Monday, January 14, 2013

My Favorite Green Smoothie

Everywhere you look there are recipes for smoothies, and it really comes down to what you like. Once you get over the green color and taste them, they are actually very good. I have tried many variations and finally stumbled upon my favorite simply by chance...and with what I had on hand.

Servings: 1 large glass or 2 small glasses

1/2 c. almond milk
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
2 Tbsp. PB2 (I get this from Amazon)
1/2 large gala apple (or 1 small)
1 tsp. unrefined coconut oil (i.e. Nutriva)
2 Tbsp. Stevia
2 handfuls of baby spinach
Ice (large handful)

Blend in a good blender until smooth.

I drink this every morning for breakfast, and it really does keep me going. It is also a great pre-workout drink, packed with protein and full of energy enhancers!

We really cannot put junk into our bodies and expect to look and feel good! Our bodies are machines that need premium fuel for maximum performance! 

Little Pot of Gold

As I near the big 4-0 (ok, so I have a few years...but it is a little too close for my comfort nonetheless), I think more and more about the aging process and what I can do to, at the very least, slow it down. After giving birth to three children, my body has done some crazy hormonal changes that have left me dealing with issues I had never seen before and frustrated that I should be dealing with said issues in my 30's! Breakouts, dry brittle nails, hair loss and name it. So I looked at my overall diet and realized that I had become lazy since I became a mom. Ok, maybe "lazy" is not the best word to describe being a mother. We "DO" plenty, and somehow that had become my excuse. Still an overall healthy eater, relatively speaking, I had let some of my more extensive practices go and had stopped researching new studies and products.

After talking to a fellow mom and friend, I decided to start back slowly and begin with her personal favorite, coconut oil. While the numerous benefits of this little pot of gold may be old news to many of you, it was like finding the Holy Grail for me. I began by putting it on my hands and feet, places that have forever been problem spots for me. The winters make them dry and cracked, while the summer flip flop season has all but destroyed my heels. Within days, I was seeing a difference, and the smell was good enough to eat!

Once I saw this, I decided to take the plunge and use it as a moisturizer on my face. Having had sensitive skin for my entire adult life, I was nervous. Every moisturizer I have ever tried has sent my face into a patchy mess. However, after a week, I was sold. My skin has never been clearer, smoother, more radiant...and the list goes on. The only downside is that my puppy wants to lick my face every time I put it on! (and so does my hubby! ;)

As for the health benefits, I use the extra virgin unrefined (i.e. Nutiva) coconut oil for skin, hair (haven't tried that yet, but want to!) smoothies, and baking or other dishes with a coconut flavor. For other dishes, I use the refined coconut oil (i.e. Spectrum). Even for the health rookie, this is an EASY change to make. I buy mine off of Amazon (2 15oz jars for $17.58); and a little goes a long way, so they will last you awhile. I wish I could adequately describe how much better I feel with just this simple change. It just may give me the boost I need to keep on going and do more!!

Please let me know if you try it or have tried it before as well as any tips you may have. I am constantly looking for more ways to use this amazing oil!

The Learning Curve...

Even with the best intentions, I find myself finally making a post...more than a year after my last. Maybe I should stop promising to do better? Or maybe I should just buckle down and make time for something I love. Part of my New Year's resolutions included time for myself, for the things that make me happier and a better person, wife, mom, woman. The people in this picture are reason enough to do that.

The past couple of years...ok, maybe more like three-four years...have been a journey of sorts. Finding out more about myself, deciding what I believe in, what I stand for in life. So much of my life has been dictated to me, decisions made for me. Now, that is not to say that I am not responsible for those decisions or the results of those decisions. I simply came to a point where I knew that I was simply doing what others wanted me to do and that I would never be truly happy or find the spiritual growth I needed unless I found those things for myself.

While this is no excuse, these ups and downs/twists and turns have simply held my focus leaving little room for much else. With that being said, I truly feel that life is now back on track; and I am ready to embark on the next stage of my journey - implementing all that I have learned into my daily life. Please pray for me as I do this, that I will have strength, that I will be able to make time for this journal of growth, and that I will continue to learn and grow physically and spiritually each and every day.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Upwards Soccer

So what could be more of an indication that fall is on its way than the introduction to soccer season?  Ok - football season...but soccer is right up there on the list. I cannot express how excited I am that the boys will be involved in this sport. Growing up in the Midwest (apparently Ohio is still considered as such - go figure), soccer was the sport of choice for alot of kids. We spent our fall months crunching through leaves to the fields, often bundling up to weather the rain and the occasional snow, cheering our team on to victory. Ah the memories... Almost 20 years later, I have the pleasure of reliving those memories as I follow my boys around, Tarheel foldup chair in tow...proud mama cheering my athletes on to victory (minus the snow :).

This is Xander's first time playing soccer. He has played baseball for several years but never really got the hang of it...nor did he really care to. So you can imagine my surprise when he jumped feet first into soccer with an intensity I did not know existed within my academic ten-year-old. Watching him hustle like I've never seen him do, picking himself up and diving right back in when knocked to the ground, this proud mama's heart swelled with pride.

If he is THIS intense for his first game, I can only imagine what an exciting season this will be...
And then we have my sweet Cade...

This is actually Cade's second season playing soccer; however, the first time he played was two springs ago, and the organization in which he played was disorganized to the least. I sincerely doubt he learned very much. Cade is a natural athlete and takes whatever sport is at hand quite seriously. It was no surprise that he did the same with soccer, even to the point of extreme frustration when he made a simple mistake. We have alot of work to do harnessing Cade's emotions, but I believe with all my heart that sports will help tremendously.

As you can see, Shane was somehow "roped" into coaching Cade's team; but I assure you, very little coercing was involved. He is an amazing coach and loves nothing more than being a part of his boys' athletic endeavors. I have no doubt we will see this trend throughout their athletic careers.

And lastly, we have the soccer moms... My dear friend Angelina and I found some precious moments to catch up on the sidelines while cheering our blondies on. You just can't put a pricetag on good friends, and she is among the best.

I am so grateful for this opportunity for our boys to be a part of such an awesome sports program that will allow them to learn the fundamentals of soccer and character building principles, all based on a Christian foundation. It's going to be a great fall...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Extreme Home Makeover...the Cheap Edition...

Ok - so I hate the word "cheap" too. I don't know why. Maybe because it has such a negative connotation...or because it makes me feel "cheap," which for some reason I equate to "white trash" (or in our part of the country - "redneck"). Whatever the case may be, our home needs a complete upgrade, and we can't really afford it. So while "cheap" may be a swear word in my house...I need to make our home renovations just that..."cheap"! So I have been asking some of my more creative friends and searching the web for good, inexpensive (much nicer word!) ways to take what I have and make it new. I will be recording our progress here and on my other blog "The Simple Things" over the next few months...ok, who am I kidding...year(s). Neither of is are extremely crafty, but I am determined to do this ourselves. We may need marital counseling by the time we are through (kidding...kinda), but I am hoping this will be an enjoyable project that we can work on together and look back with satisfaction at all we learned and accomplished as a team. Wish us luck! (cuz we're definitely gonna need it! :)


Needless to say, I never imagined our pictures would turn out as great as they did! Somehow Byron was able to capture sweet expressions somewhere in the sea of sour ones. For this alone, I commend him. However, he went above and beyond even that. Now to figure out what sizes to order and where to put them...because it is obvious I will not just be able to pick a few. My walls are about to be covered in these priceless jems. Here is just a small sample...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Family Pictures

Please excuse the new "autumn" background and colors. They are only temporary. I simply needed to update the picture, and this was the best updated one I had of the boys. However, today we woke up at the crack of dawn (and I do mean that literally) to get our family pictures made. Mind you, the last Golden Family pictures that were taken occcured when Cade was a baby...over 6 years ago. So this was a BIG deal! Because North Carolina is so freaking HOT and we wanted outdoor pictures, we had to do this at 7am on a Saturday. Yippee. Hayes was in bed by 7pm and the other two by 9pm last night, but they all woke up bright and cheery so it was well worth it. Of course mama was up at 5am so that she was ready in time to get everyone ELSE ready...but we won't dwell on that fact. :) We took off at 7am-ish, coffee in tow. Two and a half hours later - and a milkshake bribe, we have what we hope will be a nice collection of family pictures to decorate our walls and send out at Christmas. No telling if this actually HAPPENED...given the coaxing and threatening we had to endure with the youngest of the bunch, but we remain optimistic. We used a former student of ours, Byron Aynes, an up and coming photographer. Awesome kid, and talented. I first saw his pictures on his Facebook page and instantly loved his style. We wanted "unique" and he was unique. I am excited to see where he ends up - kid is crazy smart and gifted. Five locations in two and a half hours - can't wait to see them! But when all is said and are just pictures. Yes, I stressed. I fretted. I agonized over outfits, hair, and bedtimes...but at the end of the day, these are pictures of my husband, my children, my life. The things I hold dear are in these pictures. So they will be Amazing. Breathtaking. Mine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Xander: A Good Influence On His Mama

So it's been awhile since I even looked at this blog...obviously, right?! So long that it took me an hour just to rememer enough information to get a password reset sent to my current email address (which was NOT the email address I had several years ago...clearly). And what, may you ask, promted this sudden interest in my ever so forgotten and neglected blog?!? That's 10 year old son. Leave it to Xander to help his poor mother find her way back. Not that I have a great deal of faith in my ability to maintain this blog a second time around, but maybe the fact that he and I are currently sitting side by side blogging away on our respective sites...quality time sharing something we both love and enjoying doing...will encourage me to post more frequently than before. We will see...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Christmas 2008

This year for Christmas, we celebrated Christmas at home. Now that the boys are getting older, it is important to Shane and me that we create some Christmas memories here; therefore, we planned to leave the day after for my parents' house up north. Christmas Eve, we went to the candle-light service at church then drove around looking at Christmas lights (all in 70 degree weather...hmmm...). After our annual "light criticizing" tradition (started by the Loudenslager side of the family), we returned home for our Christmas Eve dinner. The boys were excited because I allowed them to have the "fancy" glasses and sparkling grape juice...oh, what little it takes to make them feel so special! Once the dishes were cleared, we sat down to open the traditional "one present" which, of course, is always a pair of brand new pajamas to wear that night. We finally set out the milk and cookies for Santa, oh, and the "presents" Xander insisted we must give Santa this year. He was concerned that Santa gave all of the children of the world so many gifts, yet no one ever gave him any gifts other than cookies and milk. I wrapped some packages that contained a "scarf, hat, and gloves" to be set out beside the treats and cards from the boys. Oh, the lies we tell...I'm sure I will answer for every one of them someday. But the joy on my children's face as they plan and speculate...I wouldn't trade for anything. Finally, we convinced them that it was time for bed by saying that Santa certainly would not arrive until they were sound asleep; and that was when our work began...
Hayes didn't really know what was going on, but he seemed to enjoy the excitement.

The boys were SO EXCITED to receive a note of appreciation from Santa...he MUST have LOVED his gifts! :)

Cade was able to fully understand what was going on this year, so it was fun to watch him get into the festivities!

Shane surprised us all by buying a "family gift." He wrapped the ingredients for S'Mores for us to open, then ushered us onto the back deck to find our very own firepit! We have been wanting one for some time (especially the resident pyromaniacs), so this was VERY exciting to us all! Come to find out, Shane had put it together after I had gone to bed the night before! Needless to say, he got very little sleep that night! Since the day was unseasonably warm, we spent the rest of the day outdoors with the fire. The whole day was relaxed and pleasant, just spending time together as a family. This is what memories are made of...

Friday, January 23, 2009

The day after Christmas, we journeyed up to Temperance, Michigan to visit my family. Because my brother's girlfriend (who lives here in Greenville, NC) was going with us and had to work on that day, we waited until she got off work at 5pm and then left to drive through the night. Just for the record, I am NOT a fan of driving through the night due to safety reasons; however, it IS easier as far as the kids are concerned, and we DID end up making record time (which was a BIG deal to my competetive husband!). As you will see from the following pictures, it was a wonderful visit packed with fun-filled activities that the boys have continued to talk about since.
Cade took a special liking to my grandmother and could be found at various times throughout the day in her room just chatting away about anything and everything he could think of to talk about. In the above picture, he had bundled his stuffed "friends" in one of her chairs and had asked that she babysit them while he was away for the afternoon. Yes, he was completely serious...

Grandma and Papa got the boys a Wii for Christmas, so you can imagine how excited they were...and what we've been doing since Christmas.
Chucky Cheese

In a desperate attempt to burn some pent-up energy, we took the boys to Chucky Cheese one afternoon for lunch and games. Because of the holidays, it had to be the most crowded I've ever seen any Chucky Cheese...ever; therefore, the noise was a deafening roar, and we were questioning our decision. Fortunately, we made it out in one piece and the boys were sufficiently exhausted. Mission accomplished...

Ice Skating

Strapping on our rental skates and saying a prayer, we were banking on the fact that we remembered how to stay upright on the ice. After 10 years, I wasn't quite sure I would; however, I was relieved to find that my legs remembered the routine and my ankles weren't as wobbly as I had expected them to be. Not that I was ready for the Olympics or anything, but at least it wasn't probable that I would eat ice chips on my first venture back in the rink. Xander and Cade were making their debut, struggling to hold onto their "walkers" as they inched along the wall. Determined to do it on his own and declining any offers of assistance, Xander worked tirelessly and was actually able to go solo by the end of the hour. Cade, on the other hand, was more than happy to prop his skates on the bottom rung of his walker and allow anyone willing and able to push him around the rink. Once again, a perfect picture of our boys' individual personalities!

New Year's Eve
In true Britton Family fashion, New Year's Eve went from being a small, quiet (as quiet as MY children allow anything to be) family gathering to being a full-fledged mini-Britton family reunion! (and by comparison, I really do mean "mini") By mid-afternoon, in addition to our crew, we had Uncle Mark, Aunt Margaret, and Julianne from Canada; Uncle Rob, Aunt Arleita, and Michael from the Cleveland area; and Evangeline and Dempsey on the way up from Cincinatti! Playing games and catching up, the day flew by; and before we knew it, we were bringing in the New Year!

Evangeline and Dempsey

Michael and Uncle Rob

Becca and Steve

Uncle Mark, Julianne, and Dempsey

Cade and Aunt Margaret

Snow Fun in Michigan
Well, we didn't get as much snow as we thought we might while up north, but that didn't stop the boys from getting out and having some fun! Papa and Shane took them out sledding and had a blast in spite of a few bumps and bruises along the way!

"Class of '93" Mini-Reunion

After the Alumni Game at SLCS, Steve Worley invited several of us "Class of '93"-ers back to his house so that we could catch up on life while our children ran around like lunatics. Fortunately, we were all used to the noise; therefore, it didn't bother anyone at all. It was amazing that so many years had passed, yet we were all able to pick up right where we left off. I wish the years wouldn't get away from us like they do, but life has a way of making it difficult to keep in touch as much as we would love to do so. However, I can't help but thank God for the wonderful friends He gave me so many years ago and for allowing us to be able to maintain that friendship near or far, whether we talk every day or once a year! I am truly blessed!

Burke and Christen Davis

Steve and Joy Francis

Steve and Leah Worley

Keeping Up With Xander

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Cade's Chronicles

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The Days of Hayes

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