That Self-Isolation Life

It hits me at weird and random moments, that are so routine and show me just how much my ‘normal’ is off.  Sitting down to meal plan, I’ve been taking a look through our pantry/freezer/fridge before this whole virus took over.  I have been following Jordan Page’s “Shelf Cooking” Facebook Group and loved the idea of not wasting food and using up what you have instead of buying too much at the grocery store. Now I do it because I don’t have a choice.   I stare at the upcoming week and immediately mentally check off each day in my mind: “Monday is Joe’s late night, Wednesday is dance…” and stop myself and realize I don’t need to plan meals around our schedule.  This is it.  We are home.

We have been home isolating since Friday March 13th.  The week prior we saw the progression in China and Italy and honestly began ‘preparing’ a little before that even.  Joe and I would run the “what if” scenarios, and slowly grabbed an extra this or that while out.  I have to thank my acupuncturist for her wise words and guidance.  If she didn’t educate me on exactly where this Covid-19 was headed, we would be in such bad spot.  (And if I chose not to listen) She gave me a random Instagram account to follow and all I can say is that it scared the crap out of me enough to get up and out of the house early Sunday March 8th.  I hit up two grocery stores spending way more than I typically do.  And then I went again on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and one more time on Thursday.  By Thursday the stores were super packed and buzzing since Trump had taken to our TV screens Wednesday night. While I would not consider myself a “hoarder” I knew that if we were to stay home and stop the spread, I wouldn’t be able to leave the house as we have no face masks! So I did what I could do.

Since Joe has Crohn’s Disease AND is on Humira (a biologic which lowers his immune system,) if he caught the Coronavirus, he would have a really hard time getting better. More than likely, he could die.  We knew it was super serious and were willing to do anything in our power to be smart, stay healthy and safe.  Joe did go into work 3/13 and mentioned to the owners his concern and sure enough Friday the 13th, he received a call to stay home and not to come in Saturday or Monday…basically work from home.  My eyes immediately filled with tears because I knew this was going to be bad.  We had already decided that morning to not send Brooke or Bradley to school, and I planned on pulling them out for however long we needed to.  The very next day the schools closed anyway, and we are all doing this ‘distance learning’ as best as we can!

I have to say while emotions are much like a roller coaster, overall I believe I’m handling this fairly well.  We are in a bit of a rhythm here all 4 of us humans and 2 dogs.  Some days we feel like rockstars, checking off completed tasks, being all-star parents and doing all the things.  We’ve been able to really dive in and work real estate since Joe was laid off and all Car sales and stopped. Other moments? We just zone out playing video games, reading, watching Hulu.  Overall my favorite part (if there can be one?) is the way we are connecting with friends and family.  We are all so busy (all the time) that we never slow down to catch up and chat with so many amazing people. Friends Joe hasn’t seen or spoken to are now part weekly check-ins.  The kids miss their schools, but seeing friends and teacher via zoom calls has been so rewarding. We’ve also had a lot of love shown from so many friends and family, offering to grab anything we need, including an incredible supply of fresh produce and meat from Joe’s good buddy Chris.  Another friend dropped a goodie bag for the kids to open—so many sweet souls lending a hand it warms my heart.

Sure I miss my Starbucks, going to and fro as I please…but more than anything we just want to stop the spread and stay healthy.  At the end of each day I thank God for that.  We do not get any takeout as this virus can live on surfaces for a very long time.  I have done one small Target Delivery last week so that my kids will have a little something special Easter morning.  We also haven’t gone anywhere since we are good with groceries and honestly there’s no reason for us to be out and about.  I think maybe a drive would be nice, but we also don’t want to waste gas money.

I’ve been working out daily, getting outside with the kids and dogs, having ‘tea parties’ after dinner and if you haven’t downloaded the app House Party, you are missing out!! Lots of fun happy hours around here.  We are not stressing over what we can’t control, but we are sharpening our saws and really putting forth the effort to help make us even better and stronger when this is all said and done.

So wherever you’re at, it’s okay to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.  Once I “got that” I have been doing better I think.  I was feeling bad for feeling bad, since “I don’t have it as bad as someone else”–but our feelings don’t work that way.  It’s okay and you should all yourself to feel the hurt, anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness etc…and then make a plan to move on.

I have this belief that humans are going to come out of this one of two ways: I can make the most out of the situation and realize we’ll never get this time back, so use it wisely.  Drink the water, eat the healthy foods, relax and enjoy family and little pleasures.  Workout and become the best, strongest version of me that I haven’t even ever seen.  I can put the time in to study, grow with Joe in business and strengthen our marriage.

Or I can become miserable, lazy, negative, gain weight, cause emotional trauma and stress to my children, and probably drive my husband crazy (more than I already do!)

It’s our choice.  We can evolve and become great or we can fizzle out and be left behind.  This world needs us to step up and shine now more than ever.  And in a few more months? Even more so.  This is not going to be a quick fix —this is going to take awhile for things to go back to normal.

Now that I feel like we’ve gotten into a groove and the initial shock factors are over, I hope to make more time to spend here on this blog.  I have lots of recipes I’ve been trying and I hope to read lots of books! (Luckily I grabbed a small stack of books from the library before we went into quarantine!)

I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy and that you too can make use of this unexpected extra time.  And if you’re one of the heroes on the front line, I am praying and sending so much love and light to you!  Thank you to everyone who is making a positive difference during this time.

10 Tips While Being Home with Kids

First off, I will start by saying we have a unique situation when it comes to Covid-19.  My husband has Crohn’s Disease and to help manage his symptoms, he recently started taking a biologic. It seems to be helping a lot, but that said, his immune system is highly compromised. We are extremely fortunate that we can work from home, but we have self-quarantined since last Friday.  No one in, no one out.  We are hunkered down with the kids, dogs and other than walks outside we don’t plan on going anywhere. I am pretty passionate about this isolation because of  my loved ones and their compromised immune systems. For the love, people, please just stay home. The virus cannot live long on surfaces but it needs people to infect to survive. If we all just stay in, this will blow over faster…

With that said, I came up with a list of 10 ways to not go too crazy during this time of social distancing. I am remaining optimistic and hope that I can help give some light into what our days will look like.  No, it will not be all sunshine and roses. Yes I am sure we will be experiencing cabin fever and there will be way too much screen time, but I’m a type A so I have to have some sort of plan…so here goes:

  1. Take time to reflect. I probably do this too much already, but go through old photos, and really see how beautiful your life is.  Maybe they are FB photos, instagram, or hard copies.  Maybe you’ve never made photo books and now could be the time you create some on Snap Fish or Sometimes we get wrapped up in the day to day and don’t stop to reflect at how awesome life has been for us.  In 10 quick years I have gotten married, had 2 babies, raised those babies to 5 and 7 year old amazing kids.  Gotten 2 dogs, grew a business, maintained an amazing marriage…the list goes on.  None of it is without a ton of work, but when you stop and see just how far you’ve come, it should make you feel really good inside.  And if not?  Well, maybe now is the time to truly make those changes.  Take this as an opportunity to become better than you were yesterday.
  2. Cook something new.  (shelf cooking, chopped chef, include kids and husband) Okay, real talk.  We stopped eating out last week. We don’t want anyone touching anything else from last Thursday on. The one thing I am a little ehhhhhh about is cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner, for goodness knows how long here.  While I did start stocking up a few days before the herd, I still didn’t make a bunch of freezer meals or plan out a bunch of meals.  I legit started buying more of what we typically eat and now I have enough food for us for awhile, but it’s going to take some creativity here.  I am also not wasting ANYTHING.  Use those leftovers and eat what will spoil first.  From there, start pulling from your freezer and pantry.  Jordan Page is SUCH an inspiration for shelf cooking.  I’m thinking I may have a little “chopped chef” adventure and give everyone a little something and tell them create your own meal!  I dunno the details yet but I can see us using the smoker, the BBQ, the grill, the fire pit…we will have fun and get super creative.  Think, sheet pan meals, using instant pots, slow cookers, air fryers, foil packets, skewers, whatever odd kitchen gadget you’ve got, now is the time to pull it out! Have fun! And please please please share some meal ideas with me!!
  3. Read from my own library. Libby, Overdrive, Hoopla.  Granted, I had a feeling we would be going into ‘lockdown mode’ so I made sure to pick up some books at my library. If you didn’t have that chance, I bet you may have a book (or 10) laying around that you just haven’t gotten to.  Now’s your chance!  You can also check out those above e-book services, or even Audiobooks, to get your imagination up and running about something other than this virus.  Reading does wonders for your mind, body and soul.  It always takes me away and I know you will enjoy it too! Share your favorite books below!
  4. Write.  Journal, blog, start that book…for me, writing has always helped me sort my thoughts, figure out tricky emotions and really clear my headspace.  Even if you just pull out a notepad and brain dump a list of activities you’d like to do while you’re home, I bet it will make you feel a tad better.  Worried about food? Go through and write down your inventory. I bet you’ll be surprised at how much you have and what you could do with it. If you’re feeling alone, share a post on instagram, FB or even email or text someone.  You are not alone.  This is uncharted territory for all of us and it’s okay to feel whatever emotion you are feeling.  Get the feelings out of your head and onto the paper…trust me!
  5. Face-time with friends and family.  We try to make efforts with people to chat, but we all get so busy! Well, here is our chance to charge up those phones and iPads and connect! Set a “tea date” with your mom.  I actually already do that since my mother is down in SC and I am in NY, but do it with everyone.  Playdates cannot happen, but your kids will get a kick out of seeing their friends virtually.  Maybe have them play games or show off cool drawings, or forts, whatever activity has gone on.  I think there are some epic lego creations about to go down in this house.  Call your sister, your friend, the babysitter, your aunt who lives super far away.  We are all going to need some connection because we are all going through this together!
  6. Homeschool. While you don’t have to take the whole day, it seems as though most districts have provided something for our children.  You can try to utilize the colored ‘Covid Homeschool’ graphic, or totally wing it. Whatever you want, you’re in charge! I’m going to post our daily ideas on my Instagram stories. (because I like to do this kind of stuff and I love sharing!)  I have a First grader and one in Pre-K.  I know I am biased because I was a teacher and heck, I’ve been “playing school” with my little sisters for as long as I can remember.  The point is, try to break up your days with some educational fun.  Pinterest has a ton of ideas, Instagram Busy Toddler, Scholastic, I can share more if you’re interested! But really, don’t make it complicated.  Count as you’re baking, measure as you’re cooking.  Go to an online museum and talk about whatever your kid is into right now!  Simply reading to your child WILL make a world of difference.  Don’t make this hard.
  7.  Move my body.  30 minutes MINIMUM.  I am going to try to something in the morning and something in the afternoon or evening. TIU app, walks outside, BeachBody on demand, You Tube, Just Dance or even dance parties in general.  Listen, I get that being cooped up and missing things is hard. We LOVE the Ugly Disco and that was cancelled last week.  We weren’t going to go as soon as we realized how serious this Covid-19 was.  But the more I move, lift weights, feel my blood flow through my body even in a 10 minute yoga session, I just feel better. Period.  Have you seen the videos from Italy where music is blasting and people are out on their balconies dancing around? Be like them.
  8. Connect with my family.  I plan on lots of chats…dreams for our future, looking through old photos, playing board games with Joe and the kiddos.  I think we may do some “date nights in” where we feed the kids an easy dinner and we can cook up something for us while they watch tv upstairs.   I also want to have family movie nights and make the time to play all together.  If you think about it, when (other than vacations) do we get this much time to be all together?  I’m aware that my tune will change sometime into this whole ordeal, especially if we really are stuck inside for months, but still…it is really a unique opportunity.
  9. Watch movies and TV.  (escape) I don’t make the time to watch shows because we live a really busy life and I leave little room for me to get sucked into Hulu, Netflix etc.  But during this time of isolation, I think it’s best for me to allow some time away from reality.  So far I have on my radar: The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, Little Fires Everywhere, The Morning Show, Harriet Tubman and Frozen 2–I think we are the only family with little kids who hasn’t seen it yet!
  10. Be grateful and think positively.  It’s scary. It’s an uncertain time.  I am right there with your friend.  How will bills get paid if there is no job? How will we get more food if we run out? There are so many unanswered questions and at this time no one has the answers.  However we cannot fixate on the what-ifs and question all the things.  We just have to take it day by day and count our blessings. I am still writing in my “Start Today Planner” where I list 5 things I am grateful for and 10 dreams down as if they already happen. We will be okay and we will get through this.  Think about the stories we will tell our grandchildren, or even great grandchildren!

Most importantly, don’t stress during this time.  Try to make the most out of this!

Find me on Instagram JennDelleFave and let’s be there for each other!!

Wellness Wednesday: Easy Sheet Pan BLT

I have been trying out some new recipes and thought I’d share one that literally just made last night!  My good friend Ann has been doing rounds of Whole30 for over a year now and has nothing but amazing things to say.  I have yet to bite that bullet, but I am playing around with the meals and food concepts a bit, especially since I have given up Gluten and am really trying to just eat real foods.  I also like to keep things simple around here as well as versatile.

This meal was SUPER easy delicious; I only wish that I made more!  Depending how you eat/serve, it can be Paleo or Whole30.

You will need:

Bacon (ideally Whole30 approved, mine was not #oops)

Cherry tomatoes

Chicken breasts

Lettuce

Compliant mayo (I actually used Primal Kitchen Ranch)

Sheet pans

Instructions:

Pre-Heat the oven to 400 degrees

Cut bacon into small pieces, place on one sheet. (Use kitchen scissors!)

Arrange chicken and tomatoes on another – salt and pepper

Bake for 25 minutes — I watched the bacon and took some out a few minutes before the timer went off, as I don’t like it too burnt/crispy.

I ate mine over a big salad w/ the Primal Kitchen Ranch.

I actually served my kiddos this as a traditional BLT — I toasted bread, used mayo and shredded the chicken, added lettuce and tomato and of course they went nuts for bacon.  At first Bradley gave it a thumbs down, but I told him this was dinner, he was welcome to pick it a part and eat what he wanted but this was it.  A few minutes later he told me he was kidding and that he liked it—kids!  I will say he took the tomatoes out.

Joe just had his with real Ranch dressing, no salad and no toast.  I bet I could have stirred it up in a pasta and he would have enjoyed it as well!

No leftovers and no complaints = winning!

Let me know if you try it!

The original recipe can be found here. 

 

 

Family Time

I never shared some adorable photos from awhile back of us on our land.  We enjoyed bundling up, getting some fresh air and trekking through the snow! It’s hard to stay active when it’s so cold and gloomy, but we make efforts when we can to get outdoors!

This one jumped just as I was taking the photo, stepping on a stick and thus resulting in it bumping her on the head.

While we enjoyed Winter, we are certainly ready for Spring and Summer!

Gluten Free Meal Ideas

So I am a little over 2 weeks into this “Gluten Free” business.  I am not claiming that I know everything, let alone anything hah!  But I do know that I am feeling better and to me, that’s most important! I will preface by saying that I’ve had some odd digestive issues over the last few years, and I’m pretty sure that 4 years ago I did all the “allergy testing” and all that came up was bee pollen.  Fast forward, I’ve done an Endoscopy, and an ultrasound and again, nothing shows up. (Yay! and what the heck?!)

That said, I would say that I eat sort of healthy–and I always know that my body does best with a lot of veggies, greens, lean proteins and some complex carbs.  What I have noticed though was that almost immediately after eating my stomach would hurt, like a burning pain up near my ribs.  I was tired and sluggish, like absolutely no energy.  That’s why I went to my Primary Care Dr. (no help other than offering Anti-Depression meds and off the cuff mentioning maybe try  going Gluten Free) my GI Dr, who tried to help but Prevacid made me feel worse, and my amazing Acupuncturist who is the only one giving me ANY relief. She is focusing in on where my “heat” is and says it has more to do with my hormones than anything…

So while my main goal is to eat whole, real, actual foods, I am such a foodie and I LOVE cooking!  So I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been eating that doesn’t seem to bother me (or bother me too much).  So far I have noticed I have lost a few pounds, but I am not even focusing on that because I’m so focused on my GUT health and how to just feel amazing again.

Breakfast Ideas:

Soft boiled Eggs

Spinach

Hashbrowns

Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

Gluten Free Toast

Coconut spread

Egg Whites

Turkey Bacon

Spinach

 

Oatmeal

With flaxseed or chia seed

Add fruit (blueberries)

*However, I’m noticing if I eat oats in the morning, I feel very bloated  (super– I know, but not cool!) So I’m not sure about the oats…

I tried these pancakes out on Sunday for the kiddos and I.  We LOVED them!

Snacks:

This is the bread I got to use, if I am craving it.  It’s great toasted w/ avocado and this EBTB seasoning.

GF waffles

Almond butter

Strawberries

Chia seeds

My acupuncturist actually said to eat more soy and tofu— I think I’m Progestrone dominant? So I do!

Edamame w/ sea salt and a yummy juice.

I found this Protein at Wegmans and it’s so good you guys! It’s a serious treat. I made it just like the back of the tub says.

img_8061

Lunch:

Usually leftovers in a salad or bowl format…

Here I had leftover chicken cubed, rolled in almond flour that I baked the night before. I added asparagus, turkey bacon and some GF Coleslaw salad dressing

Dinner:

I didn’t take a picture, but this was so good!! I love Tiffany Beaston on You Tube; she is GF and even a little dairy free, so this was a great meal everyone like it!!

If I’m making a traditional pasta dish, for example, Linguine with Clam sauce, I just full out make it for Brooke and Joe. It’s great for lunch or dinner leftovers.  Bradley eats butter noodles and I made myself a GF Pasta, cooked up some Tofu and used Braggs Nutritional Yeast, lemon & broccoli. I thought it was great!

The point being, it’s a bit of a 3 ring circus in my kitchen, it does take a little extra time, but I feel great!

Extra Firm Tofu cooked in coconut oil with sea salt is so yummy!!

I did try out the Martha Stewart Baked Scallops recipe. Brooke, Joe and I liked it! I used GF bread crumbs which I actually think are sweeter and taste great. I served over regular and GF pastas.  Bradley would not try it, so he had pasta, veggies and turkey meatloaf (below.)

Giada’s turkey meatloaf is a staple here. I actually didn’t have any feta cheese, so I used Goat and Bradley still ate it! We ate it right up for lunches and dinner.

Another easy sub is rice for pasta, as rice is GF.  Also Rice noodles! I made this Thai Peanut dinner last night and made my own with Brown Rice noodles.  Delish!

February Favorites

It was full of love and that by far is my favorite!  But really, when we come from a place of love, life flows effortlessly.  When we are afraid, or stuck in fear, it can be so much more challenging.

Moving onto some drinks:

I started taking a little magnesium before bed at night for a few reasons.  I heard that it helps with any GERD/digestive issues, also my acupuncturist always tells me to have a little and this helps with sleep.  I just do 1/2 a teaspoon in a little warm water and it fizzes up, then I add cold water and drink.  I think it works!  You can grab Calm off of Amazon.

img_8149

I think I finally perfected (for now) my at home Matcha lattés.  I started pouring the Matcha powder, soy milk and stevia sweetener into my milk frother and it is SO much better! I also like to heat up my yeti mug with hot Keurig water so that it keeps my latté warm while I sip it.  It’s not Starbucks, as I am still certain they sprinkle magical unicorn dust in their Matcha Lattés, but it’s better on the wallet and lower in sugar!

I really fell back in love with some delicious green juices.  I swear I was coming down with something Thursday of last week and I just tried to stay away from processed sugars (as much much as I could) and really upped my greens.  My body craves green juice now!  We stopped into this cute Just Juice shop Friday.  My boys had a tropical smoothie which they LOVED and I had a shot of ginger and some green juices.

Clearly I’m on a bevvie kick here, but this Tea is so so good!! It stood out to me at the grocery store because one of my Start Today Journal goals is to be calm and intentional.  I just recently heard about this herb Ashwagandha and it helps with stress and staying calm.  It’s in my current vitamins below as well!

As far as my favorite read of the month, it goes to this one-You Are Not Alone: A Novel It takes a few chapters to get into it because there are so many characters, but it is worth reading until the end!

I get a lot of questions regarding my hair and I do indeed use a Purple shampoo to help keep it a whiter/lighter blond and not more golden yellow.  I find that Joico seems to be the best bang for your buck and produces the best results.  I do get my hair professionally highlighted and it’s naturally a dirty blond, so as always test it out on some of your hair first before you go and do your whole head.  PS do not leave it on for longer than 5-10 minutes or you will get purple hair.

I’m also working hard at amping up the real estate game.  Come September, I’m going to have from 8:30 until 4:00 with no kiddos! Seriously, for the first time in 7.5 years I will have no child to care for most of the days—I am excited and sad all at once, but what an opportunity for our family to really grow and prosper! I am also a tad nervous since there are so many facets to real estate, I feel like I should know everything 100% inside and out but the reality is, I have to just start. Learn. Fail. Get up. Try again. It’s all about not giving in or giving up and just doing my best every day.  So with that, if you or someone else you know is looking to sell a home in the Rochester area, let me know!  Be sure to send them to my Facebook page, Jenn Buys 585.

On the selling side of things, we finished up our Irondequoit house and the kitchen was just so darn cute! Within 6 days we had a buyer.  A lovely family moved in and this home is now filled with lots of love! Definitely a favorite that happened in February.  If you don’t already, be sure to like our page 585 Rent to Own where we love asking our followers for flipping advice!

7a40bfe9-61e1-4082-af9d-58d9724335a3

We had lots of fun in February, but one of my favorites was taking the kids to see Dino World Live Tour.We had a lot of fun!

I would have to say the other fantastic family moment was when Joe made unexpected reservations at one of our favorite restaurants, The Revelry.  The kids got dressed up and we all had a delicious meal!  Mama didn’t have to cook which is always a win in my book!

img_7614

And one of my favorite quotes I stumbled upon this month was this:

 

We cannot beat ourselves up for what has happened in our past, the people that have let us down or stay stuck in that negative energy that perhaps made us unhappy.  I keep telling myself that no matter what, if I do my best every day and that I love myself and honor my time, my energy, my life, everything will be okay.

This month has taught me that once again, everything does happen for a reason, and to stop trying to control things that I have zero control over.  God’s Plan is bigger than anything and sometimes you need to give him space, to do his work and he will move mountains.

Looking ahead, I keep picturing how I see Joe and I living our lives in the next few years…

img_7443

 

**This post contains affiliate links.  As always, thanks for supporting my blog!

New Month Feels

Here’s a quick clip from a favorite of mine. if you’re someone who gets stuck in fear and won’t allow yourself to move forward in life because of what you believe others may think of you, try this!

Happy Sunday.

Top 3

The other day Danielle from Sparkles & Lattes posted about her Top 3s.   I thought it was super simple & fun, so I am jumping on the bandwagon!
These are my Top 3…
Three things I like about January:
I met my now husband in January 2008!
Brooke was Born.
Bradley was born.
Three things I like about February:
Valentine’s Day.
Cozy fires.
Days are getting longer!
Three vegetables I eat the most:
Spinach
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Three grocery items I buy every week:
Eggs
Unsweetened Almond Milk
Salad
Three things we go through like crazy in my house:
Bread
Carrots & hummus
Extra Cheesy Gold Fish–Bradley
Three things I always have time for:
Joe, the kids & the dogs.
Green Tea Lattes.
Cooking.
Three things I never have time for:
I don’t *make enough time for:
Reading
Writing
Dancing

Aldi’s Grocery Haul

Happy Wednesday!

I decided to record a quick little video of what I just bought at our local Aldi’s.  If you haven’t shopped at one lately, or ever, you are missing out!! I can fill my cart and feed my family (and all of our crazy dietary needs) on a budget.  In today’s haul I spent $127 and I am certain that it would have been close to $300 at our other store.

As I have shared a little, I have been having weird digestive issues and stomach pains on and off for a few months.  Back in 2016 I felt very similar to this, had the same procedures done and somehow through diet, exercise and luck? I overcame my issues and haven’t really had any problems until this past October after our trip to NOLA.

Granted, I am now 38 and in a separate blog post I’ll go into more about this, but I am considered “Perimenopausal.” I know.

So, long story short, since my Endoscopy was totally fine (some stomach irritation)—Prevacid made me worse, and then my recent Ultrasound shows NO issues whatsoever, I feel as though I’m left to my own devices to figure out how to properly fuel my body and feel better.

Hence, about a week ago I’ve been trying to go Gluten and Dairy Free.  Now, I am not allergic to Gluten nor to I have an intolerance to dairy, but the pains and gas pressure in my stomach along with feeling bloated, tired, irritable and just miserable for a bit have caused me to say enough is enough!  In this haul I share some Gluten Free finds and also some great deals on things like Cage Free Organic Eggs.

My husband has Crohn’s and obviously my kids are little, so dinners are a bit of a 3 ring circus but I’m determined to help all of us live our best lives.

Do you have an Aldi favorite? I am obsessed with some of their GF chips and crackers dipped with hummus.  I’m not a huge sweets person, but I got some to try! I’ll report back later.

Enjoy!

 

PS

In the video I mention Tiffany Beaston–here is a link for her You Tube video and the “Marry Me Chicken”.  I just love her channel!

 

 

Weekend Wrap Up & Menu for the Week

Happy Monday!

I figured I’d share a few tidbits from our February break weekend as well as my menu for the week!  I am still doing Gluten Free (for me) but I’m experimenting a little with dairy… I’ve been watching a ton of You Tube videos of other healthy ladies who have had similar digestive issues as myself, and they have found that going GF and even Dairy Free has helped them feel so much better.  I have been feeling pretty well, but not 100%.  I’m not going to give up yet and since meds haven’t helped, I am simply listening to my body and trying to give it what it needs.

We’ll start with this week’s menu, shall we?  All recipes are linked!

Sheet Pan Beef & Broccoli

Shrimp Scampi (Instant Pot)

Baked Scallops

Veggie Quinoa Soup  (Slow Cooker)

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

I saw Jordan Page post this recipe and I may try it for the kiddos.  Sometimes we have lots of fruit going quickly, so it maybe nice to Some of those may end up being lunches or just food for me, as Joe’s diet is low fiber and lots of carbs.  I’m getting used to the 3 ring circus that is dinner some nights.  I don’t expect my family to eat no gluten, and on pasta nights, I can either sub zucchini noodles (zoodles) or GF pasta or rice. Simple!  I am not one to give up carbs totally, so I’m trying to take on this GF thing as something new and exciting…rather than omg it’s so hard and more work.  Being pain free to me is 100% worth it!

As always, if need be there’s always these as back up options:

Taco Night (I use ground beef, turkey, or chicken and taco seasoning. Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, rice, beans, tortilla shells.) It’s a fam fave.

Breakfast for dinner (usually waffles, pancakes or eggs)

Leftovers

Ok moving on to some randoms from the weekend!

I just LOVE this green juice.  It has a whole bunch of goodness in it and my body actually craves it.

Friday the boys got hair cuts and look so cute!

After that we hit up the Outlet Mall for some new clothes for Joe.  Mama may have scored a few things too!  This CK hoodie was on sale for $14.99. I LOVE the neon!

Miss Brooke insisted that we stop at Justice and she picked out a few things as well.  I already miss that she’s back in school full time.  She’s growing up so fast!

Saturday night was low key; Joe built us a fire and Holly snuggled near it.

These two pretended to like each other for a few minutes…

Sunday brought more sunshine and I felt the need to purge all the things.  While doing so, I watched this documentary on Netflix.  The power of our minds and how to heal our bodies.  It all fascinates me and I do believe in the power of our thoughts. Have you seen it?

Look at it still being LIGHT outside during dinner Sunday night!!  (Smoked/Grilled Wings for the win!!)

I gotta say I was awesome at my workouts last week! I made it to the gym 4x with the kiddos.  Saturday I did the bike and triceps/biceps.

I also baked my babies some chocolate chip cookies! I used the back of the Wegmans brand chocolate chips recipe. 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes had these babies crisping up! I took some out around the 8 minute mark so they’d be chewy for Joe. I had a tiny nibble, but don’t want to upset my stomach so I refrained.  Any good GF sweet treats you could share?

I also got to chat with my mom a little bit.  She just launched a blog for her Life Coaching business!  Check it out.

Mom’s Blog!

I hope all of you have a great week.  Remember: start before you are ready and that DONE is better than PERFECT.

Five on Friday!

img_6285
TGIF!! Man I miss those silly shows from when I was a kid!  Full House was much jam— I wanted to be DJ Tanner. 
Anyway, on today’s agenda:  Fast until my ultrasound.  I’ve still been dealing with digestive issues and in my gut (pun intended) I don’t think I have “GERD.” I have been really watching what I eat, writing down how I feel after and I’ve made some changes.  I’ve noticed fatty/fried foods really bother me (eggs, bacon, ham, etc) so I’ve cut those out.  I’ve gone a bit plant based, no/low fat dairy, and gluten free this week.  I feel better than I have in weeks, so I’m gonna keep at this, while getting my insides checked out.  Both my mom and grandma had their gallbladders removed, and while I’ve never had an “attack” bad enough where I’ve been in the hospital, I’d like to be safe than sorry.  I went off Prevacid (as I don’t think I have an acid problem and I felt AWFUL on that medicine last week.)  I never know who reads this little blog, but maybe you’re experiencing issues, or have, and for that I share.  Last week a friend reached out and told me her doc said it was reflux, but it turns out she had her gallbladder removed and has felt so much better.  Lesson: advocate for your body, and figure it out no matter what!
Ok moving on to the fun things like this:
1. Skinnytaste homemade EASY bagels!My friend Alison brought her kids over yesterday and these delicious *gluten free bagels!  I went with this vegan cream cheese and it did not disappoint!! These were such a treat. I will be attempting them in the future! I’d eat one now, but-fasting.

2.  I’m looking for a vanity mirror for the bathroom at our current rehab.  Shelf or no shelf?  Both are on Amazon. 

 

 

 

Or 
3. These hot little Vince Camuto shoes were $35 on sale! I know it’s 17 degrees and there’s snow on the ground, but these give me hope that soon it won’t be so frigid! They are the perfect height and I think they’ll go well with leggings, skinny jeans, skirts, dresses…fun shorts, you name it! Hurry up Spring/Summer!  I saw Jena Green with them on the gram and had to have them.  She suggested to size down, and I agree. I’m normally a 9, but 8.5 was perfect.
img_7985
4.  I’m currently reading these two books.  One for fun, one for leadership.  I have only gotten a few pages into them, so I can’t say much!

 

5.  Life has a funny way of just throwing TOTALLY unexpected curveballs atcha.  I am a planner. I am an 8.  I am someone who likes to be in control, know things, have an outline, a goal mapped out.  But sometimes the universe, God and everything else conspires for a greater good.  I have no idea what is literally happening tomorrow it seems, but I trust and lay my faith down that everything will work out as it’s supposed to. I don’t meant to “vague-blog” but I just can’t say much because, well I don’t know much.  I believe great things are going to happen.  I am working on leaning into an abundance mindset and I just know that I am so grateful for my children, my husband, my current home, and our health.  With our love, all things are possible.

 

 

Make today utterly fabulous!! 

 

**This post contains affiliate links.  As always, thanks for supporting my blog!

Life Lately

Happy Hump Day!!

I miss the keyboard…so hello!  Some randoms from last week/end.

Last Thursday we took the kids to see Dino World Live Tour.  It was pretty awesome.  It was part of their birthday gift and Bradley was totally in his element.  He could ROAR as loud as he could and so did all the other crazy kiddos in the theater.

I knew the kids would have a snow day Friday, as the weather turned bad quickly.

Luckily our trustee sitter was free to take them both, since I had an Endoscopy scheduled.  I took a glamour shot for ya!  All is well, for the most part.  My esophagus is fine, (yay!) but my stomach is inflamed and irritated so the Doc gave me Prevacid to take before breakfast and dinner. I’m not loving it, but I’m going to actually try taking it for the month to see if my GERD symptoms improve.  I don’t eat spicy foods, coffee, no alcohol, I’m watching every thing going into my mouth….not fun BUT I am alive and mostly healthy!

After fasting from 9:30 pm (no water either!!) until 3pm I was ready for some food!! We grabbed some sushi and as much as I wanted some spicy tuna, hubby talked me out of it since that would be a terrible idea after what I just went through, on top of having an inflamed belly.

Joe had the weekend off–woop! So we did breakfast Saturday morning.  These two hams are something else I tell ya!

After that I took them to a birthday party and Joe did some real estate work.

I started looking through my old blog “Bliss to Bean,” any of you remember her??  And I stumbled on this post from February of 2016:

How crazy is that?? I basically flipped two homes in the last few months and have been really studying a lot more of the real estate business, so that when baby boy is in Kinder full day, mama will not be bored!!  It reminded me of the Demi Lavoto putting her tweet out there saying she would sing the national anthem at the super bowl one day….The universe has your back!! Our words and actions matter.  What do you want?!

I want to give these a try — (the whole Acid Watcher Diet is so boring, but hopefully helping!)

 

And my girl crush/bestie Christina (from above) partnered up with Cara and they’re launching a cook book soon!  These sound yummy!

img_7740

And this is something I am dying to make and serve over cauli mash.

img_7738

 

Other than reading a bunch of books (blog post coming!!) and binging on Christina on the Coast, and dealing with some internet Trolls, life is pretty much normal around here!!

Hope you have a fabulous day!

Wordless Wednesday

5 on Friday

img_6285

1. This week mostly flew by!  What started off on such a sad note, {The passing of Kobe Bryant & his daughter} really propelled me into being super productive and not just busy.  I was able to finish cleaning/semi-staging our East Irondequoit house and we’ve been showing it.  It is such an adorable home, it won’t be empty long!  I had so much fun designing it, I cannot wait to do more!  I love the way this kitchen turned out.  I didn’t love cleaning the toilet, but hey, as Grant Cardone said in one of his videos, some days you just have to eat sh*t.  It’s not all sunshine and roses all the time. In this case, it was sticking my arms in a toilet that I don’t think has ever been cleaned, but it’s sparkling now!  Quite humbling. It’s funny how most people watch these HGTV shows and think flipping homes is a “glamorous job” but I can assure you, that is not an adjective I would use to describe!

2.  I’ve been using my Rachel Hollis Priority Planner every day/week and I am loving it.  I may do a whole post on it, but I wanted to use it a bit longer to really give some great feedback.  However, I had to share that sis has it going on with some of her ideas! She has us pick a “motivating song of the week” each week to help pump us up and achieve our goals.  I stumbled upon this song and it’s been so empowering when I have to go do something I may not want to do, but I know that I need to so that I can get to that next level! Plus it’s a super fun dance beat.  The only bad thing is she is married to Russel Wilson and, well, that’s not cool when you’re a 49ers fan.

3.  I have been making efforts daily to move my body for 30 minutes–no matter what!  I hurt my foot wearing crappy shoes cleaning the property on Monday, so it was painful to even walk.  Luckily I tried out this contraption and found that not only did I burn calories and work up a sweat, I also was able to work on our social media accounts much easier than when I’m walking on a treadmill! My gym membership is up at the end of February and I’ll be doing more at home workouts, but for now I still try to sneak in when I can. I did a lot of cardio this week.

Monday -Ran on the treadmill. Tuesday-This bike thing. Wednesday- bike thing. Thursday-Yoga (my arms and core are sore!)  Friday- I’m hoping to walk the dogs.

img_7577

4.  My acupuncturist has a farm and gifted us the most amazing eggs! How pretty are they?! They taste even better.  She is just the sweetest and honestly helps make so many people feel better by doing what she does.  The eggs are such an added bonus. Thank you T, we love them! I’ve been really watching what I eat, mostly following Dr. Aviv’s Acid Watcher Diet, since my GERD is really acting up.  It’s basically eating real whole foods, lots of fruits, veggies, low acid, no spicy trigger foods etc.  I think it’s helping, but it’s not easy! I love carbs but they truly don’t love me.  I find that when I eat white starchy (absolutely delicious foods) I feel the burn and am super uncomfortable.  I want and need to feel my absolute best, so I am finding it imperative to get my eating in check.  Small frequent meals seem to also do best with my gut.  I have an endoscopy scheduled next week to check and see what my esophagus/stomach looks like and my GI Dr said we’ll go from there with what meds may help.  I miss the sunshine and warm weather, and really feel like Vitamin D helps solve all the problems! Summer please hurry.

5.  It’s been cold, as in the teens–high of 25 degrees, so we’ve been a bit more housebound than I like.   These two are the best of buds and though they (mostly the dog) drive me crazy, moments like this stop me in my tracks.  It’s a bit tricky working from home and still managing the house plus having Bradley home most of the time.  I really try to limit technology, but when we are stuck inside a lot, he gets a little extra time to snuggle with Bailey and play his games.  Bailey just turned 2 so she’s still a puppy, but oh man she’s still a handful!  Right after this sweet and innocent photo, she ran up to our bathroom and started eating the garbage.  Fun times!

Other than our boys playing in the Super Bowl— GO NINERS!– we don’t have much planned, which is nice.  It’s been 7 years since the 49ers played in the Super Bowl and 25 years since they’ve won it!  We are all a little excited over here as game day approaches. I’m trying to figure out what food to cook for Game Day! Any suggestions?

My Babies

I’ve had this sitting in my “drafts” section of my posts and just wanted to spread some love on this Thursday.  Those two cartoon graphics may symbolize the party we threw for my little monkeys earlier this month.  I snapped a few photos of them on a warmer day here in the ROC back during Winter break.  I believe it was right before the new year and it was by no means hot — we are talking 45 degrees being “warm” for our Winter.

I just loved seeing them climb and play since it’s mostly a frozen tundra and quite honestly I do not love the cold…but I do do try so hard to get us out and about when we can!

They can both climb high now, barely needing me for much other than knowing I’m there if they think they may fall.  Letting go and watching them grow is so much harder than I thought it would be!

And yet at the same time, seeing them turn into such beautiful human beings is even more rewarding than I ever could have dreamed.  It is a true joy to be their mother and I could not think of a better place to be, when I am with them.

I’m so grateful for healthy, happy and thriving children.  I could not ask for more than that.  They are amazing, and as their mom I know that may sound like bragging, but really I feel so blessed.  They have their sibling moments, but more often than not, they are truly best friends.  My favorite is seeing them cuddled together on the couch or quietly playing a game.  I’ve said before how Joe didn’t have a sister and I didn’t have a brother growing up, so this brother/sister bond just stops us in our tracks as we watch our babies grow.

We will keep teaching them to reach for the stars, to go after their dreams and that anything and everything is possible.  You just can’t quit.

Forever my babies they’ll be.

 

Wellness Wednesday: Self Care (my list)

I’ve been a slacker lately.  I’ve been neglecting the most important person in my life.  I haven’t been speaking nicely to her, I haven’t been letting her have fun.  I’ve been stressing her out, making her feel less than, and putting everyone and everything before her.  In some ways, I’ve ripped some bandaids off of her that needed to come off, but also took away some vices that are no longer serving her.  She’s felt a little lost, confused, lonely, transitional.  She’s been so consumed filling her days with endless chores, work, tending to children, dogs, a sick husband.  I let her slip through the cracks of the day where I used to let her shine.  Instead of allowing joy and passion, I restricted her fun times and made sure she was constantly worrying and working.  Instead of breathing in positivity and love, and exhaling negative emotions and draining feelings, I made her spill her cup until it was no longer full…and she just kept pouring even though there seemed liked there was nothing left.  I didn’t even put her on the back burner, I took her completely off.  I stripped away parts of her that were not really what she wanted, and instead of filling her soul with what she craves, I pushed her harder into motherly duties, housework, and fatigue.  But do you know what friends? Our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls are all connected.  They know when something is off, when we are not living out our true abilities.  And I began to listen.  I started hearing the still small voice saying go to acupuncture, eat the right foods, move your body, write freely, spend time doing the things that you love.  It took awhile for it all to start to come together, and after a tearful breakdown before my kids’ birthday party, I realized something really had to change.

Mamas.  The weight of the world that we bear on our shoulders can be immense.  No matter if you’re working from home, working away from home, or simply working hard at being a mom, there are so many reasons we burn out.  Our bodies will tell us when something is off and mine has been trying to tell me for some time…but how often do we just push away our desires, feelings, thoughts, frustrations, needs, wants etc because we just simply don’t have the energy or the time?  Well that is not okay.  We need to pull out our calendars, our iPhones, our day planners and schedule it in.  Not just “me time” but sincerely put it into a time slot and prioritize yourself.  Then do it again.  Then again.  Then again.  Watch your health increase.  Your mood get happier.  Your life seem to get easier.

Don’t just say, “Oh when the kids go to bed I’ll take care of me,” because if you don’t have a plan, like me, I get to the end of my day and I just feel like a zombie.  I’ll pull up some distraction of sort, and scroll until my eyes cross.  Then I’ll just go to bed.  Wake up and repeat.

Not sure what to do? Stop right now and take out your phone or better yet a piece of paper or journal and write down at least 10-20 activities that you enjoy doing.  They can be free or they can be experiences that cost you money. I shared a list previously here on this post last year, as this was part of the process when I worked with Lindsay Preston my Life Coach.  Interestingly enough, I was just chatting with my friend and neighbor Katie earlier and she was saying how the Blogilates girl was sharing how her weight went down more when she was doing things for herself like taking dance lessons, getting massages etc.  We hear it all of the time, do more self-care–but self-care is NOT selfish and honestly should be one of the first things we schedule into our day.  Rachel Hollis even said she’s writing a book right now all about making your health a priority and to move your body every day for 30 minutes.

My current “do you time” aka self-care list:

  • Blogging
  • Reading
  • Journaling
  • Working out
  • Morning Routine
  • Actually playing with my kids (puzzles, outside, with their toys, video games, reading books, board games…)
  • Yoga
  • Dancing
  • Mani/Pedi
  • Massages
  • Facial
  • Tea time
  • Girl Time
  • Date Nights
  • Trips & Travel
  • Sipping a Starbucks drink in a Starbucks.
  • Cooking/baking
  • Detox Bath
  • Walk outside
  • Dates with Brooke
  • Dates with Bradley
  • The beach (Summer)

The point is we become so consumed with daily needs of the world and neglect ourselves.  And in my humble opinion, when I start taking everything so seriously and don’t allow myself to have fun, life feels so hard and isolating.  Now some of these can be bigger things like vacation or fancy spa days, and those are great incentives to work towards! Others are free and simple–they just require the time for us to do them.

You are the most important person in your life! Without your health, no one else can be taken care of.  I know there’s a ton of haters out there who think ‘self care’ or ‘self love’ is a joke, but don’t concern yourself with them.  I send them love from afar, and hope that one day they’ll value themselves as much as they should.  Once again, I always believe that those that don’t believe in self-improvement are those who probably need it the most.

I’ve been fairly consistent with my morning routine, and I do count that as self care as I enjoy journaling, writing in my planner, reading a motivational book and I’ve been trying to make more time for blogging.   I know waking up early is not easy, but once you start waking up 10 minutes, try 30, 45, then 60 minutes earlier than normal.  It will become a habit and honestly my day always flows so much better when I take “ME TIME” in my morning.

I love rolling on this “Peace” essential oil, sipping some green tea and writing in my journal.  Sometimes I write about what’s on my heart, what’s frustrating me, what I dream about, where I see myself one day…

I just write.

The point is, no matter how old you are, or where you are in life, you can always change and evolve.  The beauty of life is that you get to do what you want with it.  Silly, I know, but I tend to forget that.  It’s not my mom’s life, my husband’s life, my kids’ lives, it’s MINE.  How do I want to look back on my days? What did I do to make myself happy and smile?  I never claim to be perfect, I fail every day at something…but that’s the secret. Stop trying to be perfect and just be you.  Embrace it all. Do what you can with what you have and try to figure out what it is that you want.  Start small, but just start somewhere.

What’s one way you will take time to fill your soul this week?

“Someday” isn’t Coming

It’s just absolutely crazy that I was sitting there meal planning in front of the fire with my little family around me, and I just happened to grab my phone to look up some recipes and I saw a friend post about Kobe Bryant.  What was a peaceful and normal Sunday suddenly turned our minds into grief, worry, frustration and determination.  I will be honest and say that I did not follow Basketball, nor did I know much about Kobe and his life.  I didn’t know he had four beautiful daughters and was still married to his stunning wife.  I knew he was a ball player, but I didn’t realize the dedication and determination he put forth to become the best. Of course I know that pro athletes are a special breed and in order to achieve that level of success, well you must sacrifice a lot.  I also did not realize how much my husband looked up to a man such as Kobe Bryant.  To say that it was a somber evening is putting it lightly.  I’m not sure how anyone could have a dry eye after thinking about that horrific crash, with those 9 people and especially him sitting there with his daughter.  I don’t recall which reporter said it best, but heroes aren’t supposed to die.  We are supposed to be able to watch them grow old and live out their lives.  In a sense he just started this next chapter of his life it seems…after retiring from playing basketball he was working with his daughter to help her live out her dreams.  He just had a baby last year.  It all just makes no sense; when I hear this news it just stops me in my tracks because we are not promised tomorrow. So after the tears dry and the day to day routine sinks back in, we are asking ourselves what is that we are going to do?  Nothing changes if nothing changes.

If you wrote out your goals for 2020, do you look at them?  Have you written down action steps to achieve any of them?  Are you pushing yourself a little further than you would in 2019?

What is your why?  What purpose do you have to get up, get out of bed and fight for your day to be better than before?

I know that Joe and I have been hugging the kiddos extra tighter, saying I love you a little more, and though we never take our time for granted, it just seems to hit you a little more when a tragedy like this strikes.  Be in the moment.  Yes, BE IN THE MOMENT.  Enjoy the kiss goodbye.  Look your child in the eyes as you hug her.  Call your mom! Have the coffee date with the friend you keep meaning to see.  Share and spread your love and don’t think twice about it.  Show everyone how much they matter to you, how much you care.

Even something as simple as getting up earlier has been impacted by Kobe.  My alarm goes off and I don’t want to get up out of my warm cozy bed and tip toe down the stairs and feel the cold tile floor on my feet.  But I get to hear my alarm.  I get a whole new day in front of me.  I feel like you can either sit around and complain about how awful life is, how unfair things can be and how miserable you are (aka be a victim) or you can show some respect, grab life by the balls and go after all that you desire.  #sorrynotsorry

If your eyes opened today, you get to choose.  We are not promised tomorrow and we have no idea when our time is up, so instead of worrying about dumb petty stuff (which at the time will not seem dumb or petty) and focus on the bigger picture.  Dream your dream and then lay out your plans and just start.  Do something.  Do it badly.  Don’t worry about being perfect or what you may look like doing it, just go freaking do it.

The time is now.

 

img_7542

Rachel Hollis Instagram

Egg Roll in a Bowl (low carb)

Sometimes you need a quick and easy meal that’s healthy and has tons of flavor….enter in this “Egg Roll in a Bowl”! My bestie Ann is a Whole 30 fan so she’s always sharing her favorite go to meals.  While I don’t partake in Whole 30, I do believe my body does best with some carbs but mostly veggies and lean protein. This dish is simple and makes enough for lunches.  My husband has tried it and thought it was god, but he can’t do high fiber, so he can’t have a lot.  As for the kids, Brooke tried it and didn’t like it and Bradley straight up refused.

But I loved it! I’ve made it a few times, and it curbs any ‘Chinese food cravings’ you may get from time to time, without breaking the budget and the waistline.

You’ll need:

Coleslaw mix (buy the bag it’s so much easier!)

Garlic

Sesame Oil

Soy Sauce or alternative

1 lb ground beef (or turkey etc)

You can also add an egg, I didn’t want one this time around.

Brown the meat, add the garlic, stir in the sesame oil.

Add the coleslaw mix and stir in the soy sauce until it’s soften.

At this time you can make a well in the middle and add your egg in the middle & scramble.  You could also add green onion top.

Serve and enjoy!

Original Recipe

5 on Friday

img_6285

Happy Friday friends! I hope everyone enjoyed their day and has a nice weekend planned, or perhaps not planned!  Though it was a short week, it was a wonky week and I’m glad we made it through!

  1.  We have been working on and waiting for this transformation for awhile!  This is the first home Joe bought while we were together and I am so thrilled at how the kitchen just turned out!!  It needed some updating and it looks fantastic.  Shout out to Jason Calder & his crew with Rochester Flooring.

 

2. How cute is this little snow bunny?  We walked over to play with the neighbor friends and she just looked so adorable with her little doll.  I picked this outfit out because I thought it was just so stinking cute and luckily Brooke loves it too!

3.  I’ve been really working on moving my body every day for 30 minutes.  My go to favorites right now are Barre Blend (below), Yoga, the treadmill, Morning Meltdown 100. I also like to walk the dogs, but it’s been freezing out and it’s hard to muster up the motivation to bundle up.

4.  We had Book Club last night!  We hit up Bar Louie and enjoyed some food, drinks, conversations about the crazy book we read,The Wives, and of course lots of mom talks.  My neighbor Katie and I always carpool together.  Next time we are going to go downtown and do Tapas!  Our next read will be Verity which sounds like right up our book club alley, as it’s described as thriller, demented, crazy, and here is Amazon’s description:

An Amazon top 100 bestseller of 2019
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

5.  May your day and weekend be magical!  I loved horses and unicorns when I was little.  My whole room was decorated light purple with white unicorns.  I forgot about how much I loved unicorns when I was little but I keep seeing them in my instagram or facebook feeds and decided to screen shot them. They bring me joy whenever I see them!

I’m heading into the weekend binging a little on Christina on the Coast while I rest up a bit.  We’ve been going hard and I’m feeling a little run down still, so I’m going to listen to my body and chill.  It’s not easy, but I know it’s important to listen to my body! Have a great weekend.

Wellness Wednesday: Mental Health

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about the things no one wants to talk about.  But that’s why it’s so important to talk about them!  Mental health is such an important facet to our daily lives.  Things can be going great one day and then the next, it’s easy to feel like the weight of the world is falling on top of you.

For me, the biggest block I have is being a People Pleaser.  I worked on it a bit in my Life Coaching with Lindsay Preston last year, but it’s not something where you can just wake up and one day be different.  Humans are complex, fascinating and often times downright confusing AF.

There’s one thing that keeps coming up for me lately and that is this, you teach people how to treat you.   My mother has been saying this quote for years, I’m sure Oprah had something to do with it.  It applies to every relationship in our lives though! Back when I dated wrong person after wrong person, I realized my self worth was more important than what another boy thought of me or how he treated me.

 

But once you’re out of the dating scene and married to an amazing guy, you realize this quote also applies to every person you encounter.  It doesn’t matter who the person is, your mother, father, friend, co-worker, tenant, a stranger–it’s up to you to figure out your personal boundaries, set your limits of what feels good and what is not right.  You are a grown woman (or man) and only you can call those shots.  If you’re around someone who makes you feel like crap, that you walk on egg shells with, or that you simply cannot be your authentic self, why then are you wasting your precious life with that person?  You do not have to be everyone’s friend.  You can be kind, but you do not have to live your life in a way that will please anyone else but yourself.

 

I may be writing this post for myself, some sort of therapy of sorts, but I thought, per usual, why I love writing on this public forum, that maybe someone else needed to hear these words too.  It’s no one else’s fault that you’re going through or feeling what you’re feeling, if you have not changed your situation or crafted a new way of being.  What you allow will continue; you must learn to shift and change your circle, you and only you are in control of what you consume.  The good, the bad, the ugly.

Sometimes we get stuck in our old ways, habits, the way things have always been.  But I call BS.  It’s 2020 and if you’re unhappy, that’s on you.  It’s on me.  If you don’t respect yourself enough to allow only positive love, energy, brightness, happiness, truth, and fulfillment maybe we need to check our price tag like this quote below.  I need to channel more Lizzo, that’s fore sure.  I know my heart is solid gold and when it’s been mistreated, it’s my own fault.  I can’t be mad at other people because I expected more from them.  I need to learn to expect more from myself and be more truthful with my voice and speak my heart.

Is your stress level a bit high? Mine is. Hence the workouts, the acupuncture, the eating well…it’s all a juggling act and I know it’s hard!! But don’t quit.  If you’re feeling off, take a look at this little chart.  It’s a great visual!  I swear by my journal especially when my mind is rattling and I can’t seem to catch a full breath.  Soul check–get off social media for a bit.

img_7377

via instagram

 

I am also loving to start my day with some amazing affirmations.  This was the other day- I am ready.  

If you’re feeling down, as always be sure to talk with someone! I am not a Dr, but I know it’s not easy to live in this digital age.  Everyone seems so instagram perfect and shiny and new—but it’s false.  We are all a little (or a lot) broken and most of us are doing the very best we can each day.  Know your self worth, create your boundaries and stick to them.  Focus on what you can increase and watch for tremendous growth in 2020.

Peace, love & strength to you all!

You Won’t be Single for Long Penné Vodka Recipe

Oh you guys are in for a treat!! It has been ages since I made this yummy dish, and it’s so comforting and elegant, and yet EASY!!  Rachel Ray coined it her, “You won’t be Single for Long Penne Vodka” and boy was she right on the money!  I made it for Joe back in 2008 and by 2009, we were engaged.  12 years later I’m still making it!  You can dress it up by adding shrimp, but honestly I love it just the way it is.  I made it for a date night in last Saturday night and it did not disappoint. Don’t skip the crusty bread!!

You will need:

1 can of crushed tomatoes

1 box of penne pasta

1/2 cup of heavy cream

1 cup of chicken stock

1 cup of vodka

1 shallot

(it also calls for garlic, but I don’t add)

fresh basil

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

Sauté your shallots in butter and oil.

Add your vodka and reduce.  Add chicken broth and crushed tomatoes.  Simmer.

Boil your pasta while it simmers and warm your crusty bread!!  Also, stir in your cream right before it’s time to add the pasta.  Stir in fresh basil.

If you can, let it sit for a bit so that the pasta can absorb the delicious sauce.

Even if you’re already taken, or have no desire to be wifed up, you should still make this comforting meal!  It is a great meal to make ahead of time and keep warm if you’ve got guests coming over too.   Add a side salad, grab some red vino and enjoy!

 

Original Recipe here.

Let me know if you try it!

Weekend Vibes

Friday was little man’s BIG 5 year birthday!! Both of us were able to go into his preschool class and help out.  They kept us busy!

He got to blow out the 5 year old candle as we sang happy birthday one last time…

After preschool we took Bradley to get his “Ham and Cheese Broissant” and Joe and I grabbed lunch downtown.  We then hit up Home Depot for a new rug & lamp!  With real fires, the logs can roll out and splatter ashes/pieces onto the rug and it ruined the old one.  I am trying to preserve this one by keeping an older rug on top!  I love the look of it.

We had to grab a new lamp too because the base of our old one shattered and was a mess every time I went to move it.  When I saw this one I got a little too excited, as there is a reading lamp!  Our high ceilings make it hard to keep it bright in the living room so this white is perfect!

When Brookie got home we then hit up good old Chuck E Cheese for some birthday fun!  We all had a ball playing games, eating pizza and drinking fountain drinks.  We need to do more outings like this in the Winter!

And before bed, I had “my baby is 5 cry”.  It happened with Brooke and I knew it was a matter of time, and I made him come over and snuggle with me a few minutes…how on earth has 5 years gone by so fast? So much has changed and I am so grateful to be your mommy Bradley boo!  You love playing video games, but you also love running around pretending you’re playing football.  You love curling up with Bailey on the couch and watching Bluey with your sister.  You’re my little buddy and I’m not quite sure what my life will be like when you go off to school full day.  I know it will be great for you, but goodness you keep me on my toes every day!  I love you so much baby boy.  You can be a complete goofball or super sensitive, serious and sweet.  You’re my little bubba-dooz.  I love you!

I am missing the kids as I drove out to my dad’s in a snowstorm to drop the kids off so they could watch them so Joe could have a colonoscopy done.  (that Crohn’s life) I was happy to make it home and put my feet on the ground because that drive was NOT FUN!

 

Saturday night I made a yummy dinner–an oldie but goodie! I’ll share the recipe this week.  Vodka Penné on a cold night is divine! We celebrated our “12 years” together anniversary by the fire and wrote down some dreams to be tucked away and opened again in 5 more years.

img_7318

I’ve been focusing on my workouts more (I need it more emotionally/mentally than physically I think!!) I love this quote.

img_7319

 

Sunday we took an old “Jenn and Joe Sunday drive” and checked on the two houses we are fixing up.  I’m so excited as both kitchens are super gorgeous!

This flooring is stunning!  I’ll share more in depth on the kitchen renovations in an upcoming blog.

I supported my friend Cathy as she is donating to the Ronald McDonald House.  I love giving and the beer bread and soup is such a tasty meal!  You can give too if you would like, Paypal Cathy at: cagallag235@gmail.com

And we ended our weekend with watching our boys win their game against the Packers!  Onto the Super Bowl we go!  I can’t wait to see them take on the KC Cheifs!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  As my 5 year old said, “He had a dream and it was that we be nice to everyone no matter what.”  Good advice little dude as I am always striving to be nice, no matter what.

Christmas Recap!

Christmas was so good this year!

Christmas eve we always spend at Joe’s Grandma’s house.  We have a nice dinner with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  The kids love going there!

 

 

Christmas morning Santa has come and all of the presents are stacked under the tree.

I just love our tree- the colored lights remind me so much of when I was a kid, it’s so fun to see all of my kids artwork too.

After we exchanged just us 4 Christmas morning, my family came over to enjoy some food and gifts.  We had quite the spread!

Smoked bacon wrapped scallops & shrimp—hubby does them so good!

Standard Cranberry muffins from the box, paying tribute to my grams.

My friend Amie recommended this simple (and amazing) appetizer!  It was Tieghan Gerard’s 3 Ingredient Blue Cheese Bites.  Even my sis who hates blue cheese said they were good! *warning, you’ll want to eat the entire thing yourself.

My step mom brought this delightful fruit, cream cheese & croissant bake! It was the perfect mix of sweet and decadent.

These were the biggest hit with –including the kids!! It calls for a bourbon but I just used maple syrup…  Maple Sausage Crescent Rolls

One of the coolest (thoughtful) gifts was from my sister Bri!  She saw me tag Joe on Facebook about this bubbly.  She totally got it for us!  We are hoping to sip it during the Super Bowl Win! #goniners

My sister and I.

I won a pair of these fun jammies from my girl Katie at Thrifty Cactus, aren’t they adorable?!

Last minute decision to spoil the stinky big dog Bailey…

The aftermath…

Little man and mama played some Nintendo in the basement.

It always goes by so quick, but I do enjoy the memories!

Currently 2020 Edition

Happy New Year!

I’m only a few weeks behind…

I’ve been busy (who hasn’t) and figured a quick little “what I’ve currently been up to” will catch everyone up and maybe help me feel more at ease.

Currently:

My word for 2020 is JOY.  I want to have fun and feel happy most days!  This means that I am not just rushing through the hamster wheel of life: work, kids, dogs, chores, cooking…but actually and intentionally enjoy what it is I am doing.  It’s helping me prioritize what matters most, what needs to get done and how I’m spending my time.  The other day I sat with Bradley and we played memory card games, started a puzzle and took a walk since it was a beautiful almost 50 degree day! What’s your word this year?

Reminding myself of this.

And this.

Kiddos-

I have an almost 5 year old (little bubs birthday is tomorrow!) And he’s been keeping me on my toes by getting sick with RSV–he had such a terrible cough and was wheezing he had to go on a steroid and use an inhaler.  Then just the other day he told me his mouth hurt and I looked inside, poor little guy has molars coming through!  He could barely eat last night as they were bleeding and so sore.  Lots of yogurts, puddings and soft foods for my dude.  GQ anyone?

And I officially have a 7 year old. This party princess had a blast at the party!  Nana gave her hair chalk and all of her friends were helping her!  She was my strong and healthy one, but I kept her home due to a slight fever and sore throat.  She was sad to miss school and dance, but her health is always most important.  I could tell when she got off the bus Tuesday just by looking at her sweet face she wasn’t well.  Her big baby blue eyes were sunken and bloodshot….and sure enough she was ill.

We threw them a party on Brooke’s actual birthday (post to come) and then watched the 49ers beat the Vikings in a playoff game!

It was a fun day and we made this one switch out of a purple shirt (Vikings colors) to a red for good luck.  It worked!

Renovating

We have two properties under construction, this one being ALMOST finished! It’s been fun (and stressful) and as per usual, I have learned a lot in the last few months about real estate.  The end result is really going to be stunning.  I am loving the darker floor with the white cabinets, lighter counter and I think it’s just a fresh and simple kitchen!  It’s giving me lots of #kitcheninspo that will be happening in another blog post for our new home.

img_7141

The simple subway tile with the light grout was just gorgeous!  I know this will be someone’s new home in no time.

Healthwise-

Stressed has been an understatement and I haven’t been truly taking care of myself the last two months or so.  Over Christmas I was experiencing terrible GERD pain and super inflamed anything I ate bothered me.  I went to my acupuncturist and within one treatment I felt relief.  The day before the kids’ party I sent an SOS text because my stomach was a mess again and she somehow squeezed me in.  You’re not supposed to have any redness near a needle, when you do it’s heat and it needs to be cleared.  Once again, I’ll create another post, but at 38 years young, I am in what is known as Perimenopause and my hormones are basically whacky.  I’ll keep up with my acu treatments and I’m taking some herbs…and really truly watching my stress.

 
img_7183

Workouts-

I have been doing some Yoga and Barre workouts, but my chiropractor even suggested I do some kickboxing/HIIT to release some of the frustration/pent up stress in my life so I will add that to my regimen too!

 Cooking-

I’m hoping to share some simple, fast and inexpensive recipes here soon!  This ham is a family favorite and you really can’t get any easier than throwing it in a pan real quick.

Watching-

Yup! I have actually forced myself to lay down on a couch or bed and just veg out.  I never do, so I figured with my stress being high, maybe it was good to just be blah for a bit.  I am almost through the 2nd season of this psycho show!  What keeps me hooked is that while he is indeed a very bad guy, he still on the other hand has normal and good tendencies.  It’s a mind trip for sure.  You is on Netflix.

This little movie was an Amazon Prime movie and I loved it! It was funny and truly a good reminder how people in our life don’t always know what is best for us.  Only we truly know what it is we need, we just need to distance ourselves a bit and figure it out.

Reading-

I received this advanced reader copy in the mail and I am excited to see where it goes! I am only a few pages in…I look forward to reading it this weekend.

Enjoying-

The sunset was stunning last night. While my view of it is not perfect, it’s nice to actually see the colors in the Winter since Summer the trees are all filled in.

Breathing-

Life is hard, but you are strong.  Remember to breathe in the calm air and exhale the stress and anxiety.  Life is what we make of it, cheesy but true.   I made myself put on some lipstick and where some cute clothes, because all I have been living in are sweats and leggings—nothing wrong with that but it feels good to get dressed up and feel pretty!

What are you currently up to?

5 on Friday

img_6285

1.  Christmas came and went just like that!! I feel like we did a great job of enjoying the season, though we didn’t check all items off our bucket list, I’d say we did pretty well! Christmas Eve these two set out the cookies & milk and Brooke wrote Santa a note. (She was so happy that he wrote her one back the next day!) To be 6 and 4 at Christmas again.

3. I love our tree.  It reminds me of the ones we had growing up.  Mismatched colored lights, homemade and funny little ornaments.  I don’t want to take it down, though it must soon as it’s real.  The magic of Christmas was real this year.  Like my friend said, you don’t get another 4 year old and 6 year old at Christmas again.  We soaked it in and I held onto oh so tight.  The way they said goodbye to buddy and hugged him Christmas eve made me tear right up! It was a beautiful Christmas and just like every year past, the best one yet.

3.  I tried to allow the mess for as long as I could, but we have this dog named Bailey you see…and she likes to eat ALL THE THINGS.  So everything got picked up pretty quickly.  I am letting the toys be strewn all over the higher surfaces like counters, tables etc.  Where normally they’re tucked away…that’s similar right?!

img_6909.png

4.  I saw this and giggled!  How crazy we are about to enter into the 20s?!  I’m really looking forward to next year.  We will be married 10 years come July and have so many big dreams coming into reality.

5.  In other news, my Acid Reflux/Gerd has come back in full force these past few weeks.  I didn’t even recognize it, at first I thought that I had a stomach bug or something, but no it’s definitely that.  I’m working on slowing down, being more mindful while I eat, watching what I eat, really watching what I think about and turning off and tuning out negativity and stress.  My belly just can’t hang with it!! If you’re feeling a bit off too, it’s no surprise with the high demands of the holidays and pressures we put on ourselves, something will usually manifest through our bodies.  Take the time, focus on healing and choose love not fear.

img_6918

Have a beautiful weekend friends!

Merry Christmas!!

We wish everyone a beautiful and safe Christmas! I’m looking forward to a lot of time with my family. I want to slow down, connect, enjoy and soak up this time of year!

Christmas Questions

Happy Friday and just 5 more days until the big guy comes down the chimney! I saw these fun questions over at Danielle’s blog, Sparkles & Lattes so I thought it would be a fun thing to share.  If you haven’t checked out her blog, do so! She’s got some great posts on Amazon Finds and overall life happenings.  It’s always a joy to look through her posts!

I’ve got a busy day going into the classrooms and enjoying the magic of a Pre-K holiday performance and a first grade holiday craft.  Super grateful I grabbed a BOGO at Starbs yesterday!  I enjoyed a chai yesterday and scored a Matcha Green tea for today.

1. Candy canes. Yes or no? Yes! I love them.  I prefer the standard red and white mint, but my family seems to like the fruity flavored colored ones.  I just had one yesterday!

2. Christmas morning early riser or sleep in? Joe and I get up around 6 am (or earlier) every day anyway, and I swear we are more excited than the kids Christmas morning! Joe loves building a huge fire in the fire place and we play Christmas music, I sip tea and we wait for the kids to come out!

3. Do you shop on Black Friday? Yes or no?  Not in the stores. I did find some deals online, but I have zero desire to brave the crowds.  Plus I’d need to hire a sitter so as not to drag the kids out with me, since Joe works.

4. Christmas trees up in November? Nope.  We are “Team Turkey” and really enjoy all things Thanksgiving, and then the first weekend in December we’ll get our lovely tree.

5. Do you get holiday ideas from Pinterest? Yes or no? I do! I found some yummy eats I’m going to try for Christmas {like this Cheesy Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole} and even over Christmas break I’d like to cook a bit more.  I love browsing but never put the “Pinterest Pressure” on myself to be perfect.
6. Christmas glam or ugly sweater? Depends on my mood, I have done both!! We got silly sweaters a few years ago and we also just like dressing a little nice some years.
This is Joe’s Ugly sweater he wears! He loves it.

7. Stocking stuffers: wrapped or unwrapped?Santa always wrapped ours in tissue paper and we opened them FIRST before we did presents.  Then I met Joe.  He grew up with things wrapped and opened them LAST after gifts.  It’s still an adjustment for me after all these years!
8. Tradtional or modern Christmas songs?I adore Christmas music so I enjoy both, but man the nostalgia that comes with the classics really tug at my heart strings! SO many beautiful memories growing up on High Street in our cozy little home, my two sisters and parents.  I also think a lot about my Grandparents at this time and the words of Christmas songs really have so much meaning the older you get.  My absolute favorite Christmas song is, “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”  The part where they sing,
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now
gets me every time.  Maybe it’s because as I age I realize how nothing is forever and that these are all just pockets of memories and moments that will last for as long as we do.   I love getting together with friends and family and enjoying this time of year, and hope that I’m making my children’s childhood as magical as mine was.
9. Fruitcake? Yes or no?Ya know, I’m not sure if I’ve ever even tried?! I’m more about the cookies!
10. Is your Christmas shopping finished? Yes or no? Almost!  I still have a few people I want to actually get out and look in stores for, but I have had a wonky two weeks and not a ton of time. I’m hoping this weekend to finish up and WRAP!!!
11. Is there snow in December where you live?There is right now!! We’ve had a lot of snow already this month, but the weather forecast looks like it will melt it all before Christmas.  I do love a White Christmas, but I could go for some warmer temp!
12. Classic show: A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph?I have to say that whenever I try to watch anything Charlie Brown, I can’t take the negativity! He’s so ‘womp womp’!  So Rudolph all the way.  Bradley loves the movie so much he’s been known to watch it Summer, Spring, Fall and Winter.
I’d love to read your responses!! Comment below on a few or tag me if you share on social media.  Remember, don’t get your tinsel in a tangle!! Enjoy friends!
*This post contains affiliate links in which I would receive a small monetary portion.  Thank you for supporting my blog!!*

All things Christmas

It’s total crazy this time of year. Every mom I chat with is (more than) overwhelmed and counting down the days where she can just relax with family, friends and good food!

We’ve been battling a few little sicknesses here and there but nothing major–Thank God!  This little dude is my daily sidekick.  Whether we are working real estate, home, running here there and everywhere, he’s been such a good boy!

I was going to rush through the drive-thru one morning after checking on one of the houses we are renovating and decided nope, I’m going to allow us to get out of the moving vehicle and pause.  I am finding this is helping me not just “get through” this season but “ENJOY” it as well.

His fave from ‘bux is the Ham & Cheese Croissant.

I had to make a return at the mall and tried to do a little more shopping, so we again paused and I let him be little.  Isn’t that what this time of year is all about?  Making memories and letting the little ones just enjoy the beautiful sights?  To a busy person, this tree may just be taking up space, but to Bradley, his whole face lit right up.

Plus he got to ride the train which he always enjoys!

This one has been busy!  She had her holiday performance last weekend and had so much fun!

While she rehearsed, we ran some errands and Bradley was stoked to have Daddy around.

They danced to Frosty the Snowman and all proceeds went to the Wilmot Cancer Society here in Rochester.

Even Ana & Elsa were there!  I had to admit, I totally cried when the girls were dancing on stage.  This is Brooke’s first year in “competition” classes and often times in my head, since she is no longer a baby, I feel like she’s just big.  And then I watch all the other dancers from ages 7-17 and I realize how little she still is.  These girls did so great and I love being aware of how much time we still have until she’s off and running into this big world.

Then later that evening we decided to attend a White Elephant party about an hour away.  I quickly re-heated some leftovers and called everyone to the table to eat a quick dinner before making the trek.  Long and short, I dropped my iPhone IN THE FREAKING TOILET!!! Mind you, it didn’t just drop for a second, it literally sat there for 20ish minutes while we ate, I finished getting ready and then decided to look for it.  I didn’t have much time to do very much about it because we had to get going to the party and it was snowing and the roads were horrendous.

It worked for awhile so I did snap a few photos at the party…

As for the White Elephant gift exchange, it was so fun!! We got a nice bottle of Baileys that came with two cute mugs (mine & yours they said!) and I opened a $20 Applebees gift card, but then switched with a girl who got a $25 Starbucks card.  I was more than excited–no pics from that though because, well said phone was in rice.

But then it stopped.  It just went blank and kept showing the Apple logo.  It was basically the joke of the night, we put it in a bag of rice and everyone kept checking on it.

Part of my secretly wanted it to die—I often feel tethered to the damn thing and would love to go back in time and have more freedom from it.  But also on the flip side, we take so many photos of the kids and I use it for our business. I don’t know what I’d do.

By  Sunday it was working fine and though the lens fogged up, we set it on the mantle above the fire place and it seemed to have dried out.

A Christmas Miracle I tell ya!!  It’s an iPhone X and works perfectly fine (unless it gets dropped in the toilet.) Super grateful I don’t need to spend the money on that right now.

In other news, the Elf has been keeping the kids on their toes all month long!

He also likes to treat them to little things like cocoa and books from time to time.  Again, it’s about the magic of the season.  I don’t get why so many people hate on the elf.  Maybe I’m just a big kid at heart, but there’s nothing better than hearing the squeals every morning of where Buddy may be.

This one is so funny.  I caught him just staring out the door the other morning watching the snow.

The wonder of being 4, almost 5.

I pressed pause yesterday to sip on a decaf Chai latté and look at the tree while I looked up some yummy Christmas Day Brunch ideas.  I want to make all the things!

I’ve still got some shopping left, I’m about 80% done.  I need to do 100% in the wrapping department and of course we have school holiday parties and performances to attend, on top of life things like annual Dr appointments.

But I keep telling myself it will all get done, it always does.  No sense in stressing over everything.  Just keep plugging away and be sure to pause and enjoy the moments.  I am doing such a great job of it this year because years past it all went by in a blur and I was so stressed and so mad that I didn’t feel like I enjoyed anything because I just rushed from one thing to another.

I’ll say that there’s more laundry piling up than usual, the dog fur needs to get vacuumed (again) and I don’t have a “meal plan” for this week. #oops But you just do what you can do and let it go.  I do however have a great plan for our Christmas Brunch. Would you like a blog post on that?

One week from today, Christmas will be over and I am going to stay in my PJs all day with my kids and just enjoy the peace (and probably more mess) of this beautiful holiday.

 

Last Month of 2019

We are in the final few weeks of December, the last few weeks of the year and decade!! What will you be doing for yourself, for others and how will you live into your best self? I am all about self-development and goal setting, goal crushing and making magic happen.  I feel like so many of us are pushing extra hard right now knowing it will soon be time to rest and relax with friends and family.  We will be ringing in the new year and all sorts of exciting plans will unfold into 2020.

I used to get that pit in my stomach feeling on Sunday nights when I taught.  I know, it was a “dream job” of mine, but I dreaded the long commute, the long hours away from Joe and a lot of the stresses that came with my said dream job.  I know not everyone has the ability to stay home and raise their babies, but we all have choices.  We are not trees, deeply rooted and planted in the ground.  We can evolve, change, grow, heck we can even literally move!! Hate where you live?  Pack it on up and try some place new.

So many people are unhappy simply because they don’t even know what it is they want.  We are so bombarded with media that we never allow ourselves time to think, breathe, be.  If you’re feeling super overwhelmed, flustered and like everything is out of your control, the best thing I find myself doing is getting quiet.  Take out that journal (thank you again to my Life Coach Lindsay Preston) and write it out.

You will not live a life you love, if you don’t even know what it is you want from life.

Last week Bradley got sick–out of no where, poor thing was down and out—and then as he got better, I started to crash. My “To-Do List” was super long and I had this extreme urge to get out of the house because I felt trapped, but my body said NOPE.  If we don’t get quiet and allow ourselves time to rest, our bodies will decide for us.

It was not easy to lay back down in my bed.  To not leave the house. To not pop the Advil and just go about the day, but I knew if I just gave myself some time to heal, maybe it wouldn’t get so bad…

But the point is, if we don’t allow ourselves the time, we will never be able to achieve all that we are capable of doing.  So even amongst the chaos, I challenge you to wake up a little early, or sneak away during lunch, or hide in the bathroom for an extra 5 minutes and truly think about what it is you want out of life.

Then make a plan.  Talk it through with your besties, your spouse, your sister, whomever your tribe is, and just go for it.  Feel the fear, feel the nerves and just press start.

If you’re hating on your Monday, that’s no way to live Sis.  Life isn’t always easy, but you should wake up with a full heart and spend your time doing what mostly makes you happy.  (Like dishes, I’m grateful for clean plates and food to eat, but I don’t love them dishes!!)

Share some of your goals with me!  I write them in my Start Today Journal every stinking day.  I write them as if they’ve already happened.  Some are big and scary and some are just out of my reach, but I still write them down and each morning think about how I can come closer to achieving them.  (I’ve been doing this since October 1st!!)

img_5895

These are just a few of mine!

I live in my dream house.

I am an exceptional wife and mama.

I travel & vacation yearly.

By taking 5-60 minutes a day for myself, I have seen such a BIG difference in my ability to be the best wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, investor, whatever! I fill my cup (literally with water and tea/Energize) write in my journal, read a bit from a devotional, journal, sometimes workout, sometimes just stretch.  Sometimes, to be honest, I sit and stare. It’s quiet. It’s just me time. And often, that’s the only time that I get for myself.

img_5889

 

E-mail me or comment below ONE goal for yourself.  Let’s do this together!!  You don’t need Rachel Hollis’ fun journal, you can use a $1 store notebook.  Let’s go!

Enjoying December

We’ve been busy enjoying December! From sipping on “Red Cups” to baking 10 different holiday treats!? (I accomplished my list!) to Pre-K cookie day, mama sneaking out for a red holiday mani and just having fun with “Buddy the Elf” aka Elf on the shelf.

Here are some photos of life lately!

Cookie Party 2019

Our (third with my kiddos!) annual cookie party!! I never know if *this* will be the last party at this house but I tried to capture more memories of it this year!

We all wore red!

Silly picture.

Gotta get Bailey in it.

And Holly too…

A lab and her girl.

Christmas angel.

My yearly 7 layer magic bar— always a hit!

Snacking away on all the yummy goodies!

Mom friends!

I just love a Charcuterie board.

We even had some introverts, who mingled sparingly but still enjoyed themselves!

Alison and I have been friends since we danced together back in what, 1997?  We were then college roommates and still remain friends today! She probably makes my favorite cookies–I don’t even want the recipe, she makes them perfectly every time.  Molasses ginger or something with a white dripping all over….yeah I want one now!

One of my newer mommy friends is my neighbor down the street Katie!  Her kiddos love playing with my kiddos and we have had many laughs, tears, and WTH moments together.  It’s an amazing feeling to know you’ve got someone on your street who will care for your kids if you can’t (like getting them on/off the bus!)

More mommy friends!! In all stages of life, it’s so important to have some mama time!  Being able to share ideas, hear each others’ frustrations and realize you really aren’t alone, is so comforting.  We just need to be better about making more time for this.

As for the kids?? They’ve gotten old enough to realize how awesome the cookie party is and they’re even a little sneaky!  They had so much fun running around all together, everyone got along and played great.

Of course I could not get a still shot of these two.  All hyped up over having friends and sugar!

Grateful that my step-mom could come as well!  She’s been an OG since the first cookie party and she brought some delicious Chai cookies with Eggnog Frosting that are Taylor Swift’s favorite.  I think this may be the recipe here!

It’s funny how the kids really gravitated to playing upstairs and on the stairs.  Our little basement room was not the hotspot this year!

Cookies upon cookies!!

Joe gave me some fancy champagne flutes for my birthday and I haven’t gotten to use them…I was originally going to just use red solo cups but then realized THIS was a special occasion and time to break them out!!

I served Mango & Peach Mimosas.  It’s nice to have a glass and relax with the girls!

I love my outdoor fridge. Super classy.

I told the girls I may re-name the cookie party, “HOT MESS MOMS COOKIE PARTY” because I legit feel like one!! My driveway and walkway were covered in snow and ice and I had no salt.  My cookies weren’t the greatest and those that were, my husband ate most of them.  He even told me it was cute how nervous I get the night before–thanks babe.  I just want everything to go smoothly!!

All in all it was so much fun and still so crazy how much it’s evolved since 2009.  I had no kids and we used to bake all of the cookies at my house.  I don’t even have a double oven!  We then tried to just frost the cookies and it still was a bit much.  Now that I have two of my own, I love that we just exchange what we can (I encourage store bought if that’s all you have time for!) and just stop by for a hello.  During such a crazy busy season, I hope it sealed some beautiful memories in the hearts of moms and kids alike!

Meal Plan MONDAY

Happy Monday!

I am ready to eat super clean and focus these next few weeks on our health, as Christmas is fast approaching! We had our cookie party (blog to come!) and it was a grand success.  That said, I think everyone has a cookie/sugar hangover and this mama needs to up the fuits and veggies, lean proteins and push the water.

I also want to grab some more probiotics for the kiddos and some of this I do try to take a balanced approach, with mostly healthy food choices, but it isn’t easy.  My body does best with per meal- 70% greens/veggies, 20% lean protein & 10% complex carbs.  My *self control* has been a little, ok a lot off and my portions are out of whack. My husband however, can barely handle most fruits and veggies, so he needs a low fiber diet due to his Crohn’s.  My daughter will eat most things, and I have a fairly pick 4 year old who has been known to dramatically gag at the table.

This week I’m trying to use up some freezer items while still keeping it fairly healthy.  For things like the Cod, I plan on eating mine without the delish cracker crumbs and the shrimp scampi I will serve over cauli rice or zoodles!  I plan filling up on lots of veggies this week!

Garam Masala Chicken Curry 

Baked Cod w/ Ritz Cracker Topping

Easy Shrimp Scampi

Whole Chicken in a slow cooker (literally buy a whole organic chicken, sprinkle seasoning on top, add onion or garlic, cook on low for 6-8 hours until it falls apart!)

Drumstick Sheet Pan *Easy*

Pizza Night (Grab ready made crusts, I prefer cauliflower, and everyone makes their own pizza!)

Roasted Garlic Quinoa Mushroom (this will probably be just for me, but looks so yummy!)

Grape Kale Salad

What’s on your menu this week?

5 on Friday

  1. I have been really making efforts to eat more mindfully, intuitively, whatever you want to call it!! I also am really making sure I eat all the greens!  Have you tried Panera Bread’s Green Goddess salad?? It’s so good. I don’t get it often but I do dream about it and my neighbor has a copycat recipe she swears by!  I need to get that.

2.  I finished this book last week.  I had a lot of takeaways from it!  I loved starting my day with a chapter, or even just a few pages.  Lots of nuggets that stuck with me— he is very inspirational, shares lots of stories, and while the real estate investing tips are great, it’s not just about that.  His advice can apply to many occupations, parenting and being your best self overall.

3.  I have my cookie party coming up and I want to make this adorable platter!

4.  I cannot get enough of these two and their adorable holiday photo shoot.  My hearts!

5.  It’s about to get REAL messy in my kitchen and I am pretty darn excited for it.  ‘Tis the season!!  The recipes we like to do are these pretzel hugs,7 Layer Magic Cookie Bar,Ooey Gooey Butter Cookies in Chocolate, and of course good old fashion sugar cookies.

 

What’s on your agenda this holiday weekend?

Holiday Cards 2019

It’s the first week of December and that means Christmas is just a few weeks away!  I am making so many efforts this season to slow down and savor.  I want to make sure that the holidays are magical and beautiful for my family, but also for myself as well.  We can easily get wrapped up in all of the holiday stress, but it’s so important to set aside time for time honored traditions and allow ourselves to experience the joy of the season.

I know the hustle and bustle will be there, but gosh, it all just goes by so fast! Christmas has always been my favorite holiday.  The warm ember from a burning fireplace, the smell of sugar cookies baking in a busy kitchen, twinkling lights on a pine tree, the silver and gold sparkling everywhere, the slow melody of peaceful Christmas songs, and sending Christmas cards are some of my most cherished memories.  I always loved seeing all of the beautiful cards lining the doorway of our home, from friends and family.

I am teaming up with Basic Invite today to bring you some gorgeous holiday card options!  I am personally loving both of the vintage holiday cards and the retro Christmas cards. We are all so very busy, so their site is extremely simple and easy to navigate.  I was able to pull it up on my mobile device and create a stunning Christmas Card in seconds right on my mobile device.

 

SO many colors!! Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. They have over 180 colors to choose from, which sets them apart from all of the other cart retailers online!  You can create your card and make it 100% your very own, by simple touches.

wXg2Tjzk

Not sure if you’ll love it?  The neat thing about Basic Invite is that you can simply order a sample card before you order all of your holiday cards.  This way, you won’t receive 30 cards that you don’t absolutely love, you’ll know for sure that it’s perfect for you!

Bl9dQp9Q

Lots of colored envelopes! They offer over 40 different colors to choose from and all of them are peel and seal, which we all know is a major time saver for us busy ladies.

6y9ToWOo

They even offer fancy Foil cards! These come in gold, silver, and rose gold. Gorgeous!

0xfAr2YI

 

 

Need some more Christmas Card inspiration?  Feel free to follow Basic invite on all of their social media sites, via @basicinvite

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Twitter

Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51  so be sure to check them out and share a beautiful photo of your family, pets, little ones or just a stunning photograph from your 2019 year.

Let me know in the comments your favorite Christmas tradition!

Weekending

I figured I would back it up to last week–holidays make me get my days ALL confused!  Joe was super busy working and I was super busy working, so we were SUPER excited to get out on an impromptu date night Wednesday night.  I brought the kids to my dad and step-mom’s, and thought Joe would have to work late, but we were pleasantly surprised when he was finished in time for a dinner date!  We went to a local restaurant and dined on delicious fish meals, shared oysters & bacon wrapped shrimp.

Thursday we were going to go hunting, I had all my clothes ready to go washed in the “dirt soap”!  However, mother nature was not playing.  It was really windy and pouring at 5am when we would be gettin ready to go. So we had a rather chill morning. I had time to do hair and makeup uninterrupted! I even had the Macy’s Day Parade on…it was nice to not have to rush and get everyone ready and take my time.

We drove to my dad’s and were more than ready to see everyone!

The turkey was on point!  They brined it over night and it was just perfect.  I think it rang in around 19/20 lbs?!

We enjoyed all the sides, pies, drinks and things.  We were all in bed by 9 pm, which seems to be fairly normal around here.  #IamOld.

Friday I checked in here and there on some Black Friday deals, but I had ZERO desire to go out and fight crowds.  I did however have this insane urge to clean and purge all the things!! It would start in one room and then take me to another–I have bags and boxes to donate (toys from when they were wee babes!) and the play room is cleaned for our upcoming cookie party.  The kids also helped vacuum and wash the windows.  They wanted to to decorate but I wouldn’t let us until we cleaned and took care of our current situation.

Saturday we cleaned some more!  Laundry, tidying and organizing, along with a huge grocery shop, by the afternoon we were ready to hang up some holiday decor.  For dinner I made Chicken French for the very first time! (It’s one of my favorite meals!) I have been intimidated by it, not sure why, but our sitter Keegan made this before for us after returning home from a trip.  Her recipe was simple and not complex whatsoever. It was delish! I even did some artichoke hearts as well.  Kids love their butter noodles.

Sunday Joe’s alarm went off at 4:30 to go hunting.  I decided to stay up after making him breakfast and work on the blog.

After hunting, we shopped for our tree!

The weather was ice/rain/snow and we were grateful to grab a tree and go!

Getting a tree has always been one of my favorite traditions, even when I was a kid.  If it snowed on the day we were getting our tree, I always loved it just a little more!  It was a perfect day for it.

After watching the 49ers vs the Ravens Game (still not talking about it) I decided to start some holiday baking!

Joe wanted to make his famous Roast Beef (I call it that, not him haha!) and who am I to deny my man to cook for me? It came out just delicious and we had that with some steamed broccoli and I threw some biscuits in for the kids & Joe.

Somehow we still managed to decorate the entire tree before 8pm. The kids really had fun (mostly Brooke) hanging the ornaments.  Bradley loves just staring at it and dancing/running around of course.

And that takes us to Sunday night where I’m currently sitting by the fire, typing this here blog post.  I am excited for a busy and fun week ahead!

How was your weekend?

Happy December!

It’s only December 1st and we put our tree up today!  I saw this adorable graphic showcasing some of the fun activities to do this time of year.  I won’t be checking off every item on this, but I thought it was a great way to slow down and remember some ways to ENJOY and HAVE FUN instead of being all crazy stressed out.

The kids and I have been dancing and singing to Christmas songs for a few days now!  Usually after their cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows! At 4 & 6, they are seriously at the best ages for getting into the spirit and magic of Christmas.  We host a cookie party every year, so that will be coming up soon! Let me know if you’d like some cookie recipes on the blog.

We won’t be seeing the Rockettes this year, but I do want to take the kids some day.  I have never seen It’s a Wonderful Life—how terrible is that?? I’m currently relaxing by the fire while typing this little post.   I just saw that leave cookies for Santa is on there twice—I would probably add/change that we always leave carrots for the reindeer…and they always leave a mess!  The kids still talk about it.

We also love our Elf on the Shelf Buddy, and I enjoy being creative with that.  (Set your alarm on your phone “Move the E” or code words if your kid can read!)  We also love to read holiday books and I make really big efforts to keep the TV off, music on and let the kids just be.  I don’t them to get stressed any more than the daily demands that are already placed on them.

I teared up at dinner last night because it’s all just going by so fast.  It does not seem like 7 years ago I was anxiously awaiting my first born, with a big ole’ pregnant belly and super sore hips.  The babies have turned into toddlers, and preschoolers.  We have an almost second grader and almost Kindergartener.  I still can’t let that sink in…

Life is so beautiful, just be sure to press pause and simmer in the sweet spaces in between ‘being busy.’

These memories will mean so much, to all of us. Enjoy making them!

Happy Monday!

img_6161

Need I say more?!

5 For Friday

1. I finally tried this #felciacombo this week!  This girl has some great recipes and you can find her on YouTube and Instagram. She’s lost a lot of weight using the WW program and shares her meals (which are super simple and quite filling, while being tasty!)

The main components are 1 cup or so of hash browns (spray some PAM and cook them, stirring/flipping for about 10 minutes on medium heat until they are a little brown).

2 Eggs over easy/fried.

2 slices of turkey bacon. I use this, though it pains me to spend $7, it’s 10 seconds in the microwave and done!

1/4 cup of low fat cottage cheese (Sounds weird, and I don’t love cottage cheese alone, so trust this!)

It’s so good and you just mix it all up—I am FULL all morning.  (I also have been adding a handful of spinach because I love my greens!)

2. This meme is my life.  I always feel so crazy looking waiting for Brooke’s bus to come or dropping off Bradley to preschool.  As soon as I get my workout in though, I shower and ta-da!! Haha how many of you mamas can relate?!

3.  Date afternoon/night!  We had dinner plans with friends, but we have to reschedule, so we still took the time and actually got a nice dent in some Christmas shopping done!  I enjoyed a glass of Cab while getting ready.

Yes, my sweet husband is rocking a mustache on our date.  He thinks he’s funny.  Okay, so do I!  He had a full beard but decided to just roll with this for a bit…

4.  Everyone seems to be getting sick—stuffy/runny noses and a yucky cough!  I have been running the diffusers like crazy (Thieves/On Guard essential oils) taking probiotics (daily anyways) watching the sugar in take, resting when possible and swearing by these!! They really seem to help.

5.  If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know my love for style and fashion.  I was a Stella & Dot Stylist for a bit, but with our real estate business really taking off, I just didn’t have the time to devote.  Anyway, with holidays near, I decided have a stylist friend create a shopping link so anyone can shop!  With Dot Dollars (Hello, free money/jewels!) and Christmas gifts to buy, it was a no brainer!

Meal Plan/Prep Monday (low carb-ish!)

Happy Monday! It’s a brand new week! How cute is this heart graphic? My daughter Brooke loves playing around with different apps and I totally thought it was perfect for today’s blog!

I decided to continue with my “Shelf Cooking” as I am trying to truly utilize all of the items in my pantry, refrigerator, freezer etc.  I hate wasting food and if I don’t take the time to “Shop my house” I easily get caught up in the idea of needing to buy more.  I am on a roll with it!  This time instead of cooking for everyone else, I focused on moi.  I do best with a lower carb (Not ZERO carbs!) diet.  I find that when I fill up on veggies/greens, fruits, lean proteins and complex carbs I feel my best.

Sunday I took some time and went through and took inventory and then just went to work.  That’s the hardest part, right?  I find that I can plan, but it’s the actual PREP work that I may not totally get to.  Most of these will be for lunches/snacks.

Roasted Carrots:

Easy starter: Open that veggie drawer.  C’mon. We all have something sitting there just a little too long!  For me it was a bunch of carrots.  I just peeled and chopped them up, drizzled some EVOO and some seasoned salt, baked at 375 for about 45 minutes or so.  Now I have a salad topper OR easy side for any meal.

Banana Almond Flour Muffins:

These were actually a pretty big hit.  The hint of cinnamon got everyone’s nose interested! Brooke & Joe liked them, and I am excited to enjoy one with my tea or when I get a sweet tooth craving.  Low in carb, high in fat FYI.

Buffalo Chicken Casserole With Cauli Rice 

I adapted the recipe from here, but I didn’t have my coconut cream sorted, I am not on whole 30 and I didn’t have the fancy mayo (I used Kraft olive oil).  When it comes to my health, I try to be aware, but I have loosened up a bit as I am tired of spending ALL THE MONEY ON FOOD. But for real, I think it’s good to make smart healthy choices, but sometimes you just can’t spend $1000 for food in one month.

2 chicken breasts shredded (I dropped mine in a slow cooker for 2 hours w/ some broth then used my forks to shred)

1 package of frozen Cauliflower Rice

3/4 bottle of Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup of Hot sauce (I used Tastefully Simple’s as it never bothers me!)

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1/2 cup mayo

It’s not pretty, but it’s tasty!!

Shakeology Energy Bars/Bites

I have some leftover Shakeology packets and now that it’s cold, I’m not loving cold shakes!

Recipe:
1/2 cup of organic oats
1 packet of Shakeology
2 tbl almond butter (or pb)
1 tbl coconut oil
a few dried cranberries tossed in

Simple:
Melt pb & oil in pan, stir in everything and roll into balls and chill!
*I didn’t feel like getting my fingers sticky and rolling these, so I just poured the batter into a bowl with parchment paper.  I’ll cut/divide once it’s cooled.

I also have a ton of shredded pork tenderloin, so I plan on using some of these awesome recipes to help get us through the week!

11/18-11/24

Monday- Cubans (leftover pork using link above) *wrap in lettuce if not wanting carbs

Tuesday- Chicken Alfredo (w/ Spaghetti Squash for me, pasta kids)

Wednesday- Better than Takeout Chicken Fried Rice

Thursday- Date Night (kids Dino Nuggets/Mac & Cheese)

Friday – Bacon Pasta (use a different pasta if looking for lower carb?)

Weekend – Venison Roast, Fish, Takeout — I’m already craving sushi!

 

Did you do any meal prepping this weekend?

Hello; A catch-up Blog

Well hello!!

I would title this “Tea with Me” but it doesn’t feel right since I am not currently drinking any tea.  I’m chugging that water though! We’ve had a great time since the last time I blogged. #oops

We’ve been busy! I’m a moody creator and sometimes I just don’t have those creative juices flowing, or I get annoyed that I cannot control who can read my blog.  I know that when you post your words on the WOLRD WIDE WEB anyone can read, however I find that sometimes my words are used against me and that just plain sucks. (To be honest.) But I cannot control others and inevitably, I find my fingers back to these keys. There is so much joy in looking back at our adventures and as always, hope to inspire other people in some way, shape or form.

First off, Joe had his yearly stay-cation.  He and I had a date day and a work day, so we got a lot done! He also spent time in the woods with his only hobby, hunting. I got up with him so he could get out early.  No big buck yet, but I’m sure he’ll get something soon.  We also took the kids to a movie and saw The Addams Family and went out to eat one night.  — again, no photos! #badblogger

Our work day did include a small helper.

I was trying to get him to smile–we were at one of our properties.

We also took that time to stack all the wood! It’s so nice to have it all ready to go for our fires.

In important news—RED cups are back!  After dropping Brooke off at a “Books & Breakfast” at her school, I figured I’d just go and see if I could score a free reusable cup.  I did get a holiday drink. I tried the Chestnut Praline–super sweet, but very tasty! Usually I don’t drink and coffee because it bothers my reflux, but I just had one and sipped it through the day.  I didn’t die! I did however have a huge caffeine rush since I never drink that.  I used my free rewards and felt like I won the lotto basically.

It got super cold, super quick so I had to take a photo documenting a cute fuzz ball hat.

My mom flew in later that day for the weekend and it was so nice! She flew in with the snow flying, a lovely greeting coming from South Carolina.  We built a lot of fires to stay cozy and warm, as it has been a super cold November so far! (I knew Joe would be an icicle from hunting so I tried to have one going so he could thaw out.)

Friday we went to Panera for lunch and my sister joined us!  It was a great day and we had a ball.

This little turkey had all of us cracking up.  Seriously, I love this age.

He picked out some pretty Fall flowers to have.  Mom made us all dinner Friday night, which was a family favorite growing up: Chicken and Dumplings.  I didn’t take enough photos, but I was really present and in the moment and that is what matters most.

We took mom, my sister, the kids and my niece out to dinner Saturday night.  We LOVE The Revelry and since my mom lives outside of Charleston, SC I wanted to take her here! The oysters are so good.

So good, the girls LOVED them!

We got to sit at the fun round table and it was a wonderful time.   Their burgers are my favorite!

I finally took the Ennegram Quiz everyone talks about on Instagram.  Turns out, I’m an 8.

Monday brought Veteran’s Day and the kiddos had no school, and we got SO much snow.

The snow makes me get giddy about the holidays!  I am a firm #teamturkeyfirst and I won’t decorate until after Thanksgiving, then it’s GAME ON!  I did however order this adorable PDF file from Kelle Hampton, Once Upon A Holiday.  She has all of her favorite recipes, bucket list, things to enjoy during the holidays.  She is such a true inspiration to remember to slow down and savor life.  It’s $12 but with her code:  HOLIDAYEARLYBIRD   you can get the file for $9 until it launches 11/15.

 

I finished another book!! This was so good for my soul.  I found it to speak to me on so many levels! She talked a lot about how we need to be creative, but so often we punish ourselves and take away all of the fun.  In order to be a great writer, you don’t have to be miserable or have a tragic life, you just need to tap into your ideas and do the darn thing!  She told stories of how the “big magic” can transfer to others…meaning, if you get an idea for something, run with it and do something with it or else it will leave you and someone else will get the idea and go.  I listened to it for free on the Libby app, but I have had the hard copy for years–now I can go back and re-read parts that really hit me.

Random, but as I put back together the office (it became our guest room for my mom, as we don’t have extra bedrooms) I put things back in their place and this framed photo from my wedding day stopped me.  It was truly the happiest day of my life and the way he looked at me, the way he still looks at me, makes my heart so full.  I know we are all busy, but in moments like that I try to pause time and I even sent him a text message telling him so.  Life does not have to be so hurried and so rushed.  Sure it’s crazy and chaotic, but you can slow it down for a moment or so…and breathe.

Like taking the perfect photograph on helper day at Preschool.  Moments don’t last, but memories do.  He just sang about his blue feather, that he proudly placed on that turkey.

Speaking of Preschool, why are the crafts so darn cute?!

Currently finishing up this listen–it just came out and it’s so worth the read!  Perfect timing Emily Ley…well done.  It helps that my word for 2019 was “simplify” and as the end of the year nears, I think I have done a decent job of leaning into that word more and more.

img_6124.png