Pausing Time

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Evan isn’t ready to grow up to be a bug boy just quite yet. He thinks if he hides his eyes, he will stop getting taller, that he will be pausing time. 

Bubby, we feel it too.

Pittsburgh Children’s Museum

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

 

If you ask the kiddos behind this blog, they are owed a trip to The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. And rightfully so. It’s been awhile since our last visit, and let’s be honest, this summer hasn’t been all that outdoor play friendly. Well, they’ll be happy to know that this mama who loves deals has found out that the Children’s Museum has a great list of events that are at a discounted rate this month. The information below was shared with me by US Family Guide – a great resource for parents trying to raise happy kids! 

There’s lots of creative, fun and educational exhibits to explore throughout the Children’s Museum … in fact, Play Is On Sale! this Summer at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh! Enjoy Museum admission discounts* and giveaways every day of the week through August 29, 2014. 

Fantasy Weekends (Saturdays & Sundays)
All Museum visitors dressed in a costume relating to the weekend’s theme receive $3 off admission:
Dress like an Alien, Monster or Space Hero- August 16-17
Dress like an Animal – August 23-24

Member Mondays
Museum members park free (as space permits) and have a chance to win prizes.

T-Shirt Tuesdays
Free Museum t-shirt to the first 200 children visiting the Museum

Weather Wednesdays
Child admission for children 2 and up is based on that day’s forecasted high temperature for Pittsburgh, PA, by the National Weather Service, as forecasted at 5:00 pm the previous day. e.g. 73 degrees = $7 child admission, 87 degrees = $8 child admission, etc.

If purchasing tickets online, use code WEATHER when checking out to receive the discount!

Throwback Thursdays
Child admission = $7 – the child admission price in 2004 when we opened the expanded Museum.

If purchasing tickets online, use code THROWBACK when checking out to receive the discount

Hot Dog Friday
A free hot dog to the first 500 children visiting the Museum

*Play Is On Sale admission discounts (Weather Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays and Fantasy Weekends) cannot be combined with other admission discounts.

Hours
10:00 am – 5:00 pm Every Day
Our Studio and MAKESHOP close at 4:30 pm daily.

Latest Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh Deals can be found at Pittsburgh Kids Guide
Get more details about the Children’s Musuem here!

My Pink Bubble

It’s a Saturday morning. The kids are spending an overdue weekend with their Pappy and Unca Jack. Greg is sleeping. The sun rose at 6:26 and I’ve been wide awake with the dogs ever since. I just told a friend that I was not sleeping on my couch but busy making my dreams come true.

And these are the kind of dreams that require me to be up in the stillness. They require me to be listening for God’s voice within the quiet. They require me to work on relationships with my family and friends. And yes, they require me to set goals and not stop until I meet them.

You see, three weekends ago, I was waking up in Columbus. It was time to leave the city that had me in my pink bubble for three full days of learning, growing, and celebrating. I was there for the Thirty-One National Conference. Yup, I am a bag lady and sell bags have a passion for helping other women have fun, became strong, and lead purposeful lives. This became very clear to me between speakers, tears, hugs, and 52 pages of notes. 

As I showered that morning, I literally watched pink wash off of me and down the drain. I cried. No way was I going to let leaving Columbus and heading back to my “9 to 5″ (ha ha ha) burst my pink bubble and take away from me the things I got in return from this wonderful company that I am a consultant for. Things like…

  • Meeting new friends from across the Eastern US. I especially appreciate the ladies I spent a lot of time with. We laughed, we cried, we supported each other, we made a ‘lil family. I am eternally grateful for what you all brought to the table (quite literally) and did to build each other up. Next year, I’ll bring more tissues.

 

  • Singing praise and worship songs with the founder’s husband and his band. 15,000 women singing together is a beautiful thing. I got to actually worship in a way I only really do when I go back to the beach – standing, raising my hand to His glory, and singing songs like Mighty To Save (the youtube link is not of Scott and the band, but it is still an excellent song). Crying. Realizing that God has been in this all along – something I knew, but now I know.

 

  • Learning how much my Resting Place family means to me. This community that we have is full of Women on Fire, living each day with love in our hearts (thank you to Debbie Phillips for your stories on Super Day, I have your book in hand).

 

  • Being encouraged to dream bigger because I AM VERY WORTH IT by Lisa Harper, a HILARIOUS woman of faith who not only rocked leather pants but is an incredible mama to her daughter from Haiti. It made me realize even more how much of a precious gift Arianna is to me and strengthened our relationship in the time since I came home. (More on that another day.)

 

  • Hearing how fellow consultants became successful by dropping that baggage when their pink box arrived on their doorstep. Hearing about mountaintop moments from Beth Wyatt brought me to tears and helped me want to drop the crap of my past and move onward and upward.

 

  • Being told that I needed to really start living fearless and own my story (hello, blog readers, this is good things for you) while evolving to reach my highest potential. When I sat down for Robin Fisher Roffer’s session, I was worried it was going to be all about marketing but hoo buddy was I wrong. (She’s the CEO of Big Fish Marketing but delivered us a power-packed speech on how to drop the dancing bear behavior. PROUDLY, I had a session with my boss yesterday to ask him to CALL ME OUT when I am being the dancing bear. Step one of taking of my mask, complete.)

 

  • Falling even more in love with my family thanks to Leigh Anne Tuohy. Sure, her family’s story became a movie (there are rare moments when I do in fact cheer for the Ravens, and now the Titans). Sure, she did one small thing that turned a kid’s life around. Sure, she told us we have the power to rock the world just by giving (because it will change you forever). Sure, she took a moment to favorite my tweet with my favorite quote of her whole session. But, it was that quote that made me realize how amazing my family is, even when there are people prompt me to write (and recently re-share) posts like this one because they are evil and ignorant.

 

  • My hand cramped while writing down all of Bridget Brennan’s tips about Why She Buys (yeah, her book of the same title is also in hand) but in the end the big takeaway of 8 pages of notes was because of the relationship, which has since made me really look to the relationships I have in my life and what ones I needed to water (and not just so I can sell them a bag, a shake, or a blog review).

 

  • And the best moment? Texting furiously with my husband about how much I love him. Not only did he spend four nights alone with the kids, handled two house showings, and had to hear about all the nitty gritty details of this conference, but he supported and encouraged me throughout the weekend. He put the icing on the cake when I texted him about how Cindy & Scott were basically giving me free marriage counseling in the final session. yup, happy marriages need counseling sometimes, too. You see, I am driven and on the path like Cindy and sometimes I need Greg (like Cindy needs Scott) to make me play in the grass (and my job, per Greg, is to keep him out of the weeds). So. Much. Love.

 

Oh, you came here hoping my recap would spill secrets about how Thirty-One became 17th largest Direct Sales company in the world that also happens to be the leader in fastest growing companies lead by a woman (can I get a WHOOP-WHOOP for the FABULOUS Cindy Monroe?)? Oh, you came here to hear me spill secrets about the new fall line that launches on September 1? Oh, you came here to find photos of all the free gifts that I got as part of the company’s mission to Celebrate, Encourage, and Reward women? Well, you are not going to find that here. You can, however, join my Facebook group if you are addicted to these products (like I am) and want to strengthen a relationship with me over there.  We can talk shop all day any day there. Here, all you’ll find is a bunch of smiles, hugs, and moments that made the three days spent in my pink bubble more than worth it.

Brandee & Me (I am so happy to have this woman in my life!!!)

 

Just a few of my new sisters.

 

 

Hot Designs Nail Art Pens

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

In June, Arianna joined me for a girls’ day out which included pedicures. The girl is obsessed, but our piggy bank simply cannot support the obsession. When I found out about Get Hot Looks’ Hot Designs Nail Art Pens, I was certain this was going to cure the issue…and (hallelujah), I was right.

Hot Designs Nail Art Pens

The kit we received had 3 pens, each with 2 colors, a design tip, and a paint brush (for full color application). The colors were basic – black, white, blue, red, green, and pink – however, the possibilities were endless when it came to what we could do with them. Because I am a visual artist, I followed the picture instructions that came with the pens and gave myself two designs. I worked quickly because Arianna was about to wake up and I knew I’d be discovered and her demand a design herself. Practice (and patience) with these pens makes perfect. 

My first two are not something to hang in a museum (or to enter in the Got Hot Looks’ Summer Giveaway contest to win a $250 Target Giftcard), but they worked for me!

Before starting to design on Arianna’s nails, I decided to test taking off the polish. It was thicker than the polish I am used to (the base is just one coat!), so I wanted to see how hard it was going to be to take off if I messed up. The polish got a little gummy, but was otherwise just like taking off any other polish.

Next up, it was Mommy & Me time with Arianna. Her pedicure is well worn, but she loves it (and will ’til the very end), so we focused on her fingers. She wanted a ladybug, a disco ball, some dots, and her initials. I believe that I delivered! Her hands are still very tiny, so instead, head over to my Instagram and check out this video that I took while using the pens. :)

We were impressed, and cannot wait to try out some more designs. The Hot Designs Nail Art Pens are definitely going to become part of our beauty regimen, and we’d love to hear that you’ve given them a try, too! You can find out more about these pens at GetHotLooks.com  / Facebook / Twitter  / pick up your own (suggested retail value is $14.95). OR, you can take a chance to get a set for yourself for FREE right here on the blog. What do you say? Ready to Create hot, fun and unique designs on your nails right at home? Let’s go.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

A little side note about shipping…The pens arrived on my doorstep on a hot day – the delivery driver had no idea that there was a fragile substance inside, so they got a little warm on the porch. I was VERY glad this didn’t hinder our fun or make the paint in the pens act any differently than expected. 

Creative Bioscience Part 2

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

A few weeks back, I shared with you some details on some weight loss supplements and promised a follow-up. To be honest, life happened, and I forgot to circle back and share. Kids – it happens as you get  older. Anyways.

There were two products I wanted to have some more time with, if you recall:

I was also sent a bottle of the rcc 1234 which is a 4-day rapid colon cleanse. We’ll be going to Aruba very soon, and I haven’t been feeling quite myself, so this might be an option I include after the holiday weekend to feel back to my normal self. It’s to be used to supplement any part of your diet, so I am expecting it to go smoothly with my current plan.

And finally, I was sent the eac 1234, an energy and appetite control supplement. I am most excited about this one because it’s one I feel strongly that it’s okay to take.

The rcc 1234: I used to not think that cleanses were all that okay, but my mind has changed. You see, there are times and places when it makes sense…just don’t you go and think a cleanse that’s just a pill or just drinks is going to cut it for you. Sometimes, we really do need cleaned out. If you feel like you just need to get back on track, the rcc 1234 could be an option to consider. Be prepared to spend 4 days feeling a little “off” – c’mon, it’s ridding itself of years of toxins and gunk, you should feel a little different. Be sure to check with your doctor before considering this (or any other cleanse).

–> Results? Weight loss was minimal for me (~1 pound). I’ve been on a 3-year journey to get to the point I am, so my body has pretty much been ridding of toxins for a while. My results do not mean there wouldn’t be changes you’d notice if you tried.

The eac 1234: Upon reading a little bit more about this product, I found it has a laxative included. Sorry to divulge here, but I don’t need to add that to my already looser than normal system (see 3 years of eating healthy). Initially, I was pumped to test out the energy and appetite suppression, but the laxative factor made me nervous. A few days in, I did notice more energy without the jitters, but stick by the fact that I much prefer natural energy boosters (like exercise) to give me what I need.

–> Results? No noted weight loss, I think my stomach is much adjusted to my caloric intake (been plateauing for months), but this didn’t cause a drop.

Conclusion

I get it that there are people who need help with weight loss via supplements – this product could very well work for someone who needs it. While I enjoyed getting to test, my original thoughts were confirmed — MY body relies on veggies, lean meats, and exercise to make big changes. That’s MY reality, so if this is a product you think you’d like to try, visit creativebioscience.com and talk to your doctor to make the best decision for you.

Source: creativebioscience.com

Healthy Fried Green Tomatoes

Remember the other night when I really wanted to share with you the post about our dinner? Thanks for holding out on me, because I think you will find it worth it. I present…

Healthy Fried Green Tomatoes

These were a hit in my family, and hopefully you’ll take a half an hour out of your summer and give them a try, too. For the record, I stress again that they were a hit because Greg did not like tomatoes at all when I met him. So much so, I couldn’t hold them down when I was pregnant with Evan. And I love tomatoes, y’all. (Have you met my other kid who plants cherry tomatoes just so she can eat them all summer long?) So trust me on the tomatoes. Here’s what I need you to do.

1. Take the family shopping. Truth be told, I much prefer the selection at our local Farmer’s Market to anything I’ve seen when it comes to green tomatoes. The harder, the better. Kudos to you if you are a gardener and have some handy. This mama just doesn’t have time for that! 

2. Slice the tomatoes sort of thick – about 3/8″ thick. We sliced up 2 to make plenty for our family of four.

3. Dip the slices in egg whites.

4. Dip the slices in a mixture of breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, onion seasoning, and garlic seasoning with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar.

5. Place the slices on a cookie sheet that you’ve sprayed with EVOO spray.

6. Pop them in a 425 degree oven for about 16 minutes, flipping them over at the half way point.

While you are waiting, you might as well prep some bacon and turn them into BLT’s. They are just fine to eat by themselves or with a little bit of tomato sauce on top, but there’s something magical about adding them to bacon, lettuce, and some cheese (bonus points if you can find “Thunderjack” at your local grocery store). Put them on wheat bread, and enjoy as we did.

You’re welcome.

And yes, Greg and I head upstairs to watch Fried Green Tomatoes when we were done. After he shared this photo to Facebook, of course. :)

Fried_Green_Tomatoes

#SIMPLEGiving Starts Young

Disclosure: Below is information that was provided to me about the SIMPLEGiving  program. I chose to participate on behalf of Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

Did you know that 16 million American children live in poverty? Many of these kids don’t have reliable access to the nutritious snacks that help them thrive and succeed both academically and socially.

This fact glared me in the face as I read the email from TheMotherhood asking my family to participate in a Champions for Kids / Dole Game Day Great #SIMPLEGiving Blog Tour and Twitter Party. Let me be for real, hunger is real and I didn’t need an email to tell me that but I did need to take a moment and remember this.

You see, there are kids on our street that run off the 3:12 school bus to empty homes. There’s no one home to ask them if they’ve had a good day. No one home to celebrate the challenges they overcame. No one home to help them power through 5 pages of homework. No one home to provide a healthy snack to fuel them to be thrivers. This breaks my heart, but there is something we can do to help out. 

Here’s what The Motherhood had to share with me:

Throughout the month of August, Champions for Kids is partnering with Dole to encourage community projects across the country benefiting children in need. Called SIMPLE Service Projects, the idea is to host or organize an event to collect snack foods that you would then donate to a local organization that serves children in need, such as a food pantry, after-school program or daycare center.

As our SIMPLE Service Project, my family and I will be collecting snack foods (single servings of non-perishable items – the healthier, the better) to donate to our local food bank so that the kids on our street don’t have to go hungry. We’re a family of snackers, and I am 100% certain it’s why we have the health we do. Always fueling our bodies to be thrivers. I can’t imagine how the ‘lil ones who come home hungry after a long day of school must feel having to wait until dad or mom gets home at 6 or 7 to get dinner started. And I don’t want to miss an opportunity to help out. We’ll be having a “Fire Pit Friday” this week, inviting our family and friends (hey, that’s you!) to join us and get some fresh air – all we ask in exchange is that you bring a snack food donation. We have a goal to fill up 10 of these totes – and I’d love to see the look on the kids’ eyes if we can make it happen.

We’ve always believed that giving starts young – and this drive is no different. The kids don’t really get it when I tell them there are hungry kids all around us, kids without snacks to give them the energy the need to run and play or the brain power to count to 10. Yet, they have giving hearts and know that it’s our duty to help others out when we have a ‘lil extra. (How awesome is it that Champions for Kids agrees, “Helping others does not have to come in large doses. Champions for Kids seeks to ignite generational change by fostering a ‘habit of giving’ among youth and parents in America.”?!?! Love, love, love this.

Hopefully we’ll see you  on Friday with some snacks. I promise chocolate and hugs in return.

Want to help out? Comment below and I’ll be in touch with more details. 

Can’t make it but want to have your own SIMPLE Service Project? Visit Champions for Kids for more information and to share the project you take on for the cause in your life. Share with us, too! 

Coming to the event and not sure what to bring? Here are some suggestions from Dole: 

  • Dole offers a number of terrific, portable and nutritious snacks perfect for game day, including Dole Fruit Bowls and Dole Fruit Squish’ems.
  • Dole Fruit Squish’ems squeezable fruit pouches are a delicious and nutritious snack that is just a fun squeeze away. Fruit Squish’ems gives parents an easy way to get more fruit/healthy snacks into their kids’ diets. Each pouch contains 1 Full Serving of All Natural Fruit that has 60 calories and contains 20% daily value of vitamin C. Dole Fruit Squish’ems is made with Fresh Apples only from the USA and have no High Fructose Corn Syrup or any artificial flavors.
  • Dole Fruit Bowls come in many varieties, including fruit in 100% juice, fruit packed in gel, or fruit with no sugar added. Dole offers lots of choices, such as pineapple, tropical fruit, pears, peaches, apples and more, so there is something for every taste.

Ice Cream Fundae

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

I might be all into eating healthy, but that doesn’t mean I won’t take a break and enjoy some ice cream this summer. That’s why you will find Evan and I tasting and voting on our favorite flavors at the Pittsburgh Zoo on Sunday, August 17 for Pressley Ridge’s Ice Cream Fundae.

source: Pressley Ridge

 

In its 20th year, this event brings Pittsburghers to the Zoo for ice cream tasting and family activities. Attendees will vote on their favorite flavors, and funds raised will go to help Pressley Ridge continue to serve their mission to give families support when it’s needed most.

We’ll be learning more at the event (and sharing with you later), but would love to say hi to anyone who attends that night. Tickets are available for purchase through the Pressley Ridge website. There is a VIP option as well as general admission starting at FREE for kids ages 3 and under, $10 for 4 and up, and $25 for over 12. Tickets include all-you-can-eat ice cream, face painting, zoo admission, and more.

She’s Going Away

Where is Mommy going NOW?!?!?!

Evan’s words just pierced my heart. If I got asked once, I got asked a million times if I had to go to work this weekend. The struggle of having a working mom for a mom is real, y’all.

We had just finished an amazing dinner. We all four sat down, pretty much little to no distractions. All were mostly present in the moment. I’ll admit – I was guilty thinking about a blog post I really wanted to write about the meal, so I wasn’t completely there, but I was there

And yes, we were all going to do our own thing for a few moments of peace before bringing this weekend to a close. Evan was headed to watch Kiara the Brave. Arianna wanted some time on her Kindle. I was going to write the post that was running through my head. Greg was going upstairs to catch the game (which we’ve been DVR’ing), but before he went upstairs, he checked the front door as he always does before heading upstairs (security guard in him and all).

That’s when the question came.

Where is Mommy going NOW?!?!?!

And my brain went from sharing a recipe with yinz to pouring out my ‘lil heart. My ‘lil man didn’t want me to go anywhere any time soon. He’s tired of me always leaving, running here or there and not being here with him. It’s reality, but it doesn’t make it any easier. And it’s not that easy on me, either, kiddo.

July was a busy month for us. Greg and I went to Aruba. Greg’s parents and sister visited. I’ve been busy at work because it is financial year end and beginning. I went back to Columbus to get inspired and motivated for my business (and future). It’s not been our normal schedule, and ‘lil Man is not liking it.

It’s hard to say I’ll just snap my fingers, change my ways and be here for him. Because if any0ne truly knows me, they know that me being up and moving, doing, being, is what I do best. Even when I am not feeling well. It is just how I roll. And to truly be here for him, I really do have to be the best me I can.

I think a Mommy/Evan date is in the works (sneak peek was posted if you are following me on Twitter, more to come tomorrow here on the blog). That’s a start. As is taking more time for that Newer Me I keep telling myself I am going to be. She’s fun. She’s happy. And she’s really going to be here more for you, kiddo. Pinky promise.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my baby boy would like some snuggles.

SundayMoment

A Newer Me

If you follow me on Facebook, I know some of you are probably like “oh, no. Not another Becky post”…

BUT I have to share the fillings my cup got last week, and that means more and more sharing from this shareaholic. More about my daily life (which isn’t always gravy, and you need to see that side of me). More about the kids (have you liked my blog Facebook page?). More about the bags and accessories I am obsessed with. More about the God who made me, molded me, and saved me (and proved to Greg Willis and I TWO TIMES yesterday that He has our back). And more about my fit life and, yup, weight loss and motivation for YOU to be the healthy you that’s right for you.

Anyways, I stopped posting my weight loss for a few reasons. People did get tired of it. Some may have been struggling themselves and couldn’t stand seeing my successes. And it humbled me, but made me lose something 99% of you have been…my AMAZING SUPPORT SYSTEM. So it is starting again.

I survived the holidays at my lowest. Got inspired again by my friend and Resting Place pal, Pam, and dropped a few pounds in January. Then, in February,  my work world changed. I sat in a war room every day until this week. It meant little steps.  Cafe. Pizza. Skipping meals. Getting home very late. Going in very early. Forgetting about ME. I luckily survived with a plateau at 174.

Recently, however, I became a Beachbody Coach for two reasons. One, I need my own accountability. If I tell someone how to be healthier, I need to be healthier. Two, I have inspired a lot of you and I HEAR YOU. LOSING WEIGHT AND FEELING GREAT IS NOT EASY. I want us all to be Thrivers (more on that soon!). I want all my loved ones around, and I know you all may not have the support and accountability my dietitian gave me. So, here I am. A coach.

A coach who lost 2.5 pounds almost immediately doing Piyo. A coach who skipped Piyo two days last week and still ran at Marathon Relay pace with no running in 4 weeks. TWICE. A coach that ate pizza, kicked back, had ice cream and cocktails then gained 4 pounds back last week. A coach who came home to a husband (who is also a coach if you are a guy and like nope…not going to a girl for advice) with a ton of energy and ab definition just from drinking Shakeology three days while I was gone…paired with pizza and chef boyardee. A coach who has lost 5 pounds since Monday and is SUPER proud to tell you she is 0.2 pounds from her low that hit before Aruba. A coach who used to teeter toward the 300 pound mark and is VERY close to hitting 50% weight loss.

Most importantly, tho, I am a Coach who wants to help and support you like you’ve done for me. So even if it is not jumping on my new venture, know I am here for you. That’s why you will see a newer me out there, at least on Facebook and Instagram.  And Twiiter? I’m coming back for you. Trust me. Loves yinz’all.

Need some inspiration or information?  Let’s talk. Comments, email, or any of the links above get you straight to my phone and into my heart.

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Mama and the 'lil Burghers are part of a #FitFamily

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