Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bridal Veil Falls | An Easy "Hike" for the Kids

I was going to jump right in and say, "Happy Hump Day," but then I realized that it is, in fact, Thursday, and not Wednesday, and I didn't know if I should feel happy that the week is closer to being over, or sad that I didn't get to use my planned greeting.

Anyway. Let's just move on. Like I mentioned last week, I have really enjoyed the opportunity to get out and enjoy the great outdoors here in Utah. I've made it a goal to find as many easy hikes as possible so that I can wear the kids out early in the day so that they are ready for naps by about 2:00. I blogged about the Grotto Falls Trail last week, and thought I'd blog about another super easy hike this week. In fact, it's so easy I don't think you could even call it a hike - more like a stroll.

Bridal Veil Falls is located in Provo Canyon. The trail that I'll be discussing is the lower falls trail, and it is super easy for anyone and everyone - it is great for strollers, wheelchairs, crutches, runners, walkers, longboarders, skateboarders, roller bladers... you get the idea. It is a paved path that is about a half mile to the falls and back. We went up there Friday morning with a group of friends, and all the kids had so much fun throwing rocks, chasing each other, and looking at the ducks and fish.

If you're looking for a a beautiful view or just an easy way to kill an hour or so with your kids,  I highly recommend this walk!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

In Real Life | Real Product Reviews | Norwex

Happy Tuesday!

Sorry I missed yesterday's post - I totally spaced it over the weekend, so it didn't get put together in time. Anyway, this week's real product review is Norwex!
If you haven't heard of Norwex, I pulled this little blurb from the "about" section of their website:

"Our purpose is simple but powerful: The idea that working together, with trust, integrity and honesty as our core values and radically reducing chemicals in our homes as our mission, we can improve the world around us." 

Basically, Norwex produces cleaning products with no chemicals. I was totally skeptical at first, but after attending a Norwex party and watching numerous demonstration videos (like this one), I was hooked. I had to try this stuff. I went ahead and ordered the basic household package. I ended up winning a makeup removal cloth,  and my mom gifted me a bathroom scrub mitt. I have also used so many more products, but I thought I would review the few that I actually own (and just let you know that I haven't used anything from Norwex that I didn't want for myself).

First up: The basic household package (more specifically, the envirocloth)

 I LOVE my envirocloth. I will never use another washcloth in my kitchen (or anywhere, really) again. It makes me sad when my envirocloth is in the washing machine. I use this thing for everything. I wipe my table and counters off with it, I clean my stove with it, I wipe the floor with it, I wash my windows and mirrors with it (combined with the glass cloth). It is seriously a must-have and I honestly don't know how I lived without it. See the picture above? Cleaning my microwave literally took me less than a minute. I know the envirocloth might seem a little pricey, but it is worth every single penny. I'm actually going to order another one so that I don't feel sad when mine is in the wash.

Next up: the makeup removal cloth

I don't actually have photos of before and afters for this one because I haven't worn makeup since before I decided to review Norwex this week, and there was no way I was going to lather my face in makeup just to take it off ten seconds later. Anyway, the cloth works great at taking off your makeup from the day. It actually works better than most makeup removers I've tried, and doesn't leave that greasy residue. I love it.

Finally: the bathroom scrub mitt

This is actually one of the only Norwex products I've tried that I will tell you you can probably live without. Don't get me wrong - it works so well! BUT... it's not perfect (as you can see from my disgusting before and after photos of my nasty shower... GROSS). It holds a ton of water, and that really bothers me when I'm trying to scrub at something - I don't like feeling the squishiness of excess water. Other than that, it does a good job of scrubbing. It really is no match for some good old bleach and icky chemical cleaner, though (although the whole point of Norwex is getting those icky chemicals out of your house).
Other products I have used and would recommend: the kitchen cloth, body cloth, and mop.

The final Verdict: YES. If you are worried about having harmful chemicals in your home that may not even be truly getting rid of all those icky germs, then you need Norwex. I cannot recommend these products enough. I haven't had to buy cleaners in forever - I just don't use them anymore. I don't worry about Elsie getting into my "cleaning" cabinet, because all it is is a couple of washcloths. It has made such a difference having a safe way to clean my home. An added bonus? Elsie can help.

Have you used Norwex products? What did you think? 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Home Tour Part Three | Elsie's Bedroom

Happy FRIDAY!!!

Oh, man. Words can't even describe how glad I am that this week is over. Anyway, time for the weekly home tour! I'll show you our office someday, but right now it is a room full of crap. That's not even an exaggeration. It's bad. So skipping the office, we will go to Elsie's room! I've made it a goal to keep her room pretty simple. A bedroom (in my opinion) is not for toys or playing - it is for sleeping and relaxation. Besides, I enjoy the fact that she can pretty much clean her own room because there's just not a bunch of crap everywhere.

At some point I would like to have an accent wall in here, but haven't found any vinyl decals that I'm in love with (sooo much easier and less permanent than paint). For now, it is a simple and clean space, and I am happy with it.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hiking with the Littles | Grotto Falls Trail

Hi there!

One of the things I was most excited about when I found out we were moving to Utah was the hiking! I was so pumped to be able to spend more time in the great outdoors without being eaten alive by mosquitoes or dripping sweat the second I walk out the door. Well, we moved here, then it was cold, then I was huge, then I had a baby, then it was hot, and... you get the idea. The last thing I wanted to do was go walk a couple miles in the mountains while carrying the baby and keeping Elsie in line.

This week, though, it finally cooled off a bit and I felt up to the challenge (plus my friend Jessica is staying with us, so I had help). I went to a Facebook group to figure out what hikes in the area would be easy with little kids and someone mentioned the Grotto Falls Trail in the Nebo Loop near Payson. It sounded easy enough, so I made everyone pile in the car and we headed to the canyon.
The Verdict: At a total distance of 0.6 mile, the Grotto Falls trail is great for little ones, old ones, and everyone in between! It's an easy hike without any challenging terrain. If you have a bad sense of balance, you might want to wear shoes that can get wet and walk through the creek instead of over the "bridges," but other than that, anyone and everyone can enjoy this hike!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies to DIE FOR!

You guys. I don't know if you know this (actually I don't know why you would  know this), but Mike makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the whole world. That's saying a LOT, since I'm not even a big cookie person (except Oreos, obviously).

The other night, we all spent some time together as a family making these delicious cookies. And by that, I mean Mike made the cookies while Elsie terrorized him, helping occasionally, and I documented the whole thing.
I convinced him that he needed to share his recipe with the world, so here it is.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World
1 stick butter (softened but not melted)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup of flour (anywhere from 1-1.5 cups is ideal)
1 teaspoon + pinch of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Chocolate chips, m&ms, and/or walnuts to taste

These cookies are baked at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

We like chewy cookies, so we usually pull them out a little bit under-cooked and let them finish cooking on the baking sheet on the counter. If you like crunchy cookies, don't do that. HA!

Anyway, be sure to mix the dry ingredients separately or at least distribute the salt and baking soda evenly throughout the dough. If you don't do that, you will end up with a bunch of puffy cookies and a bunch of flat, miserable cookies.

Don't soften the butter too much, or you will end up with dough that is too liquidy, and you'll want to use flour to compensate... BUT DO NOT DO THAT! If you accidentally soften your butter too much, refrigerate (or even freeze) the dough for a couple of hours to harden it a bit.

This recipe yields about 2 dozen delicious, chewy, amazing cookies. Try not to eat them all at once.

You're welcome. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

In Real Life | Real Product Reviews | LulaRoe Clothing

Happy Monday!!!

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I'm back with my real product reviews, and this week I'm talking about clothing company LulaRoe. 
I have three pairs of their leggings, one of their "Cassie" skirts, four "Irma" shirts, and one "Randy" tee, so I think I'm in a pretty good position to give an honest review!! I even got some input from my friend Ali, who owns everything I own plus some different skirts/dresses.

Anyway, here's a photo of some of the items I own.
Let me say one thing - I am a cheapskate. Especially when it comes to leggings. I mean, who wants to spend $25 on a pair of leggings? Not me. At least... not the pre-LulaRoe me. These things are AMAZING. They are the freaking softest, most comfortable leggings that I have ever worn in my entire life, and I'm not kidding. If I could live in these pants and never take them off, I would be so happy! They are amazing and I LOVE them.

As far as shirts to go with my leggings... I adore the Irma. It is a long, tunic length tee that has total butt coverage, so I have no problem being a clothing sinner and wearing my leggings as pants. I can even bend over to touch my toes without my butt showing when wearing one of these, so... I chalk that up as a win.

The Randy. It's a comfortable tee, but I feel that it is overpriced for what it is. I will not be buying another. I can get the same thing for about $10 less at a local boutique in town, so I'll stick to that.
I felt the same way about the Cassie skirt as I do about the Randy tee. It's nice, but overpriced (in my opinion). I can get virtually the same thing for about half the price, so unless it's super discounted, I'm not going to buy another. I will say, though, that I love the girl's Cassie. I think it is sooo cute, and it's really hard to find a cute little pencil skirt anywhere else that will fit Elsie. So... there's that. I do think that it is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on clothing for a 2-year-old, though, so... yeah. 
Anyway, here is what Ali has to say about LulaRoe if you don't want to take my word for it.

"I LOVE LulaRoe! I was introduced to them in November last year and was super skeptical but after getting my first shirt from them (a Randy tee) I fell in love with the softness and comfort of the shirts. My friend ended up selling LulaRoe for a few months and I bought so much from her after a couple successful online parties and I adore it all! I have 5 pairs of leggings (I totally prefer the new yoga band FYI), 3 skirts (a Madison and Lola and Cassie) 3 Randy tees, 4 Irmas, 1 Amelia dress and 1 Nicole dress. Plus I LOVED the cute little girls clothes so I HAD to get my little Aurora a little girls Cassie skirt and she looks so cute! I love that they are American made and some of the softest clothes I’ve ever owned in my life. So versatile and lots of fun patterns to choose from! While they are a touch expensive I’ve always believed spoiling yourself a little to have a few quality clothes is worth it to spend a little more."

Have you tried LulaRoe's clothing? What did you think? 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Home Tour Part Two | The Kitchen

Hey there! I know this post is a couple of days overdue, but we were traveling on Wednesday and yesterday was one of those days where I just lounged around and did absolutely nothing all day long (you know, besides chasing my kids around and keeping them alive... I've forgotten what it's like to do nothing).

Anyway, here is part two of my home tour! I like our kitchen a lot - I do wish there was just a bit more cupboard space, but at least this way we can't hoard stuff! HA!

I am looking for a way to decorate the wall above the table and just haven't found anything that I love. I would love to hear any and all suggestions that you may have for that space. Right now it is just empty and sad. I was thinking of some floating shelves with cute dishes on them, but am not sure. What do you think?

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