No Bake Protein Energy Balls

My girls are carb junkies.
I am always trying to add protein to their diets.
One of the ways I add protein is with these delicious No Bake Protein Energy Balls!
I first made them this summer as a snack for them to have before and/or after swim team.
Now that school has started, they perfect for After School Snacking!
Here is what you need:
1 cup Oatmeal
1 cup Peanut Butter (I use Skippy Natural with Honey)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon vanilla

 Combine ingredients in a bowl. Stir.
Roll into balls. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

 Put in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Eat & Enjoy!
 Each batch makes between 12-14 balls.
I store them in a sealed tupperware lined with wax paper & keep them in my fridge.
My girls absolutely love these No Bake Protein Energy Balls.
They are the perfect after school snack and a great on-the-go snack when we have soccer practice & other after school activities.
**I don't send these to school with them because they have peanut butter in them and we have a lot of kids with peanut allergies at our school, so I don't even want to risk that. If you have a peanut allergy, you can sub the peanut butter for Almond Butter/Sunflower Butter, etc. I am going to make an Almond Butter batch this week*
My girls call these cookie dough balls, because that is exactly what they taste like...cookie dough! 
Now, go make some! You will love them!

Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger

Disclosure: This post was written as part of my participation in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger Program. While Hormel Foods provides me material and necessary resources to complete various activities, the thoughts and statements in this post are my own.


Back to School Resolutions {2014}

I haven't posted my Back to School Resolutions in a few years, so I thought I would post some of my Back to School Resolutions to help keep myself accountable!
School started exactly 1 month ago, and it has been a crazy busy month!
I think setting some goals/resolutions will help me be a better mom, wife & teacher this school year!
The beginning of the School year always feels like a fresh start, so now is a great time to set some goals! 
Here is what I have:

1.  Be in bed at 10:30 each night. I was going to say 10:00 but I am being realistic, it usually closer to 11:00 than 10:00. I have gotten much better. In years past, I was rarely in bed by midnight on school nights.
The next few resolutions #2 through #7 are taken from my "Not So Manic Monday" post {HERE}
2. Lay out my outfit & jewelry each night so that the mornings aren't so rushed.

3. Make & pack my lunch the night before (on days that I eat lunch at school)

4. Make coffee at night & use the automatic timer in the morning (Kevin always does this, thank you Kevin!)

5. Meal plan on Sundays so that I have our dinners figured out for the week.

6. Lay out the kids clothes/backpacks/lunches each night before bed.

7. On Sundays, I want to finish laundry & house cleaning for the week so that I start the week with a clean house.
I do pretty well with 2 through 7 during the first part of the week, but as the week goes on, sometimes things get CRAZY and by Thursday things feel chaotic & disorganized. I am
As a working mom with 3 kids, I need to keep myself organized so that our home can run as smoothly as possible, but trust me, things get crazy at times!
My back to School Resolution for 2 through 7 is to keep this up during the whole entire week, not just the first part of the week!
8.  Shower at night so that mornings aren't so rushed. 
I don't know what it is about our house, but mornings are just nuts! If I shower at night right before bed then it somehow makes the morning go more smoothly.
I am NOT a morning person. At all. Waking up before 7am is painful for me. I am a night owl. No matter how early I go to bed, I just can't wake up early. Nor do I want to! Ha! Hats off to you early risers. I am not one of them. I would rather stay up until 1 or 2 am getting things done than wake up early. 
9.  Leave for school by 7:45 am  
(I only live 1 minute from my school and school starts at 8:15, so I want to be better about leaving earlier so I have time in the morning to chill/check school emails in my classroom before students arrive)
10. Make sure I am eating properly.
I don't know what it is with the first month or so of school, but I always forget to eat breakfast. I keep boxes of Luna bars in my desk at school, but I get so busy that I forget to eat them until 10 or 11. Then I get so busy picking up Claire at noon and Luke after that, then we get home around 1 and I put him down for a nap & get Claire her snack and the next thing I know it's almost 2 and I haven't had lunch yet. I need to get better at eating breakfast earlier and having healthy snacks accesible so that even if I don't have lunch until later I am not starving & hangry! Anybody else this way?!?
11. Stay on top of my grading.
Again, I do well with this the first month or so of school and then it starts to pile up. I have a rule that I won't bring any grading home. I like to keep my school stuff at school so that when I am home I can be present with my kids & help them with their homework, etc. That is the balance of working part time. I only teach in the morning because I want that time with my kids in the afternoon, so I want to be able to keep all school stuff at school. But this year, now that Claire is done at 12:15, I don't have as much time at school to prep & grade since I have to pick her up on most days. This first month of school I have been working like a crazy lady while I am at school trying to get things graded & prepped for the next day before I leave.

12. Get my email (school and personal) under control.
My email is a disaster. I won't even tell you how many emails I have in my inbox. I just can't keep up with email. I will do well with it & then I get behind on it. Ahhhhh!!! I am good with my school email because I have a rule that I will email parents/students back within 12-24 hours, but my personal email needs some serious help. Anyone have tips for staying on top of email?

13. Have a homework system in place for the girls.
Both girls have homework this year. They are so tired when they get home from school, but at the same time, they still need to get their homework done & not save it until the evening.
I am thinking that I will have Claire do hers while Luke is napping (and while Kate is still at school) and then after we pick up Kate at 3, we will have a snack and then I will make her start her homework. I just need to figure out how to keep Claire & Luke occupied & out of her way so they don't distract her. Tips anyone?!?

14. Help out in Claire's class or go on a field trip.
Last year I was able volunteer in Kate's class 2 times each month with math tiles because it was in the afternoon and Claire was in afternoon TK last year and my sister watched Luke while I helped out in Kate's classroom. This year, I am also able to help in Kate's classroom 2 times a month with math tiles because it's in the afternoon and my mother in law is able to watch Claire & Luke. But, I feel bad for Claire because she is in morning Kindergarten and goes the same hours that I teach. Therefore, I am not able to help out in her class this year. She REALLY wants me to help out and she knows that I help out in Kate's class, so I am trying to figure out what to do about this since she feels left out. The girls LOVE it when I help out & I think is it so fun.  I am planning on taking a day off this year to go on one of her field trips and maybe I need to take a day off to help out in her class as well.  #workingmomproblems
15. Enjoy the School Year.
I always start out the year with a pretty good attitude .But, as the school year goes on, I get tired and the kids get tired. By the Spring, I am counting DOWN for Summer. I want to try and keep my positive attitude for the whole year. I do enjoy teaching and I do feel I am called to teach, but sometimes, it is hard. Really hard. Dealing with 130 middle schoolers each day isn't the easiest job there is...and on top of that, I am teaching them math....which everybody loves....hahaha! I am naturally a positive person, so I want to keep that up even when things get rough!

 Anyone else have Back to School Resolutions?
I would also love to hear YOUR tips about staying organized during the School year!



Last weekend, I packed my bags and headed to Atlanta for 4 days.
I am not going to lie....I was absolutely terrified to fly.
I don't know about you, but ever since I have had kids, flying has made me anxious, especially when I am flying without my kids!
This was my first time flying in 3 years, and the first time in almost 5 that I haven't flown with my kids. And, the fact that I was flying on 9/11....I was just very, very, anxious (and I am not normally an anxious person)
My flight was a red-eye and I was hoping to get a lot of sleep on plane....that didn't happen. I basically prayed the entire 4 hour flight praying that God would protect our plane. And he did :)
The reason I was in Atlanta was because I earned an all expense paid trip to the 2014 Rodan + Fields Convention. I almost didn't go because I had to take 2 days off school and I was nervous to be gone from Kevin & the kids for 4 whole days. But, Kevin was super supportive and told me that I should go since I earned it and it would be a great experience. He was right!
 I got to the hotel and LOVED my view. I stayed at the Westin in Downtown Atlanta and it is 70 stories high. I was on the 50th floor. All the rooms had floor to ceiling windows. Stunning!
Loved being up so high. And, I was thankful that Atlanta doesn't have earthquakes...being on the 50th floor is no joke!
As soon as I got to my hotel at 9am, I took a shower and then took a nap!  Only slept for 30 minutes on the plane, so I was EXHAUSTED. The first session of the day didn't start until 2pm, so a power nap was necessary.
I have never been to any type of convention, so I was totally blown away with how big convention centers are! Wow.
One of the cool things about earning the trip is that I also had access to the VIP lounge, where we had free food & drinks!
I loved the first day of sessions and I learned a lot! 
We headed to dinner that night & I was so excited about Southern food.
Living in California, I wanted to embrace all the yummy southern cooking during my 4 days in Atlanta!
I had a Sweet Tea Lemon Drop Cocktail. Delicious.
For dinner I ordered a Salmon-Fried Green Tomato-Bacon Sandwich topped with a pickle.
Holy Moly it was good.
As a part of earning the free trip, that night we had a Red Carpet Party with Dr. Rodan & Dr. Fields.
Myself and 3 other girls on our team went to the party.
Since I won the trip, I bought myself a new dress! Got my dress {HERE} and shoes {HERE}
As we were walking in, we met Sarah Robbins (who was one of the first R+F consultant & now a 5 million dollar earner! We also meet Lori Bush, who is the President of Rodan + Fields.
 The party was fun & I love meeting the Doctors! They are adorable!
Loved this party! So much fun.
Selfie at the party! We all danced the night away until almost midnight!
When I got back to the hotel room I got to do FaceTime since it was 3 hours earlier in California.
I totally got teary eyed. Lukey kept saying "Mama" and trying to touch me through the phone.
How amazing is the view from my room at night?  I slept with the blinds open because it was so awesome to look at!
Friday was another full day of training.....and it was so exciting because today was the day that Rodan + Fields was announcing it's newest product. We got a sneak peek to learn about it....here we are anxiously awaitint the Doctors to come out & tell us about it!
They have been telling us that it is a breakthrough in technology and that Rodan + Fields have the exclusive rights & patent for 2 years.
Here is Aman Rodan, Katie Rodan's husband who is the Chairman of R+F.  He is hysterical and dances everytime he is on stage.
Seriously...I love the Doctors! Can you believe they are 58 & 59 years old?!?!
The doctors announced the new product...it is called Acute Care.

Acute Care helps get rid of Expression lines.
What are expression lines? Forehead lines, crows feet by your eyes, the "11's" in between your eyes, smile lines, etc.
I was anxious to try the product & was able to buy some when I was at Convention.
I couldn't believe my results after JUST one use!
I have smile lines between my eyes, check out my before & after!!
 Here are some more results from girls on my team:
We were all freaking out about how well it worked after just one use. 
You use the patches 3 times a week for a month and your results last up to 12 weeks!

Acute Care is:
- non-invasive
-a great alternative to fillers
-gives you results in just 1 use
-gives you lasting effects
-is a wrinkle-warrior
-fills wrinkles while you sleep
-no needles required
-just 2 ingredients
-latex free, gluten free & preservative free
-exclusive to Rodan + Fields
This type of product is not available anywhere else!
Send me an email: melissa_larson17{at}yahoo.com 
if you would like info on ordering this amazing product before it launches publicly!
After the announcement about Acute Care, we were all going crazy buying it since it isn't public yet!
One of the perks about being at the Convention is that I was able to buy several packs :)

Another highlight of Convention was finally getting to meet my blog friend Ashley. We have been reading each others blogs for almost 5 years and we are both consultants for Rodan + Fields! So fun!
That some of us headed to another Southern restaurnat.
I tried another fun Southern cocktail...a Georgia peach!
For dinner, I had Fried Chicken & mashed potatoes.
And of course, collard greens & black eyed peas!
We ordered 3 desserts to share:
Black Bottom Pie
Peach Cobbler a la mode:
And....Caramel Pecan Pie a la mode.
All 3 desserts were AMAZING. Gotta love Southern Cooking!!!
I just love Atlanta & the South, the last time I was in Atlanta was in 1996, when my parents took us to the Summer Olympics (Read about it HERE)

The next day was the final day of Convention. Those of us who earned the free trip (there was over 200 of us)  had to go on stage & introduce ourselves in front of the 8,000 people that were there. Good thing I don't have stage fright! Eeek!
I am glad I didn't trip since I was wearing heels :)

 We enjoyed a few more training sessions and my friend Lori and I enjoyed our last day in the lounge!
 That night was our Gala. It was so fun to get dressed up!

I got my dress {HERE} I really loved my friend Lori's pink dress {HERE} I want to borrow it for my cousin's wedding this Spring!

There was a super fun band at the after party called HYPR. Loved them!
 I stayed up way too late at the after party (2am!!!) and then got up at 6 am (!!!) to catch my flight back home to California.
And, for the first time ever, I got a Starbucks name fail. Maybe I was so tired I couldn't say "Melissa" or maybe in Atlanta, Melissa is pronounced with a Southern drawl like "Lissssa"
I had a lot of peace on my flight home. I wasn't anxious and I was able to sleep the entire flight home. 
I was exhausted!
It was such a fun & amazing 4 days, but I was so, so, so excited to be home!
My only disappointment was that I didn't get to go to Cracker Barrel. I KNOW!!!
You know me, I love, love, love Cracker Barrel. (I even blogged about it HERE)
I was staying in downtown Atlanta & the closest Cracker Barrel was 30 minutes away. Sigh. :)
I got back a week ago and today is the first day I finally feel caught up from being gone!  

On a side note....I am so glad I said "yes" to Rodan + Fields last November. It has truly been a blessing to me personally & financially to our family. It was something I said I would NEVER do. But, I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to go for it. I mean, I had nothing to lose (and I get a great discount on skin care that I believe in! It's a win-win!)
Maybe you are looking for something like this in your life (or maybe you aren't!) 
But, if you are the slightest bit curious about R+F I would LOVE to chat with you about it, send me an email! 
And, good news to all my Canadian readers....we are in our pre-launch stages in Canada right now & this Fall is when the full launch happens. Super exciting times.

Not only am I glad I started doing R+F, I am so glad I decided to go on this trip. 
I was so nervous & scared to be away from my family for 4 days, but I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. Our family theme for this school year is "Be Brave" (You can read about that HERE) and I have been encouraging my girls to be brave all school year, so I knew I needed to take my own advice and Be Brave as well. 
I would have missed out on so many amazing opportunities and friendships if I let fear stand in the way.


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