AdvoCare

If you have watched basketball, football or Nascar, then more than likely you’ve seen an advertisement for AdvoCare. If you’ve seen any of my previous posts, there’s a chance you’ve heard me mention AdvoCare.

What is AdvoCare you ask? AdvoCare was founded in Plano, Texas in 1993. They provide nutritional, weigh-management, sports performance, and skin care products that are backed by the latest scientific knowledge and ingredients and created safe and effective. AdvoCare products help to improve lives through superior nutrition and wellness.

How I got started with AdvoCare
A friend of mine offered to share products with me to try and I was instantly hooked on AdvoCare’s Spark. Spark is a vitamin and amino acid supplement energy drink mix. I tried the grape, pink lemonade, and fruit punch flavors. You just mix one service with 8 ounces of water and drink. The amount of focus and energy I had was amazing. No more groggy feeling, I was ready to tackle the day. If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t a fan of the meal replacement shakes, they just aren’t for me. However, Kasey loves them and has one daily. He really enjoys them and their many flavors. Like with all things, one product isn’t going to work for everyone but for me. I knew I would be ordering Spark and I wanted to share Spark with friends and family, so why not get a discount while doing so as well? That’s just what I did. Back in Oct. 2015 I signed up as a distributor so that now when I purchase products for myself or others, they are discounted.


I am still learning more and trying different AdvoCare products. I am currently in a 24-day challenge with the same friend who first shared AdvoCare with me. She has been an amazing accountability partner during the challenge so far and I will share with you more about the challenge once we’ve finished. There is such a wonderful support group and I’ve been able to reconnect with a few ladies that I went to high school with. I am hoping that not only out of a more healthier lifestyle, I will establish long lasting friendships as well.

I am going to add a tab at the top of my site along with my Young Living and Photography business information incase you want to read more about AdvoCare. I will link my site there as well and if you have any questions or would like to try a product on me, please just ask!

Have a day full of sunshine!
Hollie

Vinegar Cucumbers

I am all about changing things up and not eating the same stuff each day, that’s boring to me and it doesn’t fill my tank. If it does yours, that’s great! Me however, I like different on a day to day basis or I feel burnt out and bored with my food. Sunday night when I meal prepped, I made a container of vinegar cucumbers.

I remember being a child and visiting my grandmother, she would always have vinegar cucumbers and I munched on them like they were the greatest thing. Still to this day, she will make them for my youngin’. I attempted to make them myself once before and they were a dud, nothing like grandma’s. However, I found this recipe but tweaked it a little for our batch and they are ah-ma-zing!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1/4 sweet onion
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • pepper (salt if you prefer but I stayed away)

Directions:

  1. Peel the cucumbers and slice to your preferred thickness.
  2. Slice the onion into thin slices (you don’t have to eat the onion but the flavor will be off if you omit them).
  3. Put the sliced cucumbers and onions into your container and pour your vinegar and water over them. 1 cup of each seemed to cover my vegetables just right, you can add more/less depending on the depth of your container. You want the liquid to cover the vegetables.
  4. Season with pepper (and salt if you prefer) just a smidgen.
  5. Cover and refrigerate. Ours was refrigerated for a good 10 hours before we gave them a sampling and they were perfect, just like grandma’s!

We have been munching on them this week and the taste got even better the longer it had been in the refrigerator. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have. This will be a staple during the summer months, a quick and tasty (not to mention healthy) treat!

Hollie

Prayer, please.

Subscribers, this has been a last few trying weeks. Shew, it’s been challenging. I write to you all now just asking for prayer which is something I rarely do in regards to myself. You are probably wondering what’s going on, and to be honest, nothing really major. Just normal, every day things. For some reason though, I’ve been letting things get to me more than I should and I am trying to just let go and let God. Sometimes that doesn’t come easy for me.

For starters, my daughter who has been an honor roll student each report card is struggling this quarter in school. She isn’t the only one struggling, a lot of the class is, but I am that mom who wants her to be challenged but not struggle. It isn’t that she isn’t smart enough, she’s proved herself to be above where she should be based on age alone over and over. However, she’s just gotten into a slump where she doesn’t seem motivated this quarter and it’s the small things like following directions entirely on a problem, reading the questions thoroughly, being responsible and remembering to bring home books when you have something to study for, writing out problems instead of just the answer, you know, the stuff that should come easily. I am trying to remember though, fourth grade is tough. Kindergarten through third, their hands are held, they are babied to a sense, and then fourth grade, it’s time to prepare them for that ribbon to be cut. Once fifth grade comes around, there aren’t the study guides, there aren’t detailed instructions to take home a book. The student has a big responsibility that fourth grade teachers are trying to shape them for. My little girl, doesn’t quite know how to handle all of that responsibility yet and in a sense, doesn’t want to.

I am in no hurry for her to grow up but man, this is a tough school year. Next year she gets to try out for JV Cheerleading which she has been looking forward to since she started the Spirit Squad. She is well aware that if her grades don’t come up and remain good like they have all this time, JV Cheerleading won’t be an option. Just pray for us, y’all. It’s stressful on the teachers, on the students, and on the families at home.

Outside of this school quarter, my focus and determination to really get my life back on track in regards to health and fitness has been somewhat of a downward spiral. I am not sure if it’s just all the added stress and pressure, well yeah I am sure, that’s what it is. My mind has not been mentally focused where it should be and instead I’ve been letting the negative, stress, and anxiousness take over which has led to some unwanted weight gain that I once had lost. I will get there again. I have a friend who will be my Advocare challenge buddy, and another friend who will be training for a 5K run with me. I haven’t ran in years and I so miss the body, the feeling, and the confidence that I had when I did. I look forward to getting there again. Just pray for me. Pray for my sanity, patience, guidance, direction, focus, mentality, confidence, motivation, and peace.

I am thankful for you all, you’re an outlet of sorts. Someone who I can type all of my thoughts (the good, the bad, and the ugly) to. I would love some feedback though, I don’t hear from most of you and would really like to know I’m not the only one out there facing this struggles.

Let’s chat, soon! Xo.
Hollie

Elfie’s Departure

This December has been a challenging one both mentally and emotionally. There have been many arguments between mini and I that could’ve and should’ve been avoided and there have been many tears shed. Granted, isn’t that a beautiful part of motherhood. Through the dark clouds, there is a silver lining. Elfie didn’t spend as much time with us as he normally does and there for awhile, I slacked on providing an update so I wanted to share a few of his moments before he left.

He spent the later part of the month hanging out in our faux trees, on the mantle, and repelling from light fixtures. He was super pleased by the effort that mini made on cleaning her room that he brought her an elf pet. While Kasey was at work, she and I left for a Walmart run and when we returned, she had an elf pet waiting on her with a bag of pre-mixed reindeer food to sprinkle in the yard.

  
She was ecstatic. She named the reindeer, Emma. We can’t wait to see Emma next year when Elfie returns and look forward to seeing their adventures together. Can’t wait!

Christmas Reflection

In the midst of the Christmas festivities, I found myself strung thin with the feeling of the world on my shoulders. Each year I say I am going to be ahead of the game and have everything prepared way before Christmas arrives and each year, Christmas hits me in the face before I even blink and realize it’s there. I am adamant it comes faster each year, don’t you agree? The feeling of getting everything wrapped, cooked, baked, and finalized for get togethers can really cause some unneeded anxiety and stress in what should be a rejoicing time of year.

Although my family is fully aware that Jesus is the reason for the season, I absolutely love giving gifts and find such joy in purchasing, making, wrapping, and giving to others. It’s one of my favorite things about Christmas aside from Jesus’ birth. This year, mini spent the night with her dad on Christmas Eve so I slept in and soaked in the quiet morning although I missed her excitement over Santa’s visit in the wee hours of the morning and I eagerly waiting for her to be home.

Our tree was absolutely beautiful Christmas morning. It had looked the same since the day I put it up but something about sitting on the couch, relaxing with Kasey, enjoying the parade, and just soaking in every second made it seem that more beautiful. There was something so serene about the calmness of not being in the hustle and bustle of the season that during those moments, I really reflected on how blessed I am. Not because I had a Christmas tree full of ornaments and lights, or presents underneath, but simply because I was awake and healthy. I was full of anticipation for my beautiful little girl to get home from her dad’s. I was full of excitement that I would be spending the next hours and days with our families and friends. I just have so much to be thankful for that I overlook and take for granted way more often than I should.

  
As the new year approaches, that is one thing that I am trying to do better at. Truly and honestly, being grateful and recognizing the many blessings daily and not just when it’s convenient. How easy it is to get caught up and only recognize our blessings when it fits into our schedule but don’t you believe that our blessings are even more apparent during our struggles and moments of weakness? It just takes a little more effort on our part to notice and appreciate them.

I hope that your Christmas was spent with those who make your heart swell. Until next time my friends,

Hollie

Difficult Season

As I sit here typing this, my eyes are welled up with tears just ready to drop at one blink of my eyes. My breathing is heavy and my heart is heavier. When you hear people say that parenting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world, boy are they right. We’ve had our share of hard parenting times but they are always outweighed with the good times. Sometimes though, I feel we take 1 steps forward and then 2 steps backwards. What I’m going to write about today has been this way since about Kindergarten (and now we are half way through fourth grade). We’ve tried many different solutions, some help better than others, and some don’t help at all. This is me just venting and hopefully letting you know that if you are going through this same season, you aren’t alone.

My daughter has always been funny about clothing since she could carry on a conversation. Something is either too tight, too itchy, too scratchy, you name it. When she was an infant to toddler years we didn’t run into any clothing issues. She wore everything without a fuss. Then we got to the years where my grandmother would keep her and my grandmother being old fashioned wasn’t a fan of jeans. It never failed, if jeans were on her, they would wind up dirty and she would be in different clothes by the time I picked her up. It became a joke. Ever since Kindergarten, she has completely been against jeans or anything jean material. It was (and still is) a preference of leggings, sweats, yoga pants, dresses, and skirts. You can imagine our excitement when the “jeggings” came out!

Here we are now in the middle of her fourth grade year. All is well when the outfit of the day has been picked out by her but the minute the outfit has to be changed into something that she doesn’t like then it is full out war. Let me explain today in minor detail. She wanted to wear a brown suede skirt with a black velvet long sleeve shirt. She put this outfit on and I’m being honest, it was horrid. I know I shouldn’t worry too much about her outfit but at the same time, I do not want others to form negative opinions based on a poorly put together outfit. I wish now I would’ve snapped a picture just so you could see what I mean because words couldn’t do it justice. I didn’t though, so here I am trying to make sense of it all to you. Long story short, she was behind on time. I put together an outfit that included a long sleeved pink shirt and some fake jeans. They aren’t quite leggings but they aren’t jeans, I don’t even know the proper term for them. Well, she literally pitched a fit. Her and I got into a yelling/mean word match (I know, I know, parenting fail on my part) and it just escalated. By the time it was time to leave for school, her face was splotchy red with crocodile tears running down her cheek and she’s trying to apologize. As I close the door, I almost fall to the floor. Crying out in disappointment, aggravation, sadness, madness, and just feeling like I am a complete fail as a parent.

That’s how it goes every time. We’ll have our moment of fussing, crying, getting mad, saying mean and hurtful things, and then apologizing. Why am I even sitting here writing about this? No other reason except to let all of you parents out there relate. If you have gone through or are going through similar scenarios then I want you to know, you are not alone.

Some things that have helped us avoid mornings like this:

  • Planning outfits the night before (although we haven’t made this a regular thing but might need to)
  • Allowing her to dress herself no matter what the outfit looks like and if it’s clean (she will gladly wear a dirty pair of pants that she loves over a clean pair of pants that she dislikes)
  • Giving her choices (even if it’s something she doesn’t like, if she has a choice then she still handles it better than no choice at all)

I realize that some people might say this stuff is petty and we make a big deal out of nothing and I agree, you have to choose your battles. At the same time, this is our battle. We thankfully don’t have other battles that some parents go through. I also am coming to the realization that no matter how much I love my daughter, she is becoming if she isn’t already, a spoiled brat. Not one of those spoiled brats that people can’t stand to be around, she has a heart of gold and such a sweet spirit. Just the spoiled brat way that we have literally tried to give her the whole world and the minute that something doesn’t go her way (always about clothes in her case) then we wind up having one of these moments. I keep believing that this is a season and one day we won’t be facing this hardship. I sure hope.

However, through it all I love her no different. She is still my little girl. I want absolutely nothing but the best for her which is why it is so hard sometimes. Tough lesson in growing up and parenting as well. It’s a process. If you have any similar scenarios then I would love for you to share them to know that hey, we aren’t alone as well. Us parents need to rally together in moments like this instead of pointing fingers and belittling each other based on our different experiences and battles. Parenting isn’t always sunshine and roses but it’s such a blessing and I am so incredibly thankful God has called me to be her parent, even through the storms.

Let’s build each other help!

Elf Update: Day 9

Elfie returned yesterday with a special note for my girl and a hunkering for some hot cocoa. Silly ole elf. My daughter was excited to see that he came back and she has laid all of his clothes from his suitcase out so that he knows exactly where they are for his next adventure.

  
  

Thankful

This is the time of year where we all seem to reflect on what we are most thankful for. I wanted to post my ‘top 10’ that I am most thankful for..

  1. Life – I am thankful for the ability to live and although I am not perfect, I am thankful for another day to try and be the best I can be.
  2. Love – I am thankful for God’s love, a love that is indescribable other than using the word unconditional. I am thankful that no matter how many times I fail, God still loves me and cares for me. He loves and cares for you, too!
  3. Family – I am so incredible thankful for my family. As a whole it can be dysfunctional at times but I love each and every member and know that at the end of each day no matter the circumstances, we all are there for each other.
  4. My daughter – I am so thankful that the Lord called me to be her mom. Parenthood isn’t always sunshine and roses but everyday with her is full of love and laughter. I am so proud and hope that the Lord blesses me with many more years as her mom.
  5. My boyfriend, Kasey – This man right here is the only man who can get on my absolute nerves yet I love him more and more each day. He has shown me such support in the most darkest times and going through life with him is nothing but special. He truly is one of my biggest fans and I cherish every minute of our love story!
  6. Freedom – I am so incredibly thankful for the freedoms that we have in America. So many of which we often take advantage of.
  7. Material things – I know I shouldn’t put much emphasis on material things but in this case, I am super thankful for our home, warmth, food, electricity, all the material things that allow us to live peacefully and without worry of going without.
  8. Friends – I don’t have many that I truly consider an honest friend but the few I do have, I cherish their friendship. I cherish their brutal honesty, and I cherish each moment spent with them.
  9. Experiences – I am thankful for both good and bad experiences. At just 30 years young I have been through so many different things that some people don’t experience in their lifetime. Each experience has shaped me into the person I am today.
  10. Passion & Purpose – I couldn’t be more thankful to feel so passionate about not one topic but many. To have a passion for something gives so much purpose. I am thankful for the callings and direction that God places on my heart to fulfill his purpose.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving season?

Memorable Moments of 2014

I went through my Instagram account and saved my most memorable moments from this year. As I reflected, I thought I would share those memories with you as well.

New Year’s 2014 at Myrtle Beach, S.C.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0683.png

Losing a childhood friend way too soon. RIP Rob Young, gone but not forgotten. (The song by Luke Bryan Drink a Beer, really brings back all the fun times we shared in the time our lives intertwined).

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0692.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0684.png

A great snowstorm! (We don’t see that often in N.C., it’s usually ice if anything)

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0685.png

Mini’s first performance in a live production, Children of Eden.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0686.png

I am a sucker for reality shows, especially The Bachelor. My honey surprised me with a weekend getaway with a little bachelor twist. Thought it was precious.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0687.png

Out of the many concerts we saw this year, my favorite two would have to be Kutless and Garth Brooks.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0688.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0702.png

Mini’s artwork was chosen for the ACSI Fine Arts Festival held in Raleigh, N.C.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0689.png

For the second year, my girl was chosen to model in the American Girl Fashion Show. This year she modeled the pajama set.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0691.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0690.png

Our spontaneous family experiences, like hiking in the beautiful N.C. mountains.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0693.png

Taking my niece on our yearly lake vacation, her first experience with sand and water.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0695.png

Meeting some amazing God-loving women in A Beautiful Mess Bible study.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0694.png

Mini’s first day of 3rd grade and her first real haircut.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0696.png

Our date nights are always special but two of my favorite were when I surprised Kasey with tickets to his favorite band’s concert, Coheed and Cambria, and when we saw my absolute favorite love story movie, The Song.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0697.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0698.png

Mini’s first competition as an all-star cheerleader.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0700.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0701.png

Our Elf on the Shelf shenanigans.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0703.png

Biltmore weekend getaway, a first for mini.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0704.png

The hard work it took to surprise Kasey for his birthday with custom cornhole boards from the college he graduated from.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0705.png

What were some of your most memorable moments of 2014? Hope 2015 brings even more opportunities for memories!