Tuesday, 12 December 2017

24 Days of Togetherness (Days 6-12)

Our holiday adventures continue with day 6-12 of 24 Days of Togetherness!

I seriously can’t believe we are almost halfway to Christmas. I love this time of year so much; I only wish it would last longer. BUT that’s exactly why our family participates in this tradition, so we get to do all of the fun things that go along with the season and not have it fly by and miss out on our favorite activities. That said, here’s our next 24 Days of Togetherness recap!

Day 6: Get a new ornament for the Christmas tree. We’re not surprised that Qman picked Batman! It was actually the last one at Target, so I have a feeling it’s a popular one.

Day 7: Visit Santa Claus! We went to the Christmas Place in Abington again this year. The Santa Claus was really nice and chatted with Quinn for a solid 5 minutes about his Christmas list, which Qman brought with him and then left with Santa. It was so sweet, and Quinn loved his time with Santa.

Day 8: Watch a holiday movie. Quinn picked The Grinch (Jim Carrey version), which, for the record, is the weirdest movie ever. He was initially interested, but we only made it about half way though before we turned it off.

Day 9: Take a family photo.

Day 10: Drink eggnog.

Day 11: Make a holiday craft. We made a paper chain for the Christmas tree.

Day 12: Wear red and green all day. We got into the holiday spirit this morning! 🙂

P.S. Fun contest altert: Enter to win the ULTIMATE Snow Day from Stowe Mountain Lodge! Share Your Snow Day Experience! Post a photo on social media that illustrates your perfect Snow Day, and you’ll be entered to win one of four monthly prizes along with a chance to win the ultimate Grand Prize at the end of the season valued at over $10,000. To enter, tag a friend you would like to spend a snow day with and include the hashtag #SMLSnowDays. Easy as that! More details here: http://ift.tt/2AxTr2I.

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Moms’ Staycation at The Langham Hotel (via HotelTonight)

Hi, guys! I hope you had a nice weekend! Mine was a lot of fun and included an overnight “staycation” with some girlfriends in Boston. We’re all moms and don’t getaway for the night all too often, so we took full advantage of our mini vaca! 🙂

I partnered with HotelTonight to reserve our hotel rooms for the night. Never heard of HotelTonight? Well, you are in for a treat. It’s a really cool app. HotelTonight is actually the leading mobile app for hotel bookings last-minute and beyond. If you’ve ever been in position where you need a hotel room ASAP, HotelTonight ensures that there’s always a quality hotel room at the lowest possible rate in 1,700 cities and 35 countries.

HotelTonight is primarily used for hotel stays booked within a week or less, but Boston is one of several markets where there’s a 100-day advance booking window. (Other key cities with this offer include NYC, LA, SF, Miami, Vegas, Paris, London, and more.) We booked our “staycation” about a month ago and the app had tons of rooms at great prices to select from. When hotel partners have unsold rooms, they load them onto the app at low prices, which means big savings for those using the app. We ended up picking The Langham, a 5-star hotel, in the heart of the city. We used a credit from HotelTonight to reserve it and the rate was very affordable, especially for downtown Boston.

Since its launch in 2011, HotelTonight has been downloaded 25 million times and it’s available for FREE on iOS and Android. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet! Download the app here. And if you use my referral code on your first booking through the app, you can save $25! Just use promo code TIHAUPERT.

Once we were all checked in at The Langham, we headed upstairs to our rooms to get settled. The rooms were gorgeous, and we were able to request two double beds in each one.

Cheers to moms’ night out!

Once we were ready for our evening out, we headed downstairs to BOND, a swanky restaurant and lounge at the hotel, for a cocktail.

After that, we all hopped in an Uber to dinner.

Yay, snow!

We went to dinner at Yvonne’s, which we had all heard great things about – and it did not disappoint!

We shared a bunch of small plates for dinner – chicken quinoa meatballs, flatbread pizza, hummus, and more. Everything was delicious!

The ladies!

After dinner, we debated going out and dancing somewhere, but then someone suggested dessert and a nightcap back at the hotel, which sounded a lot more appealing. Ha! Apparently, us moms aren’t that crazy after all! 🙂

We ended up staying up pretty late, chatting and laughing, before finally hitting the hay close to midnight. (I know, we are such party animals.)

The next morning, Marisa and I did a quickie workout in the hotel gym. (The other gals were at the hotel spa.)

Our workout was literally 15 minutes, and we both thought we were going to die, so we called it quits and went to find coffee and donuts instead.

Thankfully, Kane’s was a quick walk from the hotel.

Best. Decision. Ever.

With donuts in hand, Marisa and I headed back to the hotel. Then, it was our turn for the spa! We both got massages, and they were incredible. It was such a wonderful way to end a girls’ getaway!

Questions of the Day

Girls’ night: Would you rather go out dancing or enjoy some girl talk and dessert instead?

Have you ever used HotelTonight? If not, how do you typically book hotel rooms?

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My Minimal Effort Meal Prep Plan

I’m keeping it real with you guys this morning. I run a meal planning business (and now nutrition software company), but, man, there are just some weeks that I’m not in the mood to meal prep at all. Sometimes I’ve had a busy weekend and just don’t have the energy. Other times, I’m just not super motivated to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen, especially when I have the option of enjoying “Sunday Funday” relaxing with my family or friends.

But, at the end of the day, I know how much better I feel after I meal prep. I mean, I’m setting myself up for a healthy week, and, if I slack on that, I know my week of eats will not be as nutritious. I’m sure a lot of us have been in the same position, so here are a few of the tricks that I turn to when I really don’t want to prep, but I know it will help set me up for success. And, of course, I would love to hear yours, too! Please share if you have a go-to tactic or trick when it comes to meal prep, especially when you don’t want to meal prep – would love to hear it! 😉

Break out the Instant Pot and make a big ol’ batch of shredded chicken – I pretty much make shredded chicken every week. It’s so versatile and so darn easy. I typically buy 4-5 pounds of chicken breast, pop it in the Instant Pot with a cup of water, and then pressure cook it for 27 minutes. After that, I remove the chicken breasts from the Instant Pot, allow them to cool, and then “shred” them with a fork. The breasts are so moist (yup), the meat just falls apart. It’s the easiest thing ever, and then we have a versatile protein source for the entire week.

Roast up a big pan of veggies. I typically roast something like Brussels sprouts, squash, or root vegetables. The only active time it really takes is the 5-10 minutes it takes to chop, which is kind of relaxing anyway. After that, I coat them with cooking spray or sunflower oil (depends what I’m baking and how lazy I’m feeling), place them on a silicon mat on baking sheet, add salt and pepper, and roast for about 35-40 minutes at 425 degrees F.

Defrost your favorite frozen veggies. If you’re not into roasting, defrosting your favorite veggies and having them ready to go is a helpful trick for me. I don’t know about you, but if I see a food out or in my refrigerator, I’m more likely to prepare it. Out of sight, out of mind, right? I typically pour a few servings of frozen veggies into glass containers and then just keep them in the fridge for easy access throughout the week. Seeing them every time I open the fridge definitely gets me to eat more nutrients since I’m constantly adding them to meals and even snacking on them.

Prep your breakfast for the week. Whether you have kids or not, mornings are almost always stressful and it’s just too easy to stop at Starbucks for a sandwich instead. But breakfast is actually one of the easiest meals to prep in advance. Pre-making overnight oats or muffins means that you can just grab a portion and heat it up. I usually prep breakfast for Monday through Friday, so I don’t even have to think about it in the morning!

Prepare for what you suck at. When you come home from work and have no dinner ready, do you just give up and order takeout? If you know that you’re not the type to make a whole dinner when you come home from work starving, then make sure you have your dinner elements prepped and ready to go. For example: have a protein, a veggie, and a starch (spaghetti squash is a great one to prep in advance) all ready to go so that you can just sit down and eat!

Question of the Day

What are your minimal effort meal prep tricks?

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