Week 2: Feeling Thankful

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Welcome back friends and Happy November! I hope you are all having a fabulous week! This week has been a little crazy (ok, A LOT crazy) around here but overall I just feel thankful for everyone and everything I have in my life.

November is one of my favorite months for so many reasons! I just absolutely love the fall weather, Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday (you will have to keep reading to find out my first favorite), nature is at its peak beauty in the fall, the men have this no-shave thing going on and I am a fan of facial hair (but only on men..haha!!) and yes, I am one of those people who happens to love pumpkin treats! I know, I know, a lot of them are super bad for us!  Even though pumpkins are technically a fruit, I am pretty sure once they are turned into a cake or a pie or a cream cheese muffin or a pumpkin spice latte…they lose a little of that nutritional value 😉 I have been experimenting on some recipes that are pumpkin related that maybe I will share next week!  I still have some perfecting to do before I share them but until then…here is this week’s Top Five:

1) Coffee

So if you have been around me for any period of time, you know I have a love (ok maybe an obsession) with coffee! I drink way too much of it and completely justify that with mostly drinking it just straight black, so it is really just water and beans, which is healthy right? 🙂 But in all seriousness, I do love a good dark roast from Starbucks however honestly, with the amount of coffee I drink; I cannot afford to drink that much Starbucks, even just the black coffee and not even the crazy venti soy almond mocha latte foo-foo lala drinks! So that being said, I am always looking for really good tasting dark roast coffee for a good price that I can make at home.   Recently, I have come across these 2 brands: Trader Joe’s Bay Blend and Wesley Farms Sumatra Estate (from BJ’s Wholesale Store). Both are super enjoyable and are $6-7 less a pound than Starbucks! With the amount of coffee I drink, this is a huge savings! So for all of my highly caffeinated friends…I wanted to share the love of my new favorite ways to caffeinate! Disclaimer…The Thanksgiving Blend Dark Roast from Starbucks did come out this week so I have been splurging on that and it is still at the top of my list as far as dark roast coffee is concerned!

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2) Walgreens

Yes, I know this is strange that Walgreens is one of my favorites this week but I have been there A LOT over the past couple of weeks!! I have had time to kill while waiting on prescriptions or waiting for Ava to finish dance class (Walgreens is across the street) and I have found some super awesome gems and deals at Walgreens!! Here are a few of my favorites:

~ Pink Grapefruit Method All-Purpose cleaner – it smells amazing, it is all natural and non-toxic and it does a really nice job of spot cleaning stovetops, linoleum floors and counter tops!

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~ Clearance section  & sale items– at the end of every aisle is where they put all the random clearance items and I have picked up all kinds of things from ibuprofen to makeup to tissues for ¼ of the original price! If you have a few extra minutes to wander around Walgreens, I recommend checking it out. Also, when Walgreens has sales on things like cereal, cleaning supplies and beauty items, they really put them on sale. Alex pretty much eats a box of cereal everyday (oh how nice it would be to have the metabolism of a teenage boy!) and I bought 4 boxes of Life cereal for $1.15 each between the sale price and coupons… that should last me at least half of this week 😉

~ Leggings – say what?!?! Yes, Walgreens has leggings and let me tell ya, they are actually comfortable and pretty decent quality! I bought them to wear around the house and clean in when I was doing some clearance shelf shopping  and they now are part of my regular attire. Initially, I was kind of embarrassed to say I bought an article of clothing at Walgreens but then thought…who cares right!?!?! So yes, there is a chance that when you see me, I could be rocking a pair of Walgreen’s leggings…let’s just pretend you don’t know, give me a smile and compliment me on my cute leggings. It is leggings weather so let’s rock them (but not as pants….leggings still are not pants!)

3) My friend Somer & her Productivity Academy

My friend Somer Phoebus is truly just an amazing person!! She inspires me to be successful, strong, motivated, reach for my goals, she completely has a huge heart for Jesus, she is one of the most giving people I know, she loves on my Ava as if she were her own…..I could go on and on about her but I will stop now so it doesn’t get creepy!! I just am truly thankful that God placed her in my life when He did!! That being said, she runs this groups called the ‘Productivity Academy’ and for the entire month of October, I participated in this group. Let me just tell you, if you are struggling with getting things organized in your life, you cannot afford to not do it! In a short 30 days, I complete remodeled my office (see the pic below), learned the importance of brain dumping, an organized workspace and also learned how to prioritize and juggle all of the areas of my life. Between my 3 kids and their schedules, 3 jobs and all of the other regular ‘life stuff’, I was feeling overwhelmed and like my life was out of control. This academy really helped me get a handle on things and I now feel like I am able to juggle all of these things more effectively and efficiently! She also is a great fitness and health girl so I recommend checking out her website somerdawnonline.com or her Facebook page Somer Dawn! Sign up for her free newsletter for amazing productivity and fitness tips as well as some healthy recipes.

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4) Planks

Yes, yes…I said planks! Why are they my favorite? Well one, because they are so dang effective at working all parts of your body while being low impact; two, because there are about a bazillion ways and alternations of a plank you can do to work your entire body and three, because you can do them anywhere, without equipment (although you do kinda look like a weirdo planking in the middle of the mall!) 😊 My favorite planks of this week: (my girls in my November ‘Thanks & Planks’ challenge group are loving them with me!)

~ Bridge plank to high plank walkouts – Start in a bridge plank position, come up to a straight elbow plank, walk your hands forward, then back to straight elbow plank, then back down to bridge plank

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~ Bridge plank with hip taps – holding bridge plank, tap your hips to the ground alternating left to right

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~ Side plank star crunch (no…we are not eating a star crunch while doing side planks!!) – hold a side plank, either with elbow straight or in bridge position, lift your top arm and leg toward the ceiling (star position), pull your elbow toward your knee for the ‘crunch’, extend back to star position, then lower your top arm and leg back down (continue each side for 30 seconds then switch)

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For a little fitness challenge – complete all of these for a minute each, with a 15 second rest break in between (repeat 3 times!) Focus on keeping your body as flat as possible, pulling your belly button towards your spine!

5) PB&J Muffins

Seriously….LOVE THESE!!! I posted these at the beginning of the school year and I continue to love them as a treat! They are really really tasty and kid approved! Recipe cred to The Detoxinista…If you do not follow her on social media, I recommend that you do! She has soooooo many awesome recipes! She also shared one this week for these Holiday Cookie bars that looks amazing! I will try them out this week, using my family as taste test Guinea pigs as usual and if they turn out as amazing as they look, I will let you know!!

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Lastly, I hope you are enjoying the unseasonably warm start to November! I wanted to give a little shout out and share this cute pic my mom sent me from northern Michigan of my dad kayaking and beachgoing in the 70 degree November weather! They are on my favorites list every week because a) I would not be here without them b) they inspire me and support me every single day and c) how stinking cute are they?!?!?!

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I challenge you to find something to be thankful for every day this week!!

Enjoy Today ~ Choose Happy 🙂

Tara