Saturday, April 19, 2014

Blayzers Inferno Review- AND A GIVEAWAY!


Remember when I reviewed the Zaggora Hot Pants? Well guess what- I have found a product I am loving EVEN MORE!

Allow me to introduce you to my new work out buddy-

BLAYZERS!

You guys- these pants are AWESOME!

I love a gook work out, but as a working mom with four little kids, there is very little time for hitting the gym these days. Blayzers are uniquely designed to induce heat during exercise.  By accelerating your core temperature, you burn a lot more calories, which means you don’t have to work out as long. Less exercise with great results means I can spend less time at the gym and more time with my family. In fact if I am being honest, I have only been to the gym twice in the last month. Yup. You heard me. Twice. HOWEVER these pants are a life savor for women like me- I’ve just been wearing them around the house while I’m moping, sweeping, doing laundry etc… and even though I don’t feel like I’m working out, I’m sweating and burning calories as if I was. This is because of the technology of the material, which they call “fire fiber” 
Fire fiber is a brushed material that traps your body heat and reflects it back to you, which increases your body temperature. And while we’re talking about material, can I just say these are so much more comfortable than my Zaggora Hot Pants!? (Sorry Zaggora. The truth hurts sometimes.) They are lightweight and flexible, and are made to flatter your unique body shape. I had major doubts about that last part at first, especially because I felt like my Zaggora pants added extra inches to my already plentiful rear end. But I was SO happy when I put on my Blayzers and looked in the mirror! They really are flattering! The material supported my muscles (and my other not-so-muscular stuff) in all the right places, making me appear more like the lean mean fighting machine I am trying to be. I don’t know about you, but feeling good in my work out clothes is extremely important. It helps me feel motivated to put them on and get to work every day!

The pants are also made of “Cell Flex” material, which offers a four way stretch so you feel comfortable and your muscles are well supported. The “Air Cell” material has 3 dimensional air chambers, which provide the needed ventilation when working out for extended periods of time. They also infused the inside of the pants with a special treatment called Anti-Microbial Polygiene which inhibits the growth of odor causing bacteria and fungi.
These pants are incredibly comfortable and provide you with unlimited flexibility. Oh and you will want to have lots of water handy because you will get HOT. This means it’s working, you’re increasing your core temperature and shedding those unwanted pounds.


I wanted to take a before and after shot of me in these pants like I did with the Zaggora ones, but I didn’t. And here’s why: When I did the Zaggora review I had about 35 lbs and LOTS of inches to lose, so the results of the Zaggora pants were dramatic enough to be seen in a picture. That was about 9 months ago. As of right now I am down 30 lbs. and am thinner than I have ever been in my life, (Yay!) so I’m afraid the benefits of these pants aren’t going to show up like they did in the Zaggora pictures. That being said I lost 4 more pounds this month without even trying, and the only thing I did differently was wear these pants during my morning housework routine. Score!!! My skin also feels smoother, which is an added bonus.

My Blayzers are definitely my new favorite work out pants. They have changed the way I think about exercise. The comfortable material, flattering design, and increased energy burn is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. Whether you are just starting your fitness journey and are looking for something to get you motivated, or you’re ready to take your work out routine to the next level- the Blayzers Inferno pants will help you achieve your goals! And I am SO excited to announce that one lucky reader is going to receive their very own pair!


Don’t forget to connect with Blayzers on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube for updates and new product releases.

Disclaimer- I was given a pair of pants to review for the purpose of this post. I was not compensated and these opinions are my own. One Lucky Pickle is not responsible for prize fulfillment.


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Thursday, April 17, 2014

I don't know about you, but I need a bouq!

Well, hello, gorgeous bouquet of ranunculus that showed up at my door this morning!  How was your journey from a equatorial volcano to my home?


Apparently not too taxing, because you are looking LOVELY this morning!


It was hard to choose between all the gorgeous flowers on the Bouqs' site (Yummmm....roses galore...) but now that we've met, I know you are the only bouq for me!


We here at the Pickle would like to give a big ol' welcome to our newest sponsor, The Bouqs Company.  They are a rising star in the internet flowers business, intent on making the experience better for everyone.  I can tell you, they spoiled me--ordering was easy, and I didn't have to wait very long for these pretties to show up straight to my door!

I ended up choosing the Lush Us Bouq--straight up pink ranunculus, baby!  But there are roses, lilies, gerbera daisies, and much more.  Super good news?  Try the code WELCOME20 for 20% off your first order! (I haven't tried it--I just found it on retailmenot.com.  Just trying to help out guys!!)



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*The links in this post are affiliate links, which means we receive some compensation when you buy from the Bouqs through us.  We thank you for your support, since any income goes straight to more crafts, parties, and fun for the blog!!

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Doing Dishes Trumps Disneyland

Okay, so no one's ever going to say that doing dishes as a family is more FUN than Disneyland.  It's a menial chore that never goes away--in fact, it seems to be undone the moment you finish.  I would actually rather clean a toilet than do the dishes.  So how can I claim that doing dishes together will make more of an impact on my children's memories--not to mention character--than a trip to Disneyland would?

Well, that's what I'm here to tell you.  Several months back, our dishwasher broke.  We had just upgraded our floor from tile to laminate, and we didn't have the funds to fix it.  Plus, the thought of any more leaking on our brand new pretty floor made my husband (who installed the darn thing, bless him) cringe.  I have some pretty crazy ideas about families working together from my days in college, and I convinced everyone involved that doing the dishes by hand every night would be FUN!  Turns out it IS pretty fun--and even more importantly, this ritual has become very important in the lives of our children (and us parents too!).


One reason for the impact is quite simple: we do dishes Every. Single. Day. When added up over a childhood, that makes for a lot of sudsy moments piled on top of each other.  Poor Disneyland doesn't stand a chance when you factor in actual minutes spent PLUS the number of repetitions.

Besides being ever present, doing dishes is a perfect job to do together.  It requires such little skill that there is something for every level to do.  Daddy does the washing, I rinse for him when I finish clearing the table and sweeping, the big boys dry, and the baby helps them put everything away.  It is a serious thrill to look at my whole family sandwiched between the sink and the silverware drawer (which we moved to a bottom cupboard so the littles can reach), busily working together to accomplish a shared goal.  And it tickles the baby that he gets to be a part of it!

Cup stacking--very helpful AND developmentally appropriate!!

There is another reason I feel confident suggesting that the boring, mindless repetition of dish doing can hold a candle to the boundless fun and energy of rides and Disney magic:  the very mindlessness that makes dishes so boring actually promotes meaningful conversation.  It's easy to relate events of the day, develop strategies to cope with friendship woes, or coach my four-year-old through handling the crush his classmate has on him (!!!) because I don't really have to focus on scrubbing or buffing.  I have a feeling that as these guys get older, crushes become more serious, and jobs and school become overwhelming stressors, this might be the only time I have to "trick" them into telling me about what's going on in their lives.  Try having a deep conversation in the middle of Space Mountain...dishes wins!!

Another plus for doing dishes: it is a "taking care of the whole family" job--studies have shown that these kind of jobs, as opposed to self-care tasks (cleaning their own room, brushing their teeth, picking up the toys that THEY got out) helps children develop compassion.  In our western society, these kind of jobs usually fall to the mothers--how silly of us to keep these incredible learning tools to ourselves!  So I am unselfishly sharing this task with my whole family and letting them reap the rewards as well.  Ha!

This guy has actually started drying without being asked (gasp)!!!

Doing dishes scores major points because working together can build your family into a team (as long as Mommy and Daddy can keep things positive instead of stressful).  Even when we are "competing" parents vs. kids to see who gets done first, we are actually working together to fight against entropy.  By the way, I love it that my kids haven't figured out that our "distress" at them finishing before us masks our smugness that they just joyfully participated in a chore.  Bonus, they get to practice good sportsmanship in winning: "maybe tomorrow you will win, Daddy."  These kiddos take a lot of pride in "their" clean kitchen and we all feel good that it was a team effort.

How many pieces of silverware can we fit in the cheese grater?


It sounds idyllic, and I can feel some eyes rolling through your screen.  Obviously it's not smooth sailing every night.  We parents have to work really hard to keep from nitpicking, nagging, or stressing perfection.  There are little feet under ours, and in the beginning, we could have gotten the job done much faster if we'd sent them off to play.  Occasionally (most days) I find a dish in the cupboard that wasn't perfectly dried the night before.  Some team members are less willing to help than others (I have to prod myself more often than I'd like to admit).  But as we work to patiently teach and consistently expect help, all of these hard things get easier.

The other night, my 6 year old got to do the washing--his favorite job--because Daddy was at work late.  Instead of competing, we worked together, us vs. the kitchen.  He keeps reminding me, "remember when I washed all the dishes?"  And I don't point out that I made sure they were well rinsed first.  He couldn't wait to tell Daddy about this amazing accomplishment.  Neither could I.

Incredibly, the job worse than toilet cleaning has become nearly enjoyable, and the companionship we feel as we do it brings real joy.  The memories made may not be as glossy and sparkle filled as shooting aliens with Buzz or braving snakes with Indiana Jones, but they will be deeper, more meaningful, and substantial.  They will be the memories I will love to pull out and caress against my cheek when my boys have moved on to scrubbing forks and plates with their own families.  With any luck, these kids of mine will feel the same way.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Free Printable: Simplicity

Simplicity.  Nowadays, it's not so simple--don't you think?  You need to actually work hard to find it. Apparently it was something to strive for in da Vinci's day as well: 

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Amen, Mr. da Vinci.  This is one of Lauren's favorite quotes, and she asked if I'd design something to hang on her wall--voila! She was even nice enough to let me put it up here so YOU can print it up if you'd like!  

Click on the image or HERE to download an 8x10 printable.



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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

~FROZEN BIRTHDAY PARTY~

My daughter has had her heart set on a Frozen party ever since we saw the movie back in November, so even though the whole world would probably like to "Let it Go" at this point, we brought in our own personal flurry and created something truly magical for her birthday!

Now before we jump into a major photo overload- I have to say that this party would not have been possible without the massive amounts of help I received from my mother in law, Vicki, and my sister in law Kyrell. Kyrell threw a beautiful Frozen party for her daughter Sahara a few weeks ago and was gracious enough to let me re-use a lot of her decorations. Vicki pulled things out of her "Mary Poppins bag" (aka- her fabulous stash of beautiful things that she uses for her wedding business), helped me set things up the night before, and even let me use her house for the party. Family! What would I do without them?!

Let the fun begin! 

 I love how excited she is! When she walked in the room she gasped and whispered "Mom! Oh my goodness... it's so beautiful I think I'm going to cry!" her reaction alone was totally worth the effort. She's been counting down the days for a month now, and when the big day finally arrived she was positively giddy with excitement! 

The food for this party was so fun to put together!
The party took place after school on Friday so I wanted to have a few healthy options like string cheese-snowmen, yogurt parfaits, pretzel sticks (snowmen arms) and strawberries (dipped in white chocolate- aka- Frozen Hearts) ...  but of course we had to have a few kid favorites too!
We had glittery marshmallow pops, Kristoff's jello ice blocks, blue hershey's kisses, edible icicles (chocolate dipped pretzel rods)...
Snowballs (Coconut cake balls), an ice cream bar with pretty blue and white toppings to choose from, and beautiful blue gum-balls that were leftover from Kyrell's party. (Thanks girl!) 
Oh yes! More healthy food! Haha, THIS is why we take pictures- I had already forgotten all about the "bonus food table" we had to put up because I couldn't get all the food to fit on one table. 
Too much food?
 Psshh! No such thing! 
On our little extra food table we had Olaf noses (baby carrots), and frozen grapes- which are one of my daughter's favorite snacks. And of course we needed some water to wash it all down. 
I love the labels on the water bottles. :)

Check out that glitzy number 5! 
Goodness... FIVE?! Is my baby really FIVE YEARS OLD? When did that happen? 
Let's not talk about it.
In the living room we had set up a little activity station where we played games and built donut snowmen... you know... because we hadn't had enough sugar. 

This cake was so much fun to make. I just made a lollipop recipe I found online, and poured the whole batch into a greased cookie sheet. After it cooled down I cracked it into pieces and we placed it around the cake. Super cool!
For Christmas my girls received some Frozen toys from their grandparents, which was like 3 months ago. Since then they have been WELL loved. The night before her party Livy snuck the little Elsa doll into bed with her and rolled over her at some point during the night... breaking her left arm off. She also broke Anna's feet off at one point, and one of our little Olaf dolls is missing his hair and both of his arms. It's like a Frozen massacre! 
Just don't look too closely. :)

 When the guests first arrived we passed out princess crowns for the girls, and Sven antlers for the boys. Then we sat down to eat.
 Let the games begin! We played pin the nose on Olaf- which was a hoot!
 Had a "snowball" fight with cotton balls and built our donut snowmen...
And then we did a fun relay game that- in retrospect- most of the kids were too young to understand. The older kids thought it was great though! They were divided into teams and had to wrap their teammate up like a snowman using a roll of toilet paper, then wrap a scarf around their neck, and walk across the room without ripping the toilet paper... yeaaahhhh it was kind of advanced for our littlest party guests, who ended up creating a toilet paper snowstorm, which was fine by me!

 I just love parties! I love them just as much now as I did when I was little- maybe even more! Maybe I have a little bit of Peter Pan running through my veins because I never ever ever want to grow up. At least not completely. :) 

Thanks for inspiring me to keep the magic alive!
 Love you Birthday Girl!




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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Awww, SNAP.




Confession: 
My husband made these.
To be fair, I helped dip them in the sugar.
I've got mad skillz.

One day he decided he reeeeeallly wanted ginger snaps, and he got to work. 
Now he's perfected his recipe and his method. 
I request them all the time, and we have been known to "pay" my parents for watching our kiddos with these.

People--these are AMAZING.
No joke. 
I could eat them ALL. DAY. LONG.

And I have.
Today, in fact.
I'll lose that baby weight another day.
*cough*


INGREDIENTS:

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt

Granulated Sugar

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oven to 375.

2. Beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses, and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar.

3. Lightly grease cookie sheet with shortening.

4. Shape dough into balls--about 1 inch in diameter. Dip tops into granulated sugar. Place balls, sugared sides up, about 3 inches apart on cookie sheet.

5. Bake 9 to 12 minutes or just until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. 
Note: If you eat them warm, they will seem slightly undercooked in the middle. But as they cool, you get that wonderful dense and chewy middle, with a firm, not-quite-crunchy outside. And they are even better the next day.

HOLY YUM.

Makes about 2 dozen.



What are you waiting for!?
GO PREHEAT THOSE OVENS!

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rainbow Apple Snacks


Looking for something easy and yummy to bait your leprechaun traps this year?  Or maybe you have some ravenous lasses and/or laddies looking for something to devour.

Or perhaps, like me, you got your hands on a whole box of inexpensive apples, wanted to use them, and aren't good at pies. 


So we pulled out our nifty peeler-corer and all took turns slicing up apples.  We left the peels on, because these snacks need all the nutrition they can get!  It was very exciting, this apple slicing business.  If you have never eaten apples sliced that thin and curly, my friends, you need to try them.  It ups the deliciousness factor.  We ate half of what we sliced before we ever dried them!  But I'm pretty sure that 6 really tiny apples will fill up one tray.  Maybe 4 small apples from the grocery store.


 Next, some simple Jell-O will transform your apples into a rainbow! It doesn't take much--just sprinkle it on as much or little as you'd like.  If desired, you can just start chowing down now.  They are super yummy as is.


Or you can toss them in the oven heated to 170 degrees for 8.5 hours and have colorful, flavored apple chips.  This picture almost didn't make it to you, folks, because these apples were devoured in about 5 minutes.

Then we made more, but all blue (we do a lot of blue around here), and baked for 7 hours.  I like my apple chips a bit chewy.  They also turned out delicious.  Mmmmm.  And Jell-O isn't that bad for you, right?  I consider these quite healthy.

I think we need a dehydrator, because these suckers are going to become regulars!


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