Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!!!

We have been extremely blessed this year and we are looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2017.  So this evening as you enjoy time with friends and family while reflecting on this past year, please know that I am grateful for everyone who reads my little blog, comments, and shares.  I am thankful you have shared the past years with me and my family and we look forward to sharing the New Year with you too!  From my family to yours - Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December Check-in

At the end of November I posted about Rebooting.  I needed to get back on track with my eating and exercising.  This was something I was really struggling with and I knew I needed to just jump in and start.  December is always a tough month to do this, but I also knew if I had accountability it would make turning down the treats easier.  In my post from November I committed to restarting Trim Healthy Mama eating, exercising regularly, getting my steps in,  So how have I done?
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Rebooting
  • Restarting Trim Healthy Mama - I am about 1/2 way there.  I started off December very strong and eating very well.  Then we've had a few things come up that I hope to be able to share with you soon, but they are pretty stressful so that lead to some stress eating.  I did much better than I have done in the past, but I knew I wasn't making great choices.  I was able to turn down many treats this month.  I had a goal of losing 5 pounds this month and I am just about there thanks to a nasty flu bug I got on Christmas Eve.  On the bright side, the flu bug helped finish resetting my taste buds and there are some foods I will not touch for a long time.
  • Exercising - Again I started off great with this and then we got C-R-A-Z-Y busy so my routine exercising went out the window.  I was still moving just due to being busy, but not officially exercising.
  • Getting My Steps In - Most days this month I did get my steps in, but some days I must admit I fell short.  Some times I missed my step goal by just a couple hundred steps and a couple of days I missed it big time.  The last few days I haven't even looked due to being sick, but I am definitely committing to doing better in January.
  • Water - I have definitely started drinking more water, but I could still get in even more.  I have drastically cut back on the soda and focused more on water.  I am getting there and water is not tasting as boring as it usually does so I guess that is good.
For January I am going to continue focusing on these 4 things because I know that I can do better on each of these goals.  I am happy to have lost 4.5 pounds as of today.  I am hoping to sneak in that last half pound before January 1, but even if I don't I am happy with my progress.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

A glimpse of Normal Blog

God has blessed us greatly this year and we pray He did the same for you.  May you enjoy your family as you celebrate this Christmas.  Merry Christmas and God Bless You!!!

Cassandra, Jason, Buddy, and Little Miss

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My Favorite Christmas Tradition

We all have our favorite Christmas traditions.  I posted last week about how we set aside a day for baking and as a family we put together some treats for friends and neighbors.  I love doing this and we have a lot of fun doing it, but it isn't my favorite Christmas tradition.  My very favorite Christmas tradition started when I was just a little girl.
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Favorite Christmas Tradition
Our Christmas Jammies in 2013
When I was a little girl, my mom always went out of her way to make Christmas special for us.  She was a single mom and she worked hard to provide for us.  I am sure she had some help from my grandparents and other friends and family, but I know that she went without around the holidays so that she could spoil us.  My favorite tradition always happened on Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Eve we always got to open up just one present.  This present was a new pair of pajamas.  I loved going to bed in my new jammies and waking up on Christmas morning and opening presents in them.

Christmas Jammies is a tradition that Hubby and I continued when we got married and especially now with the kids.  They always look forward to their Christmas jammies.  Over the years we have added to the tradition.  They get to open their jammies on Christmas Eve, but now they find not only jammies in the box.  It also contains a Christmas movie and snacks.  We put on our new jammies, pop in the movie, and munch on our snacks.  The kids love this tradition as much as I always have and they have already told me that they will do the same tradition someday with their kids.

What traditions do you have?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Friday Favorites - Cookies

Christmas is almost here and we have a yearly tradition of doing a baking day just before Christmas.  We pick a bunch of cookies, spend the day making them, and then we give them out to friends and neighbors.  It is a lot of fun for us and an easy way to bring a little Holiday Joy to our friends and neighbors.  So as I was writing out a list of things we have coming up next week, I thought I would sit down and share a few of our favorite cookie recipes with you. These are recipes I use at Christmas time and throughout the year, they are my go to, tried and true, cookie recipes.
Sour Cream Cut Out Cookies, A Glimpse of Normal Blog
1.  Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies - The post about this one was from Valentine's Day a few years ago, but I use the same cut-out cookie recipe year round.  I love this recipe because it is quick and easy.  It is also my very favorite cut-out cookie recipe because you do not have to wait hours for the dough to chill.  You make it and use it right away.  LOVE it!!!

2.  Snickerdoodles - We have a minor major cinnamon addiction in our house, so we LOVE snickerdoodles.  The best recipe I have found comes from Lil' Luna, a blog I ran across one day.  She offers up some pretty tasty recipes.  These snickerdoodles are easy and both kids love helping with them.  I pretty much make the dough, Buddy rolls them out, Little Miss rolls them in cinnamon and sugar, and Hubby pops them in the oven.  It's an assembly line that works and this recipe 3-4 dozen cookies so I don't even need to double it.

3.  No Bake Cookies - We make multiple batches of these chocolate, peanut butter no bake cookies because as fast as they set up, my family eats them.  The struggle is real!  Sometimes I get a little lazy and just pour the hot mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan and then once it cools, cut it into squares instead of dropping it by spoonfuls.

4.  Peanut Butter Cup Cookies - We might have a peanut butter addiction in our house too.  We LOVE these cookies.  These are SO good and the worst part is unwrapping all those peanut butter cups without eating hard.

5.  Chocolate Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Bites - While technically not a cookie, these pretzel bites are the perfect combo of sweet and salty.  Of course we love them for the peanut butter aspect, but they are so tasty!  They are fun too because my kids like to put sprinkles in the chocolate after hubby and I dip them to make them look festive.

We have more on our list of goodies to make, but I don't want to spoil the surprise for friends that might be reading this.  I always add a new recipe or two to try out on our baking days too.  It is a crazy, messy day, but a day we look forward to all year.

What are your favorite kind of cookies?  Do you have a recipe to share because I would love to see it?  Do you make goodies for friends and neighbors?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Another Way to Save: Groupon Coupons

Please note this is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.

I am all about saving money and getting good deals.  I love big sales, clearance racks, and coupons.  So you can imagine how excited I was to find out that Groupon not only has great deals on local services, restaurants, and businesses, but they also offer Groupon Coupons.
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Groupon Coupons
Groupon Coupons is a great resource to find some fantastic deals.  They offer verified coupons that work for tons of retailers.  Some of the coupons work for online and some work when they are printed and taken to your favorite retailer.  Currently for the area where I live I can find over 80,000 coupons for over 11,000 stores.  There is really a coupon for everyone in their site.
I was very excited to find coupons from Groupon Coupons for two of my favorite stores, Claire's and Rue21.  I have been checking Claire's lately for stocking stuffers for my daughter since she LOVES this store and could spend days looking at all of their jewelry.  I was super excited to find that Groupon Coupons offers coupons for Claire's and that I could use these coupons to shop online.  I don't have to fight the crowds at the mall and I can shop when it is convenient for me while saving money.  Some of the coupons offered for Claire's are FREE Shipping on orders over $35, 20% off of your order, and get an extra 25% off your order.  I was also very excited to find Groupon Coupons for Rue21.  They always have the CUTEST boots, shoes, and purses.  I love their scarves and accessories too.  Many of the coupons offered on Groupon Coupons for Rue21 can be used online and in-store.  This is perfect for me because I like to try on their shoes before I buy them.  Some of the coupons offered are 25% off your next purchase, 70% off on clearance items, and FREE shipping.  These coupons can really save you a lot of money.
Like I mentioned before their are coupons for many, many stores such as:
  • The Children's Place
  • Kohl's
  • Old Navy
  • Walgreen's
  • Disney Store
  • New Balance
  • Sally Beauty
The list goes on and on.  You can also find coupons for services and restaurants in there too.  So next time before you go shopping, be sure to check out Groupon Coupons to see if you can save even more money.  We definitely will be checking them out and saving money with Groupon Coupons.

Did you know about Groupon Coupons?  How will you save money using Groupon Coupons?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Decisions, Decisions

Lately we have been trying to make some decisions.  They are pretty big, important decisions and they are hard.  We have went back and forth, wavered, said yes, put the brakes on, and taken every single step of a decision you can take.  The most important step of the decisions we have been making that we have taken is to PRAY.  Every time we sit here and say “I don’t know,” we pray.  It seems like God just keeps opening the doors and answering our prayers.  Even though we have been Christians for quite awhile now, we haven’t always stopped to ask God first because we get caught up in what we want, what we think, and just doing.  This time, with these decisions, it has been completely different.  Why?  God.  We are actively looking for God’s answers and continually asking Him for His will instead of just pushing ahead with our wants, desires, and what we think we should do.  It has been amazing to me to see how God has opened doors for us.  We have been looking for Him to take the lead and when you look for that, that is exactly what you find.  We have seen where God has clearly said NO.  We have seen God open doors that were previously closed and doors that we didn’t even think of.  We’ve seen Him say “Wait” and that has been okay.  Even with my impatient nature I am seeing how the wait is okay.  We are taking our decisions one step at a time and actively seeking God’s will for us.   This time we agreed to seek God first, then we decide.  In the end through all the decisions, maybe God will say No after all and that will be okay because I know it will be from Him.  In the meantime, we have peace while we wait because we know God is in the lead.  When God is in the lead, who am I to argue? 
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Decisions
While I am not ready to share any specifics with you about our decisions today, I promise I will share at some point.  If you pray, please pray that we continue to seek God’s will first in our decisions and that the decisions we are making will work according to His plan.  We know without a doubt His plans are by far greater than ours and that brings us peace, hope, and joy.  God is good ALL the time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Nail Polish Dipped Ornaments

Every December I take part in an ornament exchange.  I also love to make ornaments with the kids to give to Sunday School teachers and family members.  So this year as December got closer I kept seeing a video on Facebook of how to make nail polish dipped ornaments.  Being curious like I am I wondered if it would really work like they showed in the video.  Could it really be that easy to make a cute ornament?  I have tried recipes that I see on those videos and they aren't always as easy or as tasty as the video shows (some are though), but I thought I would give it a shot.
Glimpse Of Normal Blog, Nail Polish Dipped Ornaments

Items Needed:
Clear bulb ornaments - any size (I happened to have mini-ornaments left over from last year)
Various shades of nail polish
Clothes Pins (this I added, you will see why)
What To Do:
1.  Fill your bowl of water 3/4 of the way full.
2.  Using the clothes pins, clip them on the tops of the ornaments.  This made it easier for me to dip my ornaments and then to set them down to dry.
3.  Choose your first color of nail polish and pour some into the water.
4.  With a second color of nail polish, take the brush, dip it into the polish and then tap it over the other color of nail polish in the bowl of water.  Ideally you want a drop here or there, but if you end up with a big blob it is okay.

(Note: I did try adding glitter nail polish to the water and it made the colors separate so don't add it to the water.  I did end up using glitter polish for some sparkle, but I waited until the next day when my ornaments were dry and just brushed it directly on the ornament.)
5.  Using your toothpick, swirl the colors until it is a pretty pattern or as mixed as you want it to be.

6.  Grab the ornament by the clothes pin and then dip it into the nail polish water.  Swirl it in the water to get as much nail polish on the ornament as desired.
7.  After you pull the ornament out of the water, let it dry.  I let my ornaments dry overnight, but I am sure they were dry in just a couple of hours, if that long.
8.  The following morning I brushed glitter nail polish directly on my ornaments and then set them down to dry again.  I thought the glitter would pick up the Christmas lights from the tree.
These ornaments turned out super cute and they really were super easy to make.  They are something I will make this year with my kids because they could do this project without it being too messy.  I also like this project because it is a great way to use up some nail polish and overall it was an inexpensive project to do.  The worst part of this project was cleaning up the bowl so next time I will just use a plastic bowl that I could throw away.  What crafts do you do at Christmas time?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

December's Menu Plan

I sincerely apologize for being a few days late with this menu plan post.  My computer has been less than cooperative this week.
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, December, Menu Plan
Anyway, December is here and since we are busy, busy, busy this month, a menu plan comes in super handy.  I know what we are going to eat and a lot of these meals can be thrown in my crock pot or my Instant Pot (man, I LOVE my Instant Pot).  You will notice that the first full week in December is full of soups this is because we have some teeth issues again.  My daughter has to get a tooth pulled this week that keeps getting infected and my son has to go see the oral surgeon to get an adult tooth exposed because it still isn't coming in.  So since there will be sore mouths in our house this week, I had to plan soft foods.  Of course our family is all about soup so no one is complaining.  Anyway, you can find all of these meals on my December Menu Plan board on Pinterest along with some extras because anything left from last year's menu plan is still in that board too.  Here is our menu for the month:
  1. Ooey Gooey Parmesan Meatballs
  2. Fooled Ya Pizza
  3. Taco Salad Crunch
  4. Carry-in (I am taking meatballs)
  5. Potato Soup
  6. Vegetable Beef Soup
  7. White Bean & Bacon Soup
  8. Lemon Chicken Soup
  9. Pizza Soup
  10. Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls
  11. Crockpot Rice and Beans
  12. Baked Pork Steak
  13. Spicy Cauliflower Burgers
  14. Cilantro Parmesan Salmon
  15. Enchirritos
  16. Pizza Casserole
  17. Greek Steak Pitas
  18. Sushi Rice Bowls
  19. Foil Sausage with Veggies Packets
  20. Southwestern Quinoa Wrap
  21. Black Bean Tostadas with Cilantro Lime Sauce
  22. Hot & Spicy Italian Drip Beef
  23. Stromboli
  24. Beef & Sweet Potato Chowder
  25. Christmas Dinner
  26. Broccoli Cheddar Rice Cups
  27. Sour Cream Beef Enchiladas
  28. Jambalaya
  29. Miss Cindy's Burger Bowls
  30. Pizza
  31. Chipotle Burrito Bowls
What is on your menu this month?  Do you have a favorite dish to take to carry-ins?  I would love to hear your feedback.