Wednesday, September 20, 2017

5 Must Try Autumn Recipes

We Thriving Wives don't tend to hide our love of Autumn and all the pumpkin goodness that comes along with it. Bake-a-palooza is already in full force at home and here are a few more recipes that are a MUST try!

1. Pumpkin Donut Holes a la Damn Delicious 

There is nothing, I repeat nothing not to love about donut holes. Add in the fact that they are pumpkin in nature and I am, so, in.

2. French Onion Soup a la Food Network

Aside from all things pumpkin spice, nothing screams Autumn more than delicious, hot soup. Top with a baked on layer of cheese to that soup and you trust, you neednt say more.

3. Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna a la Julia's Album

I adore butternut squash almost as much as I do spinach  Put them together and add some ooey gooey cheese and I think that sounds like a match made in heaven!

4. Honeycrisp Apple Sangria a la Sally's Baking Addiction

As a Sangria lover, I am always thrilled to stumble upon a new recipe. These fall flavors coming together into a sweet seasonal cocktail sounds nothing short of divine.

5. Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies a la Cooking Classy

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are already my favorite. Now you want to step it up a notch and make them pumpkin-oat chocolate chip cookies?! Ummm, yes please!

These are all sure to make an appearance in my kitchen in the upcoming months. What recipes are you dying to try? Any favorites you think I can't miss?!

Strive to thrive, 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday's Thriving Thought - Take Over Control

You want it, go get it.

You are not helpless. You are completely capable of any change you want to see in your life.

I a not one to sit and listen to the those who discuss what they "wish" they would do. Wishes are made to come true, so take action, take control and Get. It. Done.

You want a change? MAKE IT! You want to see your life be different? DO IT! Life is far too short to be stuck in things that make you unhappy. Anything that creates negative energy is not worth it, so take control to live in the positive.

That fat suit your wearing bothering you? Tired of "trying" to make changes? Then stop "trying" and start DOING. Yeah, unzip that nasty thing and step out as the fit and healthy person you want to be.

Hate the fact you are lonely due to your negative nature? Take a mini vacation, reconnect with who you are and love yourself to be open to loving others. Press reset on your life and take over the control you lost. There is only ONE person who can make changes and make you happy... now, walk to your bathroom, and take a good look in the mirror it is YOU!

The next time you hear that whiny voice making excuses and filling you with self doubt and fear, you silence it. No. More.

We all have the ability to be and do whatever we want. I am not saying it is going to be easy, but if it isn’t hard is it really worth doing? Probably not.

Decide what you want from your life and go get it. Turn on that ambition, that motivation and TAKE OVER CONTROL! You can do it, believe it and never, ever let anyone (especially yourself) say you can’t.

Strive to thrive, 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Recipe - GameDay Jalapeño Popper Pizza

Football season is back in full swing which for most means Sunday, Monday and Thursday night dedication. To me, it means FOOD!

Here is my personal take on a tasty GameDay recipe, Jalapeño Popper Pizza, from no other than Damn Delicious...duh. 

Gooey, spicy and oh so perfect with a cold beer while cheering on your favorite team...Go Niners!

First, preheat oven to 450 degrees F and coat a baking sheet/pizza pan with olive oil.

I am obsessed with the Trader Joe's Sweet & Spicy Jalapeños, so obvi I needed to use them for this recipe. They pack a ton of sweet heat and I cannot get enough!

In a small bowl, combine jalapeños, olive oil and shallot, set aside. 

Sprinkle the cornmeal where you plan to roll out your dough. Create a 12-inch pizza (or do your best to make it round if you are me) and transfer onto your baking sheet/pizza pan.

Spread cream cheese over the top, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with jalapeño mixture and of course, more cheese.

Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is nice and melted. 

Enjoy with friends and family wearing your GameDay best!  

What are some of your favorite GameDay menu picks?

Strive to thrive, 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

8 Easy & Affordable FALL-tastic Decorations

Come cool weather or not (more so on the not), when Labor Day weekend is time to decorate for Fall. I dare say I enjoy decorating for Fall more than Christmas sometimes. I mean it gets to stay up way longer and it is waaayyy less involved. Plus, after a long Spring and Summer getting back into the decorating spirit is a welcomed activity!

Here are my eight favorite and super affordable ways to sing Fall-a-lejua all throughout the house!

1. Assorted Colored Stones of Sorts. Whether marbles or jewels, big or small, anything in Fall colors will do. I have had these assorted autumn cuties for years and love that I can reuse them each season. On a platter, in a jar, sprinkled on a mantle...the list goes on! 

2. Fabric. Also something I acquired long ago, but have been so grateful to have stored away! In brown, bronze and orange, shiny and matte these signature pieces are perfect for "shwagging" any and all surfaces. With so many choices and coupons to use at the fabric store, make the tiny investment this season and you won't be disappointed when you use them again and again!

3. Sparkly Pumpkins.  When I found these minis at the Dollar Tree I snapped them up with the quickness. Something about pumpkins and glitter just really gets me going. My big guy was a 50% steal at Michael's with an additional 40% off!! I mean it was practically free which makes me love it all that much more.

4. Go-To Collection of Mini Pumpkins & Gourds. I again, have had these same supplies for years and always look forward to their annual debut. Did I also mention how incredibly easy and gorgeously green all this reusing is? With a simple sprinkle here and thought- out placement there, every surface in your house transforms making it oh so Fall-tastic!

5. Throw Pillows. These are the pillows I use year round. They are well made and have lasted a very long time. I add a vintage pillow cases in the "off season", but when Fall/Winter set in they are naked and in full force! I love their shiny burgundy color and that one side is silky smooth while the other has gold accents...they are perfect in their true form from September to December!

6. Leaves. While I personally am not a fake plant/silk flower girl, I have NO problem busting out some silk leaves in the Fall. Once you buy your first bag (or bunch depending on where you go) you will NEVER need leaves again! Also, there is no "real" leaf collecting, no "real" leaf mess and when your kids help you decorate (as mine did) there are no "real" leaves to crunch!

7. Thriving Art. This addition to my "Fall collection" is by far my favorite...and the most cost effective. Since the boys and I do art sessions pretty regularly it is easy to throw in some seasonal projects. This year, using my favorite non-toxic, water based finger paint (which was a phenom investment at Target for $10) we used fall colors to do some hand prints and smears. Once they hung to dry I simply cut them out in the shape of an autumn leaf and boom! Perfect art to add to the gallery!

8. Fall Candle. My Thriving Mommy and I have yet to get around to making an Autumn collection of our DIY candles, so I head to Target for their soy candles in my favorite scents. I can honestly tell you I burn these nonstop and am obsessed with how they make my entire home smell amazing! These are a must have when you do your Fall-fromation for sure!

With my house in "FALL" swing (ha, get it), I am starting to prepare for our big October - Outdoor Only - Halloween decorating party! The inside stays Fall-tastic all the way until we swap it out for Christmas...which I know will be here before I know it!

What are your favorite Fall accents to add to your home?

Strive to thrive, 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

10 Exercises in 10 Minutes

Summer may be quickly coming to an end, but that doesn't mean all that work you did to be bikini ready is over.

I am all about banging out a sweat session in 30 minutes or less. I am usually entertaining one to three boys, so for me the quicker the workout the better. Each week I am packing in at home kickboxing, 20 minute power cardio routines and of Daily Burn videos. But that doesn't mean I don't welcome a new workout!

My girl Jillian Michaels (as usual) has provided a quick routine to get your muscles burning and heart rate up! Just what I love!

So stop with the excuse, "I just don't have time to workout" and bang it out already. You don't need equipment or a gym just the commitment to putting your health and happiness first. GO NOW!

Four days a week do each move for 30 seconds, then repeat the entire circuit. Warm up with 5-10 minutes of cardio (jacks, jump rope, jog, stairs, chase kids) and and stretch following the workout. This is a great routine to sneak in your morning routine and get it done and out of the way for the day.

These quick exercises will rev up metabolism with bursts of energy while providing a short and sweet cardio workout that in turn builds lean muscle.

  • WALK OUT PUSH UPS - Stand with feet hip width apart, bend at hips to toes, walk hands out until back is straight (plank), push up, walk back up.
  • BURPEES - Lower into a squat and place both hands on the floor, quickly jump feet back into push up position lower chest to floor then jump feet back into squat. Jump straight up arms in the air.
  • GODDESS SQUATS - Stand with feet hip width apart, toes turned out and arms by your sides. Lower into a squat until your tush is above your heels, keeping hand in front of you. Return to start.
  • JUMPING LUNGE - Stand with feet staggered left in front. Push off using both feet to jump and switch legs midair landing in lunge position with right leg in front. Repeat landing with left leg in front.
  • SIDE PLANK POP n CRUNCH - Lie in a left side plank position, left foot slightly in front of the right, left arm straight holding up your body Put right hand behind your head then lower body and tap your left hip on the ground. Use your abs to raise back up then crunch right elbow to meet your left side. (When you repeat circuit switch sides).
  • EXTENDED PLANK HOLD - Get into pushup position with legs straight, toes on the ground and hands on the floor directly under the shoulders. Walk hands out as far as you can while still maintaining position and hold for 30 seconds. Keep body straight.
  • SUPERMAN - Lie facedown on the ground arms and legs extended. Lift arms and legs, keeping them straight and shoulder blades down until chest and knees are off the ground. Hold for  two counts then return to start.
  • TWISTING MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS - Start in a plank and quickly bring left knee to right armpit, twisting at the waist. Jump it back as you bring your right knee in to the left armpit. Alternate sides.
  • ALTERNATING LEG CLIMBER CRUNCHES- Lie on back, legs extended keeping the right leg on the ground, raise your left leg until it is perpendicular to your body, Using abs, lift upper body. Reach for your thigh with right hand then reach for your ankle with the left. Finally use both ands to grab the sole of your foot before returning to start. Repeat with alternating legs.
  • WIDE ROW IN STATIC SQUATS -  Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hold arms down, palms facing back. Squat until thighs are parallel to the floor and torso is at a 45 degree angle. Row elbows back while holding the squat. Lower arms then repeat.
So there you have it, ten exercises to get you toned and ready to take on the Autumn season quickly approaching!

What one of these exercises do you love the most? Which one would you rather avoid like the plague? Me you ask? Give me water boarding over jumping lunges any day....

Looking forward to helping you start a new week with NO excuses!

Strive to thrive, 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Start of the School Year Teacher Treats

If your kids haven't already started school, count yourself lucky...most of us are already moving along through the first quarter.

Regardless of if you've started or are getting ready to get back into the swing of the school year, it is always a good idea to prepare a little something for the teacher to show you care. As a teacher myself, it always nice to feel appreciated. And as a mommy, I now have a whole new respect for teachers...especially the preschool ones!

I typically do a homemade treat for people (coworkers, neighbors, ect) to keep the cost low and make it a bit more personal.  However, I also wanted to throw in a gift card, because let's be honest, who doesn't love a gift card? This year, I made a batch of my yummy homemade granola for the boys' two classroom teachers and a jar each for the office staff. It was a HUGE hit and so easy to do!

In addition, I thew in $10 gift card to Starbucks for the teachers. I know I love to get myself a little coffee treat before they could too...on Clarke and J.R.!

With my treats packed up, I added a bit of ribbon, Washi tape (duh), a handwritten note and of course...a personalized sticker. Thankfully I have a sweet stack of these set aside that were a gift from my girls Mrs. M and Mrs. E to use just for things like this. They know me so well!

As usual, it was a huge success. The staff felt appreciated and were so grateful for the little something this Thriving Wife loves to do. It doesn't hurt that two of the cutest boys ever handed them out with a big smile and "Thank You" to each of them!

If you aren't sure what to do for the new teacher in your life this year, I suggest at the very least a card. Just sharing your excitement for a great year ahead will not only make their day brighter but will surely trickle down to your little one too!

Happy New School Year!
Strive to thrive, 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eight Tricks to Manifesting Gratitude

I am a naturally very positive person. But, like with anything...I have my moments. Having a positive attitude and a "glass half full" approach to life is something I make a conscious effort to strive for. Much of this outlook is how Thriving Wives got it's foundation of "Strive to Thrive"; focus only on the positive and make sure your energy is aligned to feel good.

Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially for me this time of year with school starting again. Here are eight tricks I use to help in manifesting gratitude and feeling positively charged and powerful!

  • THINK IN THREES - Start off each morning identifying three things you are grateful for. The more specific you can make them the better. For example, "I am thankful to have a career which allows me to work part time. I am so lucky to have found a position in which I am able to work every other day.  I am thankful to have the opportunity to be a (majority of the time) stay at home mommy with my three boys". Say them aloud or write in a journal or share with someone.
  • CHANGE YOUR STATEMENTS. Learn language to emphasize gifts, blessings and fortune. Take a moment to think about what you are feeling and identify the positive rather than focus on the negative. For example, I struggle with having to work part time when I want to work no time so I can always be with my babies. But, I am incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to work part time when many other mommies I know do not. Therefore, when I feel saddened (typically when I have to leave in the morning) and frustrated (typically when I am leaving school) I change my statement from, "Ugh, I hate work" to "While today may have been a challenge, I am so thankful I have tomorrow to be with my boys". 
  • BE SPECIFIC. When you say thank you to someone, make sure you explicitly identify what you are thankful for. For example, I try not to just thank my Thriving Mommy for all she does for me, it's too general as she does so much. Instead I try to identify exactly what I am grateful for and why, "Mommy, thank you so much for taking the boys this morning, it allowed me an hour to focus on a great workout which made me feel refreshed and reenergized. I appreciate you offering to take them". 
  • WRITE A LETTER. Long lost is the written word...and by written I mean hand written...on paper. So, take the time to actually write (not email, not text) to someone who made a positive impact on your life and tell them how it changed you. 
  • VOLUNTEER. It is easy to see just how good you have it when you volunteer to help those in need. Donating your time is a great way to shift your perspective from what you don't have to what you do.
  • THANK OTHERS.  It is easy to thank those who directly helped you, but what about those who helped people we care about. For example, thank a caretaker who showed love to someone you care for or a nurse who made it a priority to ensure your child felt safe. My Thriving Husband recently earned a promotion and I promise you when I see those fellow fire fighters who supported him in reaching his goals, I will surely give them a heartfelt (and specific) thank you. 
  • FLIP THE NEGATIVES. There are always negatives on a daily basis. But instead of focusing on those, why not flip them to be positive. Try to identify how they helped you in some way rather than brought you down. For example, "Today was a challenging day at work, but I gained strategies to help me support a student and their learning process".
  • SHARE THE VIBES. Positivity is contagious, so spread it like wildfire. Be positive and others will naturally start to shift their perspective...or avoid you at all costs...either way, you are helping others feel good and keeping those who don't want to share in those vibes far away!
Today is a new day, so let's start feeling grateful and manifesting those feelings of positivity!

Strive to thrive,