Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I like food.

Oh how I need to remember that phrase. I LOVE food. I love eating. 

When I was a kid my parents were "clean your plate" parents. Now, I didn't have to worry about my weight as a kid- I was always thin.... until I was 13.  Then the weight started packing on. As a kid, I was told I was to eat everything, even if I didn't like it. That was the rule, and I learned to like nearly everything ( I still don't like sauerkraut or mustard... everything else I can eat). Now that I am a parent I understand why my parents wanted me to clean my plate. Food is expensive, and I still don't like waste. I still have a hard time throwing away my kids' food that is half eaten. My parents often used the "kids in Ethiopia are starving" fact to guilt me into eating- and I still feel guilty when I don't finish a meal. 

 Since I learned to eat pretty much everything, I want to eat pretty much everything. The problem is my habits aren't healthy. I definitely don't always make the best food choices. Easy meals are my favorite. I hate waiting for food, especially when I am already hungry. Fast meals full of preservatives and junk are what tend to land on my plate after a long day at work or busy day with the kids. I eat too much meat and carbs and much too few vegetables and fruits. This I am trying to change.

As of Monday, July 30th, I am down to 208.4lbs. Four weeks ago I started the Cinch Inch Loss plan, I weighed 225lbs then. I've lost a lot of weight in the last month, and I am SO proud of myself. This month I have learned to "eat" something at every meal and eat a snack. Before Cinch I would often eat just one meal a day... a HUGE meal usually. I would often head to work without breakfast, skip lunch, and then gorge when I got home. Eating breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack has been great! I am learning proper portions (although I still struggle at times with this... I still have 5 months to learn :) ), I am learning to eat plenty of protein but also get more fruits and vegitables. I am learning that eating regularly helps keep my body satisfied and I am learning that no food tastes as good as skinny feels. I've heard that saying a lot- but I enjoy food. Over the last few years when I tipped the scales at nearly 250 pounds I have had the worst self esteem issues. I felt worthless and lazy and just blah. Losing some of this weight has already given me a boost of confidence and I am feeling a lot better about myself. It feels great- and it's worth missing all the delicious food. 

I am still on a journey with 43.6 pounds still to lose, but I CAN do this. I MUST do this... for my kids, for my husband, but most of all for me.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Danze Faucets (and a showerhead give away!)

If you're like me, you probably don't think about your faucet that much. The only time I really think about them is when I move into a new home. Well, perhaps all our faucets could use a second look. 

Our bathroom faucet was the faucet that was in our home when we moved it. It seemed okay enough. It worked, so I didn't give it another thought. Well, that's until I had the opportunity to review a Danze faucet!

We received the Danze Eastham Two Handle Centerset Lavatory Faucet for our review.

Danze Eastham Two Handle Centerset Lavatory Faucet in Chrome
Our old faucet wasn't bad- but it definitely could use some updating, so this was perfect! We have been in the process of remodeling our bathroom over the past year, and we were working on getting the gold fixtures out and silver-tone fixtures to replace them. This faucet in chrome was perfect!

The installation of the faucet was okay. I felt the instructions were a little weak, but my husband was able to figure it out. It took a little longer than we had expected (this may be easier if you have put a faucet in before- we hadn't). I have to say that I loved the finished product! 

Like I said in the beginning, I really didn't think about our faucet before. It worked, so I didn't give it another thought. Well, now that we have our Danze faucet I realize that your faucet CAN make a difference. My favorite thing about this faucet is the high neck. Our old faucet was low and short, and left very little space to really wash your hands. I love with the Eastham faucet I have plenty of space to wash my hands. I also am in love with the stream of water that comes from the faucet. Our old faucet's stream was weak and uneven- the new faucet gives us a full, strong stream of water.

The faucet really does look fantastic in our bathroom, and I love that my kids make less of a mess since the water is more accessible than our old short and stout faucet!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pure Leaf Tea!

Are you a fan of tea? I am. I Loooooove tea. Summer just would't be the same if I didn't have some ice tea! Tea is also a great beverage to serve while entertaining some guests (or, if you are on the beverage list for, say, a family reuinion?).

This summer, I was sent a three pack of Pure Leaf Tea to try out.


Real tea...delicious brewed tea in a bottle just for you! 

I love tea just how it is, but it's great in recipes, too!

Check this drink that incorporates Pure Leaf tea! 

Servings: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
3 ounces Pure Leaf Sweetened Iced Tea
3 lemon slices

6 large mint leaves

In highball glass, add mint and then crush. Add two lemon slices and fill glass with ice, Pure Leaf Sweetened Iced Tea. Garnish with one lemon slice.
Tip: For a special twist, add 1 ounce Kentucky bourbon.
You can find several other recipes by Top Chef judge, Gail Simmons on Facebook. I'd love to see some of your creations, too... so be sure to leave a recipe if you make a great mixed tea drink!

You may notice that Pure Leaf tea has a new look. Well, it's for good reason! The plastic the bottle is made of is PET ( PET plastic is the type of plastic labeled with the #1 in the triangle on the bottom of the bottle) plastic, and PET plastic is 100% recyclable! (source)

The square bottles also allow for better packaging which means more bottles in a small space. The switch from glass to plastic makes loads lighter so less fuel is needed for transport.

Pure Leaf is also Rainforest Alliance Certified

What does it mean to be Rainforest Alliance Certified?

·        Rainforest Alliance certification is built on the three pillars of sustainability: environmental protection, social equity and economic viability.

  Recently, in recognition of their commitment to sustainability, several of Pure Leaf estates, including their Kericho, Kenya plantation, have earned Rainforest Alliance certification. This certification is available exclusively to farms that meet or exceed the rigorous standards for sustainability that are necessary to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification. Pure leaf is very proud to source their tea leaves from these farms and to be able to use the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal on Pure Leaf.

Pure Leaf's Tea Master, John Cheetham, is one of less than 10 tea masters in the world who have mastered the art of blending and tasting!

Keep up with Pure Leaf happenings by checking out and liking the Pure Leaf Facebook page!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Lipton Pure Leaf. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Long Live Summer!

  Summer is here and that means you’ll be taking more photos of your family soon.  Between beach trips and BBQs, photographs are a great way to capture these summer memories. Have you heard about the Shutterfly Long Live Summer photo contest? Shutterfly’s Long Live Summer Photo Contest on Facebook launched on Monday July 9th and it runs for 5 weeks. 

 Just for uploading a photo you get a chance to win some amazing prizes, even instant win prizes!

Here are the weekly themes, just like Shutterfly and upload your photo for a chance to win!

 Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun
   Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
  Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations

Check out these amazing prizes! Who wouldn't want the amazing grand prize of a trip for 4 to the Bahamas?!


  Instant win prizes just for submitting a photo!
  Weekly prizes (contestants can enter one time/week)
Weekly featured photos: up to 5 weekly entries will be selected from the gallery and featured on the Facebook fan page.
  Grand prize: trip for 4 to Bahamas, 4 nights, family photo shoot

Be sure to read the rules before you enter, the contest is for US residents only.
 Shutterfly Sweepstakes - Official Rules

I will receive a promotional item in exchange for letting you all know about this fun contest!

Decorate a Christmas Tree


Once upon a time, Christmas only came every 365 days but, with Christmas in July making a more regular appearance on the party calendar, many of us are trotting out the Yuletide spirit not once but twice a year. It’s great fun, of course, and a terrific excuse for another party, but it also means dragging the Christmas tree out from under the house yet again. Here are a few tips to help make your Christmas tree magnificent.

  1. First, decide on a ‘theme’. Are you going with one colour palette – white, blue, pink? Do you prefer a tree that’s dripping in multi-coloured tinsel and decorations? Are you a Spartan or does a more ‘carnivale’ spirit suit your tastes? Make a decision and stick to it.
  2. If you’re using lights, put them on your tree first. These form the base of your display, plus they’re less likely to get caught up with the rest of your decorations when it’s time to put them back in the box!
  3. Next, drape tinsel across the tree, starting at the top and working your way down in circular loops.
  4. Now for the fun part: hanging your ornaments. This is where you can get really creative. Why not try something a little different? Use happy-snaps of your family. How about hanging individual playing cards? The red, black and white combination is both festive and quirky. Or maybe you’d like to travel the edible route with gorgeous chocolates in festive foil. Ferrero Christmas hampers are the first choice to spring to mind. They’re the perfect size and they can even be divvied out on Christmas morning – provided your children (or you!) don’t succumb to temptation before time…

Use your imagination and your tree will be the envy of the neighbourhood. Happy decorating!

This post was provided by Monique, an avid Christmas decorator and lover of chocolate.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Nine pounds and 11 inches...GONE with Cinch! #Cinchspirtation

WootWoot! Update time!

So, it's been two weeks since I started the Cinch Inch Loss Plan. This morning when I stepped on the scale I was pretty happy to see it down to 216lbs. I started this journey weighing 225lbs....and in the last two weeks I have lost 11 inches as well!

I've started walking at least 5 times a week, and I plan on starting jogging after my 6 week postpartum checkup next Monday! This will be huge, because I have never been a runner. I have asthma, and exercise has always been difficult for me because of it- but I *want* to do this, so I will try!

I'm getting used to only eating one meal a day. Some days I am pretty hungry, so I usually have a piece of whole wheat toast with some peanut butter on it- that usually cures the hunger pains. I'm really getting into experimenting with different shake recipes as well... so I will share some of my favorites in the upcoming weeks!

I will be also posting my first video journal soon, so be on the look out for that!

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation’s Team #Cinchspiration Campaign. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating. My opinions are my own.

Those Rainy Days of Summer....

Luckily we haven't had all that many rainy days this summer, but I know for kids (and adults home with those kids) it can be TORTURE. So what can you do on rainy days?

Well, one of our favorite things to do is snuggle down as a family, play a few games and enjoy a few movies! 

This summer, Redbox kicks off it's Summer Family Fun program, complete with a host of new family friendly DVD rentals and a series of exciting sweepstake opportunities through August 2012!  Eight of these DVDs will be from Phase 4 Films!

This summer Phase 4 Films is offering some fun new titles for your family to enjoy! We've gotten to see some of these films, and it's been a lot of fun.

Here are the fun new films that are coming your way this summer:


Our kids really enjoyed Kiara, Space Dogs and Freddy Frogface

Kiara takes viewers to Dreamzone, a peaceful and magical kingdom under the rule of King Maxiums. The serene kingdom faces sudden change when the King is is captured and imprisoned by his evil brother, Dreadmis. The King's daughter, courageous Princess Kiara, must conquier evil and restore harmony in Dreamzone, returning her father to the throne. The running time is 80 minutes and Kiara is rated PG.

Space Dogs released in June of 2012 and is an exciting animated tale based on the true story of Belka and Strelka, two dogs sent to space in 1960! Belka and Strelka are circus dog and rough-and-tumble stray who embark on an out-of-this-world adventure, humbly becoming the world's most famous canine cosmonauts!  Space Dogs has a running time of 88 minutes and is rated G.

Freddy Frogface centers around a ten year old Victor, and his friends, who not only have to face a world full of stern grown-ups but also the town bully, Freddy Frogface. When a circus comes to the sleepy little town, Victor is thrilled at having the chance to perform in a talent show with his dog, Sausage. Yet, Freddy soon comes up with a sinister plot of his own to spoil Victor's plans. Freddy Frogface has a running time of 85 minutes and is rated PG.

 The Redbox Summer Family Fun sweepstakes can be entered by selecting one of the "Family Fun" movies at Redbox locations and entering an email address at checkout. You can also enter without renting a DVD.

Here are some of the great prizes coming this summer...

July 9-July 29: A four day West Coast Princess Cruise for four with round trip airfare!
July 30-August 26th: A seven day vacation for four to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida!

So... be sure to enjoy- not dread- that next rainy day! Build a fort, hunker down with the kids and watch some fun family films!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Vera Bradley- Lime's Up!

Have you heard of Vera Bradley? If not... I could make a safe bet and say you've seen Vera Bradley bags before!

I will start out by saying I am not a bag or purse kind of gal... well- I wasn't. Oh yes, Vera Bradley has changed my mind. It started out as- well, we NEED a diaper bag for the new baby... but once I had the Vera Bradley bag on my arm it was so much more.

Vera Bradley (the company is named after co-founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard's mother) came from two women's sight for a need. While waiting at an airport in 1982, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia Millier noticed that there was a lack of feminine-looking luggage. Well, they set out to change that- and they have most definitely done so. Now the Vera Bradley brand can be seen traveling with stylish women all over the world.

When I received the Vera Bradley Baby Bag in Lime's Up, I honestly thought it would be just another diaper bag. I've had many over the years... they are functional and that's all I've ever considered them as. Well, with the unfortunate circumstances that followed Luke's birth I was forced to be away from home for nearly two weeks. I had to walk to the hospital every three hours to feed and care for Luke... and I had a lot of things to take with me. I thought, 'Hey, I could use the Baby Bag to haul this stuff back and forth- it will be perfect'. It was. Not only was the bag extremely functional, I kept getting comments on it as well!


The bag is extremely functional. I love the two handled design, and the Lime's Up print is so fresh and fun! The interior is lined and super easy to clean, it also features great pockets to store all the smaller things you need to take with you. There is also a coordinating changing pad inside. On the front of the bag there are three pockets with a magnetized flap closure ( I LOVED this) and a pacifier hook to keep that pacifier from disappearing in those pockets. There are also two side pockets perfect for a baby bottle or a bottle of water. On the back is a zippered pocket- I found it handy to put paperwork I needed to carry in there because it didn't get messed up.

If you've been a NICU parent you probably know how difficult emotionally it is to deal with the hospital life... and the compliments I got on this bag really helped cheer me up. The compliments didn't come just from the hospital staff, though- nearly every time I go out with the bag someone mentions how cute it is or asks what print the bag is. And I have to say- I love being able to carry the things I need with me.... I think I have become a "purse carrying" kind of gal now.

You can check out Vera Bradley on Facebook and Twitter, and keep an eye out on the Vera Bradley blog for possible giveaways!

I received a product free of charge for the purpose of this review, no monetary compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Save BIG on Towels! $20 for 6 piece set!

I don't normally put deals on my blog because I'm not really a deal blog.... but this deal is too good to miss.

I ordered these towels a couple days ago and got them today, and they are fantastic! 

Pinzon Basics/Pike Street 100-Percent Egyptian Cotton 725-Gram 6-Piece Towel Set, Wedgewood

Seriously, wow. You get two towels, two hand towels, and two washcloths for $20 (marked down from $60)! And, they're Egyptian Cotton as well. There are only a few colors that are in stock currently, and I am sure this deal will go fast- so  you might want to hurry if you hope to get it! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bratzillaz Giveaway!

Behold The Magical Powers of … Bratzillaz! The Bewitching Glam Cousins of the Bratz Conjure Up Magical Fun in 2012! The enchanted good witch cousins of the popular Bratz, Bratzillaz takes girls on a supernatural flight of imagination and discovery to reveal their own inner secrets and special powers, including the ability to communicate with animals, fly through the air, see into the future and find true love. Designed to encourage a girls’ imagination to dream big, the powers of Bratzillaz will magically appear in retail toy aisles and young girl’s hearts in July 2012.
  Prepare to be transported to a mesmerizing world where magic meets glam as MGA Entertainment invites you to meet Bratzillaz™: 

  Cloetta Spelletta has the power to change you into anything you want. She'll help you show there's two sides to you; Magic Power: Can transform into anything; Witchmark: Moon & Stars; Fave Pet: Barkthalameow; Fave Class: History of Platform Shoes; Fashion Passion: Girly Glitter. 

  Jade J'Adore has the power to help you find your one true love. She’ll help you heal your broken heart, too!; Magic Power: Heals broken hearts; Witchmark: Heart Arrow; Fave Pet: Kissifuss™; Fave Class: Fashion Magic; Fashion Passion: Urban Witchy. 

  Yasmina Clairvoya has the power to see the future. She’ll help you be ready for anything coming your way!; Magic Power: Sees into the future; Witchmark: Egyptian Eye; Fave Pet: Winkers™; Fave Class: Purses & Potions; Fashion Passion: Vintage Romantic. 

  Sashabella Paws has the animal kingdom under her spell. She'll help you communicate with creatures everywhere!; Magic Power: Can communicate with animals; Witchmark: Tribal Cat; Fave Pet: Fluffinscruff™; Fave Class: Exotic Animal Languages; Fashion Passion: Fierce faux fur.

Meygana Broomstix not only has the power to fly, but also to make dreams come true. She’ll help make your wildest dreams take flight!; Magic Power: Helps you fly; Witchmark: Wings; Fave Pet: Wingzy™; Fave Class: Broom Gymnastics; Fashion Passion: Sporty Supernatural. 

 In August, Bratzillaz will extend into the digital space with interactive content on www.bratzillaz.com, a newly designed website that offers an immersive 3D experience including the cutting edge technology of parallax scrolling, multi platform games, augmented reality experiences, character bios, and more! In a first for MGA Entertainment, Bratzillaz™ games will also be available on apps for smartphones. Look for more spellbinding Bratzillaz™ entertainment to manifest throughout the year, including a series of original animated webisodes, music videos, and licensed consumer products.

Buy It: You can purchase Bratzillaz dolls for around 30.00. 

Win It: MGA Entertainment has offered one lucky US reader their own Bratzillaz doll! Please make sure you read the Giveaway Rules before you enter! This giveaway is brought to you by MGA Entertainment and Real Mom Reviews. Seven in the Nest is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Oh my CHOCOLATE! #hsysimplepleasures

I know I am not alone when I say I love chocolate.  I mean, what's not to love about sweet, creamy goodness? Well.... the the fat content perhaps? Hershey’s Simple Pleasures chocolates have 30 percent less fat than the average leading milk chocolates. Oh yes, that means there's a chocolate out there for you...

Hershey’s Simple Pleasures chocolates give you “Sweet Independence” to enjoy delicious chocolate and feel great about loving it. They have 30% less fat vs. the average of the leading milk chocolates, and they’re 100% delicious. I love that with this chocolate I don't have to worry about over indulging, I can just enjoy the simple pleasure of a sweet treat. The serving size for these chocolates is a generous 6 pieces! I was very surprised to see that I could enjoy 6 whole pieces of chocolate!

 Hershey’s Simple Pleasures chocolates encourage you to sign the Declaration of “Sweet Independence,” prompting you to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and live a balanced lifestyle. 

I had the chance to try out the three kinds of Hershey's Simple Pleasures chocolates... these are what I was sent.

From right to left- Dark Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Creme, Milk Chocolate with Vanilla Creme and Milk Chocolate with Milk Chocolate Creme.

My favorite of the three, hands down, was the Dark Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Creme. I should note that I am a HUGE dark chocolate fan and not so fond of milk chocolate. If you like vanilla I highly recommend the Milk Chocolate with Vanilla Creme- these chocolates had a good strong vanilla taste to them. Overall I was very pleased with all the chocolates (although, I was out of the Dark Chocolate variety much too soon). My husband also enjoyed the Dark Chocolate variety best, but our kids loved them all!

Head on over to Hershey's Simple Pleasures Facebook page and declare your sweet independence for a chance to win some sweet prizes and you'll get a coupon after you submit your entry!

I received free samples and compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

My #Cinchspiration Journey Starts Today!

I am so excited to have been chosen as one of 50 bloggers to embark on a six month journey with Shaklee Coorporation's Cinch Inch Loss Plan. 

The Cinch program seems simple enough. I replace breakfast and lunch with a shake or a meal bar, eat a Cinch snack bar and drink some Cinch tea.... eat a healthy dinner and take 3 metabolism boosters a day.

This simplicity makes me feel like my goals are attainable. The shakes and the meal bar seem simple and easy enough to make quickly so that I stick with the program. I have to say, I am SO excited.

Now...here's my most dreaded part. The most embarrassing part, really. I have to share my before info with you all.

Ugh. That's tough. I'm definitely NOT proud of how I have let myself go... 

Weight as of 7-2-2012- 225lbs
6-29-2012 Measurements in inches
I was shocked to see my fat percentage (as calculated by CinchWellness.com) so high. Nearly 60% of me is fat?! Ugh. Well... that's going to change. 

My Goal

Become more healthy and more conscious of what I consume. Eat to live...not live to eat.

Weight- 165 or less.

My biggest goal is to fit into my jeans from 8 years ago... 

I am a little behind the other fantastic bloggers involved in this journey. I had to start a couple weeks late since I had to be with Luke in the NICU, and then I had to get the okay to do this plan from my doctor and his pediatrician since I am nursing. Thankfully I got the okay last week, so today is my start day!

I do want to note that I am not allowed to do exercise more than walking for the first three weeks I will be on the plan, and I will have to keep my dietary intake at a minimum of 1800 calories while I am breastfeeding per our doctors' orders. It's always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any weight loss or exercise plan.

I will be posting about my progress once a month, as well as posting a video of my progress once a month. Keep an eye out to see how I do!

This is a compensated post as part of the Shaklee Corporation’s Team #Cinchspiration Campaign. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating. My opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Nature's Sleep Slippers

Slippers aren't something I think about often- but I know when my feet are cold they sure are on my mind! I've seen a lot of slippers, but I've never really thought about what I would want in a slipper.

Well, I have been trying Nature's Sleep Closed Toe Terry Slippers, and I can tell you that I will always look for comfort in a slipper now. 

The Closed Toe Terry Slippers have memory foam in the foot bed. I am a HUGE fan of memory foam- our bed just happens to be memory foam as well ;). That first step into the slippers is wonderful. I do notice that if you are standing for a duration (like while doing dishes) that the ultra comfort of the memory foam isn't as apparent. This is probably because the memory foam compresses, but walking around the house in the slippers is oh so comfy!

The slippers also keep my feet warm, which is important to me since the only time I really want slippers is when my feet are cold.

The soles of the slippers are thermoplastic rubber- so sturdy enough to go outside with if you need to. 

I ordered a size large because I normally wear a size 10 shoe usually, and these fit just right. I think if I were to order them again I'd go for one of the other colors Nature's Sleep offers. I really like the pink ones, actually.

Nature's Sleep also offers some other great products, so be sure to check out what else you can find on their site!

Nature's Sleep has offered one Seven in the Nest reader a chance to win a pair of slippers of their own!

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The Death of our Bunn.

Oh how I will miss coffee... :(

Today, my Bunn coffee maker caught on fire. True story. A big flash, some smoke.... it was crazy and I am SO glad I was right there doing dishes when it happened so I could unplug it quickly.

We've had this coffee maker for years, and we've always liked it. I was sad to see it go, so a few minutes ago I sat down to the computer and put the model (GR10W) into Google so that I could find a new one to replace it. To my shock and horror the first thing that came up was a recall. Yes indeed, back in 2005 Bunn  recalled our model of coffee maker because it was a firehazard. Well, nice to know NOW. 

RIP BUNN Coffee Maker... we'll miss you even though you tried to catch us on fire.
I'm disappointed we didn't know our product was recalled...but I guess we just didn't get the memo? 

Well, my husband tried to take it apart to see what he could see. Let me tell you... you do NOT want to see the inside of the water holding tank after 7 years of using it! There was a TON of calcium/mineral build up- it was so gross. We will now be replacing our coffee maker more often. *sigh* I will miss my super fast coffee maker...but I am more glad I was in the right place at the right time and we still have our house and family!


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