How to Make Walking Your Dog a Million Times Easier

I love our big pup… all 90 pounds of him!  We started taking Cannon on walks as soon as we got him last May to get him accustomed to walking on a leash from an early age.  Once he reached about seventy pounds he got much too strong for me to take on walks.  It was sad, because he needed the exercise and he loves walks,  but I was drug behind him any time I attempted to take him out on a walk.

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Cannon wearing his PetSafe Easy Walk Harness!

After a little research I discovered the biggest lifesaver: the PetSafe Easy Walk Harness!  I found it at Petco and was a little skeptical at first, but this harness has turned out to be a miracle-worker.  It is safe, comfortable, and allows me to take Cannon on walks anytime!  The harness has a shoulder strap, belly strap, and chest strap with a ring to attach the leash to (pictured below); the design prevents your dog from being able to jerk forward, making walks with your dog doable and enjoyable (exactly as they should be)!

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I would totally recommend this harness for anyone who has the least bit of difficulty walking your dog!  Our 90 pound German Shepherd wears a large in the collar.  I put the harness on immediately before we go on a walk and take it off directly after, so Cannon never has the opportunity to chew on it.  Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions about the joys of raising a puppy!

Always and forever,

Alex

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Fall/Winter Wardrobe Must-Have!

This past week Duncan and I spent a couple of nights at Big Cedar in a cozy little cabin in the woods (courtesy of our parents’ amazingly thoughtful Christmas gift)!  It was so nice and relaxing, especially since it was during the only “snow” we’ve gotten here in the Ozarks all winter… technically it wouldn’t be considered snow, it was more of a light frost/ice that was almost instantly gone.  It was fun just being together, going to a cute little coffee shop for breakfast, watching movies, and snuggling up beside the wood-burning fireplace!

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This olive button thermal top was absolutely perfect for our little mid-week getaway!  It is comfortable and warm, so whether we were relaxing in our cabin or out braving the cold, it was perfect for all occasions.  I found the top at PinkBlush, a women’s online boutique which has lots of cute tops and dresses for women!  This top from PinkBlush Boutique goes well with so many different looks (jeans and boots, leggings and flats, etc.) and can easily be dressed up.

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ShopPinkBlush for this top (also comes in mauve and blue) and a variety of other wardrobe must-haves!  This trendy boutique online is definitely worth checking out!

Here are a few more pictures from our mini trip at the beautiful Big Cedar!

*Special thanks to my husband for being the best photographer*

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Happy Sunday!

Always and forever,

Alex

 

 

“The Best Things in Life are Sweet!”

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My newest go-to at Andy’s Frozen Custard: cookie dough and M&M sundae (thanks to my brother in law Keaton for introducing me to the combination!)

“The Best Things in Life are Sweet!”

I’ve always been a major believer in this motto!  I enjoy planning, cooking, and eating healthy meals…. but I love baking or going out for dessert afterwards even more!  Growing up I was always “that girl” whose friends would say she could eat a whole pan of brownies by herself (thankfully I never actually did that, even though I probably could have…).  Whether it be ice cream, cookies, cake… you name it… I’ve always had a sweet tooth.

Some people are incredibly disciplined and choose not to eat sweets at all, and some simply don’t like them.  I’m impressed by these people and am sometimes a little envious, but thankfully throughout the years I’ve learned the beauty of MODERATION!

Moderation is the biggest thing I took away from most of my nutrition courses in regards to desserts/sugar.  Of course different people have different circumstances and no two people are the same, but for me, moderation of sweets still allows me to enjoy them but not go overboard. 🙂  I also choose to only eat the sweets that are my favorites; if I’m going to eat a dessert (and take in the sugar and calories) I’m going to make sure it’s something I like!  I often try to incorporate fresh fruit or whole wheat (to make it a little healthier 😉 ). Check out Two Peas & Their Pod’s whole wheat oatmeal chocolate chip cookie {made with coconut oil} recipe for a healthier cookie option.  I made them a few days ago, and they were absolutely delicious!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ll oftentimes make cookies or another treat at the beginning of the week for us to have for the duration of the week.  We also enjoy going out for ice cream or cupcakes (those of you who have heard our engagement story or read my post on it know my love for cupcakes…).  I like eating at home more than eating out (since it’s typically more cost efficient and more nutrient-dense), and then going out for dessert afterward for a little date with my hubby!

Below are some of my favorite quotes on this topic 🙂

 

“A party without cake is just a meeting.” -Julia Child

 

“If we are what we eat… Well I am awfully sweet!” -Anonymous

 

“Let’s face it, a good, creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people.”

-Audrey Hepburn

 

Always and forever,

Alex

Grocery Shopping for $60 a Week for our Family of Two

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Making my weekly grocery list!

With getting married in college, we have definitely had to learn how to budget well.  One of the biggest and most necessary components of our budget is groceries…. I mean, food is one of our basic physical needs!  Healthy living (including healthy eating) is really important to me, and I want the type of foods I buy and cook to reflect that.  In order to do this and still stay within a budget that works for us, we spend $60 on groceries each week.  I know food costs vary depending on where you live, and I’m sure I could improve on “getting even more bang for my buck,” but below are 8 things I do to stay within our allotted grocery budget:

  1. The biggest tip I have for staying within a grocery budget is to PLAN AHEAD!  I start by planning 4 healthy dinners for the week (give or take, because things always come up and we are rarely home for dinner every single night of the week, or if we are home, I may not always have time or energy to cook a full meal).  After I’ve decided on the meals I’m going to make for the week, I write out a specific grocery list of everything I’m going to need for those meals.  I usually try to make pretty simple meals, or look up substitutes for ingredients I don’t already have (such as for chicken broth or buttermilk).  After I’ve written out the ingredients needed for the dinners I’m going to make for the week, I list some (mostly) healthier snack foods that we can have for the week, like veggie chips, apples, cereal, packets of tuna, etc.  There are so many things you can do to plan ahead, and these are just a few of the ways I prepare for my weekly grocery shopping ahead of time!
  2. Compare prices!  I shop at Walmart, because it is the most cost efficient for us.  We get the sale ads for all of the local grocery stores once a week in the mail, and I go through and circle the items on sale that I am going to need for the week.  When it’s time to go grocery shopping, I bring the ads and put the sale items in the front of my cart, so I don’t forget to clarify which items are on sale when I’m checking out.  I also use Walmart’s Savings Catcher app. (on my phone) at the end of each grocery shopping trip to catch any sale I may have missed and be able to credit the difference toward my next trip to the grocery store!
  3. Use a calculator!  I always use the calculator on my phone and add up every item I put in my cart.  If I go over $60, I put something back.  I choose the least necessary item and simply choose to put it back on the shelf.  Using a calculator keeps you accountable and helps you realize exactly how much you’re spending.
  4. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season!  When fruits and vegetables aren’t in season, I buy them either canned or frozen.  When I buy fruits canned, I make sure they are in light syrup, and when I buy canned vegetables, I make sure they are low sodium (to try to keep them as healthy as possible).
  5. Don’t shop hungry!  I always make sure to eat before I go grocery shopping to avoid buying anything unnecessary.
  6. I typically don’t buy processed, pre-made sweets; instead, I make cookies or some other treat at the beginning of the week that lasts us for the rest of the week whenever we have a sweet tooth (which I have daily!). Baking my own desserts not only saves money, but is healthier, as well!
  7. Buy off brand when you can!  There are some foods I buy name brand, when there is a significant quality and/or taste difference; however, I buy off brand/store brand for most foods, such as cheese and some cereals.
  8. Try not to buy excess, and when you do, freeze the items if possible!  When buying bread for two, for instance, it seems to go bad before we even get close to eating it all.  Instead of throwing away the extra bread, bagels, etc. that are going bad, I put them in the freezer when they reach their “sell by” date and thaw them out whenever we’re ready to eat them.

 

These are just a few tips and tricks I use when grocery shopping on a budget!  I hope you find some of them helpful!  Feel free to comment with any other tips you have. 🙂

Always and forever,

Alex

Goldendoodles Galore

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On November 14, my in-laws’ golden retriever had her 3rd litter of goldendoodles, and they are as cute as can be! I love watching the puppies be born, open their eyes a couple weeks later, grow up, and go to their own loving homes. Willow, their golden retriever, had 13 puppies this time around, all with their own unique and adorable personalities and looks.

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The puppies are just over seven weeks old now and are all about to go to their new homes within the next couple of weeks. It’s always sad to see them go, but I love seeing the joy these smart, cute, and hypoallergenic dogs bring to families!
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I thought I’d share some pictures we took with a few of the puppies from this litter! Check out goldendoodlesoftheozarks.com or find Goldendoodles of the Ozarks on Facebook for more information on Willow’s precious puppies.
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Always & forever,
Alex