Health, Love & Fire: July 2016

What's Your Reason To Get Fit

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This month I've decided to join My So-Called Chaos and a bunch of other fabulous bloggers and creatives for a big Get Fit Giveaway! We're giving away a prize pack full of fitness goodies in the winner's choice of color! July Big Get Fit Giveaway

July Get Fit Giveaway Sponsors' Answers

Since the giveaway this month is fitness related, Angie asked each of her sponsors to share with you how we enjoy staying and being healthy. Here are our answers:

What is your favorite form of fitness/healthy living, and why?

"We love to stay healthy by drinking plenty of water and getting as many fresh fruits & veggies as possible. We also try to buy organic whenever possible, all of the weird ickiness is definitely not good for our bodies!" - Hannah & Sara of The Perfect Storm "Group Classes - It's a fun way to spend time with friends and get a good workout in. I'm a part of a fitness group called Baby Boot Camp where Mom's workout together and you're able to bring your little one along in a stroller. It's a great way to get your workout in while still having your child with you." - Libby of Health, Love & Fire "I love walking. I have some back issues, so I can't do anything strenuous, but I love to walk outside and reconnect with nature." - Tabitha of A Hundred Tiny Wishes "Eating in moderation. I hate to exercise and love to eat, so this is the best way for me to stay healthy! I don't eat a lot of processed food and try to eat as organic and healthy as possible." - Andi of Misadventures with Andi "Swimming is my favorite ever. I like that I can get in a good workout without putting a lot of strain on my body - in particular my problematic feet. I especially love lazy rivers because walking against the currant is wonderful exercise!" - Kimi of Kimi Who "I consider chasing after my two toddlers everyday a form of exercise. I always try to drink a lot of water." - Ashley of Mama Designed "I love going on adventures with my husband! Hiking and exploring new cities is not only fun, but it burns a lot of calories too!" - Olya of The Siberian American July Get Fit Giveaway Sponsors "I'm a yoga person. I also have two dogs that keep me active. I live near the beach and love swimming pools too. I'm excited about Pokemon Go because it's encouraging people to walk around their city and explore!" - Brittany of Pop Shop America "I love HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)! You get a great workout in and scorch calories in a short amount of time. I also love getting out in nature and hiking to soak up some Vitamin D and fresh air." - Christine of Collectively Christine "I love to dance! While I don't get to the studio anymore, my living room is very long so I'm always dancing in there." - Amanda of Green Tea & Cotton "I love hot yoga, but more importantly I just try to stay moving. That may mean just a walk with the dog or cleaning around my house. Anything you can do to stay off the couch & moving around is so great for you mind & your body!" - Blake of Glitter Your Dash

Enter the Get Fit Giveaway

The Get Fit Giveaway will have one winner, who can choose from one of five color choice packages (pictured in the giveaway image at the top of this post.) Each package includes a Fitbit Flex, a fitness journal, an inspirational/quote water bottle (34oz), and a headband. These will all be shipped from their original sources to the winner (some from Etsy, some from Amazon) after the giveaway is over and the winner has claimed their prize. Prizes subject to availability, if something is no longer available a substitution will be made. The winner also has the option to choose to take $100 cash via Paypal instead if they choose. This giveaway is open worldwide (international winners will receive $100 cash via Paypal instead of the prize due to shipping issues) and runs from 12AM MDST on Tuesday, July 26th to 12AM MDST on Tuesday, August 9th. Entering below agrees to these and all other Terms and Conditions within the Rafflecopter widget.

Tips and Tricks For Flying With A Toddler

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A few weeks ago we went on Harper's first big trip away from home and on her first plane ride. I spent hours before we left looking up different pins on Pinterest and reading other blogs in an effort to try to be the most prepared I could be for the things that may or may not happen. To my surprise, Harper did amazing. And while I'd love to give myself all the credit, I really think it may have been some of the preparation and way we handled things that really helped make the whole process go smoothly.
We decided not to bring Harper's carseat with us. This is something we went back and forth on, and eventually decided to leave it home. After doing some research and making a few phone calls, we were able to rent a car seat through our car rental company at our final destination. Not having an extra item to worry about checking or having to haul through the airport was so nice. Once we arrived at our destination, we were able to choose from several car seats and installed it ourselves in our rental car. If you decide to do this, I would call and double check with the rental company at the location you're traveling to just to confirm they will have the size seat you need before you leave.

We decided to bring our stroller with us in the airport. This allowed us somewhere to put our bags if we didn't want to carry them, or have a place for Harper to sit and ride through the airport. They checked the stroller at each gate so we were able to keep it with us up until we boarded the plane and we picked it up at the gate as soon as we landed. This not only made our walks through multiple airports easier, it also gave everyone's arms a break from holding Harper.

I will be the first to admit I probably packed too much food in our carry ons, but I didn't want to run out. We brought all of Harper's favorite snacks in our carry on bag so that we had something extra to keep her entertained on the flight, and no one wants to be around a hungry baby. I tried to time her bottles around our take off and landing time to help with any pressure problems in her ears, and it worked great. Even if she had eaten recently, I still made a small bottle each time we took off, just to make that transition easier (it also helped her calm down and fall asleep).

Travel Time:
This really depends on the child. I have friends who have tried taking redeye flights with the hope that their little one will sleep on the flight and they end up staying awake the whole time, and I have had friends with the opposite experience. Thankfully, our travel time wasn't too long of a stretch so we decided to take midday flights with our first one taking off at 10am and getting to our destination around 3pm. Harper ended up napping on me during the first leg of our flight during her normal morning nap time which was great.

Before our trip, I picked up a couple new small toys and a couple books, one especially that I didn't mind if she folded, chewed on or basically destroyed while on the plan. We honestly used the books more than anything else and it definitely helped keep her entertained, for a few short minutes. We also downloaded a few cartoons on our iPads in case she was interested in watching that. She actually sat for a good 20 minutes (which is an eternity in our world) watching an episode we downloaded, so I'd say it was a win. When it comes to packing things to keep your little one entertained, I'd say limit it to a few small items. The book that she could grab and fold worked great because she liked it and it didn't take up too much room.

Since we planned our flights in the middle of the day, our time in the air actually landed during her morning nap. I purposely choose the window seat so I could be a little more closed in. While we took off, we fed Harper a bottle and I snuggled her with a blanket up next to the window. Thankfully she snuggled right in and fell asleep. It really helped to be by the window so there were less distractions and we were able to curl up right against the wall of the plane.
Overall, Harper was an amazing traveler, and I really don't know how many of these tips helped make her that way, or how much of it was the fact that she is just great at traveling. Either way, each of these things definitely helped ease our worry and make traveling for all of us much easier! One of the biggest things that helped our trip go so smoothly was our attitudes. We knew we'd have to walk her around and keep her entertained a majority of the time, and we just went with how she was doing. Going into it without a set plan and knowing you might not know how she'll do helped us go with the flow and take things based on how she was doing.
What are tricks you've found to make flying or traveling easier? We are planning a family road trip in a little over a month and can use all the ideas to help us prepare!

Harper - 11 Months

Monday, July 18, 2016

How the heck am I writing my last monthly update for her birthday?  This year has truly flown by and I can't even believe how much she's grown! I look at photos from those first few days of her life and I can't believe that she's now a talking, almost walking sweet little nearly toddler! It makes my momma heart sad and happy at the same time!

Nicknames: Harps, Harpie, Lady, Turkey

Loves: She still loves her pets and being outside, but this month she's also started to love playing with other kids, swinging in the swings and playing with her stuffed animals. She has has stuffed animals for a while, but this last month she's started getting so excited to hug and kiss them!

Food: We are little by little adding more food to the list of foods she likes. It seems we may have a picky eater on our hands. She's started loving watermelon, bananas and mac n cheese. I mean I can't really blame her, I'd love to only eat those three things too! We've started cutting back her bottles since I know she won't get formula after she turns a year and that has been going well. Hopefully we can continue to introduce more foods and find more she's willing to eat.

Sleep: She's still sleeping great! The only time she has a rough night is really when her teeth are coming in, and who can blame her?

Firsts: She's started giving kisses every now and then, walking with only using one hand to hold on to something and stand up all on her own. She also celebrated her first 4th of July, and watched her first parade and fireworks.

Photos from the past month: 

6 Years Later

Friday, July 15, 2016

Six years ago today was our wedding day. It's amazing how fast the years fly by, as it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating with friends and family. I saw a post several months ago about the things that will always remind you of your wedding day. So since today marks 6 years since that day, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of the things that still bring me back to that day six years later.

Our location: 
This was one of the things we went back and forth on the most during our wedding planning. It was one of the most expensive items on our wedding budget and that cost was something I worried about a lot. After deciding to go with our initial choice, it couldn't have been more perfect. While the venue itself may have been a little more expensive than we wanted, because of it's gorgeous views and natural beauty, we were able to save on flowers and decorations to help make up that cost in our budget. Six years later, we still go back and visit, have joined the wine club and just feel at home at this special place.
Our Cake: 
I love that we personalized our design and choices of each layer of our cake, even if we didn't eat more than the bit we served each other. We went with three different flavors, one for each tier. We choose pink champagne, almond poppyseed with raspberry filling, and carrot cake. When deciding how I wanted the cake to look, I had a specific vision in my head, and that vision totally came to life! I wanted there to be a subtle design, with some color mixed in throughout. And sing my maiden name was Hart, I wanted hearts to be the design. I am absolutely in love with how it turned out!
Family Memories: 
We tried to incorporate different family traditions and memories throughout our wedding. One of the biggest ways we did that was our wedding date. We were married on the same day that my Grandparents and Great Grandparents were. For our flowers, we had chosen gerber daisies to be used for our bridesmaids, groomsman and parents. Daisies are my grandmother's favorite flower and the flower that my grandfather always used to give her. I wanted this day to be memorable and symbolic for my grandmother too. I was so grateful she could be there to celebrate with us, especially since she got sick and passed away just a couple months later. Having her there meant everything to me.

Our Bridal Party: 
We had some of the best friends and family in the world stand by our side that day. But one of the most memorable was our ring bearer. Maybe because he was 6 foot and had sleeve tattoos, and walked down the isle with our 3 year old flower girl, all while holding a ring pillow. It was the greatest decision and something we still talk about to this day.
Getting to marry my best friend: 
Honestly, six years later, none of the details or little things that didn't go exactly as planned matter at all. I am still married to my best friend and I couldn't imagine that day going any differently. In six years we have traveled, built a house, said goodbye to my grandmother and Dan's father and welcomed our beautiful daughter into our lives. Through the happy times and sad ones I wouldn't want to go through life with anyone else by my side!
Happy Anniversary Dan, here's to 50 more! 

A Night Out with Murder Mystery

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Our date nights don't happen too often, so when we get the opportunity, we jump on it! Last week we planned a date night with The Murder Mystery Co. in Portland. It takes place in a banquet room at the Old Spaghetti Factory where you are served a three course meal along with the show.

The theme for the evening was A Dance with Death, a 1950's Sock Hop. Many of the guests dressed up according to the theme including poodle skirts, leather jackets, and fancy dresses. It was a fun addition to the ambiance. While we waited for everyone else to arrive, we read some of the rules on the table and started taking guesses as to how the night would unfold.
Dan was chosen to be a part of the cast for the evening. The actors chose one person from each dinner table to take on a character from the show for the night, and Dan was selected from ours.
Throughout the evening your team uncovers more clues about the cast member or in our case (Dan's) character. You then have time to investigate by talking and asking questions of the other cast members throughout the room. By the end of the evening, your group must decide who you think the killer is and why they did it. And guess what, our team won! The entire evening lasted almost 3 hours, and really made you feel like you were part of the experience, almost like a live version of the game a clue!
This was a fun night out, and one that would be so fun with a group of friends. I enjoyed watching Dan be a part of the show, but it would have been fun to walk around investigating with him too! Next time we go back, we will definitely bring a group! There are Murder Mystery shows all over, so definitely look for one in your area for a fun date night or outing with friends!

Have you ever attended something similar? We would love some other fun and unique date night ideas!

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received tickets for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. 

Rodeo, Fireworks and Yearly Traditions - Our 4th of July

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fourth of July for us, comes with trips to the Rodeo, nights out with friends, a parade, fireworks, and lots of time all together. Every year we do the same things, and I love the traditions we've started and upheld. It's one of my favorite weekends of the year!

Friday night I met a couple friends at the Rodeo grounds and walked around with Harper and their little ones. It was nice to get to visit the horses and bulls before the grounds got too crowded the rest of the weekend. We live just 10 minutes from the largest rodeo on the west coast, which comes to town each year at the 4th of July, so our 4th holiday usually revolves around the rodeo.

Saturday we attended the family class at Baby Boot Camp, a workout group I joined recently with some friends. This was Dan's first time attending class, and I think it helped him realize why I come home so tired from class some nights. It was fun to workout all together, and made me wish husbands could come to every class. We spent the rest of the day running some errands and hanging out at home.
Sunday night we had our rodeo night with friends from my Baby Boot Camp class. We all got seats together to watch the show, met up early for some drinks and enjoyed some dancing afterwards. Some years we've spent multiple nights out at the rodeo grounds, but it was a fun to have one big night out with friends to enjoy some adult time and the show.
We even got the Rodeo Clown to take a photo with us, since we were currently sitting right up front next to the arena! 
On the 4th, we always meet up with friends at the parade. As our families have grown and we've all started to have kids, it's so nice that our traditions have stayed the same, only evolved a little. It's a tradition my Dad and I always look forward to and something we won't miss each 4th!
After the parade we enjoyed a nice long afternoon nap (this mama can't stay up till 1am anymore!) made dinner together, and enjoyed some small fireworks with a few of our neighbors before the early bedtime of the little ones.
And just like that, it's already the 5th of July! Harper's first birthday is going to be here before we know it! I need to get going on getting her invites out and get all the party stuff prepped . . . maybe I'm just in denial that she's almost 1! I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing 4th!

What did you do for the 4th of July? Do you have any fun family traditions you do to celebrate each year?