Cucumber Cranberry Smoothie

We have been loving having a freezer filled with smoothies. Out of all the ways I have shown you to freeze them, I think our favorite is definitely the mason jar option. It is so versatile and easy to take out of the freezer and hit the road! I also like that it if you wait long enough, it becomes more of a fresh juice than a smoothie! What has been your favorite way to freeze smoothies?

Our last smoothie of the month is my Cucumber Raspberry Smoothie. Raspberries can be so tart, but the cucumbers along with the basil make this smoothie delectable! The color is perfect for upcoming Cinco De Mayo celebrations, so serve it up as a kiddie option or I am sure it would taste yummy with some tequila added in! A great variation of the good ol' margarita! 




Ingredients:
Yields: 3 cups

1 cup coconut water
1 ½ cup frozen raspberries
1 cup diced English cucumbers (no seeds)
3-4 fresh basil leaves

Directions:

Blend all ingredients, enjoy cold! 


Enjoy!! 
Tune in next month for an ingredient that is hearty and will please any freezer!! 

Happy freezing, 









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My results with Nerium and a *GIVEAWAY* !!

Turning 30 has been all sorts of fun! My husband will complain all day long about how old he feels 30 is, but I on the other hand, have never been in better shape, mentally and physically! That being said, my skin has taken a major hit. I never had a huge problem with my skin. Of course I would have my monthly breakouts and the occasional zit, but it was never a huge cause of concern. Then I moved to the Mecca called the desert. And BAM , I started getting zits. Not the little acne but those large and in charge bumps. I also started noticing dark spots and wrinkles around year 29. I was looking for something that would help my skin and not cause me huge breakouts. 


What's the best thing about the military? Meeting people and staying in touch with them throughout the years! I met Rachel 7 years ago, while our husbands were stationed in Florida and we have remained in touch since. I had noticed some posts of hers speaking about Nerium, but never really thought too much about it. 


Then, she reached out to me a few months ago and asked if I would be willing to try out Nerium and see what I thought. I'm not going to lie, I had never heard of the brand and unlike other brands, I was not being inundated with sales pitches. So, I said absolutely and next thing I knew I had a sample and was applying 3-4 pumps every night. Below are my results after just one week! 

Nerium AD Cream

I was super happy with the night cream. I felt that it was lightweight and the application was easy. Some complain about the smell, but to me it was a very natural smell and I liked that it did not have any perfumes or fragrances added to it. Nerium definitely makes your skin feel tight, but that just showed me it was working. When you wake up you simply splash some water on your face and your skin feels AMAZING! Not only was the cream better than I expected, the company also surprised me with their other products and their sales pitches. 
Nerium claims that their products can help with:

• Reduces the appearance of cellulite
• Smooths, tightens, and firms up loose skin
• Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
• Help with hyperpigmentation
• Even out skin texture
• Heal sun damage
•Closes pores
• Sooth rosacea
• Restores youthful vitality

Another huge benefit is that the product does not use Parabens, Gluten, Propylene glycol, Sulfates, DEA, Synthetic colors or PhthalatesEverything seems amazing on paper, but I really wanted to chat with Rachel about why she loves the company and has partnered with the company! 


What is your favorite Nerium product? 

This one is a hard one for me to answer, since I am completely in love with all of the products. But if I have to narrow it down I would have to pick the Nerium AD Night Cream. It makes my skin so soft and gives it a pretty glow. Before using Nerium AD I wouldn’t dare go out without at least putting on foundation, now all I need is my day cream and I feel confident enough to leave the house without makeup. 

How has Nerium helped you? 

As a mom of three young kids, I have endured a lot of body changes due to being pregnant three times. My stomach took the hardest hit, as you would imagine. I figured that my only option to get my stomach back was surgery. I can happily say that Nerium’s Contouring Cream helped so much that I no longer have to worry about stretched saggy skin. I honestly can’t believe how much this cream helped my stomach. 

Why Nerium? 

Before I fell in love with the products I fell in love with the company. I was looking for a Plan B, since I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but financially this wasn’t an option. Nerium helped get me home with my babies. They have a simple business plan that anyone can follow and succeed. 

With all of the skin care lines out there these days, why did you choose Nerium? 

So many reasons…lets count them… 1. The products WORK! If there is one thing I hate, it’s buying something with high hopes and expectations and then feeling disappointed because it didn’t end up being what I was hoping for. 2. I am also a health nut and only use the best quality products on my skin. I love that all the ingredients are healthy and safe! (i.e. No parabens, no phthalates, no sulfates, no synthetic color, no GMO, no synthetic fragrance, no mineral oil, no gluten, no DEA, and no PABA) 3. You can get the product for FREE! Even my customers can receive free product. All you need are 3 friends who also buy product monthly and yours is FREE! 4. It is SIMPLE… As I mentioned, I am a mom of 3, and by the end of the day I am exhausted to say the least. I love that Nerium offers a one step option. I don’t have time or energy to apply a 3-5 step system. All I do is wash my face, pat dry, and then apply 4 pumps to my damp skin. DONE. 5. Nerium AD is the result of an accidental discovery in biotechnology research (for skin cancer) at MD Anderson. In addition, Nerium gives 30% of it’s profits to continue the research. I don’t know about you, but for me, my family has a long history of skin cancer issues; so I use the cream to help keep my skin healthy, and the added plus is that each purchase continues to fund cancer research. 

Also super exciting, Nerium is launched a brand new product: Eye Serum. The serum offers immediate AND long-term results. Below is a picture of Rachel using the eye cream on one eye. Can you tell which one she applied it to?


Working with brands and ambassadors who support them, has been one of my very favorite parts of running this blog.  This product speaks for itself, no need for huge sales pitches, the results are everywhere!
Rachel has been kind enough to  giveaway ONE bottle of Nerium Firming Cream! She raved about it in her Q&A and I have seen her before and after pictures, they are amazing! Remember, this product is for your whole body, not just your face. Make sure to enter below for your chance to win, who doesn't have some areas they would like to see become a bit firmer?





Hands down, I am a supporter of Nerium and I am so excited to see where the company is headed! More questions about the product? 
Rachel just launched a Facebook page that is loaded with information. Join for all of the latest information! Also, in the month of April, if you order and choose auto ship (HUGE savings) you will automatically become a Preferred Customer which is HUGE! Ready to give Nerium a try? Use this website to order! 



Happy pampering,












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Disclaimer:: I received this product at no charge for my honest and unbiased review. All reviews are my own.



My Post-Workout Snack Choices!



If you are anything like me, you are STARVING after finishing a gym session. Like, "move out of my way, I have a yogurt in my bag and nothing will stop me from devouring it while you change", type starving. Oddly enough, my little guy is usually pretty hungry after a play session in the child watch so if there is anything that I never forgot to bring with us, it is after gym snacks. I lean towards snacks that are heavy in protein and good fats. 



Recently, Nuts.com inspired me to post about my favorite post-workout snacks. I love referencing their site for new ideas on high protein snacks and advice on what I should put into my body to get the most of my workout. Check here and here for some of their favorite healthy and high protein snacks!

  Here is a peek into my mini travel cooler that I take to the gym with me. Some of my go-to snacks include 2 hard boiled eggs, a small greek yogurt (I prefer a form of Greek yogurt) or a ½ cup of cottage cheese and a dash of cinnamon. Including veggies helps me to get my 5-9 daily servings in, and baby carrots are usually my number one choice! I almost always have some nuts to snack on throughout the day, usually unsweetened almonds. Of course, I share with Luke. He usually likes to munch on an egg or I will bring him his own yogurt to snack on.

high protein snacks

Not only do I load my cooler with quick snacks, but I also like to come home to a hearty lunch. It is so easy to eat Kraft Mac N' Cheese and Dino chicken nuggets for lunch, but honestly the past two hours that I spent at the gym would be completely pointless if I caved and ate that every day. Lately, I have been obsessed with Nut.com's Kale Quinoa Salad. It is heavenly! You know I have a slight obsession with Quinoa, so naturally this is one of my favorite recipes on the website. 

Honestly, I have gobbled mine up too quick (twice) to snap a picture, so photo cred goes to Nuts.com

It is so important to fuel your body after a good workout. Sometimes, I don't even make it out of the locker room before I dip into my snack! 


What are your favorite post workout snacks? 

Happy sweating, 









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Beachy Ginger Mango Smoothie

I have told you many times before that Chardonnay is my spirit animal. I sort of lied because ginger is a close second when it comes to my spirit animal. I believe that Ginger cures all and I LOVE the taste of it. Did you know that mango pairs exceptionally well with ginger? 

This smoothie would be a magical concoction for all you ladies out their struggling with morning sickness or if you are like me you find that ginger helps with muscle soreness and fatigue (source). Mango makes me want to find a beach and plant my bum on a towel for the day, so this smoothie is all around perfect!  Not big on ginger? That's OK, try it once and if you think it has too much of a ginger kick, lessen the amount of ginger you add. 

easy smoothies

Beachy Ginger Mango Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen or fresh mango
1 cup coconut water
½ cup water
½ t fresh ginger 
Handful of ice
splash of POM juice

Directions:

Blend all ingredients, minus the POM juice. Pour smoothie into two cups and top with a splash of POM juice! 

Enjoy!

easy smoothies



Happy freezing, 






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The "not so obvious" Mother's Day Gift Guide!

Mother's Day is fast approaching and while you may be tempted to walk into your nearest spa and purchase a gift card, this is my formal warning, DON'T! Unless you have been told, very forcefully, that this is the one thing your wife wants, than yes go ahead and buy one! While we love your completely cliche idea, we would much rather receive something that reminds us why we are celebrating Mother's Day, our kids! 
Here are some amazing and oh so sentimental gift ideas for the special Mother in your life. 

Mother's Day Ideas

1. Cooking class at Sur la Table 
Here's the deal; we love cooking for you and for our kids but the idea of cooking for a few hours with expensive ingredients that don't have to be toddler friendly, is simply amazing! Who knows? Maybe we will invite you too! 

2. Her favorite Workout Item 
As much as you worship our mom bod, we do like to be somewhat active. Find out that one piece of gym equipment she has been wanting, and give it to her! We promise, we won't take it the wrong way when we open up a set of weights, we will know that you have the best intentions! Me personally, would LOVE a BOSU. Think someone could forward this to Ryan? Just kidding, I make him read every blog post!! 

3. Coffee
Like, really good coffee! The kind of coffee that makes waking up at 5:30AM not such so bad. Hell, maybe you should just make it a cappuccino maker. 

4. A personalized pot of flowers
No, don't just go to Lowe's and pick a pretty one. Go to Lowe's with our children, have them pick out a few flowers, you pick out a few and than come home and assemble it with the kids. We will love it, we will cherish it and we will try really hard to not kill it! 

5. A painting or a piece of art made by our littles 
There are these really amazing studios that have kid's events and they are super family friendly. Don't have anything near you, that's OK Michael's and Jo'Ann's do some really amazing sales and you can buy anything there! Whether, it is a picture or a ceramic bowl made by my child, I will cherish it forever! 

6. A membership to the local zoo, children's museum or National Park 
Some days we need to get out of the house and we need to get out of the house FAST. A membership is an amazing thing because it means you can go for however long you want and escape those confining walls of the house. Sometimes, we just want to let them run free. 

Yes, it is somewhat of a made up holiday and yes, there are people who will say they don't want to celebrate Mother's or Father's Day, but I assure you something is better than nothing. We love being moms and we love being your wife, so let's celebrate that and remember that home made is usually an amazing route to go. No one says you have to succumb to the outrageous price of Hallmark cards to make her smile, just get out the construction paper and glue. 


Happy Mother's Day!



We are still celebrating my 100th Post so make sure you enter my Instagram Giveaway, HERE! 











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My 100th POST!!!


This is my 100th POST! Can you believe it? I launched back on June 1, 2015 and a short 10 months later I have hit my 100th post. Throughout this time we have gone through one deployment, lots of travels and extended stays in Ohio and many, many early morning writing sessions. Never would I have thought that I would have this much content, in this little time. This post includes so many things, make sure you read all the way to the bottom for an exciting announcement AND a giveaway!


100th Post

First of all I am so thankful for my husband, who has been so supportive and extremely understanding when it comes to the time commitment that this blog has taken. I love you, Ryan and thank you for being my #1 fan! 


Family Pictures

Second of all, I am so thankful to you, my readers! I wanted to celebrate my 100th post by writing a thank you note to all of you. If I could, I would send you all snail mail and let you know that each and every view has meant something to me, but that would take a lot of time and a lot of stamps, so the next best thing is writing to you on my blog! 


Thank you note


I have something huge to announce! I started a Facebook page for  SemiBalancedMama! This way, you can stay connected and see other blogs I am reading, as well as my new blog posts and giveaways. I try not to over inundate everyone's feeds, so I think this is the perfect way to alert you when I have posted and to keep you updated! 
Want updates? Like my page HERE


Finally for the fun news, make sure to head over to my Instagram to enter the 100th post giveaway that I have going on. It is a $20 Target gift card AND my favorite cookbook, Shay Shull's Mix and Match Meal Planner. You all know how much I love MixandMatchMama, she was a huge inspiration to me while starting my blog. Her recipes inspired me to get back in the kitchen after having Luke, and for that I will always be thankful!! When thinking about what I wanted to giveaway, her book came naturally, and who doesn't love a little shopping spree at Target!!


Thank you for stopping by and celebrating with me! This blog has been so much fun, and while it has been a lot of work, I still enjoy each and every post I write. I love you all for being readers and supporters! 

Here's to the next 100 posts!


THANK YOU, 








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Chocolate Superfood Smoothie!


Ok, so this smoothie may be one of my favorite smoothies (Luke's too)! I love hiding power foods in recipes. It makes me feel sneaky and lately Luke has been in a bit of a picky stage, not horribly picky but has not been eating great dinners. So, why not hide some good stuff in a yummy smoothie? This recipe has some chocolate in it, but the main ingredient is 100% Kale and your little one will not even know it! You have the option of using a kid friendly chocolate protein power, I use Shakeology, or a small amount of Nesquik. Trust me, this recipe is NOT just kid friendly, it is amazing for us big kids too.

chocolate smoothie

Chocolate Superfood Smoothie! 
Yields 3 cups 



Ingredients:
1 frozen banana
1 cup Kale 
1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or whichever milk you prefer)
1 tbsp Nesquick or 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
Handful of ice cubes

Directions:
Blend all together and serve immediately.


Ok, so of course you could freeze this smoothie any of the other ways I have brought you this month, but this one I typically do one batch of and slurp it right down that day. 
To make it a bit quicker, I usually have all the ingredients frozen and ready to go.


I LOVE freezing Kale ahead of time. I typically will blend a large bag of Kale, with some water so it blends well, and than freeze small portions of the mixture so I can grab and go. This way I don't always have to have Kale on hand. You could of course buy the frozen Kale, but it is way cheaper to buy your own and freeze. I also use it in spaghetti sauces too! Bananas are easy to freeze, as well. I go the extra step and peel and cut mine into the correct portions before freezing. 
Super simple idea, but a huge time saver.
Happy freezing,












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Happy National Pecan Day!


It's National Pecan Day! I have decided it would be fun to celebrate one random holiday a month, so maybe it will be National Pizza Day or National Wear Blue Day, whatever it is we will be celebrating here a few times a month. 
Did you know that pecan trees are are native to North America? Over 80% of our pecans come from American soil (source). Pretty cool, huh? Pecans grow amazingly well here in southwest Arizona and we have a large Pecan farm right near us. 

Pecan lovers

Today I am bringing you an amazing chicken finger recipe. Anytime you add pecans to something, it immediately takes it up a notch, and these chicken fingers definitely apply to that. This recipe is super easy and uses a simple egg wash breading technique. You won't be disappointed!

pecan chicken recipes

Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers
Yields 5-6 Chicken Fingers

Ingredients:

5-6 pieces of chicken 
2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 cup panko 
½ t salt
½ t paprika 
½ cup flour 
2 eggs, well beaten 
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°

Cut and trim the excess fat off your chicken. I usually buy chicken breast and cut them to size, usually a bit cheaper than buying the chicken fingers pre-cut. Pat them dry and set aside. 

Set out three large bowls. In one bowl add in the flour, in the second bowl crack your eggs and lightly whisk them. Lastly, add in all remaining ingredients to the third bowl and mix well. 

 Place chicken finger in flour mixture and cover. Dip in egg wash and coat well. Lastly, dip in the pecan mixture and lay flat on a cookie sheet. For easier clean up make sure to use parchment paper on your cookie sheet. 

Cook at 350° for 25-30 minutes until they are a nice golden brown and cooked through. 

Enjoy!


pecan recipes


Happy National Pecan Day!! 












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Weekend Recap :: Spring Cleaning Fun

This weekend was magnificent! It was filled with NOTHING, and it was exactly what we needed. We have been traveling, partying or planning a party since the beginning of the year, so it was nice to have a weekend where we didn't have much going on.

weekend happenings

We woke up Saturday morning to the carpet cleaner's knock on the door. We went with ZeroRez here in Tucson, and absolutely loved the result. The two men that came were extremely helpful and polite and our carpets look (and feel) brand new. There are no chemicals used, just their Empowered Water, which means no smell or nasty residue! They are running a 2 room special for $99, so make sure to jump on that deal, you will not be disappointed!

Since we needed to be off the carpet for a few hours, and we have a toddler who loves to do exactly what you tell him not to do, we decided to head down to University of Arizona's Spring Fling. It is the largest run student carnival in the United States and it did not disappoint. Luke and I got there as it opened, Ryan had a meeting with his professor so he was going to meet us afterwards, so we had some time to walk around and explore the kid's activity tent. 
kid's tent at spring fling

We decided to ride a spinning ride first, and Luke was not too thrilled. Honestly, I was surprised he asked to do it, since he is a very cautious little boy. But, he made it through and let me know after the ride was over that he didn't want to do that again. We shared a funnel cake and scouted out all the games that he wanted to play when Daddy showed up. 

spring fling in arizona

fair food

They played the balloon popping game and the water shooting game, and won both! I was super impressed and Luke even got to take home a big Dino. 

fair winnings

Ryan's birthday was last week and a local pizzeria, Grimaldi's does free pizza for your birthday. So, for lunch we ate some pizza and sat on the patio. Spring is the best time for patio sitting in Arizona, we pretty much only eat restaurants with a patio. 

pepperoni pizza

Saturday night we were in bed by 9:00 PM and it was glorious (#momlife, #familylife)! Sunday we woke up with huge goals of doing some major Spring cleaning. We borrowed a large ladder from a family friend and Ryan got to work cleaning the outside windows. Luke was very impressed with how high Daddy could go. Luke was busy cleaning his car and his tractor while mom and dad cleaned the windows. My favorite product to clean our windows is Sprayway Glass CleanerLiving in the desert, our windows are dusty and filled with dirt, so cleaning them is quite the project and we usually do it twice a year. This product is a foam and sprays on so easily, without leaving streaks. I listened to the "Best of 2000's" playlist on Spotify and 5 hours later, our windows looked amazing. 




Sunday afternoon we spent at our very best friend's house for a yummy Sunday dinner. We had ribs, corn, homemade Mac N' Cheese, yummy roasted carrots with walnuts and I made my favorite Mix and Match Mama recipe, the Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake. It was a rainy and gloomy day in Tucson, which we don't get very often so we hung out inside and watched the Masters and did puzzles with Luke. It was the perfect ending to a very low key weekend. We have some more Spring cleaning to do this upcoming weekend, but for now I am happy with sparkly windows. 



Yesterday was #nationalsiblingsday and while I think these social media holidays are somewhat silly, I can't pass up a chance to celebrate my gorgeous sisters! I love you both and am so thankful every day that we were blessed as sisters and best friends! 

sisters

What is first on your list for spring cleaning?

Happy Monday, 










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