My Life In Pictures: October 1 – 15, 2016

Over the past six months or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

Here’s what we’ve been up to the first half of October…

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Everybody says that Ethan is my mini me, but I just don’t see it! What do you think?

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Well, there are probably not too many adults who lose to 7 year olds when playing Hangman, but Lila legitimately beat me. She even gave me extra guesses by putting a face on the poor guy! And I’m even more embarrassed to admit that the word she stumped me on was our last name!

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Ethan was lucky enough to get a picture taken with Jon Pritikin at the Simple Acts of Care & Kindness conference. I spent a great day with E and his 4th grade class (and a gazillion other 4th graders.) I loved SACK’s message and Jon’s message…so glad that our school makes sure that all of our 4th graders get to hear it!

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Got the newest Thug Kitchen cookbook, Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as F*ck. I have all three Thug Kitchen cookbooks, which I love because the recipes are clean and healthy and DELICIOUS.

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Even if you don’t like to cook, you’ll have fun reading the recipes! Check this one out (this recipe is yummy, by the way!)

Ethan has a question… #wouldyourather #wouldyouratherkids

A video posted by Natalie H (Mommy of a Monster) (@nataliehoage) on

This kid is such a ham for the camera. I’m thinking about having him start his own vlog on my blog. He has lots to say and talk about and he’s so good on camera!

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And he’s starting to love soccer! He’s finally putting a lot of effort into it, and his hardwork is paying off.

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This whole clown thing is out of control, yet I’m fascinated by it! So much so that I wrote a short piece of fiction about it called One Yellow Balloon.

What have you been up to this month?

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My Life In Pictures: September 1 – 30, 2016

Over the past six months or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

I’m telling you, the older the kids get, the busier our schedules get, and the less time I have to blog! I feel like their childhoods are slipping away and I’m not recording it like I used to. It’s bittersweet: I’m happy to be spending so much time “living” outside of the computer, but I feel like they won’t have as many recorded memories as they did when they were younger. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back through my blog posts and said “Oh yeah! That was cool…I forgot about that!” So while I can’t write as often as I’d like, I hope that recording memories via pictures will help.

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I ordered this shirt from Human Unlimited and LOVE that they not only took the time to say thank you, but did it with a personalized card! I was so impressed by it that I wrote about easy ways brands can say thank you at Wylie and Company!

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Ethan read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing with his class, and liked it so much he wanted to spend his birthday money on the rest of the Fudge books (and check out the bookmark he picked out)! I love that he’s a bookworm just like his mama.

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Have you seen Pete’s Dragon yet? My sister’s and I took the kids to see it and it was fantastic! I cried. The kids cried. And it’s such a happy ending! Ethan liked it so much he wants to read it now, too!

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Ever since they were were babies, they’ve always snuggled close. They may fight like sisters, but there is definitely a special bond between them! They still sleep together, and most mornings when I go to check on them they are touching in some way.

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Man, how kids change your life! Our Friday nights now consist of Headbanz and board games with the kids instead of long dinners and drinks with friends. And that’s okay.

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I LOVE decorating for Halloween, but it seemed to early to do so at the beginning of September! So instead we decorated the mantles for Fall. But this weekend, it’s on – the Halloween decorations are coming out! And speaking of which…check out this cool TV I found at Target:

Spooky, huh?

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Mid-month at my weekly Weight Watchers meeting, I realized that I had lost 10% of my body weight and that I’m more than halfway to my goal weight! Hoping to reach it by Christmas!

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And while Weight Watchers is teaching me to eat in a way that I can see myself following forever, walking has also played a huge role in my success. I try to walk about 10,000 steps at least 5 days a week. The only time my Fitbit comes off is to shower or to charge. I love that it tracks my activity, active minutes, and even my sleep. Why did I take a picture of my Fitbit? Because I was proud of myself for reaching my daily goal before 10 AM!

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A friend of mine took this picture of Lila hugging her daddy at a meeting at school. This photo is one of my favorite photos of the two of them ever.

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We celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary last week! We took a trip to wine taste in Paso Robles with my sister and her husband (celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary) and other wine loving friends who were celebrating Joel’s birthday. It was a blast – I haven’t laughed so hard in a really long time! This picture was taken at one of our favorite wineries, Calcareous Vineyard. It sits on top of a hill and the view is amazing, as are the wines.

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My Life In Pictures: August 1 – 31, 2016

Over the past six months or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

August was one of the most fun months so far this year! From Mia winning a jackpot to the first day of school and a week in Hawaii, we kept ourselves very busy and are still trying to catch up. Since Hawaii was an amazing first “big” family vacation, it deserves it’s own post so you’ll see that soon. But for the rest of August, here’s what we were up to…

We got to visit Adventure City in Anaheim, CA!

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I’ve lived in Southern California my entire life and never had been there before. There were lots of rides, and it’s quite literally a little city. There’s a police station and a fire department and much, much more. If you’re local, check it out!

While we were there, I was videotaping Mia playing a video game (at her request) and she just happened to hit the jackpot!

The ladies decided to pool their winnings together (yep, Lila is really smart and Mia is so generous she doesn’t care that she got the short end of the stick) and decided to buy “noise putty,” which is a nice way to say it’s putty that makes fart noises. This video was also taped at their request.

Lila lost her second top tooth, so she is toofless and has the cutest smile!

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Obligatory first day of school picture. Ethan started 4th grade and Mia and Lila started 2nd.

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Jason took Ethan to see Jason’s brother Adam’s memorial at our old high school. Jason always says Ethan is a lot like Adam. I told Ethan that some of his Uncle Adam is alive in him. Ethan said he was proud to be like his Uncle. We are very proud too.

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We celebrated birthdays! The girls turned 7 and Ethan was lucky enough to celebrate his 9th birthday in Hawaii! This is a picture of him at his favorite beach.

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It was a great month and we all agreed it was our favorite month of summer.

I mentioned in my last My Life in Pictures post that I had started Weight Watchers and exercising. Since June I’ve lost 15 pounds and 13 inches! I’m halfway to my goal weight, which I hope to reach by December. I found this comic and it really made me laugh since I’ve been walking/running at all times of the day…but not at fy vay em! Just call me Bob.

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My Life In Pictures: July 16 – 31, 2016

Over the past six months or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

These past two weeks have been full of fun! From play dates with good friends to soccer camp, concerts, and whale watching, we’ve kept ourselves busy. Here’s what we’ve been up to…

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Not a flattering picture of myself, I know. But I started working out again and am having a blast AND burning a ton of calories! My hair is soaking wet and you can see sweat droplets. A fantastic workout in just a half an hour. What is it? Chalene Johnson’s PiYo. I LOVE the Beachbody workout DVD’s – I’ve even written about one of my favorites, Brazil Butt Lift (which also happens to be the 5th most popular post on my blog.) But the one I am currently obsessing over and having a blast doing is Autumn Calabrese’s Country Heat workout. If you like country music and want to have fun working out, you need this DVD set! I burned almost 400 calories and walked over 5000 steps in just 30 minutes yesterday – and had fun doing it!

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Ethan had soccer camp all week two weeks ago from 5 – 8 PM at a school far enough away that it didn’t make sense for me to drop him off and come home. So I put on my walking shoes and walked the track to get my daily 10,000 steps in. I posted this picture on both Instagram and Facebook, and had several people ask what tennis shoes I had on. They are etnies Scouts, and by far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. In fact, they are the only sneakers that Ethan will wear! etnies sent both Ethan and I a pair 2 years ago to try out. You can read about why he loves his etnies Scouts here. I even bought Jason a pair because Ethan loved them so much. Since then, I’ve tried to buy him other shoes, but he only wants his Scouts. And trust me, I understand why.

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These are called Surprise lilies or Lady Slipper lilies. I planted them years before Ethan was born, and he will be 9 next month. I guess the surprise is (and we joke about it every time we talk about them) is that they never bloom. This is the first time in 10+ years that they actually bloomed! We totally forgot about them, so it really was a surprise to see them. They’re gorgeous, but I don’t know if they were worth the wait!

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Jason and I, along with my sister and brother-in-law, went to see one of my favorite bands a couple of weeks back. Korn played with Rob Zombie and I couldn’t miss it! We’ve seen Korn several times and they never disappoint. This time was no exception. They kicked ass!

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I have lived in So Cal all my life, and never been whale watching. That changed last week when the Aquarium of the Pacific invited the kids and I to whale watch in Long Beach. It was an amazing experience! At one point, our boat was surrounded by 7 whales at the same time! Since it was a media event, a few news outlets were there too, and guess what?…

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The kids made it on the 6 o’clock news! Stay tuned for more pictures and details of our whale watching experience, as well as the news clip of the kids!

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We got the book Treasure Hunters Peril At The Top Of The World by James Patterson, and Ethan couldn’t wait to start reading it to his sisters. I love reading books together with the kids! Stay tuned for their video book review coming soon.

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And this past Sunday, we were all tired from the fun and the heat. So ice cream for dinner (for the kids, not me) sounded like a fantastic idea!

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And over the past month or so, I’ve made some major changes in my life. I’ve started eating better, working out, and making time for me. I’m taking care of myself. I thought this was a great reminder and hope you get something out of it, too!

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My Life In Pictures: July 1 – 15, 2016

Over the past six months or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

And this summer has been no exception – the kids seem to consider me an event planner and expect to have something going on every.single.day. No time to blog when the kids are so busy! They are going  back to school in three weeks, but until then, here’s what we’ve been up to…

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I started walking about 3-1/2 miles every day, and Lila and Ethan love to go with me! Mia….not so much. But I love the time I share with my little walking buddies. Their favorite part? They love checking how far we’ve gone and how many steps we’ve taken on my Fitbit!

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We celebrated the 4th of July, my niece’s birthday, and my Mom’s birthday with a big bbq, Kona Ice (the adults enjoyed the snow cones, too!), and watching fireworks with friends and family. All those kids in that picture? Not.even.all.the.kids.

This is Otis. Otis has been part of our family since he was a baby. He’s 39 years old now. He’s very cool! He calls all of us kids’ names, rings like the phone, calls our childhood cat (Callie Calico) and lots more. When we were kids, we used to come downstairs in our bathing suits to go out to the pool and he would cat call and whistle at us. And he still remembers it all!

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Ethan read The BFG, and immediately declared that Roald Dahl was his favorite author. Since then, he’s read 5 more of his books! We waited for months for The BFG movie to come out, and when it finally did, we had a mother/son movie date. Side note: the movie was fantastic, as was the book!

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The girls LOVE helping me in the kitchen! Not only are they learning to cook and bake, they are also learning to do kitchen chores like rinsing plates and loading and unloading the dishwasher. I tell them it’s all part of cooking, and they are more than willing to help! Here they are making a birthday cake for Gramma…the #1 searched recipe on my blog and one of Recipe Lion’s Top 100 Recipes of 2015, my Holy Cow Cake.

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Do you have a go-to cookbook? Sandra Lee’s Money Saving Meals is mine. I am very influenced by the semi-homemade approach, and love all of her recipes. Now that the girls are helping in the kitchen, they flip through the gorgeous pictures and choose a recipe to try!

Mia and Lila LOVE PlayDoh, so when we got a big package full it, the girls were SO excited!

This is my niece Presley. We all adore her! She’s 10 months old and doing all the cute things, like blowing kisses. Swoon!

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Our plumeria are blooming like crazy, and I can’t take enough pictures of them! We have these yellow ones, pink ones, and some rare red ones. And you should smell them….wow!

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Because we are crazy, some friends and I took all these kids to see The Secret Lives of Pets. It was a fun movie!

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