew we wanted to grow our family with a dog. We didn’t count on growing our family with a baby quite so fast – we thought it’d take a little longer.

That opened up a whole new debate – to adopt a dog before or after the baby comes. We agreed on adopting the dog before the baby. We figured this would give us plenty of time to train the dog before we brought a baby into the picture. We were careful to consider temperament and whether or not dogs were known to be good with kids.

We went to several shelters and looked at many different dogs. We encountered sad situations and found shelters that we couldn’t believe their policies. In the end, we ended up adopting a stray hound mix that animal control had picked up. Nothing is really known about his past so it’s all a slight guessing game at this point.

When we met this guy in the shelter, his name was Elvis and he was listed as a hound mix. The officer brought him out to the visiting room and the first thing he did was grab a toy from the bucket and start running around crazily. At 60 pounds with lots of energy, we thought he was going to be a handful. There was something about his connection to the husband though that persuaded us to go ahead and adopt him. The husband renamed him Mr. Gibbs from the Pirates of the Caribbean.

After we got him home, he ended up calming down a lot more than either of us expected. He’s still full of energy but he has a much calmer side to him that neither one of us saw coming. He’s also catching on quickly to our training which leads us to believe he’s had a family before. In fact, he’s lying snuggled up beside me as I write this post.

I’m a firm believer that there are such things as dog soul mates out there. We definitely have more than one over the years but there are those dogs that just “fit” with their humans. He seems to be falling into that category rather quickly. I can’t wait to see how he is with our little one in February!

Do you have a furkid? What’s the story of how they came into your life? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dear Military Spouse: Do Something for Yourself

Last year, I had the special opportunity to be an ambassador for the first Military Spouse Wellness Summit. The event was well received and as a result, they're bringing it back again this year! Given the crazy changes my life has gone through lately with moving and being pregnant, I think the timing of this event is absolutely perfect! I'm looking forward to putting aside some time in October to focus on my needs before the baby comes. I hope you'll join in and do the same!

Dear military spouse,

I'm here today to ask you to do something for yourself. This event isn't about your kids or your husband, it's about you and your wellness. (Okay, there may be some mentions of your relationship as well since that's important to your health.) I'm only sharing this event with you because I truly care about you and want to give you the opportunity to participate in this event with me. I'm going to lay out all of the details below and then you can decide for yourself if it's worth joining.

The event is brought to you by InDependent, Corie Weathers, and Armed Forces Insurance. (Check them out - it's a pretty powerful team of people!)

This year's theme is "Happily Ever After" which makes me super excited! I love fairy tales and the concept of happily ever after. The summit will consist of several emails featuring guest speakers sent directly to your inbox! No extra work for you to find the information! Did I mention the event is FREE?

The Summit begins Monday, October 17 and ends on Friday, October 22 (two days before my 30th birthday!). There's also a bonus day on Saturday complete with a prize from Military Benefit Association

Listen online! All of the recordings from guest speakers will be available to participants throughout the week. If you wish to access them after the summit, then I recommend picking VIP membership when you sign up.

I could go on and on about why you should join this event, but I'll keep it simple. The first reason - it's free (unless you pick VIP membership which has a small fee) so you have nothing to lose! Second, it's time you did something for yourself! And third, you'll be surprised by how much you benefit from this great event! And if you need one more reason, there are great prizes involved! Doesn't everyone love winning things?

Now it's your turn to decide. Are you going to do something for yourself? Are you going to sign up for the Military Spouse Wellness Summit with me?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Home Tour + Surprise Announcement

Yesterday, we gave you our tips for making a house into a home. Today, we thought we'd pop in and give you a look into the house we just bought. Keep in mind that this is the "before" tour of the house. In other words, this is what it looks like before we clean, paint, and make the place our own. Make sure you go all the way to the bottom for the surprise announcement - it's something we've been keeping close to our hearts for a couple of months now!

Let's start with the outside of the house. The house is a single family home. The house sits on three and a half acres of land. It has an attached two car garage and a separate pole barn that could hold a lot. (The husband has plenty of storage space for those lawn tools!) There's also a small pond on the property but we haven't taken any pictures of it yet since it needs cleaned up quite a bit!

front of the house


Now, lets head to the inside of the house! We bought a three bedroom, two bathroom house. It's around 1300 square feet with a full basement (so double that square footage!). The master bedroom has a large walk in closet and giant soaking tub. The kitchen is also nice and big compared to our tiny one bedroom in California! We plan to use the basement for additional living space as well because it's in good shape and doesn't have that creepy basement feel that some basements get.


living room

 front bedroom

 back bedroom

master bedroom

As you can tell from the pictures, our stuff hasn't arrived yet. The furniture you see in the pictures is what was left by the previous owners. We have replaced the air mattress with a brand new bed, which has us both super excited! Our old bed (which was in great shape) will be going into the front room for guests who come to visit (such as my parents in October!). That just leaves the back bedroom needing a purpose. We thought the following might be a good idea:
By the way - moving while pregnant isn't exactly a party - especially with the hoops military insurance makes you jump through. We are excited and looking forward to welcoming a new addition into the family in February!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tips for Making Your New House a Home

Did you catch the Virtual Tour Across America this summer? If not, I recommend checking it out. We had a lot of great guests who shared about their home states! It's like taking a cross country vacation without ever leaving the comfort of your couch!

The purpose of this tour was to keep you entertained while we went through the somewhat stressful task of moving across the country. I'm excited to announce that we made it safely from California to Michigan and have finally finished the house buying process two months after getting started. The house isn't ready to be shown in its entirety but we will be giving you sneak peeks here and there until we've finished making it a home.

Buying a new house is fun, stressful, and exciting all at the same time. After you finish buying it, the work takes on a new personality as you settle into making the house into a home. Here's just a few of our tips for accomplishing that task.

Change all of the locks.
This was the first thing we did! My parents gave us the recommendation and I'm really glad that we listened. You really have no way of knowing who might have a key to your new house. To avoid unexpected encounters, it's best to change the locks. We did this by simply buying new door knobs at Lowe's when we got our appliances. Extra bonus? New knobs can give the doors a slight face lift!

Clean everything!
I'm not even exaggerating when I say everything! I have been on a deep cleaning spree around our house. I've been using several different natural combinations to get the place as clean as can be. I'll definitely be sharing more tips for this one in the future - including which items to clean and what products I recommend! If you can, clean the house before you bring in your furniture. Since we have to wait on household goods delivery, this is working out perfectly for us.

Paint the walls.
An easy way to give your home a facelift is painting the walls or switching out the carpet. A little color can go a long way in making the house feel more like a home.

Have a favorite flower? Enjoy growing your own food? Changing the outside to meet your wants and needs is another easy way to make the house feel more like a home.

Add your family and stuff.
Moving in your stuff and your family can certainly make the place feel like home. After all, isn't home where the heart is?

Get a pet (or move your furry friend in).
Okay, this one's not necessary but it can definitely help make the house feel more like home. We adopted a dog from the shelter right away. We're both dog people and we've missed having a furry friend around. Our new friend, Mr. Gibbs, was ready to come home with us the day after we closed on the house. We'll be sharing more pictures and his story later but for now, you can check him out on our Instagram page.

These are just a few of the things we're doing to our new house to make it feel more like a home. What are the first things you update in a new house? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with us? We'd love to hear them in the comments below! After all, this is the first home that we've actually owned.

P.S. If you want to see our work in progress, we're slowly sharing pictures on our Instagram page!