<![CDATA[NonperfectParenting - Blog ]]>Sun, 19 Nov 2017 23:21:33 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Finding Healthy : Week One]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 14:46:19 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2017/11/finding-healthy-week-one.html This is a Sponsored Post Written By Me on Behalf of Getting Healthy With Lesley
     So, I am almost forty. Over the past year something happened to my body. My metabolism decided to hit middle age and just quit.. just stop doing its job, completely. I was not ready for this change. For the first time in my life I felt so unhealthy. I was constantly tired, I didn't feel like doing much of anything and I put on a crazy amount of weight that I didn't know how to cope with. Not just a couple of pounds, but enough that I didn't feel good about me. I am a firm believer that a woman should be happy with her body no matter her weight. I wasn't happy and knew I needed to change it. 
     For months, I made promises of changing things the following week or I talked about looking into joining a gym in a couple of days. Instead, it all just stayed the same and I avoided the scale. I would make excuses because I was too busy or tired. Anyone with multiple kids knows no one eats the same thing as everyone else. I didn't want the hassle of making a completely different meal for myself once I made three others for the hubby and kiddos. 
     Over the past year, I saw one of my friends posting photos of her weight loss on Facebook. I know her, so I knew it was real and not one of those photoshopped ads you see from time to time. The photos were incredible to say the least. In a bit more than a year, she had lost more than 75 pounds.  How crazy is that, right? I was a total skeptic. There had to be more to it or she will gain it back as soon as she quits whatever program she is on. I was curious so I talked with her about how she lost this weight. 
     Lesley told me about how Optavia helped her to change her life. Not only did she loose the weight she had been carrying around, she and her family are now healthier.Optavia isn't the usual eat this, don't eat that plan. They teach you how to be healthy so you can change your entire life. In doing so, you will loose the weight that has been burdening your body. Then, I made the decision to try theOptavia program myself.Lesley is a Certified Health Coach with Optavia now and is cheering me on along the way. Want to see where I am on my journey? Keep reading! 
My First Week On Optavia 
     This is the first week I am using the Optavia program. It is so simple! I guess I assumed it would be so much more complicated, but this is such an easy and achievable plan for anyone. 
     I am doing what is called the Optimal 5&1 plan. This is the right plan for me, but it may not work for everyone.  When you decide to make Optavia part of your life, you and your coach will decide which plan is the best for you. 
The 5&1 plan means I get five fuelings each day and one lean & green meal. It is so much food that at times I need to actually make myself eat. The fuelings are pretty yummy and I have found some really good lean & green recipes. The best part is, since I have started withOptavia, my family is eating healthier. They see the changes I am making and they have come along on the journey. Although they aren't doing the Optavia plan (I would not recommend it for children since it is so low calorie), we have many more veggies at our family dinners. They love the change and I love that I am not cooking a ton more. 
     Fuelings are nutritious snacks you eat throughout the day, typically at 2-3 hour intervals. Optavia has a great selection, so everyone can find items they love. These fuelings are designed to give your body right nutrition at the right time. At any time during the day, you can choose to eat your lean & green meal. This is a super yummy and filled with protein. With Optavia, you also need to drink your water. It is super important to drink a minimum of half your body weight (in ounces). So far, I have been able to get in more than that each day. I am at 100 oz and my skin looks amazing. Seriously, drink as much as you can! 
     The first day of changing my lifestyle was the hardest. There wasn't a time I was hungry, but by evening I was EXHAUSTED. The next morning though, I was ready to go again. As the week went on, I noticed I had more energy and I just felt really good.  I would get pangs of hunger at times, but after drinking my water, I was good to go. 
     Overall, the first week was a success. I managed to loose a couple of pounds so far. I went through a drive thru (for little man) and didn't steal a french fry. I haven't even had any wine. Baby steps right? After all the weight didn't go on overnight...it sure isn't coming off overnight. 
Healthy Family Friendly Recipe
Italian Sausage Patties

3 cups (3 medium-large 3” x 2-¾”) red, yellow, and/or green bell peppers, slicedNon-stick cooking spray
6 MorningStar Farms Sausage Patties

Seasoning Mix:
1½ tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried ground basil

½ clove garlic, minced

1 tsp fennel seed

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Combine seasonings in a bowl. Cut up peppers into thin strips and mix into spices. Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray for 5-10 seconds and heat to medium heat. Add peppers and sauté until lightly browned. Add sausage patties and brown. Place vegetables on two plates and top with sausage. 
This is a Sponsored Post Written By Me on Behalf of Getting Healthy With Lesley
<![CDATA[Help to Make a Dancer's Dream Come True! ]]>Mon, 06 Nov 2017 23:56:31 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2017/11/help-to-make-a-dancers-dream-come-true.html
I've partnered with Bloggin' Mamas for this social good campaign. I may receive movie-related promotional items or experiences; but all opinions expressed are my own and no monetary compensation was received. In support of the home entertainment release of the heartwarming animated family adventure, Leap!, Lionsgate has partnered with the non-profit organization, FOOTLOOSE, to gather donations of new and gently used dance shoes to help aspiring dancers in need. On November 16th, from 6p-8p PST, Lionsgate will be hosting an event in which they will be presenting FOOTLOOSE with the shoe donations. I wanted to help support this social good project, by encouraging donations from my readers. If you have new or gently used dance shoes you are willing to donate, you'll find the address to send them to below. You can also follow along the donation event on social media via #LeapMovie and #LeapForFootloose Our family loves any sort of outreach opportunity so we will absolutely be taking part with you! Dance shoes aren't a necessity for families who are struggling financially. So, a donation from you of new or gently used dance shoes can make a dancer's dreams come true. A donation that takes a few moments of your time can make all the difference in the world of another person. Donations to FOOTLOOSE can be sent prior to November 16 to the address below: Address For Donations Leap Donations c/o Lionsgate 5055 Wilshire Blvd Suite 840 Los Angeles, CA 90036

About Leap!

Featuring all-star voice talent led by Elle Fanning (Maleficent), alongside Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars) and Maddie Ziegler (The Book of Henry), with Mel Brooks (Spaceballs), featuring Carly Rae Jepsen (singer-songwriter of the hit song "Call Me Maybe") and Kate McKinnon ("Saturday Night Live"), Leap! is a colorful and imaginative story about an orphan girl who is determined to follow her dream of becoming a ballerina. Filled with irresistible original music, Leap! features the hit track "Cut to the Feeling." Eleven-year-old orphan Félicie (Fanning) has one dream — to go to Paris and become a dancer. Her best friend, Victor (Wolff), an imaginative, exuberant boy with a passion for creating, has a dream of his own — to become a famous inventor. In a leap of faith, Victor and Félicie leave their orphanage in pursuit of their passions. But there's a catch: Félicie must pretend to be the child of a wealthy family in order to gain admittance to the prestigious and competitive Opera Ballet School in Paris. And with no professional dance training, she quickly learns that talent alone is not enough to overcome the ruthless, conniving attitudes of her fellow classmates, led by the devious Camille Le Haut (Ziegler). Determined to succeed, Félicie finds her mentor in the tough and mysterious school custodian, Odette (Jepsen), who, along with Victor's encouraging friendship, help her reach for the stars. Leap! will be available on Digital November 7 and on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand November 21.

Get Social with Leap!

Facebook- facebook.com/LeapMovieOfficial/twitter.com/LeapTheMovielionsgateathome.com/leapAbout FOOTLOOSE FOOTLOOSE is a non-profit charitable organization that collects new and gently used dance shoes to donate to less fortunate aspiring dancers. FOOTLOOSE donates shoes to a variety of organizations. For more information to donate or receive shoes, visit http://www.footloosemission.com/FOOTLOOSE was founded by Becca Duberman, a dancer and philanthropist, in 2010. Becca's passion for dance and her compassion for children led to the creation of FOOTLOOSE. Like its movie namesake, FOOTLOOSE, the story of overcoming restrictions to dance, connects donors to needy recipients.

Get Social with FOOTLOOSE

Facebook- facebook.com/FootlooseMssn/twitter.com/FootlooseMssninstagram.com/footloosemssn/Donate soon, so the shoes arrive in time for the event & and don't forget to check out Leap! on Digital November 7 and on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand November 21.  
<![CDATA[Disney on Ice Comes to Pittsburgh!]]>Fri, 03 Nov 2017 19:49:49 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2017/11/disney-on-ice-comes-to-pittsburgh.htmlThis is a sponsored post written on behalf of Disney on Ice. All opinions are my own. 
     Pittsburgh is about to be Frozen this weekend and you don't want to miss it!  Disney's Frozen on Ice is an incredible show with stunning effects that will leave you, and your kids, amazed! The fam and I had a chance to see it last night and it was INCREDIBLE!!! You want to see it before it leaves town this Sunday. 
     Every minute of the show is filled with your favorite characters from the movie Frozen. You will also get to hear the songs that your kiddo will love singing along to! This is a night you will never forget. Want to grab tickets? Get them here! If you aren't one of my local readers, Frozen is traveling all over the USA so be sure to see if it is traveling to your town! 
<![CDATA[Random Act of Kindness Week ]]>Mon, 13 Feb 2017 19:47:46 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2017/02/random-act-of-kindness-week.html     In our family we teach that each day every person you meet should be treated with kindness. It is a simple concept that we often don't think about and sometimes it slips our mind when we have a bad day. On February 17, National Random Acts of Kindness Day is being observed. This amazing day has been growing in popularity since it originated in New Zealand. Our family is going to be celebrating this beautiful day and here are some ways you can too!  
     Being kind isn't about spending money or grand gestures. You can brighten someone's day just by smiling and saying hello as you pass by them, share compliments with your friends, or help a neighbor out with something they may be struggling with. Random Acts of Kindness Day is all about practicing kindness and paying it forward. Need some inspiration on ways to help others? Here is a random kindness generator that you can use! 
     While you are practicing these incredible acts, spread the word on social media by using the hashtag #RAKWEEK2017. Once this week is a distant memory, don't forget to carry the spirit of it in your heart and continue to do good all year long! 
<![CDATA[T-Shirt Rug DIY ]]>Mon, 14 Nov 2016 23:37:08 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/11/t-shirt-rug-diy.html
     With three kids who grow like weeds we always have a ton of clothes in the house that they are continually outgrowing. The boys are incredibly hard on theirs and they always have holes in them, so we can't always donate or use them as hand me downs. Instead, I love to repurpose them! This little project is a great way to use old t-shirts and it is a simple project so kids can help or older kiddos can even do it on their own! 
     First, gather everything you need: a simple rug, hot glue gun, glue sticks, and a pile of old t-shirts. 
     Next start cutting up the shirts into small strips and knot them in the center. These will be what makes up your rug! 
     Take your t-shirt strips and glue them onto the rug. You will want to keep them close together and not have any gaps. 
Fill up the entire rug and enjoy! 
<![CDATA[Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread Easy DIY ]]>Sat, 12 Nov 2016 23:47:54 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/11/cinnamon-roll-monkey-bread-easy-diy.html
     This super recipe is one of our family favorites. It is incrediblly easy to make and kids love to help with it. Most of the time, we have all of the ingredients in our fridge, so it is nice and easy to throw together for dessert or brunch.  
What You Need:
3 pkgs Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls with frosting
1c. sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 stick butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
     Preheat oven to 400 deg. Divide each of the premade cinamon rolls into two and roll each half into a ball. Toss the dough balls into a gallon plastic bag as you make them. When you are finished, pour 1 cup of sugar mixed with 1 Tbsp. of cinnamon into the bag, close it and shake it up to coat the dough. 
     Place the coated dough balls into a greased bundt pan. In a bowl, microwave 1 stick of butter, 1/2 c brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp of maple syrup for one minute. Stir until melted and pour over the dough mixture. 
     Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the inner dough is baked through and the outside is a deep golden brown. Allow to cool five minutes before inverting onto a plate and topping with frosting. 
<![CDATA[Super Easy Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce DIY]]>Fri, 04 Nov 2016 18:19:10 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/11/super-easy-slow-cooker-marinara-sauce-diy.html
     This is one of the yummiest sauces you will ever taste, but it is also one of the simplest. Just toss everything into your slow cooker and you are ready to go! I typically make four batches at a time so I can can them. If you follow the recipe, you have a single batch good for 6 cups of sauce. Don't forget to add what you want and make the recipe your own! 
What You Need: 

2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes 
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste 
3 large yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 whole bay leaves
2 Tbsp dried basil 
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper 
     Cut the onion into a small dice and mince the garlic. Place both in the slow cooker. Add all ingredients except for the tomatoes. 
     Now add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Stir well to combine. If your slow cooker tends to lose moisture and dry things out, add ½ to 1 cup of water as well. Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs. Remove the bay leaves before serving! 
<![CDATA[Welcome Fall With This Easy Pumpkin Cake! ]]>Mon, 31 Oct 2016 21:21:26 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/10/welcome-fall-with-this-easy-pumpkin-cake.html
     Every fall, the one thing I most look forward to is pumpkin everything! I absolutely love the taste and smell of pumpkin and I can't wait to make my favorite pumpkin desserts. This one is one of my best! It takes only a few minutes to make and it tastes AMAZING!! This recipe makes 12 servings and is perfect by itself or served with ice cream. 
What You Need: 
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup melted butter
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Grease a 9x13 inch pan. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, white sugar and milk. Stir in cinnamon and salt. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin filling. Sprinkle pecans over the cake mix. Drizzle melted butter over all. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool.
<![CDATA[Dessert DIY!  Banana Upside Down Cake]]>Wed, 26 Oct 2016 20:58:48 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/10/dessert-diy-banana-upside-down-cake.html
     My kiddos absolutely love bananas so I was looking for a way to use them in a dessert. This super yummy cake is quick to make and awesome for those yellow fruit lovers! Whip it up and serve it with whipped cream on the side. 
What You Need: 

2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
3 medium bananas, sliced
1 tbsp spiced rum 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons spiced rum 
     For this recipe, do not use overly ripe bananas, or they will just melt into the cake. Instead, use just yellowed bananas. Also, for the rum, if you do not have any on hand you can purchase the tiny "airline" size bottles which gives you enough for the recipe! 
     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter just the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan.
     For the caramel topping: Stir the sugar, rum, and 1/3 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, and gently swirl the saucepan occasionally until the mixture is the color of deep amber, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and carefully whisk in the butter  Pour the caramel into the prepared cake pan, tilting the pan to cover most of the bottom (be careful: the pan will be very hot from the caramel). Arrange the bananas in a single, tight layer, then cover any gaps with the remaining slices.
     For the cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a small bowl.
Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl as needed, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk-sour cream mixture, mixing until just incorporated.
     Pour the batter over the bananas in the cake pan, and spread evenly. Bake the cake until it is golden brown and bounces back when pressed and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the center, 50 to 60 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to separate it from the pan. Poke the cake all over with a skewer, and brush the cake with the rum. Let cool in the pan on a rack until just cool enough to handle, 20 to 30 minutes. Invert a serving platter over the cake pan and, while holding them together, quickly flip them over so the cake unmolds, banana-side up. Let cool completely. Cut into wedges, and serve.

<![CDATA[Spooky Haunts In and Around Pittsburgh]]>Wed, 19 Oct 2016 23:58:53 GMThttp://nonperfectparenting.com/1/post/2016/10/spooky-haunts-in-and-around-pittsburgh.html     Fall is officially here, and you know what that means...Halloween! it is time for the ghosts and ghouls to come out and frolic. Want to know where you have the best chance of finding something spooky in Pittsburgh? Keep reading and bundle up while you are out searching for your next haunt. 
 University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning Oakland, PA 
     If you are in Oakland, a must stop (besides The O) is Pitt's Cathedral of Learning. Anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of the ghost needs to book a tour since the Early American Room isn't open to the general public. 
     The Early American Room is actually one of two rooms that are said to be haunted, but the second is completely closed to the public. It is said to be haunted by Martha Jane Poe a distant relative to Edgar Allan Poe. 
     Martha dies in 1936, but her spirit is said to hang out in the Early America Room where her wedding quilt is proudly displayed on the bed. There are reports of coverlets flying off the bed, objects falling from their places, photographs mysteriously cracking and a rocking chair moving on its own. 
The Congelier House North Side, Pittsburgh
     This stately home was built by Charles Congelier in the 1860's on Ridge Avenue in Pittsburgh's Manchester neighborhood. Prior to it being demolished in an explosion in 1927, it had quite the haunted history. Today, people still say the spirits roam the ruins looking for the peace they never found in their lifetimes. 
     Congelier lived in the house with his wife, Lyda and their maid Essie. But when Lyda discovered an affair between her husband and their maid, she went mad and killed them with a knife and meat cleaver. It was said that when Lyda was found days later, she was humming lullabies to Essie's severed head. Nothing is known of what became of Lydia. The house; however, took in quite the interesting occupant following the murders. 
     After being converted into apartments, the house was abandoned because of mysterious sounds and noises. In 1900, however, Dr.Adolph C. Brunricter purchased Congelier House. Dr. Brunrichter's reclusive nature meant that he never left the house. But just a year after he bought the house, screaming could be heard followed by an explosion from the house. When police arrived, Dr. Brunrichter disappeared leaving behind decapitated heads. Like many serial killers,  Brunrichter was quiet, friendly to neighbors and kept to himself. 
     Find the remnants of the home, and maybe some spirits, at 1129 Ridge Ave. on the North Side in Pittsburgh. 

Carnegie Library Munhall, PA 
     When it was built in 1898, this beautiful library only cost $250,000 to construct. This library was Carnegie's gift to the workers and families of the nearby Homestead Steel Works. The Homestead Strike of 1892 had left many townspeople angry with Carnegie and they did not want to accept the gift. In the end, the amazing building ended up being well used and loved. It is home to a library, pool, gym, and music hall. 
     Shortly after the building opened, November 28th, 1899, the first tragedy occurred. Robert Peebles "was found dead in eight feet of water" in the pool under mysterious circumstances. 
     Books fly off the stacks and switch positions on the library shelves for no apparent reason, and doors open and close without any human intervention. Loud disembodied voices have been reported. The ghosts of old steel hands, still dressed in their sooty mill outfits, wander about the structure.
     Outside of the library, strange things also occur. The housekeeper claimed to have seen a shadow moving in the back steps of the old music hall in the library; shadow figures of both sexes are regularly sighted in the building. Syfy Channel's "Ghost Hunters" toured the library and also caught the voices of ladies giggling in the basement locker room.
     Head over to Munhall to check out a book and maybe check out a ghost! Don't forget to verify library hours before you go. 
Dead Man’s Hollow McKeesport, PA 
      Giant snakes, apparitions, suicides, murders and mysterious disappearances are all part of this beautiful, but frightening, 400 acre nature preserve's tainted history. 
     Throughout the years, many visitors have reported strange experiences while visiting the Dead Man's Hollow area. Some of the most common occurrences involve unusual noises and  unexplained movement.  Visitors often find themselves baffled by tree branches that begin to shake when there is no wind or wildlife to cause the disturbance.  Others have felt as if they were being watched by an unseen presence while hiking on the trails.
     Dead Man's Hollow has many mysteries and lore associated with it. Some passed down from generation to generation. To read each story, check out the Dead Man's Hollow website here before you embark on a fall hike in the woods! 
Broughton School South Park, Pa 
     Although this building is off limits to the public, it is home to many haunted tales. Previously, is was open to paranormal investigations and they said it was lit up with activity. Now, the building is closed off, but the spirits are still inside. 
     The school is said to have been built on the same grounds where people died during the Whiskey Rebellion. The 1929 school was not the original school on the grounds. The first school dated back to the 1800s, but according to South Park resident Nicole Weisbrod of Allegheny County Paranormal Investigators, because of a miners’ strike, the original school was shot up and torn down and another built there.
     Besides the Whiskey Rebellion deaths, Weisbrod says, “There are several other deaths that are reported to have taken place on the grounds after the school was built, but there are no reports of any deaths having actually occurred in the school.” Many who have investigated reported hearing children’s voices inside.
     The elementary school has been vacated by the living for over a decade, but the spirits of children and teachers alike are said to roam the building, running, shouting and moving objects around. Paranormal investigators who visited the building report capturing chilling voice recordings telling them, alternatively, to “get out of here,” and “don’t leave.” 
     Since the Broughton School is closed off to the public, there is no official access to the building. No trespassing! 
Green Man’s Tunnel South Park, PA 
     The legend states that the spirit of Charlie No-Face wanders this road and tunnel, along Piney Fork Road in South Park, PA. He is bathed in a green light. This legend, like most other urban legends, is rooted in some truth. The story of Green Man’s Tunnel has a solid basis in fact: a boy named Raymond Robinson was climbing power lines as a boy when he suffered an electrical injury, giving him the appearance of a person without a face.  There are conflicting stories about where the “green skin” idea came from. Some accounts say he always wore his favorite green plaid shirt or other green clothes that reflected the color onto his pale skin while others say his skin was a pale shade of green.      As old age slowly crept up on him, Ray ventured out for his walks less and less. By the 1980s, he moved into the Beaver County Geriatric Center (now called Friendship Ridge Nursing Nome) in Beaver, Pennsylvania. It was there where Ray passed away on June 11, 1985, at the age of 74. He was buried back in Beaver Falls at Grandview Cemetery, just a short distance from the location of the bridge where he met with his tragic fate as a child. 
     Today, people say Ray's spirit walks along that lonely stretch of road looking for someone to talk to. Take a drive out and see if he will chat with you.