Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Murder Mystery Party: Part 1 The Invites

This post has been 3 months in the making! Okay, not really this post, but this party. This is our 4th year hosting a murder mystery party and we had another hit. It went perfectly and I loved everything down to the last detail. 

I start thinking about these parties in August, so about 3 months in advance. That's when I make a Pinterest board and start figuring out what I want to do. You can check out the board for this years party {here}

Today I'm sharing the invites I used for this years party. For the invites I used Pic Monkey and just had them printed at Walmart. For 5 invites I spent about $4-great invites without the price. 

I used wax and a seal I bought from Pick Your Plum to seal the invites and send them on their way. We originally invited 10 guests but one of our friends had a baby so we ended up having 8 people come which was perfect. 

I love how the invites turned out-and the blood splatter is awesome. I did all the fonts and the blood splatter with Pic Monkey, just an FYI I have a prime account with them. 

Check in Wednesday for all the pictures and more details on the party! 


Friday, October 25, 2013

Get Fit For Christmas Challenge Week 3-Guest Post from Kelly at Dixie Dollar Deals

I have an awesome guest post for you guys today as part of the Get Fit for Christmas Challenge. if you're new here be sure to check out Week One and Week Two for more tips and find out how you can join the challenge!

I absolutely love the guest I have today. Kelly from Dixie Dollar Deals-

She is adorable, on her blog and in person. She's so sweet and fun and always makes me feel included. I've only been able to meet her a couple times but each time has been great. She has some awesome tips for you guys and I'm excited to implement them myself. 

I am so excited to be guest posting today as part of the #getfit4christmas series!  I was seriously so inspired by Kari when she announced this series on Newlyweds on a Budget.  I had been thinking to myself that I needed to get back on a fitness and diet plan over the holidays so I wouldn’t gain the weight that I did last year!  Plus, I have been so inspired by Kari’s story and how hard she is working to get healthy.

I have been back on track for the last couple of weeks now and wanted to share what I’m doing to get in shape.  I don’t claim to be a fitness expert, but I always like hearing what little things other people are doing in their lives and try to incorporate their ideas into my life too, so I hope maybe this will help someone too.

Exercise I have always liked working out in a gym but like everyone, always found getting there difficult at times.  I joined a gym a few years ago but decided that I was tired of hauling my two littlest ones to the day care at the gym, plus I was tired of paying for my gym membership too.  So I quit the gym and vowed to find a way to work out at home.  In June of this year I found Revolt Fitness, and I really enjoy incorporating it into my daily routine {full disclosure: I am an affiliate partner with Revolt Fitness}.  Revolt is a full fitness and diet program.  Each month there is a different focus for the workout videos {October’s focus is 28 Days of Sweat} and the videos are always new every month, so you never get tired of doing the same workout over and over.  I also like that the videos are short {my video today was only 16 minutes} so that I can do them quickly at home.  Revolt also has a full diet program with menus and recipes to eat clean 6 days a week with one day to eat as you please.  The recipes are really good and the eating plan keeps you really full because there is so much food to eat.  I learned how to cook my meals in advance and pre-portion them out from doing the Revolt plan. 

I like Revolt for so many reasons but the main reasons I love it is that the workouts are intense but short, and because I can do them quickly at home I have no excuse not to get them done.  If Revolt Fitness sounds like a program you might want to try, you can go here to sign up for one week free on the program!  Oh, and full memberships are only $4.16/month so they are way affordable, even for cheapskates likes me. I also decided to incorporate running into my exercise plan.  I have never been much of a runner in the past, but at times I have worked at it and found that I like it when I am consistent with it.  I have decided not to focus so much on how fast I am, or how far I can run, but instead focus on doing it for pleasure more than anything else.  It’s my time away to listen to some great music and wind down from all my responsibilities.  I always run with a goal in mind of distance, but try to just enjoy my time doing it.  I like to use the Map my Run app on my phone to measure my runs.  They also have a Map my Ride app if you like to bike.  Find a sport that you enjoy doing just for pleasure alone and it won’t be a burden to do.  You might even look forward to doing it!

Diet For me, eating clean is the hardest part of getting and staying in shape.  I like to exercise, but being diligent about my eating is not something that comes easily.  I never met a baked good that I didn't like.  I also find that eating clean can also be challenging when you want to cook meals that kids will eat.  There are so many diets out there, and I know that many of them work for some people.  The key is to find what plan works for you individually. One tool I am using and seeing great results from is the My Fitness Pal app.  I’m sure you've probably heard about it before.  Several of my friends have mentioned how much they love using it too.  With the My Fitness Pal app, you can log all your meals, your workouts, and track your weight loss.  The app helps keep you on track with your calorie count and weight loss goals.   Even if you don’t like calorie counting, you can use it to log your workouts, daily weight, and water intake.  And when you add friends to the app, you can help encourage and support each other in your goals {you can find me here}.  It’s also fun because it’s like a bit of a game to do all your tracking each day.

As for my diet itself, I’m focusing on eating clean for all my meals, but still making the meals I normally make for my family and eating small portions.  Most of my meals are protein and a veggie with maybe some fruit on the side to help curb my sweet tooth. I also plan on having splurge meals now and then. Let me also tell you that I learned a valuable lesson last year during the holiday season.  I had just lost 9 pounds in the fall, and I felt great about how I was looking and feeling.  I decided to make homemade fudge for my neighbor gifts, and ended up making 5 batches total.  And of course I had to taste test each batch to make sure it was good!  Well, I went way overboard and of course gained back that weight.  So, lesson learned – if you want to keep weight off during the holidays do not make delicious treats as gifts if you can’t resist eating them too!

Find a Community Another tip I think is really important is to find a community to support you in your goals.  I have a friend who is really similar to me with my struggles with staying in shape, and we always commiserate our issues and celebrate our success with each other, usually by email or text because we don’t live in the same area.  It’s great to have a friend you can trust to talk to.  I have another friend who created a facebook group called “Let’s Motivate Each Other” and added a bunch of friends to it, and it’s fun to read what everyone is doing each day with their goals.  There are so many ways to get inspiration and support.  Start a fitness board on Pinterest and add quotes that inspire you {you can find my Fitspiration board here}. 

Or follow bloggers like Kari and myself on Instagram for daily inspiration.  Instagram is a great way to get inspiration through using hashtags (#getfit4christmas #momswholift #eatclean #inspiration).

Books I also wanted to share some books that I have learned some great tips and weight loss rules by.  They are:  The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper, Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel, and Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath.  You can read sample excerpts online or in an e-reader, or look for them at your library.  Do you have a favorite diet or fitness book too?  I would love to find more, so leave a comment if you have one to share.

Thank you Kari for having me visit!  You can find my blog over at Dixie Dollar Deals, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Thank you so much Kelly! I love all the tips you've shared. Be sure to go check out Kelly's blog-you'll love it! And don't forget to check in in the comments below-let us all know how you're doing so we can encourage you and each other! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Get Fit for Christmas-Week 2-Tips for Success

Happy Friday! So glad the weekend is here, I hope you've all had a great week and I'm excited for week 2 of the Get Fit for Christmas Challenge. 

If you're new here and aren't totally sure what's going on, be sure to check out Week One of the challenge for all the details on how it works, and how you can get to a better, healthier you by Christmas. 

So for today's post I decided to share some of the tips and trick I personally have been using. This are tips I've found off Pinterest, gotten from family members, and just knew worked from past experience. Keep in mind, I am not a doctor nor am I a trainer or any type of physical guide. This is just stuff that has worked for me, and for my friends and family. Everyone is different, so everyone's results will be different. 

My tips are simple but they work. 

Nothing to crazy right? Some of you may be shaking your head at the water one. But I promise you will be amazed at the pounds that come off when you start drinking water like crazy. And I'm not talking just getting liquid in like diet coke or crystal light, this is pure water (although I do like lemon in mine occasionally). It's not that you shouldn't have the other things-go right ahead, but one of my goals, that works, is to drink 96 oz of water a day. That's 12 cups a day or 6 16 oz water bottles. Back when I was at my current goal weight, if I ever felt like I need to drop a couple pounds for a big event I would have a water bottle glued to my hand chugging away. It worked every single time. 

The second tip I actually got from my sister, she has had three babies, gained 40-70 pounds with each of them, and has worked hard and lost her baby weight after each baby. So in essence she's lost about 180ish pounds with all three pregnancies combined. That's a lot of weight-so she's obviously doing something right. One of those things is replacing one (or two) meals with a protein shake. I love the Costco Kirkland brand-it comes in a bottle not powdered form-I have one of those for breakfast every morning and usually don't eat solid foods until after 12 o'clock. 

The third tip comes from my sister-in-law Sallee, who has also lost over a hundred pounds by doing it the healthy way, eating right and exercising. She put me onto My Fitness Pal and I absolutely love it! It's a great way to get started on eating right-even if you're not trying to lose weight you would be shocked at how easy it is to eat over the recommend 2000 calories a day. 

Here's a look a regular entry for my personal profile-

You'll notice if you look closely that I don't eat back the calories I burn when I work out. That's another tip I learned from Sallee, but this one is completely personal. My Fitness Pal helps you set goals that will allow you to eat back the calories you've burned off, I personally have chosen not to. It's just whatever you decide to do. 

Tip #4 is easy, get moving. Don't think I'm telling you to get outside and run 5 miles, I'm not. I can't do that. In fact, since my accident I'm still extremely limited on what I can do. The point is to do some type of physical activity. I usually get on the treadmill at a 3.0 incline and a 4.0 or 4.5 speed for 30 minutes with a 5 minute cool down. That doesn't happen every night, last night my legs were really hurting so I cut my workout 10 minutes short. But the point is, I got on, and I did it even if I really didn't want to. 

And number 5 is the easiest, and yet sometimes hardest tip to follow. Set realistic goals. Don't think you're going to lose 50 pounds in the 10 weeks until Christmas. That would be great-but it's also crazy. Pick something you know is actually doable. If getting out and doing something physical isn't in your reach at the moment, that is okay! If low-blood sugar tends to turn you in a female version of the Hulk (which happens to me sometimes) eat more calories then My Fitness Pal recommends, I do. And guess what-I'm stilling losing weight! 

Like I said, I'm not a pro-but these tips have worked for me and others and I think they can work for you. I'm so excited to hear about everyone whose joined the challenge and I LOVE following along with you guys-don't forget to use the hashtag #getfit4christmas any any social media so that we can all cheer you on. 

P.S. I would love to have you guest post as part of this series, check out all the details {here}

P.P.S. Have you joined the challenge? I'd love to hear what your goal is-share it in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lightened Up Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

I have such an amazing recipe to share with you today. This recipe is perfect to make when you want something creamy and delicious without adding on the calories (or pounds). Which goes perfectly with our Get Fit for Christmas Challenge

The best part, in my opinion, is that you don't even realize that what you're eating is healthier. I'm all for making food that is great for my body and tastes delicious as well. This recipe has become a staple in my house, and everyone I make it for loves it. 

Another great thing is the versatility, it's basically a use whatever you have in your cupboard kind of dish. If you have chicken use it, if not don't. If you have spinach, add it, if not don't. You can play around and add other things as well-which is perfect at the end of the month when you're trying to use up whats in your pantry. 

This recipe has been modified from one found at The Recipe Crayon Box

Lightened Up Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta 

1/2 pound whole wheat angel hair pasta        1/4 C sour cream
4 cloves garlic, chopped (I also use dried)     1/4 C 1% milk
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper                          1/4 C Parmesan (grated)
2 Grilled Chicken breasts                            1 C baby spinach (chopped)
1 Lemon (zested and juiced)                       1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add pasta, cook al dente. Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Cook until the oil sizzles (about 7-10 min). Add lemon juice, sour cream, milk, and a ladle of pasta water to the garlic oil mixture. Raise the heat to med-high until the sauce begins to bubble. Drain pasta, but do not rinse. Add the pasta, zest, and Parmesan to the sauce. Toss for a minute or two. Add chicken and spinach, toss until well distributed. Top with Parmesan cheese. 

Make this for dinner tonight, I guarantee your family will thank you for it. 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

All Things Baby Ultimate Giveaway

I have SUCH an amazing giveaway for you today! I feel so honored to be teaming up with these fabulous ladies to bring you such a great giveaway. You will be shocked at all the amazing prizes-and the best part-each of these Etsy shops are EXTREMELY affordable, so even if you don't win I guarantee you'll find something you love that will fit the budget. Perfect time to start stocking up on Christmas gifts!

Meet The Bloggers: 
Pretty Providence
Hi! We're Jessica and Sarah. We've been friends for most of our lives and share a passion for living frugally. We know you don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun, look stylish, eat well and play a lot! So often the media portrays a spend, spend, spend mentality, and we hope that here you will find strength to go against the grain to secure yourself a happy financial (and all around) future! We hope this blog will encourage & motivate you, like it does for us when it comes to saving for your dreams.
Our Blog || Facebook || Pinterest || Twitter || Instagram || Google+ || Bloglovin || Feedburner

Over the Big Moon
Hey, we're Pam and Lisa from Over the Big Moon.  At Over the Big Moon you can find ideas for: traditions, teaching, playing, learning, organizing, cooking, crafting and anything else that helps make a house a home!  We love sharing Free Printables, Pre-K Packs and offering lots of fun tutorials! We'd love for you to stop over the say "Hi" sometime!

Small Fry Blog
Small Fry is a children's lifestyle blog run by three mamas where we highlight the food, adventures, parties, make it yourself fun you can do with your small fries! Small Fry is a declaration to ourselves and to our boys that every moment with them is a gift and also a choice. A choice to let the magic of childhood find us, and to look for it in everything we do. If you want to learn more about our purpose and motto, click here!

Somewhat Simple 

We welcome you to THE place for creative inspiration! Get inspired by thousands of projects, recipes, crafts and more, all at! Stephanie is a stay at home mom to four kids and the creator of Somewhat Simple, if you'd like to meet the rest of the team click here!
Facebook || Instagram || Twitter || Pinterest || Google+ || Feedburner || YouTube

A Girl and a Glue Gun
Hey everybody, A Girl and a Glue Gun is a blog about more than just gluing crap together! It's all things crafty--and everything is nice and easy! I like INSTANT satisfaction!  If I can do it...YOU can do it! Come plug in your glue guns and play!
Blog ||  Twitter || Facebook || Bloglovin || Instagram

Newlyweds on a Budget
I'm Kari and I blog over at Newlyweds on a Budget. My blog is all about getting the home design you want on the budget you have. Everyone has a budget of some kind, but we all have Pinterest boards full of rooms we wish we could afford. That's what Newlyweds on a Budget is all about, putting together dreamy rooms without breaking the bank.
Blog || Facebook || Twitter || Pinterest || Google+ || Feedburner

Now, let's get on to the PRIZE DETAILS!!!

$25 credit to Baby Girls Glam
Welcome to Baby Girls Glam! In our store you will find a wide selection of beautiful and affordable hair accessories, baby booties, crochet headwear & more for newborns, baby, toddler and big girls. I love making fun & unique fashion accessories at very affordable prices so you can pamper and indulge all the special little girls in your life. Our accesories are perfect for special occasions or every day wear. Our quality and custom-made accessories set us apart from others! I Hope you find something you LOVE! Happy Shopping!
Etsy Shop || Twitter || Facebook 

$25 credit to The Little Bunny Store
The Little Bunny offers a little bit of everything for babies & toddlers! Unique Handmade Soft Sole shoes, leggings, mittens & more.  
Etsy Shop || Website || Instagram || Facebook

Spits N Giggles Baby Boutique Chevron Minky Baby Blanket
Hi, I am April, owner, designer & creator of Spits N Giggles Baby Boutique. Self taught in all things creative with a little help from tutorial friends! I love the freedom and creativeness that comes from running my own handmade business. A mother of two little peanuts, G & S and wife to a wonderful, loving and supportive husband who I thank so much for encouraging me with everything in life :=) Check out my Etsy Shop, Spits N Giggles Baby Boutique, where you will find baby blankets, sheets, changing pad covers, lunch bags, activity bags and more…don’t see it, just ask and I can make it. I love custom orders! I have a new line of diaper bags and clutches that will be launching in October….so exciting!! When you buy handmade you know that you are receiving a high quality product that was made with love!
Etsy Shop || Facebook || Pinterest

A custom name banner from 22fiftythree 
Welcome to 22fiftythree. A place for one of a kind unique handmade goods. Specializing in occasional burlap bunting banners. Perfect for a gift, a celebration, or for yourself. Customer orders always welcome!
Etsy Shop || Facebook


American city blanket from VILLA & LONDYN 
Hi - I am Sabina, the owner and creator here at VILLA & LONDYN. I am originally from Germany but live now in Michigan. I recently married the love of my life and could not be happier. I love to make products for women, children and babies. I hope you find something you like in my shop.
If you are interested in custom orders feel free to email me at

Etsy Shop || Instagram || Facebook


$25 credit from Lopella Designs
Lopella Designs was created by me and my mom. My mother has always had a crafty side to her and when I was pregnant with my first little girl she made the most adorable carseat canopy for her. It was unique, handmade and mine! I got stopped everywhere I went with people asking where they could get one of their own and that is when I knew we had something special. We created Lopella Designs in October 2012 and love "having" to get together to create customized carseat canopies! All of our items are unique, and handmade specifically for you and your little one!
Etsy Shop || Facebook || Instagram

Baby Gown and Turban from Baby Pint
We have one vision: style starts at day one. We carefully choose each fabric for every piece sold in our shop to make sure that each piece is unique, stylish, and comfortable for your baby. From hip and stylish baby gowns to fun and modern blankets, Baby Pint has something special for your little one. Each piece is carefully packaged in a baby pint bag to make that the gift is truly special. Each gown is made in the USA with a sweet fabric knit, so it is both comfy and hip. Fold-over cuffs protect baby from scratches and the elastic bottom make diaper changes a breeze. The hat or turban will make a fashion statement right from the very start.
Etsy Shop || Instagram

Winner's choice of any item from Little Lee Studios
I love printmaking!! Childrens clothing started as my main focus but has quickly progressed to adult t-shirts as well. I am glad I have this opportunity to share my little creations with everyone. I am taking my hand drawn illustrations and converting them to be printed on tshirts, onesies, bags, and whatever else I love. It has been a great adventure working and building my site, and I am constantly adding new designs as soon as I can get them posted! A little history about me...I graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Painting and Printmaking. Since then I have shown my paintings in a few small galleries, worked as a photographer, frame shop manager and then deceided to pursue my own adventures in business and opened LITTLE LEE STUDIOS. I got married and had a wonderful little daughter who had been the inspiration to open this shop. Life is crazy with my shop, a husband, two daughters, but that's the way I like it! T-shirt printing is fantastic!!! :) I am constantly working to get my new illustrations listed online, so check back often to see the new designs. Hope you enjoy little lee studios!  
Etsy Shop || Website || Facebook 

Winner's choice of any leggings from Little Nugget Noggins
I have been sewing ever since I was 3. My sweet Grandma would give me a needle and thread (don't know how they trusted a 3 year old with a needle!) and a wash cloth and I would just go to town sewing the washcloth! We would spend hours making clothes for my barbies - I absolutely loved it and those are my best memories with her. When I was a teenager and in my early 20's I lost interest in it. About 4 years ago, she passed away and I picked it up again and I have been sewing every day since. Creating is my passion! There is just something so awesome about having some cute kid in New Zealand that is wearing my leggings, something that I made with my two hands! My leggings range in size from NB to 3T.  When I'm not sewing, my time is spent with my supportive husband Landon and my crazy 19 month old son Cash!
Etsy Shop || Facebook || Instagram  

$25 credit to So Bebelicious 
Home of delicious baby fashion! Handmade baby photography props, loafer booties, baby shower gifts, headbands & more.
Etsy Shop || Facebook

Winner's choice of a matching beanie and bootie set from Fiesta Kids Boutique
I design and create personalized baby clothing and accessories with a fiesta touch, using colorful, fun fabrics and top quality materials, specializing in coming home baby outfits. The newest addition to my shop are Baby Booties and Beanie Sets and they can be custom made in any color scheme for a special occasion or everyday cuteness!!
Etsy Shop || Facebook

Aren't those prizes jaw dropping? I mean HOLY COW! I don't have a baby but I even I want to win. There are tons of options for you to enter, and it's super easy, just use the widget below. Good Luck!


Friday, October 11, 2013

Get Fit for Christmas Challange

First off, have you entered the fabulous giveaway going on from A Modern Boutique yet? It ends Sunday!
I am so excited to announce the beginning of a new series here on NOAB. A little over 2 weeks ago I made the commitment to lose 15 pounds by Christmas and I want you to join me! There are 10 and a half weeks until Christmas so let's get to it.

What better Christmas gift to yourself then feeling great and fitting in jeans you haven't in a while? 

I realize that everyone is shaped differently, and has different fitness needs so I'm challenging you all to pick ONE thing that you can work on and perfect by Christmas. For me, it's losing 15 pounds, for someone else it could be running 3 miles, completing a race, hitting the gym 5 days a week, or staying on track for eating right. Whatever fits your needs and lifestyle. 
I also understand that making the choice to become the healthiest you can be is hard. Trust me, there have many days where I have wanted to eat an entire bag of Twix bars and not feel guilty about it. But that's what I'm here for. Every Friday from now until Christmas NOAB will have a post dedicated to getting fit and healthy. 
If you're a blogger and our interested in guest posting as part of this series I'd love to have you! Check out this google doc and sign up for a day! 
Now how do you get involved? It's easy! Comment below on what YOU are going to change-what you feel like you need to do to have a better healthier version of yourself by Christmas. Then use the hashtag #getfit4christmas and let us all go on the journey with you! When you go the gym, make a great meal, go for a walk outside, anything that's helping you reach your goal-share it with us! 
At the end of the series I'll be hosting an awesome fitness inspired giveaway that you won't want to miss! So whose with me? Think of how awesome we will feel and look at all those holiday parties! 
I can't wait to start this journey with you! 

Check out Week 2 of the challenge for the 5 best tips and tricks that I use to lose weight 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

GIVEAWAY-A Modern Boutique and their Tickled Pink collection

Good morning friends, this post is getting up a little later then planned due to some technical issue son my end. But, hopefully those are all worked out and I've got an amazing giveaway for you today!

I'm so excited to be teaming up with A Modern Boutique today to not only give away a beautiful necklace, but also to tell you about a fabulous campaign they have going on to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

(all pictures from the  A Modern Boutique website)

One of the main reasons I love Modern Boutique is how community centered they are. Proceeds from every piece brought are given to the Mother's Without Boarders campaign which helps abandoned children and orphans throughout the world.

To go along with their community themed ideals Modern Boutique is excited to announce their Tickle Me Pink campaign going on all through October. To celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, each piece in the Tickle Me Pink collection is named after a woman touched by breast cancer. 

The pieces in this collection are absolutely gorgeous and I have a long list of ones I plan on getting. 

To celebrate the beginning of this fabulous collection A Modern Boutique will be giving away to one lucky Newlyweds on a Budget reader a The Caleta Necklace.

Isn't is absolutely gorgeous? The giveaway will end this Sunday 10/13 at Midnight and the winner will be announced on Monday. Just use the widget below to enter the giveaway. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to get your mammogram scheduled! Remember-

I'm excited to kick off a new series on Friday so be sure to come back then!