Currently… and a Target Giveaway!

currently

We are all happy to be living in our swimsuits again. Spring is finally here.

Excited For: Evita officially starting pre-school again tomorrow! She wouldn’t stop asking to go to school and my mom (the teacher) thought she should, too. I’m so excited for her! I’m also excited to have a little break during the days. Honestly, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed chasing around two toddlers all day. I don’t spend as much time as I used to teaching Eva phonics and what not, and I feel like if I had a little break every now and then I’ll be more enthusiastic about those things. I also look forward to getting back to blogging (I haven’t had much time to write lately, either) and possibly starting to do a little lawyer work here and there. We shall see.

Thinking About: A lot of things. That’s why I really need some time to just sit here and write!!! Tomorrow is my birth month, and I’ll be turning 28 soon. That means my high school reunion is just around the corner, too. SO crazy. I’ve also been reflecting a lot on surviving my first year as a mother of two. Stay tuned.

Dreaming Of: Hawaii. I still can’t believe I’ll be moving back in December! I can’t wait that long to see it again, though, so I’m planning a trip in the next few months. I can’t wait to hang out with some old friends and start getting things in order! I need to take advantage of those Space-A flights.

Watching: Better Call Saul, The Americans, Bates Motel… so happy it’s back! I’ve also started watching The Returned.

Listening To: A lot of Alkaline Trio. Tons of The Creepshow.

Loving: This amazing Spring weather. We’ve been able to go to the beach every day, and the ocean is just starting to get warm enough for the kids. Wildflowers are blooming everywhere and pretty new birds are making their appearance on the island. It’s my favorite time of year in Texas.

Buying: Eva’s Bikini. Damian’s Necklace.

Participating in: Today, I have teamed up with 7 other awesome bloggers to bring you a quick and easy $80 Target Giveaway! Spring is in full swing and there are some adorable things out at Target right now from sandals to dresses to home goods. We wanted to make it super easy to enter, so all you have to do is follow each of us via Pinterest and you will be entered to win an $80 Gift Card! We hope you enjoy the ease of this giveaway and meeting other bloggers!

$80 Target Giveaway

Simply Clarke | Tabler Party of Two | What You Make It | That Southern Mama

Musings of a Museum Fanatic | To The Sea | Danise Jurado | Gettin Fit & Fab

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

10 things to do while Stationed in Quantico

10 things to do while stationed in Quantico

Moving to Quantico, Virginia was a huge shock for me. I’ve spent the majority of my life near the ocean, and I was so terrified of not having it easily accessible. I tried to take advantage of all the things there are to do in my eight months there (with a 2-year-old and a newborn, mind you). Here were some of my favorites:

1. Government Island

Government Island is a historical site where Aquia sandstone was quarried to send to Washington DC for the Capitol and White House. It is located in the town of Stafford, which is where we lived while stationed in Quantico. Government Island was the perfect place for our daily nature walks (weather permitting). There is a nice trail, which is partially paved for anyone on wheels (bikes, skateboards, strollers, wheelchairs). There are also some nice fishing holes.

2. Daytrip to DC

dc

Day trips to D.C. are obviously a must for anyone stationed at Quantico. There are so many things to do there: monuments, museums, shopping, parks, and more. My favorite place to park was at Union Station so that I could take the metro anywhere I wanted to go and not worry about parking time limits (a lot of street parking spots have a 2-hour limit). I’d also try to only go on weekdays after morning rush hour so I didn’t have to deal with as much traffic or people.

3. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

lewis ginter botanical garden

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is located in Richmond, about an hour south of Quantico. The place is huge, and there is a lot to do and see. It’s also very kid-friendly with a splash pad, children’s garden, playground, and more.

4. Pumpkin Patch

pickyourownpumpkins

I experienced my first Autumn ever while living in Quantico. I was thrilled to be able to go to a real pumpkin patch and pick our very own pumkins to carve.

5. Apple Picking

applepicking

This was another “first” of mine while stationed at Quantico. There are lots of different places to go in the area, but we enjoyed Hollnad’s Farms. It was a great learning experience for Eva and gave me an excuse to make my first apple pie.

6. Maymont Estate

maymontestate

Myamont is a Victorian estate and public park in Richmond. If you read my experience there, it wasn’t the best, but I think it has a lot of potential if you make the most of it. For example, DON’T BRING A STROLLER! And bring comfortable walking shoes. There are many different gardens and animal exhibits, and you can also tour the inside of the mansion.

7. Virginia Beach

virginia beach

Virginia Beach is one of the closest ocean beaches to Quantico, so it was our lifeline. We didn’t go as often as we wanted to, but we went as often as we could. The beaches are nice and the town reminded me a lot of my home town (South Padre Island).

8. Marine Corps Museum

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The Marine Corps Museum is located right off base. It’s a really neat place to go if you love history and/or the Corps.

9. Assateague National Seashore

assateagueisland

Assateague Island is a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it. The beaches are absolutely gorgeous, and the island is known for the wild horses that roam free there.

10. Road Tripping!

eastcoastroadtrips

One of the best things about living in Quantico is that it’s only a stone’s throw from so many cool cities on the East Coast. We took several road trips to Boston, NYC, Providence, and more. If you like to road trip as much as we do, it might be a good idea to look into getting an EZ-Pass to help alleviate some of the toll road troubles.

Side Note: If anyone reading this is stationed in Quantico with babies, be sure to check out the Quantico Area Babywearers Group. I sadly didn’t discover this group until a month or so before I left, but I quickly made friends at the meetings and was able to try out some cool new carriers.

Have you tried any of these things? Anything you would add to the list?

Week in Pictures

52projectWe had a wonderful week with gorgeous weather. Evita loves spending her days in the sand and Damian loves walking around like a big boy.
My favorite portraits from last week’s collection were this one and this one.

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daybyday48

A Lower Calorie, Higher Protein Berry Bowl with Zing™!

lowcaloriehighproteinberrybowl I still remember the very first time I had a smoothie bowl. It was at a little shack on Oahu’s famous North Shore. It was pretty much the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. It was blended with acai and other berries, and topped with tons of granola and banana. For as nutritious as it was, I knew it couldn’t be healthy in terms of calories. I don’t know the exact count on the one I had that day, but a similar bowl at Jamba Juice weighs in at 480 calories, 55 grams of sugar, and only 8g of protein. Are you kidding? You might as well eat a donut (which has less sugar, by the way).

I wanted to recreate the creamy and crunchy deliciousness of a smoothie bowl that could actually be part of my “clean eating” routine. One thing I definitely needed to do was get rid of the granola. Did you know that just 1/4 cup of granola has around 115 calories? That’s way too many for just a topping. I decided to substitute the granola for bran flakes, which have just 30 calories per 1/4 cup and still offer a nice little crunch. Another thing I did was add a scoop of protein powder to the mix. (You know how I feel about my protein, you guys.) One scoop of Optimum Nutrition Hydrowhey will get you 30 grams. And finally, instead of using juice to sweeten the smoothie, I used Born Sweet™ Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener.

Zing™ is the perfect sweetener for beverages, fruits, and most importantly, my smoothie bowl. It is made with only real ingredients – nothing artificial, and has ZERO calories per serving, extracting the sweetness found in Mother Nature’s stevia plant. I added two packages of Zing™ to my smoothie because I have a crazy sweet-tooth, but I think most people would be fine with just one (as 1 packet = sweetness in 2 teaspoons of sugar).  It gives any smoothie the perfect amount of sweetness without adding extra calories.

Here’s a breakdown of the calories in my Berry Bowl creation:

lowcaloriehighproteinberrybowl1

The entire Berry Bowl is only 260 calories and contains a whopping 30g of fast-digesting protein. This bowl is perfect for breakfast or a post-workout recovery meal. Here is the recipe:

Lower Calorie, Higher Protein Berry Bowl
Servings
1 bowl
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings
1 bowl
Cook Time
5 minutes
Lower Calorie, Higher Protein Berry Bowl
Servings
1 bowl
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings
1 bowl
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: bowl
Instructions
  1. Add the berries, the scoop of protein, the packet of Zing™, the ice, and the water to your blender. Blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary.
  2. Pour into a bowl. Top with sliced banana and bran cereal.
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And there you have it! It’s super quick and easy to make, leaving you no need or excuse to substitute healthy eating for convenient junk food. The Zing™ adds just enough sweetness to satisfy any craving.

ZING - 05

Have you tried using Zing™ to make a low-calorie smoothie? If you haven’t, you can request a FREE sample and/or a coupon for $1.50 off at www.ZingStevia.com. Look for Zing™ in the Sweetener Aisle at mass merchandiser and grocery stores nationwide.

And guess what? I also have a chance for you to win a $100 VISA gift card. To enter for a chance to win, ALL you have to do is leave a comment telling me what beverage YOU would use Zing™ for. Is it your morning coffee? Your afternoon sweet tea? Or do you have a creative concoction like I do? I want to hear from you!

Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 3/25/15 – 4/21/15.

Be sure to visit the Zing™ Zero Calorie Stevia Sweetener brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!