Sunday, December 20, 2015

A CONOVER CHRISTMAS

I really, truly believe that this is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

For our family, it is where tradition and spontaneity collide.

Where the tastes, smells, sounds, and sights of the holiday season are gifts in and of themselves.

And it is also a time which sparks a tremendous sense of nostalgia within me because my children were conceived during the months of December and January, respectively. So, the idea that children always make this time of year even more special certainly rings true to me.

Here is a glimpse of what the holidays look like in our home, starting with a few photos from holiday's past...

THE SIGHTS

The Hub's and my first Christmas as parents.

...and this is me on Christmas Day two years later, now the mother of two. Baby Kennedy is clearly over it, and Scotty is inadvertently trying to gouge my eye out with a piece of chalk from his easel.

...and Scotty and me a few days later on New Year's Eve 2013.

We have the best neighbors in the world. A friend of ours down the street gave Scotty this -- reindeer food, which is a mixture of rolled oats and glitter, to sprinkle on our lawn on Christmas Eve in anticipation of Santa's arrival.


This train was on the fast track, alright...on the fast track straight to our stomachs. It didn't last 24 hours.

Christmas Eve 2014 at Grandma's.

Scotty on Christmas morning 2014 at home. Yes, he believed.


All of us on Christmas night at home after dinner.

The kids captivated by their train chugging around our Fraser fir, hand-picked by The Hubs. (2015)

The Hubs and Scotty after completed our first gingerbread house of the season.
(Despite Kennedy and me eating half the inventory.)

THE SOUNDS
Here is a glimpse of what is on heavy rotation every Christmas here in our household...


"Santa Claus is coming to town" by The Jackson Five
&
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by The Jackson Five


Any Christmas tune by The Temptations


"Ave Maria" by Celine Dion


Jim Brickman's "The Gift"



"Oh Come All Ye Faithful" by Kelly Price


"Carol of the Bells" by Mannheim Steamroller


"Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra


"Christmas Canon" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra


"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by Bruce Springsteen

THE SIGNATURE SNACK
When The Hubs and I married nearly nine years ago, I began the tradition of baking holidays cookies...and then we had kids, and, ironically, I stopped. But now that Scotty is four and Kennedy is two, they are becoming aware of the whole leave-cookies-out-for-Santa ritual, so back to baking I will go this year. But here's the snack that we REALLY brake for: My Signature Holiday Snack Mix.


AND A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA
Plan on sitting in this New Years Eve? Great! Join the club. We'll be doing the same. Click here for some tips on how to make the night tolerable for the whole family.


Thank you for reading this blog and sharing your time here!!
We wish you and your family a splendid holiday and a prosperous New Year. We'll be back with a brand-spanking new post on Monday, January 4, 2016.
In the meantime, join us on Facebook and Instagram. :-)


Sunday, December 13, 2015

CURRENTLY: November 2015


Welcome to Currently, a monthly feature that includes a round-up of images that I've posted to social media within the last month and will keep you in the loop of what we've been up to.

Here's what our November 2015 looked like...



I LOVE McDonald's. But I'm not dining at this particular location for obvious reasons.
                      #WhatCanISay #SheLovesInsects#IDidntHaveTheHeartToTellHerThisIsWrong


"Smile, Scotty! We're at the cider mill...and having sugary donuts for lunch!"
                                        #TheBrightSide #PlymouthAppleOrchardsAndCiderMill


Twins.
                                                             #DaddysAndDaughters


I should look happier: I'm at a salon -- ALONE -- for the first time in over four years. And I'm savoring mint tea and tabloid magazines. Like, I should be tap dancing and singing show tunes.
                                                             #HairMaintenance


So my toddler daughter -- who has a head full of ringlets -- says to me, "But, Mommy, I want you have my hair." I replied, "Oh, honey, I do." No blow-out today for me. frown emoticon
                                        #CurlyGirls #WashNGo #NoHeat #AllNatural



Meanwhile, as we wait for the Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers...Scotty: "Giddy-up, horsey!" 
Kennedy: "Move, Scotty! I want to walk on Daddy's spine!"
                                    The Hubs: "Can I just play Candy Crush Saga in peace?"


This is my briefcase: I've accepted a position to teach yoga for a local after school program...and today is my first day! I wish I had been exposed to yoga as a youth, so I'm grateful to share that gift with others now. I'M SUPER EXCITED!!! Sorry to scream; I'll take it down a notch: Can you tell I'm excited!?!?! #YogaForYouth#YogaForAll


K on her father's lap as the sun went down during her first trip to Apple Charlies South Huron Orchards. There aren't enough words to describe how much I loved this moment.
#FlashbackFriday #NFLDad #DaddysGirl#OneMonthOld


Third consecutive wash & go...Could this be a trend?


Squad.
#TBT #Thanksgiving2014 #GoLions #Always


Today I'm thankful for my babies, my family, my health, the roof over our heads, and, of course, for this man who threw down in the kitchen literally all day. I'm also thankful for each and every one of you who visits our lives through this page. From our home to yours: Happy Thanksgiving! 
🍴🍗


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Sunday, December 6, 2015

DON'T GO TO SLEEP...WITHOUT THIS.


I mean, honestly...Aren't you more tired during this time of year?

Don't get me wrong.

I am absolutely, positively in the proverbial holiday spirit, and I'm Fa la la la la, la la la la-ing all over town.

But after the school drop-offs and pick-ups, running my garden variety errands, and doing, you know, all the extra stuff that is part and parcel of this time of year, I find myself eyeballs-burning, I-could-fall-asleep-on-a-bed-of-hot-coals tired by day's end.

That said, the idea of pampering myself prior to my sleep-induced coma still sounds more than mildly enticing.

I've been whipping up this lavender pillow mist recipe from Food.com for a while now, and I just made a new batch a few nights ago.

It's easy, quick (No lie, I did it while the kids brushed their teeth before bed!), and best of all, it's cheap: You can find everything you need for under five bucks.

This recipe makes for the perfect stocking stuffer -- and a wonderful gift to yourself.

Here's what you do:

*Grab one of those small, travel-sized spray bottles, which is perfect for leaving on your nightstand, and small enough to carry in your diaper bag or purse, too):



*Add 1/2 cup of water


*Add 1/2 teaspoon of witch hazel:


*Then add 4 to 5 drops of lavender oil. Here's where I modify. I use an essential oil from Fabulous Frannie called Sleep that is equal parts pure chamomile, marjoram, lavender, and vetiver...and I like a heavy scent, so I use -- gasp! -- about 20 drops:



*Then close the bottle tightly, shake well, and spray onto your pillow sheets.

That's it.

Done.

Finito.

Nope.

Sorry.

I lied.

Here are three more things:

*Crawl into bed.

*Inhale the rich, soothing scent.

*And pretend you're spending the night in an upscale hotel, because that's the kind of feeling this spray evokes.

Enjoy!

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

EAT SOMETHING LIKE THIS INSTEAD

I'm no fool.

I know good and well that if you had the choice to eat the bowl of Mother Nature-made goodness above, or a plate of peppermint fudge -- or your favorite Christmas cookies, I'm fairly certain I know the one you would pick.

And, hell, I'm not judging.

You'd have to pry the latter from my cold, dead hands.

I mean, we've gotta live and get some enjoyment out of life...right?

The problem, though, comes when we know we shouldn't be inhaling that second plate of fudge.

When we feel as though we can't help ourself.

When we feel like ish -- fraught with guilt -- the moment we look at the empty plate.

Now that's what we all want to avoid.

Go ahead: Eat the damn cookies, try that homemade Chex mix your friend just made, and, for goodness sake, Eat. The. Pie.

But exercise some modicum of control when you can during those times when you're not entertaining.

Here's what you do: Make your snack both sweet and satisfying.

Throw some fresh fruit in a bowl (red and green grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are my faves) and toss in some chopped nuts of your choice -- in the photo above are walnuts and raw almonds.

Another one of my favorite combos that I make as part of my breakfast -- or as a snack by itself -- is chopped banana and sea salted-cashews. (YUM!)

You can get creative and mix whatever you wish!

The point here is that the sweetness of the fruit (either fresh or dried) will satisfy your sweet tooth, while the nuts will fill you up.

Sure, there is sugar in the fruit and fat in the nuts -- but it's the natural, good kind.

And, depending on the fruit (berries) you choose, you'll also benefit from a ton of antioxidants, and the nuts provide an excellent source of protein, particularly if you are a vegan or vegetarian, like I am.

I swear, this hearty fruit/nut combo is my go-to snack with a glass of wine in the evening after I've put the kids to bed.

And the best part?

Because we tend to stock our fridges (and cupboards) with more options during this time of year, chances are good that you'll already have some nuts and fruit on hand.

(Last night, when I ran out of berries, I dipped into the kids' stash of Cuties tangerines and ate a few with the raw walnuts I bought for our Christmas cookies.)

Really, folks, consider this combo this holiday season...and all year long.


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Sunday, November 22, 2015

THE 10 BEST QUOTES IN FOOTBALL

I’m 38 years old now, and it’s been 20 years since I laced up my track spikes, ran down an asphalt runway, and pounded a wooden toe board with all my might before landing in a pit of sand.

Long jumping was my life.

And after much of my youth and most of my adolescence were consumed by the sport, do you know what I remember most?

Not the medals I won or the all-conference lists I topped.

And, frankly, I struggle to recall how much of a nuisance it was to have grains of sand appear in quite literally every bit of clothing I owned.

What I remember most are the words my father, who also served as my coach and my mentor, would utter nearly daily:

How bad do you want it? and You’ve got to have fire in your belly.

I look back on that time in my life, and I can tell you now with complete and total honesty that those words won meets for me.

Words are powerful.

Because they inspire you.

They drive you.

They, somehow, can make you reach deep down inside yourself and eek out that last bit of will you never knew you had.

Here are 10 of the best motivational quotes in football:

1. "Those Who Stay Will Be Champions." Bo Schembechler
Alright, I’m a Michigan grad who bleeds maize and blue. Sue me. But regardless of where you stand as a football fan, you’d be hard-pressed to deny the value of this phrase. Yes, Bo used this as a rallying cry to his players who made the decision to endure the program’s dramatic culture change. But one can interpret these words in a myriad of ways: Those who stay – in the weight room and do those few extra reps – will be champions. Those who stay – after practice and do a few extra laps – will be champions. Those who stay – as in stick it out through the thick and thin – will be champions. After all, perseverence is in every champion’s DNA.

2. “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” Vince Lombardi
As a means to delve further into this quote, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the words my own husband used to replay in his head when he was blocking for Barry Sanders as an offensive lineman for the Detroit Lions in the 90s: I’m tired, but so is the other guy; I’m cold, but so is the other guy; I’m hurting, and so is the other guy. Will does make the difference. Period.

3. “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.” Lou Holtz
I do declare that truer words have never been spoken about football. Or life.

4. “Football is an incredible game. Sometimes it's so incredible, it's unbelievable.” Tom Landry
Need evidence? Check out the final 10 seconds of this year’s contest between Michigan and Michigan State. Remember, it ain’t over until it’s over.

5. “I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it.” Gale Sayers
It bears repeating: You really can reach deep down inside yourself and eek out that last of bit will you never knew you had.

6. “Success is not forever and failure isn't fatal.” Don Shula
You might be down after a loss, but you’re never – ever – out. Move on. What are you going to do the next game?

7. “It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” Archie Griffin
Amen.

8. "I expect to win out there." Drew Brees (pictured above)
It has been said that we don’t get out of life what we want, but we do get what we expect. There is a difference.

9. "If you train hard, you'll not only be hard, you'll be hard to beat." Herschel Walker
Remember that when you’re sucking wind midway through practice and question how much more you can take.

10. "Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” Mike Singletary
Talk about perspective. I love this quote for so many reasons. I mean, really, why do we participate in sports in the first place? Where does that drive come from? For most of us, it comes from a passion to play. And we should be grateful for the chance to do so.

Find this list on USA Football, too!


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Monday, November 16, 2015

CURRENTLY: October 2015

Welcome to Currently, a new monthly feature that includes a round-up of images that I've posted to social media within the last month and will keep you in the loop of what we've been up to.

Here's what our October 2015 looked like...

I'm smiling because my brother's in school, so I have Mommy all to myself and...wait for it...we're at Target!
                               #WeCameForAntibacterialWipesAndEndedUpBuyingTheWorld


Celebrated this crisp, fall morning at Beaumont Health's 25th Annual Red October Run with my babies. Mama's proud of their strong finish in the 1-mile kiddie run. heart emoticon



"Welcome to Westland Applebee's. It's our pleasure to serve you today. Right this way..." smile emoticon -- with Scott Conover and Lomas Brown
                    #HospitalityCrew #DineToDonate#JohnGlennHighSchoolCheer #NFLAlumni#DetroitLions


This party of four thanks EVERYONE for coming out to support JGHS Cheer. Really, THANK YOU!
                                   #DineToDonate #Applebees #DetroitLions #NFLAlumni#GoRockets


MNF:A stick of cocoa butter makes a perfectly acceptable mic. GO LIONS! 💄🎤🎵 #MNF #LionsVsSeahawks#NFL


Our kids have two speeds. Zero...and 60.
                                                      #TBT #Gameday #TwoYearsAgo



"The wheels on Mama's van go round 'n round..." ♪ ♫ ♩
                                          #PreschoolDropOff #GoodMorning #HappyThursday


With my two-month-old Lion cub after our baby massage class. I know, I know: He's huge. 
Have you seen his dad? wink emoticon
                                                              #TBT #NFL #DetroitLions

THEN vs. NOW: (Left) The Hubs (#76) blocking for Barry Sanders (#20) and Detroit Lions quarterback Scott Mitchell (#19). (Right) The Hubs and Mitchell cleaning up neighborhood blight in Detroit with the other Lions alumni yesterday. (Mitchell was also a contestant on Season 16 of The Biggest Loser.) #NFL#DetroitLions #AlumniWeekend


"My Detroit Lions won, so I think I'll have a Shirley Temple and the crab cakes, please." 
(As if she can read the menu; lol)
                                 #TwoGoingOnTwentyTwo #Gameday #OutToDinner#NFL #DetroitLions


From the sidelines of today's Detroit Lions vs, Chicago Bears game. So fun to see him with his football brothers! heart emoticon #Repost from The Hubs: I'm here at the Lions game during Alumni Homecoming, 
with Barry Sanders, Tony Semple, and Larry Tharpe.

The Hubs and me with ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter, who is the keynote speaker at tonight's HAVEN Detroit Lions 22nd Annual Courage House Dinner. 

My date for tonight's HAVEN Detroit Lions 22nd Annual Courage House Dinner. He cleans up real nice. wink emoticon(Photo courtesy of @HAVEN)  #CourageDetroit#NFL #DetroitLions #HAVEN #LiveWithoutFear#EndDomesticViolence



On our way to the first of three Halloween parties this week: Scotty delivers come rain, sleet, or shine...with a ladybug as his sidekick. Happy Trick-or-treating, folks!


K last night at our public library's children's Halloween party in her *second* Halloween costume -- because she is fashionably indecisive. Gee, I wonder where she gets that from? #TrunkOrTreat




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