Thursday, April 19, 2018

Self Care Series: Teeth

I've decided to start this Self Care Series to remind myself (& hopefully give you some ideas) of the things that I can do for myself that make me happy. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in being "Matt's wife" or "Kess' and Manning's mom" that I forget that I'm "Kierra" - not that I would trade those titles for anything in the world, but being "Kierra" makes me "Matt's wife" and "Kess & Manning's mom." 

The best gift I can give my family is a happy mom. Being a happy mom requires a little bit of self care.

So I thought I would start with something super basic. My mouth. My teeth. My smile.

When I was in high school I had a lot of extra time to pamper myself. I always had time to whiten my teeth, but really struggled with sensitivity. I even have a 1 small spot that hurts extra bad because it's the tooth where I always cracked open my sunflower seeds with. Softball probs.


Between my schedule getting busier and busier I stopped whitening my teeth. Somewhere in the middle of Manning's pregnancy - I felt like my smile was super dull. I fondly remembered the days when I had time to whiten while I practiced doing my makeup in different ways. But now... I throw in my Smile Brilliant whitening trays while I shower or after the kids go to bed and Matt & I are reading before bed.

Smile Brilliant sends an impression kit for you to do at home. Then you send in your dental impression and they make your custom-fitted whitening trays. The whitening process is super easy. I just put a ribbon of whitening gel into my trays, pop them in and read in bed while Matt and I wind down from our day. I usually whitening for 20-25 minutes and definitely still see progress after each whitening session. I'm so happy with how bright my smile is becoming.

While I still struggled with a little bit of tooth sensitivity, I found that if I use Smile Brilliant's Desensitizing gel right before bed - I went to sleep and woke up with next to no issues and pain. I always try to follow it up with this toothpaste, because I think it keeps teeth stains, sensitivity and plaque at bay, too.

I'm super terrible at flossing (my dental assistant sister will not be impressed with my confession.) I think flossing is so annoying. But I know the importance of it, so I bought these super handy flossers so I don't have to deal with the dang string wrapped around my finger deal. Does that bug anyone else? Ha! We keep these in our cupboard and it makes flossing a breeze!

And last but not least... this is my most favorite toothbrush. I got it from my dentist after a cleaning and a few months later I bought Matt one because he had serious toothbrush envy. ;) My teeth feel so much more clean if I use this toothbrush versus a manual brush. I truly don't like using a regular toothbrush anymore... I just can't. I'm a toothbrush snob now.

There it is. My clean/white teefer (mom life) round up! I feel a million times better if I have a white & bright smile. 

This is just the first post of the Self Care Series so get ready for some more fun!

Ok before I go-

Smile Brilliant is offering a a 15% discount to YOU! Just use the code beautifuleffort15 at checkout.

And a GIVEAWAY. Winner will get $149 Smile Brilliant credit.

Enter here ---> *Giveaway will close April 26th. 

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

My Husband is Not One of My Children

When Matt was in his snowmobile accident about two months ago he joked that he was my 3rd child.  My friends joined in and we all had a good laugh. It was funny because it felt true. Poor Matt couldn't do much of anything when it came to helping around the house or with the kids which is a big change from our normal life. For the first 2 days he couldn't walk without help. I was pretty exhausted. But, even when he was laid up on the couch & I was frazzled doing dinner or getting the kids ready for bed he would say, "hand me that baby while you do that." I would hand off Manning and finished cleaning the kitchen or whatever I had going on. He couldn't do much, but he helped how he could.

I get pretty frustrated when women refer to their husbands as their "2nd, 3rd, 4th... child." Ladies, our husbands are capable of a lot. They might have weaknesses that ruffle our feathers, but guess what? So do we. Could you imagine the uproar that would ensue if our husbands referred to us as their child. Or another mouth to feed or another person to provide for? We would be pissed. The notion that our men are incapable of real life kills me. Really? Do we think so little of our husbands?

I've seen a few videos going around on Facebook about a husband staring into a kitchen cupboard looking for something (that's right in front of his face) and she's livid because he claims it's not in there. I'm sure we've all been there. I have, but I can easily laugh it off, because Matt's been frustrated by something similar I'm sure. Maybe when I forgot to pay a bill, or can't figure out my accounting program (I'm such a good small business owner) or when I leave a pile of stuff on the counter. There is plenty for our husband's to be frustrated at, too. We can't go around berating our husbands for things that they don't have to deal with all day, everyday.

I'm part of a few mom groups that have some complaints about their husbands on there. I get it. We all need a place to vent because sometimes life can be frustrating. I think it's ok to express frustration sometimes. Find a good group of girlfriends who understand that you love that man more than anything, but who understand that sometimes life is frustrating. But believe you me, I would be mortified if my husband was typing all about my weaknesses or things that frustrate him in a "dad group." Do we not owe our men the same courtesy?

I know the house like the back of my hand and Matt knows the garage. ;) The other day I had to use a set of teeny tiny screwdrivers for one of the kids' toys. I decided to keep them in the junk drawer for easy access, after all they're tiny little screwdrivers... he probably only uses the big screwdrivers, right? Poor Matt came in after searching for them in the garage for a half hour. Ooops. I could tell he was frustrated but he hugged me and laughed it off. Why can't we do the same courtesy? Ya sometimes they don't know where the raisins are in the pantry or where one of the kids' toys is in their rooms. We can't possibly do it all - so why can't we just understand that our husbands can't do it all either.

That's the glory of forgiveness in marriage. So many little things can frustrate us, but if we take everything to heart we are going to have a sad one. So, no my husband is not one of my children, he is my partner. My most favorite teammate. Sometimes I pick up the slack, sometimes he does. It's the name of the marriage game. Marriage is perfect. We get mad and angry and irritated. It is what it is, but lets not give off the idea that our husbands can't take care of themselves or need to be treated like a child. I hope to high heaven that my husband sees me as a capable, strong person who can get shiz done. I see him that way.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I don't post recipes on my blog very often, which is kind of a bummer because I really love to cook. I love trying new recipes and perfect my favorite ones. I tend to get in a rut with food and now that I have a picky toddler... it makes things even trickier. I try to do a simple breakfast for the kids, then a fun "kid" lunch with a side of fruit or veggies and then the kids eat what we eat for dinner. Kess has started to flat our refuse dinner by claiming that she "doesn't like" whatever I happened to make. 

We've been working really hard to make sure she eats what we are having, but still be respectful of the things she doesn't like. For some reason Kess hates potatoes. Whenever we have a side of potatoes she will eat the one that we ask her to eat, but then won't eat anymore. This is the one food that she's been consistent about not liking. 

We ate homemade chicken noodle soup tonight and our dinner conversation went like this,
Kess, "I just don't like carrots."
Me, "You ate carrots in last nights dinner."
Kess,"Well I don't like chicken."
Me, "You eat chicken nuggets all the time."
Kess, "Hmm, well I don't like noodles."
Me, "You love noodles because they're in macaroni and cheese."


We aren't above bribery either. "Oh you want some ice cream, you say? Better eat all of your dinner."
We don't put a ton of food on her plate, so we don't have our sights set to high. But I'm determined to make sure she gets the best of both worlds. Kid food and nutritious food... and if I'm lucky - it's both all in one meal. ;) Manning is at the lovely stage of eating pretty much everything you put on his plate, until he's full or over it. Then he does a nice windshield wiper move and it all ends up on the floor. Or he pulls out his sassy attitude and picks up whatever he doesn't want, looks me dead in the eye and drops it on the floor. If it wasn't so annoying to clean up after him it would be hilarious. 
Ok it's kind of funny. 

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

For the noodles-
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 pinch of salt 
2 eggs
1tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup of milk

Mix all ingredients together. I knead with my hands in a bowl and then let cover and let it sit for 5 minutes. 
Roll it out on the counter with some flour & cut into strips with a pizza cutter.
I then lay them on a paper towel or a cookie cooling rack to dry out. 

For the soup-
8-10 cups of chicken broth
2-3 carrots peeled and sliced
2 stalks of celery diced.
2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded

I will either do chicken broth or mix the water with chicken bullion. Whatever is easiest or I have on hand. While that boils I start dicing the veggies. 

I'm don't typically measure spices for this recipe. I'll throw in some onion salt or minced onion and some parsley. Kess has an aversion to parsley "the green stuff" right now so I've been skipping it on occasion. Today I actually just forgot.

Tonight I served the soup with a small salad and some french bread.
Grocery hack: our family can't go through a whole loaf of french bread, even in one week so I started cutting it in thirds. We use the first third for dinner that night. Then I wrap the next two in plastic wrap and tin foil and throw them in the freezer. They thaw out fairly quickly and then I sliced, butter, put on a cookie sheet & bake at 350 until they're toasty. 

This is one of my favorite winter meals. It's easier that it looks and it's always a hit, despite Kess' ever changing preferences. ;) Matt and I sure like it.

Have a great week, you guys!

Friday, April 6, 2018

1 year in McCall

We have officially been in McCall for 1 year now. We moved to McCall in last March right at the end of the winter season and right in the beginning of "mud season" as it is called here. The first day I was incredibly nervous, the second day I cried a lot. Lots of nerves and uncertainty hit, especially since I was 7 weeks away from having Manning. But, after about 7 days in McCall - I felt so much peace and knew that we were meant to be here. We've spent previous 6 months looking for a home to buy & continued looking for another 5. Making our house search in McCall almost a year and a half long since we were looking for 4 months before we moved up here.

When we originally decided to move up here we checked into building a home and we just weren't sure if we could swing it financially. So we kept looking and looking for a home to buy. Everything that we found just didn't work. I'm not sure if we were being overly picky since we had just built a home in Nampa, or if we didn't feel right about any of the homes for a reason.

Right around Christmas time we met with a builder who does most of his work in the valley, but had recently finished a build down the street from where we are living now. We met at Starbucks and broke down our wants and shared a few plan ideas with him. He got back to us with a quote that was significantly better than any builder up here had given us. So for the next few days we went over finances, broke down the costs of homes up here for reference, and went over our finances again and again. And prayed a lot. Like - a lot a lot. A comfortable home is really big on our priority list, but we don't want to only be able to afford our mortgage. McCall offers a lot of activities and we wanted to make sure we could give ourselves those opportunities, too. 

We had a dream lot that we had been keeping our eye on for a few months and decided to pull the trigger.

 We purchased the lot at the end of January and have been designing the house every since. We are a few weeks away from breaking ground. We are waiting for the final structural plans & snow up here to melt a little. We are closer to town (about 5-7 minutes out of McCall instead of our current 20 minutes.) and close to friends. Our lot is 2 acres so we are super excited about our kids being able to run and roam.

I feel a lot better about being closer to town because the 20 minutes drive in for any errands and then the 20 minute drive home with 2 kids; 1 of which naps two times a day was getting really exhausting and I found myself not going anywhere for that reason - which leads to a little cabin fever. Matt's a little bummed to not be living across from Lake Cascade any more, but I have a feeling that we will be able to make up for that in hikes, fishing & beach days in the future.

I can't believe that we get to build again. I never thought we would. It has been so fun to recreate the things that we absolutely loved about our last house (you'll definitely see some similarities) and add in new things that match the ambience of McCall and the mountains. The house has a different layout that the last & it has been really fun to add in some rustic elements and make sure that we emphasize the gorgeous view that we are going to have (yay for big windows.) I can't wait to share the process again & hopefully I don't bug the heck out of you with all the updates.

As always - thanks for following along & sharing in the excitement with us. We appreciate it more than you know!!