Friday, December 1, 2017

Party Planning Tips for Christmas and Beyond

This post was sponsored by Paperless Post. I was able to try them for free, but all opinions are my own.

It is my favorite time of the year...Christmas. There is so much to do and so many ways to make memories. This year is even more exciting, because E is super excited too! 

One of my favorite things about Christmas is hosting parties that are full of merry making. This year we are going to host a party for E and some of her friends. Over the years I have figured out how to create some holiday magic without a lot of stress or breaking the bank. Hopefully these tips will help you plan some holiday magic too.


I often pick a theme early and then work to find things that fit that theme. Maybe it is cocktails and ugly sweaters or pancakes and PJs. Make it something that works for you and you can have fun with. I haven't quite settled on a theme for this years holiday party, but the wheels are churning.


Simple, but delicious is what I go for. I typically start with simple but enjoyable items like cheese, fruits and veggies. From there I look for things that are fun, but don't require using every pot in the kitchen. (Thanksgiving is the exception to this, but that is because it is Thanksgiving.)


It is fun to have one or two things planned, but there is no need to go overboard. This is especially true with little ones. They have as much fun playing and running around as they do with official activities.

Guest List

Invite those you really enjoy spending time with. This is especially important for parties. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling obligated to invite everyone, but being a little choosy about who you invite helps with stress and makes things overall more enjoyable. 


I hate sending paper invitations and going to the post office is one of my least favorite things to do (especially this time of year.) That is why I am super excited to try Paperless post for my invitations this year. They have great designs and are way more fun (and private) than a FB event. It is the look and feel of a card with the convenience of an email.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Welcome to 2017!

The beginning of a new year is always a special time. Full of the freshness of a new year. Oh wait, it is February and the year is already a month in. Yeah, that has been most of the fall and the beginning of this year. I have been living more and blogging less. Thanks for hanging with me during this time.

Here is the short short version of what has been going on since September.

We went on a cruise and it was pretty fabulous.

We survived hurricane Matthew without damage or loosing power.

Lots of projects were needed to keep sane.

So thankful that it was just
rain and wind for us.
We enjoyed a fall festival and some Halloween fun.

  We ran the Wine and Dine half and E did her first Disney Kid's Race. The kid's races were awesome, but my race was kind of stinky.

The kids races were a lot of fun.
I survived. That is all I have to say.

We enjoyed lots of Christmas fun. E was all about Christmas. This year was full of holiday parties and family time.

Luckily St. Nick brought a longer nightgown.

Watching The Candlelight Processional
Someone enjoyed Christmas.

Ice Skating for the first time

We celebrated New Year's Eve toddler style. (The countdown to the new year came at 7 p.m.).

Champagne for Mommy,
grape juice for E.

E had her first haircut. Of course it was at the Magic Kingdom.

E did so good with her haircut.
There has also been lots of time with friends, several trips to Disney, Strawberry picking and a few other fun adventures. I was also asked to be part of the Orlando Obassador team, so I am excited to share some adventures from that over the next year.

I haven't been running a ton lately because I have been dealing with foot pain since around Thanksgiving. The pain was in the big toe and front part of the ball of the foot. Three doctor visits, a surgical shoe and cortisone shot later they figured out that it is plantar fasciitis. (Of course I have the kind that manifests itself in a strange way.) I have another 2 weeks of no running and then we will see. Needless to say, this has put a damper on my spring race plans.

Thanks for sticking with me and I am going to try and blog more regularly this year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Keeping Active and Helping Others

I am excited to keep active and help others this Sunday, September 25. Orlando is a host city for Bimbo Bakeries USA's Global Energy Race. To make it even better, the race benefits the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and they are trying to set a Guinness world record for the number of cities hosing an event.

The goal is to raise awareness of global hunger issues. The are donating 2 slices of bread for every kilometer run and a loaf of bread for every 10k completed. The Global Energy race offers a 3k family fun run/walk and a 10K. The courses are USA Track and Field certified. Participants get a t-shirt, sling bag and towel.

Since E loves to run and the 3k is a great distance, that is where we will be on Sunday morning. I am excited to give her another chance to run and to help others.

Want to join us as we run. Visit and use the code BIMBOBLOGGIVEAWAY for a free entry to the race. I hope to see you there.

DISCLOSURE: I am running this race using the code above.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What You Have To, When You Can

I recently found myself running at 3:45 in the afternoon. This is Florida, it is August and there wasn't a cloud in the sky or much shade around. To say it was hot, would be an understatement, but I got my run in. (I checked the temp when I got back and the feels like temp was 116F.)

Before having E, this probably wouldn't have happened. If I couldn't run one day, I would rearrange the whole week's training schedule or just skip the run. I have always been busy, but life with E just doesn't have that kind of flexibility. So I figure out ways to make it work.

Sometimes it is a runch. (I still hate it, but I use the treadmill much more than I did before.) Other times it is squeezing in a quick run between work and dinner. And occasionally, there is a missed run. 

I thought that training would get easier as E got older, but that hasn't happened yet. At least I have figured out how to make training a priority. I am hoping that someday E will sleep through the night on a regular basis and I can get back to running before she wakes up.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Making Mermaid Dreams Come True

E recently turned three and this was the first birthday/holiday that she understood presents and that she would be getting something. As a parent, I try to get E what she wants or things I think she would like. In the past this has been hit or miss, but now she can tell me what she wants. The good thing is that she is little, so the things she asks for are still very doable.

For a couple months leading up to her birthday, she told me she wanted a pink scooter for her birthday. After looking at options, I found the perfect option for E. A pink Minnie Mouse scooter. The scooter was purchased and hidden almost a month before E's birthday. I was feeling on top of the birthday game.

Then just a couple weeks before her birthday, E started asking for a mermaid tail and purple seashells. (Yes, we were on a Little Mermaid kick.) The first time she asked I thought it may just be a brief want because something caught her attention, but she kept asking about it. Cue Mommy panic.

I found a few options on Amazon, but the reviews were not great. I didn't want a tail that lost its scales after one trip to the pool. Target had a mermaid swimsuit option, but it was no longer available. (It kills me that I picked this swimsuit up and put it back earlier in the summer.)  

Then I found the Toddler Tail on Fantasy Fin. It was a high quality mermaid tail designed for toddlers and had an Ariel option. This was exactly what I was looking for, but with only two weeks until her birthday, I still wasn't certain I could make it happen.

I reached out to Fantasy Fin to see if I placed an order would it get here in time for E's birthday. They got back to me very quickly and told me they would help ensure it got here in time. I placed the order and received a shipping notification that same day.

A couple of days before E's birthday, the tail and top showed up. It was super cute and the fabric was even nicer than I thought it could be. I was super excited to make E's dream of being a mermaid come true.

She was excited about both gifts
Opening the tail was pretty funny. E didn't realize what the tail was at first, but once she did, she was super excited. We had to try it out the very next day. She now refers to herself as a mermaid from time to time.

Practicing her mermaid pose.

My little mermaid
Now, if I could get her to stop asking for red hair. (That one is a little harder to make a reality.)

Please note that I did not receive anything from Fantasy Fin other than amazing customer service. I wanted to share how they helped me make E's dream a reality.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Olymipic Inspiration

We are now in the midst of the 3-weeks every 4 years when the TV is on in my house pretty much all the time. For people who know how much TV I watch, you will know how strange this is. It is not uncommon for our television not to get turned on for days, or the only time it is on is for a little bit of Sofia or Mickey Mouse or whatever E wants to watch so we can get ready for work in the morning.

Using my second screen wisely

I am a big fan of the Olympics, and especially the summer games. I can get sucked into watching just about anything. One of the things I love are the stories behind the athletes. Sure, it is great to see the gymnasts or swimmers, but those sports get a lot of coverage. The stories about the fencer chasing her dream or athletes from small countries that have dreamed about making the games since they were children that really make the games amazing.

It is interesting that this year, the start of the games lines up with the start of half marathon training. Watching all the athletes inspires me to get out and run, even when it is hard or hot. (It doesn't help me get out early, but that is a whole other story.)

I will never be an Olympic athlete, but that doesn't mean I can't continue to chase my dreams. These athletes are often a reminder that chasing dreams is never easy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Show Your Belly Mommy

A couple of weeks ago, I was putting on my shirt and getting ready for a run when E comes in and asks, "Mommy, why you not show your belly?" What she was really getting at was why was I putting on a shirt and not running in just a sports bra and capris. I wasn't really sure where the question came from and just told her I felt like wearing a shirt.

After some thought I realized that when I took E to the #OrlandoUnited 5k a couple weeks ago, she noticed that some women run in just a sports bra and bottom. At one point during the race, she asked me why the girl in front of us was running and holding her shirt. I told her that it was because she was hot and didn't have to wear a shirt if she didn't want to.

Since that first question, she has asked me about it a couple more times. In most cases I just deflect or say that I am more comfortable wearing a shirt.  One day she even complemented me on not wearing a shirt. (Really I had come in from a very humid early morning run and my soaking wet shirt hadn't made it much past the front door. I felt a little guilty about that one.)

My body confidence has gone up and down over the years. Sometimes in relation to my actual appearance, but for other reasons as well. Even before I had E, I was never comfortable working out without a shirt, and having a baby didn't really help that. For me wearing a shirt is not just about hiding my belly, but also about preventing a Janet Jackson style wardrobe malfunction.

Setting a good example for E is huge for me. It is part of why I run and why I work to stay strong. I don't see myself working out without a shirt anytime soon, but she did motivate me to buy my first post-baby bikini (and wear it). My body is not perfect, but it is strong and getting stronger.

Having fun at Blizzard Beach

You can tell what hasn't seen the sun in a while.
 Shirt, no shirt, one-piece, tankini, bikini...the most important thing is being comfortable in your own skin and that is the message I want to send her. Raising a girl child is hard.