Greater Cincinnati Holiday Market is THIS WEEKEND!!!

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Every year for the past 8 or 9 years, my mom, sister and I have gotten together for a day of shopping and fun at the Greater Cincinnati Holiday Market. I drive up to NKY in the morning and we all go together to start (or if we're doing really good, finish) our Christmas shopping. It is so much fun that not even being on bedrest while pregnant with Nolan stopped us from keeping this tradition - they wheeled me around in a wheelchair!

This is SUCH a large show, with more than 300 boutique vendors selling both locally made and other unique items. From clothing and jewelry to food and sweets, there truly is no shortage of gift ideas for every person on your list!




A few tips:

  • They offer VIP tickets for early shopping on Friday.
  • There is a no-stroller shopping time to make it a less cramped with the crowds, so be sure to check the schedule online so you don't show up with your little ones in tow during that time.
  • They sometimes offer a free shopping bag at the door to carry your purchases while shopping, but there were a few years that didn't happen, so I would bring one of your own just in case.
  • Plan to spend a couple hours for sure - bring snacks or extra cash to eat at one of the food vendors they have available. The food selection has gotten better over the years!
  • Don't wear your winter coat! No matter how cold it is outside, leave it in the car. It gets pretty crowded...you won't need the layers.
  • Don't be afraid to ask vendors to take less. I have had some success negotiating in the past, especially if I'm buying multiple items from someone.

Add this event to your holiday plans every year. Make it a girls day - grab your girlfriends/sisters/grandmas/etc and shop til you drop! They even offer a bar if you want to quench your thirst with a nice glass of wine or a frosty beer. How cool is that?

Cannot wait to get my shopping on this weekend with my favorite people :)

Visit their website for all the information including admission prices, where to buy tickets (Cincinnati area Kroger offers a $3 discount) and where to park. Or follow them on Facebook for sneak peek pictures and ticket giveaways!

DISCLOSURE: I was given 3 tickets in exchange for helping them get the word out about this year's event. All opinions are, as always, truthful and my own.

Easy Homemade Applesauce Recipe

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Nothing says fall like apple picking. It has always been a favorite thing for my family to do each year. It is also a great day-date option or could be a fun outing with friends. While in Michigan for fall break we visited our favorite place to stock up on a few dozen apples, Crane Orchards

Now what do I do with all the apples we pick? Well, in my household they go pretty quick so having too many apples (or any fruit really) is never a problem. In addition, we go through jars and jars of applesauce a month. I've been very label conscious lately - trying to make smarter choices and buying foods with less sugar, no preservatives, and no additives or artificial colors. When it comes to "clean eating" sometimes it is just easier (and cheaper) to make your own.

I have made this homemade applesauce for the past few years and it is a HIT at our house. I end up making a larger and larger batch each year so it lasts longer. It is SUPER easy and not only does it taste amazing, it also makes your house smell divine. 

Homemade Crockpot Applesauce, Louisville It Mom

Teal Pumpkin Project || Guest Post from Tami Pyles of Thrive On Consulting

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This post was previously published on Louisville It Mom last year. With Halloween around the corner, and dealing with Hudson's food allergy, I wanted to share this here on More Skees Please. 

Have you seen teal pumpkins popping up on porches across your neighborhood? It's not the latest decorating fad (although I do love the color), these pumpkins symbolize an important intitiative to keep kids with food allergies safe at Halloween - The Teal Pumpkin Project. 

The Teal Pumpkin Project aims to keep children with food allergies safe while trick or treating. By placing a teal pumpkin at your house you commit to offering non-food treats at Halloween – a great way to ensure a safe and fun night for those who could suffer life-threatening consequences from ingesting allergen containing candy.

As a food allergy mom, Halloween is one of the scariest holidays! It is frightening to think that consuming a piece of Halloween candy could lead to a life-threatening reaction; and it is heartbreaking at the end of Halloween to watch my daughter go through her candy and have to discard a majority of it because it is not safe for her. The Teal Pumpkin Project helps ensure safe treats make it into her bag, and the bags of the many other children with food allergies.

In fact, 1:13 children have a food allergy. With numbers this high, it is a given that some of your trick or treaters will have food allergies. Ready to make it a safe holiday for everyone? Follow these three easy steps to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project:

Step One: Get a Pumpkin and Paint it Teal
I have found that acrylic paint and white pumpkins work really well (although orange pumpkins can be painted too!). Don't have time to get and paint a pumpkin before Halloween? No problem! You can also download this flyer from FARE, a national organization that supports food allergy research and education, and display it on your door to indicate that you are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

Step Two: Purchase Non-food Treats 
There are lots of great options to offer as non-food treats for the Teal Pumpkin Project, these include: bubbles, stickers, glow sticks, spider rings, temporary tattoos. Head to the dollar store or party store to stock up on great non-food loot. And, if you are participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, it doesn’t mean that you can’t offer candy too. Just keep your candy and non-food treats in separate bowls to prevent any cross-contact.

Step Three: Display your Pumpkin and Keep it Safe on Halloween
When trick-or-treaters visit your house if they see a teal pumpkin they will know that you offer non-food treats. Non-food treats also help other children who might have medical conditions that require them to monitor sugar intake or avoid certain foods like sugar and food coloring.

Want more information on the Teal Pumpkin Project? You can find it here. Do you need more information on food allergies or assistance managing life with food allergies?  Check out my company, Thrive On Consulting. I work with individuals and families dealing with food allergies to navigate day-to-day life safely and Thrive On with food allergies. I also do training sessions for groups and organizations on food allergy awareness and creating safe and inclusive environments.

Happy Halloween and Keep it Teal!

Tami Pyles is the Founder of Thrive On Consulting- dedicated to helping those with food allergies. She lives in Prospect with her husband and two daughters, ages and 4 and 6.

Mix Up Your Boring Workout Routine!

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Let's face it, sometimes the only workout we get in on any given day is chasing our toddlers around or lugging laundry baskets. Gyms can be intimidating. Childcare can be tricky. But putting your health first is truly so important in order to have so many of the things us moms need just to make it through the day - sustained energy, strength for all the heavy lifting (kids, laundry baskets, etc.) and clarity of mind to stay focused on those we love so much.

So, Louisville friends, if you feel like you need a little motivation, or perhaps want some new ideas to keep your fitness routine from becoming too boring, below is a round-up of some unique workout opportunities around town. There's truly something for everyone! Don't live in Louisville? Some of these are chains and you might be able to find them (or something similar) where you live as well!

If you happen to give any of these local ones a shot, be sure to tell them Taryn @ More Skees Please sent you!



  • LOCATION(S): 1800 Elite Dr. Louisville, KY
  • TYPE OF WORKOUT: A performance training facility dedicated to providing an elite experience to athletes and adults of all fitness levels.
  • COST: $22/session or 16 sessions for $240
  • CLASS SUGGESTION: Power Cardio 5:30am daily

  • LOCATION(S): New Albany​, Westport Village, Summit
  • TYPE OF WORKOUT: The Pure Barre technique is a unique way to build strength, endurance and tone your muscles in a safe, low impact manner through the use of small focused movements.
  • COST: $20/class; New client package -- 1 month of unlimited classes for $100; 1 month unlimited for all others is $220; "Bride To Be" package -- $355 for 3 months
  • CLASS SUGGESTION: Breaking Down the Barre (visit website for class schedule)

  • LOCATION(S): UofL Shelbyhurst Campus, Parklands of Floyds Fork, EP Tom Sawyer, King Louie's, Louisville Zoo
  • TYPE OF WORKOUT: A stroller-based fitness program designed for moms with little ones. Each 60-minute, total body workout incorporates power walking, strength, toning, songs and activities. Certified fitness instructors offer a variety of fun class formats both indoors and outdoors.
  • COST: 1st session FREE$18/class; $65/month; $55/month for teachers!; $45/month for night/weekend classes only; $150 for 10 visits; $199 summer pass
  • CLASS SUGGESTION: Zoo Workout! June 8th 9:30-10:30 (click link for more info)

  • LOCATION(S): Chamberlain Ln, Middletown Commons, St. Matthews, and coming soon to Prospect @ TimberRidge Dr. and East End at Lime Kiln and Brownsboro Rd.
  • TYPE OF WORKOUT: 30-Minute Kickboxing Workout With No Class Times
  • COST: 1st session FREE; contact location nearest you for membership pricing
  • CLASS SUGGESTION: Every 30 minute class is different, so just try it out to see what you like!

  • LOCATION(S): Springhurst and St. Matthews
  • TYPE OF WORKOUT: Various barre workouts including B.Barre, B.Bounce and B.Silque
  • COST: 1 week trial $20; New client special - 1st month $99; $198/month; 1 year unlimited $138/month; Mommy rate 3 months for $399; Student rate $99/month; All packages include FREE CHILDCARE, 15% off retail purchases, exclusive sales/events
  • CLASS SUGGESTION: B.Silque Cocoon...an hour of solitude, calming music and weightlessness

  • LOCATION(S): There are 12 YMCA locations across Louisville and Southern Indiana. Visit their website to find a location near you!
  • TYPE OF WORKOUT: So many different options for members!
  • COST: Membership ranges from $52/month for a single to $89/month for a family; find detailed pricing info here
  • CLASS SUGGESTION: Cycle 30 an entry level spin class

  • LOCATION(S): 3125 River Rd. Louisville
  • TYPE OF WORKOUT: Aerial courses - physical movement, often dance-like or acrobatic in nature, performed while suspended in the air. Although challenging, working out with aerial equipment provides very measurable progress, making it a fun and exciting way to achieve your goals. Whether your goal is to get in shape for the first time, or add a new dimension to your existing workout routine, Aerial work is a fabulous fit!
  • COST: $10 first time drop in; $24/class; $120 for 6 week course; click HERE for class descriptions and pricing
  • CLASS SUGGESTION: Circus Taster...Step right up to find out what circus art makes your heart sing. 2 hour introductory workshop where you will get a taste of each apparatus.

  • LOCATION(S): New Albany, East Louisville (Westport Rd.)
  • TYPE OF WORKOUT: Total body functional workout focused on strength and conditioning
  • COST: "On Ramp" program - 1st 2 weeks are FREE, $149 for next 4 weeks (2 weeks finishes On Ramp then is followed by 2 weeks of unlimited regular classes); 3 drop-ins free for LeanX Classes (high-intensity conditioning class)
  • CLASS SUGGESTION: If you are new to Cross Fit, we recommend visiting a gym to get a good understanding of these intense workouts

  • LOCATION(S): 100 Urton Ln. Louisville
  • TYPE OF WORKOUT: Intense cardio, strength, balance, agility, and flexibility trampoline workout.
  • COST: $13/visit or $40/month
  • CLASS SUGGESTION: BoomFit is offered Wednesdays 10-11am and Thursdays 9-10pm. Preregistration online is recommended.

CHECK THIS OUT...I recently found out about 502 Fit Pass. This unique workout opportunity offers a way for you to try a variety of workouts at different locations/gyms all across the city. How does it work? You can visit the same Fit Spot up to 3x in 30 days, depending on your membership. Four Barrel Crossfit, House of Boom and 9Round are all participating locations! Check out www.502fitpass.com to find out more!

Give Something Uncommon for the Holidays

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As the holidays quickly approach, I find myself scouring the internet looking for unique gifts. Whether you are looking for something for the person who has everything or simply trying to step up your gift-giving game, I highly recommend checking out what Uncommon Goods has to offer.

They have everything conveniently organized into categories which makes the shopping experience seamless. Want something with that personal touch? Check out all their personalized gift options here. Or maybe you are trying to find something for that special man in your life even though you both agreed you wouldn't be exchanging gifts (but you always end up doing it anyway). How about something unique and sophisticated for someone with an upcoming birthday? Anything you choose from Uncommon Goods is sure to impress.

A couple things on my wish list...



Uncommon Goods is a unique company that is dedicated to making a positive impact in the workplace and the world. Read more about their mission here. Even cooler? Their Better to Give program allows you to select a nonprofit organization to receive a $1 donation from them at checkout (ahem...apertOWL...hint hint...).

*Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post brought to you by Uncommon Goods for which I received a purchase credit. As always, all opinions are my own.

Dean's Dairy Goes Pink This October

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Dean's Dairy to Donate Up to $25,000 in Support of the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Almost everyone I know has been touched by cancer in some way. Whether it is a family member, a friend, a colleague or an acquaintance, I can think of almost a dozen off the top of my head - with several of them battling breast cancer in particular. As advancements are made in technology and more and more time is put into scientific research to understand the best possible treatment options, it seems that beating cancer can be within our reach. That is why it is so important to support funding the organizations that are leading the fight.

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many businesses are stepping up to raise money for various cancer organizations. Locally owned Dean's Dairy is proud to do their part! Below is a press release excerpt:

For more than 75 years, Louisvillians have known that their local Dean’s Dairy products provide gallons of nutrition to their families. Now, Dean’s Dairy is also providing gallons of hope in the fight against breast cancer.

Beginning September 26 and continuing throughout the month of October, Dean’s Dairy is inviting the community to buy a gallon, and make a difference. For each sale of specially-marked gallons of Dean’s DairyPure white milk sold in the Louisville area, Dean’s Dairy will donate five-cents to the American Cancer Society.

I don't know about you, but with growing 4 kids at home, we go through 2-3 gallons of milk a week! So while you are doing your grocery shopping, look for the Dean's DairyPure white milk gallons that feature the pink ribbon and the American Cancer Society logo, and know that with every gallon purchased, you are doing a small part to help the fight against breast cancer. Let me know where YOU find your specially marked milk in the comments below!

Learn more about Dean's Dairy and their Five-Point Purity Promise to provide the best tasting, antibiotic and growth hormone free milk online at deandairy.com or visit Dean's Dairy on Facebook.

*This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own.

House of Boom Savings for Louisville!

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Defy Gravity at one of the coolest facilities in America. Over 10,000 square feet of connected, world-class trampolines in a 23,000 sq. ft facility. The trampoline grid features over 60 trampolines, including the famous angled wall trampolines, launching decks and a few surprises up in the ceiling to test your vertical.

If your kids (6 and under) are ready to dominate the park without bigger kids around....YOU MUST check-out KidJump. Every day from 9-10am is exclusively for parents and children! 

My readers get to save! $2 OFF - Present this coupon to receive $2 off a flight ticket anytime!
http://usfamilyguide.com/coupons.php?bid=12722&dealid=2678 .@usfg 

Hearty Paleo stuffed pepper soup

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It's finally fall and the cool crisp air is definitely a welcomed thing! The leaves are changing, I'm pulling out my sweaters and I'm starting to use my crockpot more and more. This hearty stuffed pepper soup is delicious - the perfect way to welcome fall. And as I continue to incorporate more clean eating and paleo recipes into my lifestyle, this one does not disappoint. Enjoy!


HEARTY PALEO CROCKPOT STUFFED PEPPER SOUP

Ingredients:
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 lb mild or spicy italian sausage
3 bell peppers, any color, diced
2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
32 oz. broth (chicken, vegetable or beef)
1 cup water
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3-4 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
4 cups cauliflower rice (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Brown meat and drain grease
  2. Add all ingredients to crockpot and stir 
  3. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours (if using cauliflower rice, add during last 30 mins)

MomLife: Louisville --- Interview with Cara Althaus of Caroline Couture Photography

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[I originally wrote this post for Louisville It Mom earlier this year. Because Cara is one of my dear friends and an amazing photographer, I wanted to republish it here now that Louisville It Mom is no more. Enjoy!]

We all know time goes by so quickly. One of the only ways we can actually freeze moments of time is through photography. The photos that adorn my walls or sit in frames on my bookshelves all have the ability to remind me of moments in time I will cherish forever. I always marvel at a photographer's ability to capture even one frame-worthy photo of my family as there are always so many variables (wind, melt-downs, trying to get 4 kids to sit still and LOOK AT THE CAMERA for goodness sake)! However, with a well-trained eye, a lot of patience and a steady hand, someway, somehow, a good photographer can usually make it happen.

Cara Althaus is a dear friend of mine who happens to take some of the most beautiful family photos I've ever seen. Her interest in photography was sparked during her high school years, but it wasn't until she became a mom that it turned into something more. After graduating from college with a degree in fashion merchandising, she had a few jobs, but ultimately became a stay-at-home-mom after the birth of her first daughter, Reese. As she began to take more and more photos of her own children, her love for capturing those special family moments once again began to take shape. After learning more about the art through a mentoring session, Caroline Couture Photography took shape and became a flexible way for her to fulfill the need to be creative while not missing any moments with her own family. Now, as mother of two beautiful girls (second daughter Ella just turned 2), Cara is the perfect example of how motherhood often ignites our passions.

Read below to learn one of her most memorable sessions as a photographer, and laugh along with one of her "mom fail" moments that we can all probably relate to!


LIM: What did you want to be when you grew up? How did that change through the years?

CARA: When I was really young I distinctly remember saying I wanted to be a zoo keeper, which I can not imagine doing now! I can remember always being drawn to creative type ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up. As I got older, I thought I wanted to do something with fashion which is what I ended up majoring in in college, fashion merchandising. Once I graduated from college, I worked in retail management and quickly realized the hours were not for me. I then worked in sales but when my first daughter was born, I knew I wanted flexibility in a career to be able to spend the most time with her as possible.


LIM: When did you start getting interested in photography and when did Caroline Couture come about?

CARA: Photography is something that started to interest me in high school when I took a photography class. It was put aside for many years until my first daughter was born and I bought an entry level camera to take photos of her, having no idea what I was doing. When my oldest daughter was two, the opportunity arose to do one on one mentoring with a talented wedding photographer that had photographed my sister's wedding. I jumped on the chance and began learning my camera, posing, interacting with clients and other important things I needed to know. At that point I started shooting friends and their families and my own daughter, learning my camera as I went. 2012 is when I began taking on some clients and my business has grown from there, adding more and more families each year.      


LIM: Tell me about your most memorable moment as a photographer.

CARA: There are so many memorable moments when I'm photographing families. Little interactions between moms and their little ones always seem to be my favorite. My favorite memory in particular is when my best friend Sherah's little boy Gabe was born. I was there with her to photograph his arrival. We had known for quite some time that Gabe would be born with a heart defect. There ended up being complications with the delivery and ended in an emergency c-section. The doctors and nurses whisked Sherah and her husband away to deliver the baby as quickly as possible. On top of being scared for Sherah, her husband and their sweet boy, I was disappointed I wouldn't get the photos she was so hoping to have.  Thankfully, the nurse brought me in minutes after Gabe entered the world and I was able to photograph his initial meeting with his mom and dad, the moment when his grandparents and great-grandparents, aunts and uncles first laid eyes on him and later in the NICU. Sherah has told me many times how much she cherishes those photos because it was a long time before she got to see and hold her new baby. Gabe spent some time in the hospital including having open heart surgery but is now a happy healthy growing baby. That definitely tops my memorable moments, I can't think of a higher honor than being there as a mom welcomes her baby in to the world.
  

LIM: How have your children inspired you?

CARA: My girls inspire me every day to be a better person and better photographer.  I know how fast time goes and how much my girls have grown over the years and how important it is to capture not only your children as they grow but to capture their little personalities and to capture families as a whole.  It's so important to me to catch families interacting, laughing, hugging and loving on each other because those are the special things we do everyday that we want to remember later when they are grown.


LIM: Tell me about one of your worst mommy moments or funniest "mom-fail".

CARA: Oh where do I begin? One moment that sticks out in my mind is the first trip to Target that I took with both girls alone. Ella was a newborn and Reese was 4. Shortly after we got there, Ella was hungry. We snuck off to the dressing room so I could feed her. It was looking like things were going OK, Reese was going to sit and look at my phone to stay occupied. Then she announced that she had to potty and could not wait! So, I had to stop feeding the hungry newborn, who was now screaming and rush to the opposite side of the store with my 4 year old who is about to have an accident. We made it to the bathroom with Ella wailing in hunger, poor girl. We eventually made it back to the dressing room for her feeding and finished our shopping trip. Since then, we now have thousands of successful trips to Target under our belt.


LIM: Share one moment of motherhood you are most proud of.

CARA: The moments that I have been most proud as a mom are when my daughter who is 6, has spoken about her love for Jesus and our moments when we pray with her before bed and you can see her caring spirit when she wants to pray for others. There are many moments that I wonder how I'm doing as a mom or if I'm failing them in some way but then there are moments like that that I feel like my husband and I are doing something right.


LIM: What would you tell your pre-child self about motherhood?

CARA: I was never one of those people who always dreamed of being a mom or who wanted to have lots of kids but if I could go back I would tell myself how amazing and rewarding it is. That it is truly the greatest gift I could ever image and that I didn't know it was possible to love another person the way I love those two girls.

As you can see, Cara loves what she does...both her role as photographer AND as mom. Embracing the journey of motherhood and still finding ways to incorporate your own passions into your life is what we are all about here at Louisville It Mom!

Here are some of the beautiful photos Cara took of our family:


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Head over to Caroline Couture's Facebook page to find out how to book your next photo session with Cara, and be sure to follow her on Instagram to check out more of her amazing work!

Paleo For Beginners + 10 Easy Recipes

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Paleo for beginnersBesides time, one thing moms usually need more of is energy. For months (okay let's be honest...years) I have tried various "diets" that promised to help me lose weight and feel amazing. Some were mildly successful in one area or the other, but it wasn't until I started really digging in to the science behind the food we eat that I decided to make a "lifestyle change" and give Paleo a try.

In a nutshell, a Paleo diet means no grains, no sugar, no processed foods. By eating "like the cavemen" once did, we allow our body to rid itself of toxins built up in our system by overprocessed, high-sugar foods. 

I started eating a Paleo diet last year (on and off) for several reasons. I needed more energy. I wanted to shed some of my baby weight (nevermind my "baby" was over a year old) and I wanted to change the way my family ate in general to help my kids understand healthy choices and nutrition. I wasn't sure I would be able to stick to it since it did mean making some pretty drastic changes (no more bagels with my morning coffee? yikes!) However after the first few days, it really was very easy.



Here are my pointers to help you succeed:

  • Plan plan plan. I am a planner by nature so this part came very naturally to me. I created a 2-week meal plan and I posted cheat sheets with healthy paleo snacks on my refrigerator so I had a visual list to help me out. Once I had my meal plan and grocery list made, I headed to Fresh Market (my favorite) for a lot of my list, but was also able to find a fair amount of organic meats and produce at my local Kroger.

  • Clean out your pantry/fridge/freezer. I assessed the items that I already had and gave myself a solid C from a "clean eating" or Paleo standpoint. I didn't want to just toss things that I knew were not Paleo friendly, so I made it a point to include those items in our meals over the next few days before I could get to the grocery and officially "start" our Paleo adventure. Other things I gave to friends so it wouldn't go to waste. You could even take all unopened items to your local food pantry if you wanted. Having a clean slate to start with is very helpful. Temptation can derail any kind of diet so removing things you shouldn't have will make things much easier.

  • Watch local ads for deals. Local health food stores often send out weekly mailers with their specials. This week it's $4.99 for grass-fed sirloin. That's $3 off! You better believe I will be stocking up on their antibiotic and hormone free meat at that price. It is especially helpful to have an extra freezer or deep freeze to maintain stock of items like this so you can take advantage of deals when you find them.

  • Experiment with recipes. Not sure what to cook? If you type in Paleo in Pinterest you will find a gazillion recipes and websites with lots of good information. In the beginning, I went with easy, low ingredient recipes so I knew I wouldn't overwhelm myself in the kitchen and lose interest. (I forgot to mention that I do NOT like to cook). After a lot of trial and error, we found a handful of recipes that we absolutely love and usually just stick to those spread out over the 2 weeks. Nothing wrong with eating the same meal every week!

  • Stick to it! It might seem difficult at first, but I promise it gets easier. Once you give up your frequent dose of caffeine - whether it be coffee. multiple iced teas, or an afternoon Diet Mountain Dew - you will realize that eating the RIGHT foods naturally fuels your body so you don't need that junk. You will start to make it through the day without a 2pm crash. You will have energy to head to the gym after work or after the kids bedtime. You will most definitely see a change in your body - most notable for me was a 12 lb weight loss, clearer skin, and NO MORE BRAIN FOG (what I often called "mommy brain"). SO worth it!

Overall I think the best part of eating a Paleo diet is the fact that you are not dieting at all. You can still eat so much amazing food - sweets included! - if you just commit to making a few simple swaps (almond flour instead of other grains for instance).

Head on over to my Pinterest page for all of my very favorite Paleo recipes including these:

Have any of your own Paleo tips for beginners? Leave a comment below!

[This blog post also appeared on Louisville It Mom]

MomLife: Louisville

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Many of you may not know that last year, my friend Ashlea Mullon and I developed a blog called Louisville It Mom where we posted all sorts of things that would appeal to moms living in our hometown of Louisville, KY.

Ultimately, however, we decided that we each had too many aspirations in mind and projects on our plate to focus on making Louisville It Mom the success we knew it could be. It was a wonderful experience where we learned so much from working with eachother, but now, we will each move forward in our own creative directions.

For me, it means I can dedicate more time to writing again here on More Skees Please. And of course, things are in full swing with my nonprofit apertOWL and I will continue to expand my efforts there as well.

With that said, we made many great connections and networked a great deal around town and I hope to share more about Louisville with my readers in a new series, "MomLife: Louisville". The primary focus of More Skees Please will continue to be a lifestyle, parenting and special needs blog, however every now and then I will spotlight local businesses, professionals and moms that share a love for this wonderful city I call home.



Whatever city YOU may be reading from, I want to thank you for your continued support (of course), as well as encourage you to explore YOUR hometown and support your local businesses!

Taryn

Finding Balance as an Overwhelmed Mom (My debut piece on Mom.me!)

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Summertime for stay-at-home moms across the world can sometimes be panic-inducing. For 10 months, children have been out of the house for more than 7 hours every day and then bam...that reprieve is yanked out from under you. But with lots of preparation, some deep breathing and a huge dose of positivity, chaos does not have to ensue. Head over to mom.me to read my take on keeping life balanced in this season of motherhood. And be sure to take a look around their site for more great content on life, health and motherhood.

Upright and Steady: Finding Balance as an Overwhelmed Mom on mom.me

My New Year's Resolution Theme: TIME

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Happy New Year!!! I'm back...I blew the dust off my Blogger page today and opened a fresh blank screen to start my new year off right. Yes, I'm in "New year, new me" mode - reflecting on 2015 and thinking ahead to what 2016 might have in store. What do I want to change? Well, that's simple. A lot. As I started to think through the long list, I noticed a theme: TIME.

TARYN'S 2016 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION THEME = TIME


  1. Less TIME on my phone.
    My 8 year old snuggled up to us in bed this morning and we all exchanged Happy New Years hugs. A few minutes later, without prompting, he said "Mommy, daddy, I know what your resolution can be this year." "Oh yeah, bud? What's that" "Spend less time on your phones." Wow. That was a hard dose of perspective. In this fast-paced world of social media and over-sharing, we sometimes forget that our kids need us to be present. Really there. Not with our nose in our phone updating instagram with the adorable photo we just half-staged 10 minutes ago. It's been one of those things I chide myself for now and then. "Mommy look!" as I hurriedly type a text that I have (without thinking) deemed more important than the somersault or other equally adorable feat my child has just so proudly mastered. The message I'm sending - and not the one on my phone - is that I'm too busy to care. Too focused on things and people other than those I'm with at that moment. So when Ethan called us out on it this morning, it was like a kick to the gut. Ricky and I both agreed that was something we would work on.

  2. Make TIME for my children individually.
    The same child who pointed out the disportionate amount of time we spend on our phones, also has mentioned several times that he wishes he could spend more one-on-one time with us. This day and age, 4 kids is usually referred to as a "big" family (although with my mom from a family of 10 kids and my from 6, I still find this notion silly). I guess what it comes down to is we are over-committed these days. Each kid plays a sport, does an afterschool activity, is involved in church, invited to parties...all wonderful things, but it often leaves very little time to just spend together doing nothing. We have always tried to have a family game night each week, but as schedules change or a day gets overbooked and we are overtired, it is usually the first thing we cut from our list of to-dos. Hearing Ethan (definitely our most sensitive hearted child) say through tears that he never gets to spend time alone with either one of us anymore broke my heart. I definitely want to make it a priority this year to carve out that special time for each child. You know, while they still want to!

  3. Find TIME for myself and my passions.
    Not just to take bubble baths or run to Target alone (both amazing things, no doubt), but to really refocus what is important to me. Writing, for instance, definitely took a backseat in 2015. I don't write for the stats or pageviews. I don't write to make $ (although I wish I did make $ from this blog). I write because it is a form of therapy for me. It helps me in numerous ways. Sharpens my creativity, clarifies my thoughts, allows me to vent.  Working on helping others through my nonprofit apertOWL and growing Louisville It Mom, the small-business/blog I started with a friend this year are also things that energize me. When I'm doing things I love it pumps adrenaline through my veins and truly puts a positive spin on my day and my attitude.

  4. It is TIME to finally lose this weight!
    I logged back into My Fitness Pal this morning to find that I hadn't done so in almost a year. Yikes. According to the app, I am 9 pounds lighter than I was last year at this time, which some would say "that's great!" but I find it kind of disappointing. It is definitely not anywhere near the goal I had set for myself for 2015. I'm getting older and it is getting harder to shed the lbs, so I now know I really have to push myself to achieve it. Yes it's January, a time when everyone is resolving to "lose weight" and get to the gym. At the same time, there is no better time than now to refresh my thinking. I've done a lot of research on food and our bodies this past year so I feel like I have all the tools to really understand the best things to do to get healthy. Now I just have to DO it.

  5. Don't take TIME for granted.
    I've seen a lot of friends and family members lose loved ones this year. I've watched as they learn how to heal, learn how to live again through their heartache. Loss is all around us everyday -- our soldiers, innocent people losing their lives at the hands of terrorists, mentally ill individuals deciding to shoot up movie theaters or shopping malls. The weight of all the loss can often feel so heavy that our hearts don't know how to process it. Instinctively we hold our loved ones near and remind ourselves how precious life truly is. Nobody knows when your last day on earth will be. And despite that truth we can sometimes forget to take in all the good. Breathe it in every day. Be grateful. Be present. Don't take a single second of this crazy journey for granted.

Happy 2016!!! Make it the best yet!!!

What are your resolutions this year?

Post-vacation pounds and Plexus (A 34 by 34 update)

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Oh Punta Cana, you couldn't have been any better. It was the kind of vacation we have been dreaming of for quite some time and it was as amazing as we had imagined. No major travel hiccups, the food was better than I hoped, the weather was great and the sun was hot. I was sad when it was finally over...but I know that my mom was not.

 

My parents had quite a houseful with my 4 kids and my sister-in-law and her 4 kids in from Florida. On the first night we were away, we awoke to a text from my parents at 4am saying they were taking Hudson to the ER. I had instructed them over and over about what to do if Hudson accidentally ingested something with eggs, to which he has a life-threatening allergy. Benadryl at the first sign of coughing. Epi-pen immediately if vomiting.

So when he began throwing up they worried. He hadn't eaten anything (to their knowledge). He didn't have any other signs (they thought). But they wanted to be on the safe side and weren't sure what else to do.

It turns out he just had a stomach virus, thank goodness! BUT...said virus then made it's way through the household occupants, knocking them out cold one by one. Naturally Ricky and I felt awful about the situation back home (while we sipped our Pina Colada's on the beach in the sun)...

After returning to Clorox and Purell headquarters we made a quick pit-stop in Kentucky for a night before the boys and I hit the road once again to go to Michigan. It's one of my favorite places to be and seeing my kids enjoy it up there as much as I did when I was little is just so so cool. Ricky even surprised us at the end of the week to celebrate the 4th of July with us!



And...now we are home. The only good thing about being home after 2 weeks is sleeping in my own bed. Time to get back into a routine for the rest of the summer.

Some of you may remember that a few weeks before vacation I began using some products from Plexus, specifically the TriPlex (Plexus Slim, ProBio5 and BioCleanse). Each of these products works differently to help you feel your best. Plexus Slim works by naturally lowering your blood sugar which lowers your insulin level. Insulin makes your body store fat cells and also makes you hungry. The ProBio works by getting rid of the Candida overgrowth in your system. It is a pro-biotic that actually has an enzyme blend that penetrates the exoskeleton of the Candida and the 5 different strains of healthy bacteria. Candida overgrowth is caused by antibiotics and processed sugary foods. It's a yeast in our system that then grows roots in our intestinal track and colon causing what is called Leaky Gut syndrome. Candida also causes you to have those sugar and carb cravings! When you heal your gut and toxins stop leaking into your blood stream your body balances back out the way it is meant to be. The BioCleanse works to move everything out of your system.

Having had much success on a (mostly) Paleo diet for several months, I was looking for something that would help me maintain my weight-loss and continue my trend of feeling great. I'm never one to jump in to anythings - especially when it comes to taking any kind of supplement - but after a lot of research and question asking, I determined that the science behind it made sense and I would give it a shot.

The verdict? I loved it. I will admit I was both a little skeptical and nervous about taking the products. The instructions for quantities to take and time of day to take them were all different across the 4 products I had and I was a bit overwhelmed at first. However after speaking to the brand ambassador, she gave me some specific tips that helped me develop a good plan that worked for me.

Because I have taken other supplements before, I was expecting to feel a little jittery. When I didn't, I worried they weren't doing anything at all. The thing is, Plexus products are all-natural and actually complement a Paleo lifestyle very well by helping to clean the gut. So the lack of jitters just meant that it isn't a caffeine-based supplement like the ones I had tried in the past.

In the beginning, I had a headache first thing in the morning for several days in a row. Then on the 3rd day I felt nauseous no matter what I ate or drank. I reached out to my Plexus ambassador and she said those were normal symptoms associated with the Candida die-off. She gave me some more information about that which put my mind at ease. She also said I would likely start to feel a whole lot better very soon. And she was right!

I was sleeping more soundly. I was focusing a bit better throughout the day. And I was getting things done around the house. My tummy bloat diminshed. I already had very few food cravings as a benefit of my Paleo diet, but I found that I could make it meal to meal without even giving what I was going to eat next a second thought. Paleo had me feeling great already, but taking the Plexus products made me feel AMAZING!

So how much weight did I lose? Prior to Plexus, I dropped 17 lbs since the start of the year. 12 of that was after I began eating Paleo. I only lost 2 pounds after starting Plexus, however I had been told that the way it made me feel and a loss of inches was going to be a better measure of my success so I expected that.

The next important question is...how did I feel after I stopped taking Plexus? As vacation approached, I had forgotten to re-order my products so I went without for the 2 weeks I was gone. Granted I also gave up Paleo during that time as well (we were on an all-inclusive vacation for goodness sakes...we ate and drank WHATEVER we wanted all. day. long.) And I figured why not just continue my "cheat" well into my Michigan vacation? I indulged in THE best blueberry donuts from our favorite farm market, ate easy go-to meals like pizza and pasta and gave-in to snacking by the pool. Needless to say, when I stepped on the scale my first morning at home I almost broke down in tears.

In just 2 weeks I had almost undone HALF of what I had worked so hard to lose since January. EEEEKKKK. I feel sluggish. Unmotivated. Bloated. Within 24 hours of returning from vacation I was messaging my Plexus contact to help me get started once again.

Tonight, I am back to meal-planning and Paleo-recipe searching. I will be placing my next order of Plexus products this week and CAN.NOT.WAIT to get that package in the mail. I'm ready to feel amazing again and drop the weight I put back on.

PS -- I'm so excited about the part that Plexus will play in my health journey that I have decided to become an Ambassador myself! Message me if you want to learn more about how you can begin cleaning your gut and feeling great. Thank you Vanessa Garcia for introducing me to this wonderful product!

Loved you then, love you still. Always have, always will.

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I just posted on Facebook today that I was taking a little break from blogging for the next few weeks, but...then I got an email with the finished photos from our vow renewal ceremony. So of course I had to share, and also tell how I pulled off the ultimate surprise for my impossible-to-surprise hubby :)

On May 20 we celebrated our 10 year anniversary. What a ride it has been! So much is different from the life we had imagined in our heads as we said "I do", and quite honestly, it's better than we could have dreamed! We have 4 beautiful children, a warm and cozy home, wonderful friends and a lot of family who have supported us, cheered us on, helped us out and loved us from the start.

I enlisted the help of a few special people at our church, set a date, and made a few secret trips to Hobby Lobby for supplies. Because I have been doing presentations for the last few months, it wasn't a stretch when I told Ricky we had been asked to come in and speak to the congregation as a family. It was going to be on a Sunday, between masses, on Memorial Day weekend. We were having a neighborhood get-together that same afternoon and Ricky had promised to smoke a pork shoulder for the party. For those that know about smoking meat, it is an all-day process to perfect it, so he was not too happy that we had to interrupt said process to do a presentation but he asked a friend (who knew what the deal was) to come and babysit the smoker while we were gone. Oh, and because I wanted Ricky to dress up really nice (a suit, and not just pants and a polo), I also threw in there that there was a Bishop visiting our church this week who wanted to sit in on the presentation. It felt a little weird telling lies about a religious event but I figured God knew the reason and would forgive ;)

As we were heading out the door I got a text from my friend Audrey (my maid-of-honor from our wedding day), who made the trek from Owensboro to be there for this special occasion. "You need to stall. Mass not over yet!" The entire family was already in the car so I sent Ricky a text from inside saying I would be a few minutes because my stomach was hurting. I kept getting updates from church telling me to delay and simultaneous "hurry up" texts from Ricky, afraid we were going to be late for our "presentation".

I stalled as long as I could and we were on our way, heart pounding inside my chest, in shock that I was actually going to pull this off.

When we got into the narthex we were met by our friend Debbie who, as she and I had planned, pulled us into a little classroom. I had told the boys just prior to leaving what we were actually going to church for - careful to keep it a secret for as long as possible so as to not give them too much time to ruin it. So they knew to stay put (instead of follow me like they normally do...everywhere) when I excused myself to use the restroom. That was Debbie's cue to send Ricky into the church. Meanwhile I changed into a pretty white sundress and my headpiece from our wedding day.

As he entered he wondered why there were so few people there for this big important presentation. Then, as he got closer to the front, he realized that the people in the pews were our family. His parents, my parents and the maid and matron of honor (best man Tom Q was not able to make it). Audrey pinned a rose on Ricky's lapel and shortly after, Aiden and Hudson emerged carrying a handmade sign that read "Loved you then, Love you still". Behind them came Ethan and Nolan with "Always have, Always will."

Finally, the doors swung open and I walked down the aisle holding a small bundle of peonies, the same flower used in my wedding bouquet. The look on his face was priceless, although without the trumpet of music to coordinate things, Father Terry didn't realize I was making my way down the aisle. He continued to chat with Ricky, back to me, until Ricky interrupted him saying "I'm sorry, I'm a little distracted," as he gestured to me.

The rest was pretty much amazing. I was overcome with emotion - both from pulling off such a special surprise for Ricky, and from just thinking about the journey we have been on these past 10 years culminating in an opportunity to say I Do all over again with our four boys there to witness.

It really was such an amazing day!

Photo credit: Caroline Couture Photography