I really love this time of year, there's just something so refreshing about a NEW year. It's a time to take a look at our lives and ask ourselves,  Is THIS where I want to be? If not, then What do I need to DO to get to where I want to be? 
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It's important to be grateful and content with our lives and where we're at, but we also need to continue to better ourselves with each passing year.  I think one of the biggest mistakes we make when making our new years resolutions, is forgetting to see all that we HAVE accomplished. A lot of times we get discouraged because we haven't stuck to our goals as perfectly as we had planned. First of all, there is NO such thing as perfect. Don't beat yourselves up over eating that piece of chocolate cake when you vowed you'd cut out all junk food this year. Don't throw in the towel, give yourself some credit and try again tomorrow.
One of the most popular new years resolution is to LOSE WEIGHT, don't we all know it.  The market for weight loss products and services was worth nearly $121 billion in 2009 and it only continues to increase.  Although I have not ever been overweight, I, like most women, have struggled tremendously with body image. I tried everything under the sun to lose weight, including starving myself which didn't ever last very long. I was an emotional eater so starving myself just made me MORE anxious and in the end I would binge. Which then of course led me to the idea of purging, and to be completely honest, I tried and tried but could not make myself throw up, sorry for the graphic details. I guess my gag reflexes are pretty strong. Of course I'm glad that I wasn't able to throw up because that could have led to a major eating disorder I'm sure.
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It wasn't until my mission in Germany where I finally began to love my body the way it was, even 25 pounds heavier. I was able to get to a better place emotionally and I wasn't so obsessed with the way I looked.  I started enjoying food on a healthier level mentally and emotionally. I quit beating myself up each time I indulged in all the yummy food and chocolate Germany had to offer. I noticed I started eating slower and took the time to enjoy what I was eating more and in turn I would eat less.
Overcoming poor body image and loving your body is the first step for an overall healthier life. When I first did a cleanse it wasn't to lose weight, it was simply to better my health, and when the weight started coming off it was just an added bonus.  I'm not saying I've got it all figured out and now I NEVER struggle with poor body image, it's an ongoing battle, especially after having kids. I'm still learning to love my body, saggy skin and all. I think this is something women will constantly have to work on. We need those simple reminders that, looks aren't everything, our HEALTH is what we need to be concerned about.
I try to make healthier choices where I can, but I also enjoy a nice juicy hamburger or a some chocolate chip cookies once in a while. Oh, and by the way, I found some YUMMY organic candy bars recently you'll have to try. They are called Angell candy bars, my favorite is the snow angel, it's white chocolate with a creamy coconut center. You can find them on Amazon, Snow Angell Organic Candy Bar 12-Pack

Okay so anyway, back to new years resolutions. I recently told you about my new goals for trying out all the things on my bucket list.  Each month I'm choosing a different item from the list to help me focus on improving my talents and developing new skills. November was to write a song, still in the works, I'm coming back to this one for sure.  December was to brush up on my German so I was reading Twilight, watching DVD's, and reading my scriptures ALL in German.  January is going to be my month to learn more about photography. I don't want to become a professional photographer, I just want to learn how to take better pictures with my camera I got not too long ago. I plan to share what I'm learning too, for all you beginners out there.

Well I hope you are all finding the motivation to make this year the best one yet!!! Have a wonderful weekend and Happy New Year!!!!!!

By the way, if you haven't entered my giveaway yet, be sure to check it out. I'm giving away one of my planners with 3 complete months of meal plans and grocery lists. Ends January 5th.

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Christmas was a BLAST!!!

I feel like each year just gets better and better as the kids get older and really begin to understand that Santa Clause is coming to deliver presents.  This year Lily was more excited than ever, she was awake until 1am. tossing and turning. We kept checking on her, waiting for her to fall asleep so we could go down stairs and start setting up.  She kept saying that she couldn't fall asleep because was just too excited!  So we finally finished everything up and went to bed at 3am, only to be woken up at 7:30 by cute little Lily telling us that Santa came :)
My sister in law told us about this fun website called Capture The Magic.  We got some pictures of the REAL Santa in our house :) and printed off the pics for Lily to see them first thing in the morning. She was so excited about it!!!

Be sure to enter my giveaway I have going on right now for your chance to win one of my binders complete with 3 months of laminated meal plans, grocery lists and activities. GO HERE FOR DETAILS.  It ends Jan. 5th!!! If you'd like to buy one you better hurry, I've only got TWO left. I'm already working on making another 50, but it will be another couple of weeks before they are all finished.
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!!!

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Getting Ready For Christmas~ Part THREE

Whoa, it sure gets crazy this time of year doesn't it. Seems like everyday I'm running errands like crazy and spending WAY too much money. Yesterday I went to the post office and stood in the really loooong line while trying to entertain my two year old, I shipped a package to Germany, which cost me $43, can you believe that!!! Last night on the news they said that it was the busiest shipping day of the year, just my luck :)
Here's what else I've been up to.

Decking the house with more Christmas decor,

And the dog too :)

I got new stockings this year from Rod Works.

And a few more ornaments for the tree.

This is about as far as we go when it comes to Christmas lights.

I've been working on my neighbor gifts and getting them delivered.

Finishing up the Christmas cards I got from

Tryin to be festive by wearing my elf socks I got from Target for $5.

I really like big rings :)

And got my nails done a sparkly red with a little Frosty the snowman on my ring finger.

We just sold these couches that were in our basement to make room for THIS!

We got it from Sams Club and we're going to set it up for the kids on Christmas Eve. We figured since the winters are so long here that this would be a perfect indoor trampoline. It's not too big and not too small, such a great size for smaller children. We got it for $140, they have it online too.

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Fun And Balanced Friday~ Week #13

If you're new to Fun and Balanced Fridays then start HERE!

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Quinoa is SO Good and Healthy too!

I never even knew what quinoa was about a year ago and now it's become part of our weekly menu. Here is what it looks like before it's cooked.

And this is after (you can cook the same way as rice in a rice cooker).

I got the following information from
  • Quinoa is rich in protein content. In fact, it is a complete protein as it contains all the essential amino acids, especially lysine, which is required by the body to grow and repair tissues.
  • It has high content of manganese in it, which acts as antioxidant in the body and helps it get rid of dangerous cancer cells and other diseases.
  • The seed proved to be a good source of magnesium, which provides relief from migraine headaches, relaxes blood vessels, and decreases the risk of hypertension.
  • Riboflavin present in quinoa reduces the frequency of migraine attacks, by producing energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells.
  • The presence of potassium and magnesium in quinoa prevents clogging of arteries and hence, relieves stress on the heart.
  • Quinoa has low content of saturated fats and cholesterol, making it an ideal food for every health conscious consumer.
  • It is a good source of calcium, which is extremely important for the growth of healthy teeth, bones and skin.
  • The grain is a boon for people who are allergic to wheat and are suffering from Celiac disease, as it is gluten free.
  • Quinoa is a wonderful source of fiber for the body, which aids easy elimination and toning of colon.
  • The food is rich in carbohydrates, an efficient fuel for energy production required by children and athletes.
  • It is a good source of insoluble fiber that helps avoid gallstones, especially in women who are more prone to them.
  • The high content of copper present in it helps in oxidizing glucose, produces skin coloring agent melanin and acts as catalyst in the formation of hemoglobin. 
There are so many great quinoa recipes out there, so I thought I'd share a few. If you use my weekly meal plans then you've probably noticed that I put quinoa on there every week. It's because it's so dang healthy!!!

Here's a great looking dish from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen 

Here's some yummy looking soup from Laylita's Recipes

You can even use it to bake with, here are some delicious looking muffins from Cooking With Kimberly

I usually just have it plain, but I really need to start spicing it up a bit. You can get a 4 pound bag of gluten free organic quinoa at Costco for only $8. I think thats a pretty great price because I was just looking at places online to buy it and I saw prices for organic quinoa up to $60 for a 9 pound bag.

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Imma Model ~ ~ ~ Ya know what I mean...

No I'm really not but sweet Kendra Hales, the founder and designer of Impel clothing made me feel like one for a day :) I got to get my hair and make up done and get all dressed up in her cute clothes for a photo shoot. It was so much fun and also FREEZING!!!
I wanted to share a few of the pics and videos of the photo shoot with you today. Also you're going to want to check out her website. I am TOTALLY impressed with the quality, design and affordability at Vintage Inspired Modest Women's Clothing by Impel.  Everything being priced at under $40.

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