Monday, October 6, 2014

A Happy Sickness

As I'm sure you have now noticed.... I've been away awhile. But I am please to announce that it was all for, what I like to call, A Happy Sickness.

 (PS. How CUTE are these announcements that Jay made?!)

That's right, peeps. I'm expecting, I've got a bun in the oven, I'm plump, I'm round, I'm PREGNANT.

With the whirlwind of tasks that comes along with starting a pregnancy (and the intense morning sickness I've had for the last 3 months) It has put a serious damper on my blog writing. And for that, I apologize. 

Please know that I will try my best to get some posts out to you lovelies as much as I possibly can. At least a few times a week. I have a suspicious feeling that my posts will consist of a lot of baby item reviews, pregnancy updates, and "new-mom tips"... 

In the meantime, say "Hello!" to Baby Miller!!!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Dinner Al Fresco with Fred

As a family, we LOVE to eat out on our patio! Dinner is always a great time to bond with family and when you do it outside, it adds a great element of fun for everyone! Tonight we decided on a simple steak with brussels sprouts and a caprese salad. Can I share a recipe with you? Great!

The filet we cooked tonight comes from a friend of ours. A while ago, we went in with a friend and purchased a side of beef from a local farm. After hearing of this, my daughter decided to name our cow "Fred". Every time we have any sort of beef in our house, we all know that we are having some Fred. Fred is super delicious and very lean. All we used to make these awesome filets was salt, pepper and butter. That's all it needed. Jay popped these babies on the grill for a bit and we had wonderful medium-rare steaks in no time! 

This caprese salad was AMAZING! I found some high quality mozzarella at the market and used basic roma tomatoes. The thing that makes this salad so amazing is the oil and vinegar. Last year, Jay and I went on a long tour of the Mediterranean. While we were in Tuscany, we stopped at a wine tasting shop to sample amazing wines, olive oils, and balsamic vinegars. We ended up coming home with an amazing array!

On the far right in the picture above is our balsamic vinegar from Tuscany with the olive oil in the center. Let me just say, any good quality oil and vinegar would be great if you don't have any Tuscan lying around ;) On the far left, I give you our wine pairing for the evening. I stumbled upon this brand while shopping in my local liquor store. "Chime" Cabernet Sauvignon-2012 was the perfect red to add to this meal. It was light and went down easily with the steak. 

The other uber-important part of the salad (and mostly because I want to show off my green thumb) was the basil. I grow this basil right in the window in my kitchen. It is very fresh an flavorful! The best part is, it gives my daughter the very important job of picking the basil,crushing it up and sprinkling it on top of the salad! (How else would I get her to eat it?!)

The brussles sprouts have a few more steps involved, but is still a super simple side dish to make. Lucky for you, I have provided the recipe below!

(PS... Did I just make you a fancy dinner in 30 minutes? I think so!!!)

Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4
Prep Time: 10mins
Cook Time: 30mins
1 1/2 lbs of Brussels Sprouts
5 Strips Thick-Sliced Applewood-Smoked Bacon
1 Yellow Onion
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
2. Cut the base part of all of your Brussels Sprouts off and discard. Cut the sprouts into halves. (If small leaves come off of sprouts, GREAT! Those pieces become super crispy and make this dish even better!) Lay on a large ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Slice the bacon into 1/4 inch pieces, add to Brussels Sprouts.
4. Slice Onion into large pieces, add to Brussels Sprouts.
5. Drizzle Olive Oil on top of Brussels Sprouts, Add Salt and Pepper to taste (I prefer pretty generously)
6. Using your hands, Mix all ingredients together coating thoroughly.
7. Bake for 30mins or until leaves become golden brown.

These sprouts are so good, my 9 year-old finished them first!

Do you love to eat outside? What is your go-to recipe for a night under the stars? I also want to know, what crazy food is your kid in love with? How do you get them to eat it?

Tell me your story! Leave a comment!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summertime Reading Review: Adult Edition

If you didn't get the hint the other day, I love to read. I'm definitely a total nerd so my reading list consists of things like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Divergent trilogy, some good smut (a lot of Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele), Dragon Tattoo, etc. I'm a big fan of books that will eventually be a movie, but i'll always read the book first, not the other way around. Not a lot of non-fiction books but I'm usually down for one every once in a while.

Yesterday we talked about some great reading material for the kiddos. Today I'd like to make some suggestions for the grown-ups. Here are some of my favorites for this summer.

1. The Casual Vacancy
     Starting out with a book written by J.K. Rowling (insert smiley face here) this book is not the quickest read but is a great story. The best part: HBO is currently casting a 3-part miniseries of the novel.

   Always a classic, this novel is the perfect "quick read" for a vacation on the beach. I love the accomplished feeling of finishing a book on vaca, it makes me feel as if I've genuinely relaxed. Taking a gander at Leo afterward in the movie isn't so bad either ;)

     So this one can't technically be a review because, to be honest, I haven't read it yet. I can say, that this is the book that I am most excited to read! I am just about to start it and I cannot wait! Plus: The movie just came out! (Starting to see the theme here?)

     Ok, one more J.K. Rowling plug, and I'm done. Written under the male pen name of "Robert Galbraith". These books are perfect for all of you murder-mystery readers out there. No movie involved with this one, but still great reads!

Have you read any good books lately? Do you have a summertime favorite that you just can't put down? Leave a comment and let me know! Once I'm done with The Fault In Our Stars, I'll need something new to read!
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summertime Reading Review: Kid's Edition

While my daughter is a very bright little girl, she struggles with one thing in school that most kids do: Reading. As a result, we do quite a bit of homeschooling in our home during the summer that is solely based around reading activities.With our methods, there is 2 kinds of reading. Reading for comprehension and reading for fluency. 

To work on reading for comprehension, we do a family book club. We all read a book together, 2 chapters a day, and meet during dinnertime to discuss the book once we have finished. This gives Alayna an opportunity to read on her own and recap what she has read over the previous week. Alayna will be in the 4th grade next year, so we are reading books at a variety of reading levels. Here are some of our favorites we've read so far this summer:

1. Judy Moody Saves the World

2. Judy Moody Gets Famous!

We really love the Judy Moody book series! They are perfect for little girls and are an easy enough chapter book to get those early-readers going. The Animal Ark series is a little harder than the Judy Moody books, but it gives kids just that much more confidence to keep reading! (And for only $1.99 a piece, you're making out with a huge bargain!) They are great for boys and any animal lover too!

When we work on reading fluency, we pick a kid-friendly chapter book that is too hard for her to read on her own, and I read it to her. When she listens to the story, she can hear how fluently I read while trying to follow along on the pages. It gives her the confidence to try to read as fluently and with as much emotion as I do. Lately, we have been reading a lot of Roald Dahl books. Here are our favorites for the summer time:

Oh, and did I mention that all of these books are under $6?!?? I know, right?! Reading is a great way to spend time with your kids during the summer. So go get your picnic blanket, put it in your yard, and READ! A couple of chapters will only take a few minutes and the stories you instill in your child's imaginations will last them a lifetime!

What books do your kids love to read? Do they have a favorite bedtime story? Leave a comment and let me know!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Warm Weather Skirt: Part 2

On Thursday, we talked about a great way to style a sunny summer day with a warmer top to tough out the random wind that makes it chilly outside. I gave you a stylish girl's outfit for the daughters out there. Today, I'll show you my "Mom" version of this style!

My favorite thing about this outfit is how comfortable it is! Everything just flows with ease, allowing me to go out-and-about in style. Another great thing about this outfit is how many basic pieces I can use. I'm sporting a go-to basic tank from Target, a go-to basic drape from Charlotte Russe and basic go-to canvas wedges made by Toms.

Tank, Target (Exact)
Drape, Charlotte Russe (Exact, in Peach)
Shoes, Toms (Exact, in Red)

Of course, every outfit needs a few statement pieces. BIG shouts out my new favorite boutique, Chartreuse. Located in Louisville, KY, in the Westport Village shopping center. I was able to score big-time when I picked up this molded skirt in navy-and-white. It puffs out all the time, I'm not quite sure what that style is called... so if you do, let me know! 

My second big score from the ladies at Chartreuse was this gorgeous necklace in the shape of the great state of Kentucky! It was a gift from my sister-in-law and believe me when I tell you, I am wearing the you-know-whats out of it! 

The unfortunate thing is that I cannot find an online store for Chartreuse. So if you are in the Louisville area, please, go check them out! They have some amazing clothes and accessories there, for great prices! I will definitely be posting more items from them in the future. In the mean time, if you are not in the Louisville area, I have provided a couple of similar items for you!

Skirt, 6pm (Similar)
Necklace, theFolk on Etsy (Similar)

Do you have a boutique you like to visit in a certain city? Anywhere in the world, tell me about it! Leave a comment below, and thanks again for stopping by! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Warm Weather Skirt: Part 1

We've had some warmer weather here in Colorado, but we just can't seem to shake this wind! In keeping with the theme of summertime clothes with warmer accents, I've got another "Daughter" outfit to share! A light tulle skirt with matching sweater should do the trick!

First of all, I LOVE the outlet mall! I love that I can get something that is super cute, not typically found in the regular stores, and waaay cheaper, all in the brands that I like! We started off this outfit at the Crew Cuts factory store while on vacation in Destin, but don't worry, I got you, they have an online store! Paired that with some go-to sandals from Payless and sunglasses from Children's Place and you've got yourself a cutie-pie on your hands!

Shop the Look:
Top, J. Crew "Crew Cuts" (Exact): $19.50
Skirt , J. Crew "Crew Cuts" (Exact): $44.50
Sunglasses, The Children's Place (Exact): $2.99!
Sandals, Payless Shoes (Exact): $26.99
Earrings, Claire's (Exact): $6.50
OUTFIT TOTAL: $100.48!!!
(Keep in Mind: They are usually running a sale a the outlet store, I got the top and the skirt for 50% OFF!! That lowered the price of this outfit to only $68.48!)

To top-off her outfit, Alayna was so excited to add a home made charm bracelet! She made this herself from a rainbow loom kit. I love how she added the nautical themed charms to perfectly tie it in to her ensemblè!

Join me on Saturday as I show off the "Mom" version of this summer-wind outfit! 
Leave a comment below! What do you think of Alayna's outfit? How about her homemade accessories? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Freezer Meals

The other day I took 2.5 hours out of my day and I made some of my Freezer Meals! It was super easy and I have 6 extra meals to make when I am in a tight spot. 

Here's the thing about freezer meals. A lot of them you have to thaw overnight so there is a little bit of thought that goes into them. As a stay-at-home-mom, if I know the night before that I need something for dinner the next night, I'm going to just go to the grocery and get the things that I need.

When I make my freezer meals, I want stuff that I can take out a few hours before, thaw in the microwave, or just cook from frozen.

I always pick a few recipes and make multiple of each. I like to use these Chinet bakeware containers. They freeze really well and they can go directly into the oven. 

Also, I always make sure to properly label all of my meals. I can see what it is from the side of the container when I open my freezer, and I can see the cooking instructions on the top of the container for easy access!

First, I went with my trusty Steak Stir-Fry! I posted the recipe on my very first blog post entitled "Welcome Friends!". I made 2 of these in gallon sized bags so they lay nice and flat in my freezer. 

Second, I made a wonderful Chicken Enchilada recipe that I found on the Thriving Home Blog. It's so hearty with the black beans and full of wonderful flavors! This recipe takes only a few minutes and it's one of my family's favorites! On the site, it calls for a 9x9 baking dish. Since I use the above 8x8 dishes, I usually put about 4-5 enchiladas in one dish, therefore I can make 3 dinners out of this. Keep in mind, these enchiladas are BIG. One is plenty for one person for dinner. 

Third, I went with a basic Ravioli casserole. Here is my recipe:

Ravioli Casserole

1 package pre-made Cheese Ravioli
1 lb. ground beef
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, separated
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 can italian-style diced tomatoes

1. Grease an 8x8 pain lightly. Heat oven to 350.
2. In a medium pot, brown the ground beef. Drain and return to pan
3. Add the spaghetti sauce, 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and diced tomatoes to the beef. Heat thoroughly.
4. Pour a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of the pan. Place a layer of uncooked ravioli on top of the sauce. Continue to layer the sauce and ravioli until gone. Make sure the top layer is sauce. 
5. If you are going to freeze this meal, now is the time to freeze it. If you are going to make it now, cover with foil and place in the over for 35 minutes. 
6. Remove from oven, take foil off, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese, return to oven and cook for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  
7. Let cool 10 minutes and enjoy!

Do you have any recipes you like to freeze? Or some "go-to" recipe you like to use when you're in a pinch for dinner? Share them here! I'd love to know what kind of trick you have up your sleeve! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Rompers for Mother and Daughter

Summertime is the perfect time to show off your shorts. Summertime in Colorado, is the perfect time to show off your shorts with layers and long sleeves! When I lived in Houston, it was impossible to pull off this look. If it was shorts weather, you pretty much had to wear a tank or die from heat exhaustion! Colorado has nice, chilly summer days that make this look work!

Today I'd like to share with you two looks, one for Mother and one for Daughter, to kick off your weekend in style!

We'll start with Daughter. First of all, how cute is she?! I love this outfit because it feels like she's ready to celebrate the Fourth, without being doused in red, white, and blue. The Romper creates a great color palate, with the jacket really pulling the look together. The Romper is currently on SALE at Crazy 8 for only $9!!!!

We completed the look with these awesome flag sunglasses and firework earrings! We got both items from Claire's, as they are currently having a "Buy 2, Get 1 Free" Sale!
Romper (Exact): $9.09
Jacket (Exact): $10.49
Shoes (Exact): $7.69
Sunglasses (Similar): $9.99
Earrings (Exact): $7.50
OUTFIT TOTAL: $44.76!!!

For Mom's romper, I went with this SUPER COMFY hooded one from BCBG. It is made of a sweatpant material with 3/4 length loose-flowing sleeves. My shoes are from Target a few seasons ago. Throw on some basic layered bracelets and BOOM! Awesome daytime outfit! I stayed nice and warm but summery all at the same time! 

Sorry for the blurry pic... Have to give the photo cred to my daughter! Thanks, Alayna!

Romper (Exact): $47.00
Shoes (Similar): $29.00
Bracelet (Exact): $7.99
OUTFIT TOTAL: $83.99!!!

Join me tomorrow when I'll be dishing out recipes for my favorite freezer meals! (See what I did there?!)

What go-to style do you have for summer?! How do you feel about rompers? Love them or hate them? Leave a comment!!! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Beach Vacation

Family vacation numero uno this year took us to beautiful Destin, Florida. The sand was as soft as sugar and the water was wonderful! I thought I'd share some photos from our trip with all of you!

There was a lot of sand-castle-building, sports, and fun happening on the beach. Luckily, most of our family drove there so they provided a majority of the sand toys! Pool time was also a must when the ocean water was just too warm. There were so many fabulous places to eat, the fresh seafood was amazing! The Grouper is definitely the way to go!

There were so many fabulous places to eat, the fresh seafood was amazing!The Grouper is definitely the way to go! Bayou Bills and Boshamps were by far my fav's. If you're ever in Destin, I highly recommend them! I mean just look at this awesome table we had overlooking the bay!

I would like to give a quick shout out to a couple of wonderful jewelry makers that helped pull a few outfits together... Below I am sporting a wonderful piece made by the wonderful artists at Mountain Living Studio. Unfortunately, they do not have an online store, but if you are lucky enough to live in the state of Colorado, they are located in Manitou Springs! This beautiful necklace is comprised of all blue tones, is lightweight, and is so artsy-fartsy that it made my plain dress look like a knock-out!

Second, I would like to give a shout out to eIndigo. This wonderful Esty shop is ran by the beautiful Lauren, who was nice enough to give us a little "poolside show" of all of her wonderful offerings! I picked up this little number from her while we were on vacation and I couldn't be happier! Her shop also has earrings, anklets, necklaces, and much more! You can get one similar to this on her Etsy page!

Thanks for stopping by today! 
Leave a comment: Have you ever been to Destin? What are your favorite "hot-spots"? Are there any "not-spots"? Share with me!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Packing for Kids

I cannot believe it has been a whole month since my last post! Sorry, peeps. Life and picture-difficulties have gotten in the way... but now I'm BACK! 

With another travel post?! Well, it's that time of year peeps, so get used to it! There's a lot more where this came from! 

Today I would like to talk about packing, specifically for the kiddos. Is there a worst feeling in the world than when you're on vacation and your kids suitcase looks like a natural disaster happened inside the bag? (Well for me and my OCD self, this sucks pretty bad.) 

I've started packing for Alayna using the "bag system". I can pack her bag, unpack at our destination and repack our bags to leave in only about 10 minutes each time. 

I start of by counting how many outfits, pajamas, swimsuits, etc. she will need. I then place each individual outfit into a Ziploc bag. I make sure to include the outfit, underwear and socks. Lately, I've even started to label the bags with the contents of each bag and suggestions on shoes to wear the in the contained outfit. (This came really in handy over a trip we had with family that has other girls the same age. So that if their clothes got separated during the trip, I could reference the bag and know what clothes were missing! Pretty smart, huh?)

Each day on vacation, my daughter can just pick out one bag and go! No more fussing over outfits, it just a matter of picking a bag. Cuts out time getting ready and allows us more time to have fun!

What great ideas to you have for packing for kiddos? Have you seen anything cool and would like to share? Let me know! Leave a comment! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Derby Weekend


With my boyfriend Jay being from Louisville, KY, the Kentucky Derby is a big deal in our house. We just happen to be lucky enough to go also! Last year was my first derby experience so I think I qualify as a "seasoned veteran" this year. 

We attended Churchill Downs last Friday for the Kentucky Oaks. (I know, I know, this post is waaaay late.) That way we could free up Saturday for all of the fabulous Derby parties! It was a BLAST!

The hats were all so fabulous!
 I got my super-cool hat from Hat-A-Tude's online shop and had it shipped directly to Kentucky. I was so convenient not having to carry it on the plane!

This was our whole group we went with!

We also took a trip to the Louisville Slugger factory while we were there. While we were there, they were making the pink bats that the baseball players use on Mother's Day. They also have the world's largest baseball bat! 

At the Slugger Museum, there was also a Loony Tunes exhibit that had all of these neat cells from baseball cartoons. It brought back so many memories!

We had such a fun time! Can't wait to visit again!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Quick Tablecloth Holders

Here's a cute little idea for the avid party-planner! As my sister-in-law was getting ready for her Derby Party over the weekend, we realized that the wind gusts outside were going to be an issue. Especially when it came to the super cute polka-dot table cloths she was using.

We came up with a quick and easy solution!

Don't you seem to always have these little binder-clips randomly laying around your house, or tucked away in some desk drawer?? We scavenged up a few alternating colors and made these adorable little tablecloth holders! 

There were 4 tables so we used 16 clips in total. The entire project only took me 2 minutes. It was festive, cute, easy and cheap! 

Short post today! I just wanted to share this crafty little idea I had over the weekend!

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to use the links on the right side of the page to follow me, and don't forget to comment! I'd love to hear about the crafty little things you come up with!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My mom calls them "Actibities"

This week, we are headed to Kentucky for the Derby! #derbyweek! Jay was born and raised in Kentucky so we are combining a family vaca.

Coming from a family of "travelers", we have a tradition in this house, Traveling Activities, or as my mother calls them "Actibities".  It's like going to church without candy, you can't travel with out your backpack full of actibities!

Being a mom, this provides a wonderful opportunity to pack all of the necessities needed to take care of my family while we embark on our journey. I have compiled a list of all of the "must-haves" that I always include in my bag. Along with some PHOTOS!!!  (...I know, right?! They're from my phone so don't get too excited...)

For Mom:
1. My Laptop (I have to continue blogging, right?)
2. Real Simple Magazine and People Mag Crossword book
3. Thank You Cards that need to be filled out
4. Light Jacket

For Kids:
1. iPad (loaded with some movie faves like Frozen and Pitch Perfect)
2. iPod touch (loaded with games and music)
3. Nintendo DS
4. Coloring Book
5. Crayons
6. Some sort of craft (This time, we opted for a color-me travel bag that she will then be able to use on our trip! You can find it here.)
7. Doll (or other comfort item)
8. Light Jacket

For the Family:
1. A Blanket (for those much needed plane-naps)
2. Camera
3. Headphones
4. Warm Socks 
5. Moist Wipes (for on-the-spot cleanup)
6. Brush
7. All Charging Cables
8. Chapstick
9. Gum
10. Small (security safe) snacks
11. Hand Sanitizer
12. Ibuprofen
13. Flushable wipes
14. Antacid
15. Tide Stick

Now, you're probably wondering,
"How in the you-know-what does she fit all of that into one backpack?"

Well, I happen to have the answer to that too! Here is the backpack I use:

I bought it from Costco, you can see a similar item here
(I bought mine last season) 

But I would say that any 4-pocket backpack that has a laptop sleeve would work. You could even use one that doesn't have a laptop sleeve if you have a portable one, just be sure that laptop is easy to get out during security! 

I just like to make sure that my backpack has the front pocket that has little pockets inside. This helps to keep all of my small things organized, including all of the small items in the "family" list along with my credit cards and ID, pens, glasses, etc. 

Extra tips: This may be self explanatory (but you'd be surprised with what people try to do when traveling with kids) but I always make sure to travel in something comfortable. Jeans, loose top, loose jewelry (so that its easy to take off at security) and most importantly, ballet flats!

I wear the ballet flats for 2 reasons, #1 they are easy to take off at security. With this method of packing, all I have to do at the security checkpoint is take my laptop out of my bag (bin 1) throw my shoes, jackets, Alayna's doll and jewelry into another bin (bin 2) and lay my backpack on the belt. When I'm done, I just throw on my shoes and be on my way! Luckily, with new TSA regulations, Alayna doesn't have to take her shoes off, she can just walk through.

The second reason I love to wear my ballet flats with traveling with kids is because my feet ALWAYS swell when I fly. Don't get me wrong, when I'm not traveling with my daughter, I almost always will wear heels. However, I will always make sure that my heels can just kick off also. This is where my warm socks come into play. I usually will put my warm socks on during the flight, if not just to keep my tootsies warm, but to have something on my feet to walk to the bathroom in, seeing as how my feet are no longer fitting into my shoes. 

Last extra tip: Order a rum and coke. The flight attendant will usually have little salt-lime packet and POOF! you have yourself a grade-A cocktail!

Posting from Kentucky this week!

And just because its funny....
because who doesn't love n*sync humor?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Birthday Extravaganza!

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I would like to announce that Thursday was my daughter's 9th birthday!!!!

Happy Birthday Alayna!
                         How Exciting!

So today, I thought I would share some crafty things I made for her party! Wanna guess what the problem with that is??

Hi, my name is Shanna, and I have a serious
 problem remembering to take pictures of ANYTHING.

While my daughter's birthday was a great time, I have not a single photo to remember it by. Well, I do have a mouth (well, fingers and a keyboard) so at least I can blab all about it!

We had her actual birthday party on Saturday and it was FAB! All of her little friends from her school came over plus an abundance of family. We had a bounce house, piñata and plenty of bbq'd food. The cake was gorgeous and I'm pretty sure she got everything she wanted.

I am so proud of the little girl she has become! I can already tell how "grown-up" she is, just since she turned 9.

So let's get to the serious issue here. I really need to get into some sort of photography class, like A-SAP. I promise... as time goes on, I am going to get on my picture game. 

Well, till next time!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Rose from the Ashes

For myself, today has been a very thought provoking day. It has all been based around the question:

"What happy feeling can I pull out of moments of sadness or anxiety?"

I consider myself to be a pretty emotional person (I mean, I am a woman), and today was extraordinary. I was put in a position today where I was with a large group of people I don't know, and was there to make friends. 

Now, I tend to be pretty quiet in that sort of scenario, and today was no different. It gave me a very anxious feeling, but when the night was over and I left, that all changed. 

I felt proud.

I took myself out of my comfort zone, into a totally new world (wait a sec... this sounds familiar) and I did GREAT! I can remember at least 6 different peoples names and I had a really good time. When I got there, I was sure that I was going to leave upset with myself for not talking enough or not "just putting myself out there". I am happy to say that for the second day in a row, I DID IT

So what lesson did I learn from all of this? It goes back to the question of the day... What happy feeling can I pull out of moments of anxiety? It wasn't until I was driving home that I realized just how much fun I had! I may have had a moment of sadness thinking that I wasn't making friends with these other ladies, but I did well! And that, my friends, is my happy feeling for today. I accomplished something that I didn't think could be accomplished in the first encounter.

"Good for you Shanna!" "Oh! Thanks, Shanna! I'm pretty happy for myself!"

In honor of this, for the next few days, I will devote myself to the friendship that I have to offer. There is so much love in my heart for everyone (friends, family, blog readers...) that I just want to spread it around!

What type of things do you feel sad or anxious about but then realize the great feeling it left you with? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! You never know who you will inspire today!

No more fun stuff for today, just some insights. Thank you for stopping by my blog! Don't forget to follow me!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Welcome Friends!

(oh my gosh... how exciting?! My FIRST POST!!!)


Welcome to Happy Choices
 ...and our daily doings!

I am Shanna and I am here to blog about all the things in life that put a smile on my face and happiness in my heart!

For my very first post, I'd like to talk about the small things. Don't you find it interesting how its always "the little things" in life that really keep you going? And I really find it inspiring when that little burst of happiness comes from a fellow human being. It's a win-win! You get all mushy inside and truly appreciate another person while that person really feels pride in themselves for making a noticeable change in someone's day.

Like the old man at Costco today, who took 2 seconds out of his day to thank me for putting my cart back at the front of the store. I felt amazing for doing something that I really thought he would appreciate and him acknowledging my efforts was just the icing on the cake. Now I can't speak for him, but I would hope that seeing the smile he put on my face when I said, "you're welcome" would make him smile too.

Another small thing I am happy for today is the fact that dinner is only going to take me 6 minutes to make! 

That's right peeps! Once in a when-I-feel-like-it, I will take a Saturday and devote it to freezer meals. So tonight I am taking out my trusty Stir Fry.

Want to know how you can have dinner in 6 minutes?
Well you just so happen to be in luck, recipes make me happy too!

Steak Stir-Fry

For 4 Servings, you will need:

1lb flank steak, cut into 1" strips (remember, against the grain!)
3 cups stir-fry vegetables (any mix from the grocery will do)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp stir-fry sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 peanuts
1 packet Udon or Ramen noodles

So, here's what you do:

1. Combine all of the ingredients down to the ginger in a gallon size freezer bag. Now, this is where you decide if you are going to make this now, or put it in the freezer for later. If you are going to make it now, place the bag in the refrigerator for 1 hour. If you are going to freeze it, it will keep in the freezer for up to 5 months. 
(If you make it now, process takes about 15 minutes... sorry for the convenience)

2. Place entire contents of bag into a large skillet or wok. Saute' on medium high for 6 minutes. Meanwhile, boil your noodles for 4 minutes, drain.

3. Place your noodles in a bowl, top with peanuts and cilantro.

4. Enjoy those noodles covered in that sauce and awesomeness!

BOOM! Amazing and it sorta looks like I know what I'm doing!

Well, that's me for today! 
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'Til next time!