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.

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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.

 
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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

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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?!

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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.

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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!!)

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Wednesday Quote Dump

I figured I would share some of the memes/quotes taking up storage on my phone. Enjoy!

Share yours with me!

Feel Good

I recently listened to Gabby’s latest book Super Attractor and it was fantastic.  I took this quote from it and it truly resonated with me.  I think sometimes as grown ups, we forget how to have fun, enjoy ourselves and allow ourselves to feel good.  As mamas, we often take care of everyone and everything else before we think about ourselves.  It’s so important that we remember!

 

For me, it was one of THE BIGGEST triggers or “bullet holes” I discovered when working with my life coach.  What was?  Oh, you know, allowing myself to feel good, or have fun, just for the heck of it.  For some reason I create boundaries for myself (I’m still working on it) where I don’t really ‘let loose’ or ‘have fun’ unless others are having fun.  Or my work is all done.  I have gotten a lot better at letting the ‘guilt’ go and really just focusing on ME at the present time.  I really do best when I get a workout in daily, write daily, and take time in the morning to reflect on my goals and dreams, as well as sit in quiet.  I journal, spend time looking through devotionals or other inspiring reads. It really helps set my mind right.

What I am learning is that the universe attracts more of what you put out. I’ve always loved the quote, “what you think about, you bring about.” But it’s so true.  The more you feel good, that good energy, happy vibe, the more you will attract.  If you’re stuck in a sad, lonely, victim mentality–that everyone is out to get you, you’ll simply attract more of that.  There’s a always a way out, and it’s to focus on yourself.  Do baby steps.  Cook a favorite recipe.  Go on a walk by yourself.  Journal.  Figure out what would start those feelings of enjoyment, happiness and ultimately live into that.  It will become your life.

I distinctly remember a wine tour my then boyfriend, now husband I and went on.  I was so worried and uptight over everyone else enjoying themselves, that honestly I was not having a good time!  I’ve done this a lot throughout my life.  Part of it is yes, I am a control freak (working on it) and also very in tune with others’ around me and their emotions.  (Hello, Empathy is my #1 strength.)  Over time I am learning that my happiness has nothing to do with other people and it’s okay for me to feel good, even if others around me don’t, can’t or won’t.  It is hard to watched loved ones and friends stew in their own misery, but Joe and I both work very hard at creating a calm, peaceful, happy and joyful life in our home.  Sometimes it’s best to just focus on yourself, and pray that others will find ways to feel good too.

What do you do for yourself to feel good?

Weekend Vibes

It was nice that Brooke had Friday off, even though I didn’t realize it until a few days prior! Haha.  #momlife  Which later that day I saw this meme and it was perfect because I seriously thought I was on top of my game!!  Luckily my neighbor Katie kept me up to speed.

 

After we dropped Bradley off at Preschool she wanted to have a girls’ day.  We hit up Starbucks and then headed over to Target for some birthday gifts, as she has a few parties to attend in the next few weeks.

She brought her doll and set her up like this and I about died when I came over and saw her sitting like this.

Brooke’s favorite treat at Starbs:  Kiddie Hot Cocoa and the confetti sugar cookie.  Nice choice girlfriend!!

Saturday morning was such a gorgeous sunrise!! The pinks and purple mixed with the orange glow were simply stunning!

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We had out last day of gymnastics, which was fun and a little sad!  It’s about an hour drive and we would usually go visit my dad and step-mom after their session, but with the impending Winter weather, it is not a commitment I want to make.  I hate driving in the snow, so I’d rather wait it out until Spring or Summer.

My sister asked if we wanted a babysitter Saturday night, so of course we said yes!! It was a little chilly so I did a basic grey bell sleeved sweater with my favorite pair of jeans from American Eagle.  They fit like a glove!

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We went to Village Gate in downtown Rochester and hit up the restaurant Lento.  They serve everything fresh, the menu changes daily and it’s all locally sourced.  It’s in a funky building with lots of crazy art pieces. He wanted me to take a picture of this fish.  Speaking of fish, we had some amazing Oysters and I had the BEST Salmon dinner with roasted brussels and bacon and apple. I can’t stop thinking about it! I also had some to die for brie and goat cheese….yum!

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Joe loved this mural and it looks like some of the “amazing art” we have hanging in our room.  Our artistic preferences may differ slightly…

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Sunday I spent some time talking with the contractor and checking out shower tile ideas for the house that burned down.  We like the bigger tiles, like this look minus the extra small tiling. I want to keep it simple and clean looking.

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Photo Via Pinterest

 

Sunday we had our neighbor’s birthday party at a YMCA.

The kids played in the jungle gym and swam in the pool.

Well, all but one did.

SO hard to get a still shot! I love that Bradley is covered in vanilla cake frosting.

Brooke picked out her presents all by herself…

Lily turned 9 and yes, our daughter who’s 6 is taller than her. They wear the same size! They are so sweet together and we are very grateful to have good neighbor friends.

I finished this book and it was full of good gems! I’ll share a few later on.

I had “the house shut down” (Joe makes fun of me, but seriously, I say this all the time! I think because my mom used to!) by 8pm and I think I was asleep before the Patriots game, it may have just started. I got up to use the bathroom, and I had taken a Nyquil a little earlier so I could sleep well and try to get this cold/allergy whatever out of my system and when I stood up I had this feeling/flash/premonition and I told Joe, “The Ravens win.”  When we got up this morning, he said hey, by the way you’re right! I’m a tad freaked out by this but find it cool as well.  I felt like I was in that state of semi-consciousness and half awake, which I bet if I meditated on a regular basis I could tap into more.  I may have lost you at this point, but yes, I do believe in psychic ability and a little voo doo.  Joe says if I hone in my skills he’ll start betting. Hahaha!

 

Happy Monday friends!

Day of Rest?

Working for yourself is the best and craziest thing ever at times.  I love the flexibility of it, but if I am being totally honest, I struggle with time management.  When I was a teacher, my day was scheduled for me.  I ate when it was “lunch time.” I started class when the bell rang, and then ended when it rang again.  Every 42 minutes (or 85 in the HS block schedule) I knew exactly which students would walk into my classroom and exactly what we’d be doing that day.

Enter motherhood and all ‘scheduling’ went right out the window!! Baby’s dictated everything and as soon as we seemed to settle into a nice routine, a leap or growth spurt would happen and it all went to heck.  I survived it, like all mothers do, and really just became adapt at ‘bobbing and weaving’ as my husband so lovingly calls it.

Now that I have one child in full time school and one in 3 half day pre-school classes, and a real estate business to run, I find myself sometimes going a little batty.  As I sat in on an another amazing Serve Sell Live Well class with Sam Sagot, she had a guest speaker present on time management.  I believe I have gotten better, but man I feel like I am still not always finishing what I started, as I get so distracted easily! She said that our brains take 23 minutes to focus back on the original task at hand, and that multi-tasking is BAD (which I know) but gosh, it’s so hard to break this habit!  I feel like kids (who are 4, little and still quite needy) constantly interrupt my flow–whatever it may be.  I could be working on marketing, book-keeping, renovation details, talking to a contractor, paying taxes, you name it!  I could also be folding laundry, doing the dishes or trying to vacuum.  As I sit here and type this blog I just realized I have a pile of wet laundry behind me that needs to be hung.

I guess the point is, as much as I love giving tips, help a mama out!! I am working on “time blocking” but how do you stay on task?  How do you make sure that you finish what you started?  Working from home can be tricky–hello, I cannot leave my kitchen a mess and just walk by it without cleaning it!? How do you do all the housework, cook, take care of kids and get all your work done and still find time every day or week for you?

I also listened to the girls talk about having one day where they do not work.  Day of rest.  I know that Sunday should be that, but sometimes that the only day Joe & I can catch up and talk about business stuff without other work interfering. So, this week I think I will take Tuesday off…maybe my “Day of rest” will be Saturdays.  And mamas, by rest I don’t mean my feet are up all day and I’m not hustling around the house, but I mean one day off from “WORK.”  I LOVE what we are doing with our real estate company and I truly feel empowered to step into my role better each day, but I am sensing a little burnout and I simply can’t help but wonder if it’s because every day I “do” a little real estate work.

What are your thoughts, do you take a day of rest from your “job”?  Do you work every day and never feel a burn out? What do you enjoy doing on your day off?  I would like to use my Saturdays to catch up around the house, play with the kids, write, workout and let my mind take a mental break.  At the same time, I realize that we all have seasons of work, and I feel like right now maybe it’s more of hustle season, and it’s hard to break because we have a lot going on right now.   Maybe it’s okay to work a little every day, as long as you build in ‘down time’ every day and stick to it…

Maybe this blog makes zero sense, but I felt like getting my thoughts out of my jumbled mind, so feel free to chime in!  I feel like it applies to stay at home moms, work at home moms, working moms—all the moms! We take care of SO many things in a day, in a week–and don’t get me wrong, I know men do a lot too, but I’m just speaking about myself who’s a work at home mama…

Happy Sunday!

Saturday Sillies

I saw this and laughed out loud. It reminded me of our little dog Holly, and how as I get older (and the weather colder) I love a cozy night in!

Holly is a little stinker and we have had her 9 years come Thanksgiving Eve. She is more like a cat and literally burrows in and under all the blankets. Most times we can’t find her she’s under our bedsheets.

Holly takes over EVERY blanket gifted or bought. It’s annoying and I try hard to not let the blankets become hers, but inevitably at some point she finds them. I believe Bailey our lab got a hold of this blanket last year- and now Holly can peek through.

We had our first fire of the season yesterday and it was so delightful! I even took a nap.

Happy Saturday!

Hello November

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We had a great Halloween!  I decided that it would be superfragilist—I have no clue how to spell that, so, I thought it’d be super fun to surprise Brooke as she got off the bus from school.  Since it was pouring anyway, I put on my Mary Poppins costume.  She. About. Died.  She didn’t know it was me at first, she thought, “Who is that lady?!” Then realized it was Mommy AS Mary Poppins.  She just kept laughing and telling me how much she enjoyed it last night.  It was totally worth putting in that little effort to make her smile.

Photo Cred: Bradley!

I actually had this shirt in my closet from Banana Republic.  I scooped this skirt up at Marshalls forever ago, it was a Vince Camuto find.  I threw on a pair of black tights and wore some black booties (similar here) for this look.  I was definitely wearing rubber rain boots later on though.  I thought my Stella & Dot Getaway Bag was the perfect touch too! The hat I found on Amazon as well as the bow-tie.  

My crazy lil ninja.

I feel like I looked as though I was ready to go to work as a waitress too.  I used a lighter Bare Minerals liquid foundation and just a super pink blush, no bronzer, to give me that porcelain look.  I used Lipsense in Candy Cane. Oh, and I finally got a new tube of Epic Mascara.  It still is hands down my FAVORITE EVER!!

Just a spoonful of sugar.

I tried this fine Cab with our pizza and boneless wings for dinner.  Yum!

The kiddos wanted to bake football cookies since the 49ers played (and won!) Thursday Night Football.

My dad and step-mom came over and Brooke was having fun with the phone.

Papa was capturing her and the glow-sticks.

We were so happy they could come by, have dinner, help pass out candy and see the kids trick-or-treat.  They left me a treat by folding some laundry—#winning Thank you again!

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Papa in the mask!

The kids wanted to trick-or-treat with the neighbors this year, so we all got together.  I cannot believe how many houses we made it to!  Bradley did great keeping up, and the big kids did great at slowing down for him.  We all got wet, but it was warm so it really wasn’t that bad!

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My family.

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I hope you had a Happy Halloween, and cheers to a wonderful November!

 

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Happy Halloween!

I wanted to share some throwbacks on the blog today of the last few years. I cannot believe how big the kids are getting!  We are looking forward to a little trick-or-treating, even if it’s raining!  I think sometimes as adults we make it more about us than our kids and it’s important to remember the fun and joy we used to have at the SIMPLE things.  I’m talking, the smallest of things here people, are what seem to stick in our children’s minds.  My kiddos are already begging to play the “Santa Game” (Google during the holiday has a free Santa’s workshop thing they enjoy playing on my laptop)

Our first year with Brookie, 2013, we did a 49ers cheerleader outfit.

The 49ers were decent that year too, so we proudly wore our jerseys ha.

The second year, 2014, I scored a Pig Costume in January for like $3 when I ordered her first birthday party items.  Daddy always likes wearing a big scary mask…(it doesn’t scare the kids, but all the neighbor kids kind of wig out…)

I was pregnant with Bradley and had little pig ears, but they didn’t make the photo.  Side note, holy smokes our chairs are so clean before kids ruined them!! HAha

I just loved this costume. I just remembered how she didn’t want to put it on, but when trick-or-treaters came to the door in costume, she realized they got candy, so it quickly went right on!

Bradley came along and in 2015, we had Anna from Frozen and a cute Dragon.

I even did a YouTube video.

Brookie picked out a Unicorn costume from Target the following year, 2016 and my mom snagged me this cute cat head piece.

Bradley Boo was a Ninja Turtle

Halloween 2017 they both chose their costumes.  Lil miss had her heart set on being a black cat and Bradley fell in love with Kion.

Last year, 2018, Bradley chose Black Panther and Brooke was Mavis from Hotel Transylvania.

A sneak of this year— Bradley is a Ninja!

Our little Angel at dance class.

I may have decided to dress up a bit as well…here’s my inspiration!

It’s absolutely pouring, so I will most likely be wearing my rubber rain boots.  Oh the joys of Upstate New York weather!
Stay safe and Happy Halloween friends!

Tuesday Thoughts

I’ve been really feeling the changing of the seasons, the shifts in life and truly becoming more aware of what’s all around.

View outside my home

 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirl.

The constant comparing, the worry, the it’s not fair mentality.

As much as I try not to, I can fall victim to the negative swoop that surrounds us all.

We all do.

But time and time again, I go back to center.  The tools that I learned (and lived) with Lindsay Preston over the Spring and Summer continue to save and service me over and over again.  When I feel stressed, less than, anxious, upset, mad or frustrated I lean in.  I get quiet.  I realize that my problems are not too big.  I see others with far worse than I.  I write. I journal.  I walk outside.  I breathe.  I move my body.  I count my blessings and list the 5 things I am grateful for every.stinking.morning. (Thank you Hollis Co.)

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Nothing is too big, and we must remember that we are not alone, though alone we may feel.  The universe guides us, subtle and quiet, or sometimes with great force. You are exactly where you need to be at the exact right time.

The only thing you must remember, is that you must not quit. 

As Oprah says, “What is the next right move?”

Don’t think about tomorrow, next month or next year.

When frazzled, go ahead and talk out loud or grab a piece of paper.

Get the crazy mumbled thoughts out of your head and just breathe.

I am loving this Autumn for so many reasons, but mostly because it’s slowing me down and making me acutely aware of how precious life is.  In just a few days, trees go from vibrant greens to euphoric reds, orange and yellows…to brown and bare.  It is a season of collecting thoughts, pinecones, leaves, memories.  I find myself taking more photos with our ‘nice’ camera as if I’m trying to pause time itself.   I’m relishing the warm/cool walks with my family and dogs.

Above all, be grateful.

When all else fails, there is truly always something to be grateful for.

Whether is a pumpkin cold foam iced soy chai or your precious babies–

Getting grateful is the gateway to happiness, joy & loving your life.

What are you grateful for today?

Weekending

Happy Monday!

Is it me, or did I blink and the whole thing was gone?!

I finally grabbed these snacks for the kiddos and their “Fall Treat.”  They love it! I just mix it together in a small bowl or bag and they thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Meanwhile, mama is trying to keep the balance with lots of roasted veggies.  PSA– after these are roasted, they are so good with fried eggs on top!

Friday Joe hunted, Bradley had Pre-K and Brooke had a half day. I got to go to Zumba!

By noon, we all were back home and gearing up for a little family fun day!  We grabbed lunch and then had to check on some of our properties that are being rehabbed. This was the home with the fire in it.  Down to bare bones!

We took a drive down one of Joe’s favorite roads and the scenery did not disappoint!

After working a bit, we made sure to have fun and stopped to grab some pumpkins!

Saturday is our gymnastics day and we’ve been stopping by my Dad & Stepmom’s afterwards.  She begged me to take her photo!

That night I came home to a new Advanced Reader’s copy of this book–it’s a thriller!

Sunday was spent mostly tidying up the house and catching up on laundry.  We were going to do up some chicken wings, but they were still a little frozen! That’s okay, we’ll have them tonight.  I ended up with pasta (aka butter noodles for the kids) and I did some chicken up in a pan and slathered some Thai Peanut Sauce on the chicken & pasta.  It was actually quite good! We did carve our two pumpkins too!  The perfect ending to our weekend.

The the crazy, spooky madness of Halloween week commence!

NOLA

A few weeks back hubby and I got to go away, just the two of us!! It had been a few years since we were able to do such a thing, and boy did we enjoy it.  A company Joe works with flew us out to New Orleans for their annual conference.  We got to stay at this fancy hotel right in the French Quarter.

Pretty much as soon as we got there, we hit up Bourbon Street.  Disclaimer: If you take Bonine or Dramamine, I highly recommend not getting a Hurricane Drink.  I don’t do well on planes or with motion sickness in general, so I popped a Dramamine.  Oops.  I then didn’t really eat a whole lot because we traveled all day.  While I did chug a bunch of water, drinking this extra sugary beverage was not the best idea.  It was all fun in games until I came to a screeching halt! I survived, but didn’t enjoy Louisiana raw oysters….dem roast beef po boys though—mmm!

I felt much better after sleeping and the next morning we had breakfast at some funky little joint.  The french toast was to die for and of course I #putaneggonit

We went looking for my lifeline aka Starbucks, and stumbled onto the Mississippi River.  Haha typing that out reminds me of when my grandma used to make me spell it for her!

After our humbling experience at the Boone Hall Plantation last year, we definitely took note of the history here in New Orleans.

When we took a mini carriage ride/tour through the French Quarter, he shared with us the layouts of the homes.  There was usually a kitchen on the bottom, servants quarters above, small courtyard in between (to be like Versailles) and the owner’s home to the side or front?   Well, one night we were at a jazz bar and I went out back to use the bathroom, which I had to walk through a mini courtyard and when I opened the door to the ladies room this is what I saw!  How crazy, cool, weird and amazing was this?  The old ‘kitchen’ fireplace was still in tact.  Sure enough, there were a bunch of rooms above, which Joe and I thought gosh how hot it must have gotten in the servants areas!  I just loved seeing history like this.

On Tuesday we did a Food Tour with the whole group!  It was so cool.   I made sure to chug my water after my hurricane escapade the night before.

While we didn’t care for the raw oysters, these little guys were quite tasty!  Charbroiled, butter, lemon, wine, parm cheese & breadcrumbs–can’t go wrong there!!

Roast Beef Po’Boy.  So. Freaking. Good.  The French bread makes it!

We relaxed outside while waiting for the next round.

Fried Gator Bites!  It truly tasted just like chicken.  I’m wondering if this Remoulade sauce would taste like what we enjoyed down there.  I’ll have to ask my sister-in-law as she is from NOLA!

These shrimp were so tasty! I love dipping the bread in too…

Then as a dessert, we enjoyed Bread Pudding, which apparently you use the leftover French bread from the Po boys to make it.  I’ll need to find a recipe for this too! Any suggestions??

The owner of the company insisted we visit the Oldest Bar in America, Lafittes Blacksmith Shopso we basically had a giant happy hour here!

Wednesday was Joe’s 42nd birthday!! It was also the day where he had to speak on the panel.  Now, I don’t have to attend, but honestly I truly enjoy the keynote speaker and of course, I love supporting my husband.  I take credit in some of his success; he would not be able to get up and do all that he does, if I did not work 100% beside him doing all that I do.  We are a great team and if I can handle the behind the scenes stuff, then he can focus on his career.  Don’t get me wrong, I do work with our business too, but the main breadwinner is Joe.  Plus, I love getting all dolled up!

He actually won an award, I was so proud of him! He hates the extra attention, but he deserves all the applause.

Joe’s 42nd birthday, NOLA at a conference.

That evening we met for cocktails in hotel lounge and before we left for dinner, we stopped to admire my favorite –white roses!

The company pulled out all of the stops for their 20th Anniversary dinner.  We enjoyed French 75s at Arnauds as well as a spectacular dinner and conversations.

Our random table of new friends.  I was seated next to a Canadian foodie, but he’s not pictured.  We were going on and on about all the foods, drinks…he was a trip!

He was the one who ordered some fancy liquor and we toast to Joe, the company, life.

After celebrating into the night,  Joe had to wrap up the conference and by noon he was able to go grab lunch with me and see more.

That shrimp again!

This guy did me in, and I honestly think I’m still feeling its effects!!  Good old Buffalo sauce slathered on a fried oystery po boy.  #worthit

The one big #BUST of the trip was that for Joe’s birthday, I gifted him a really awesome racing experience, where he was to drive a Lambo around the NOLA race track.  Unfortunately, though it had not rained in 6 FREAKING WEEKS, it poured as we made our way 30 minutes there…thus resulting in no driving the Lambo.  I was crushed, pretty much in tears, and he was sad but not nearly as I!  I swear there will be a next time, maybe then my dad could drive and Bradley could watch.  Ugh, it totally sucked though, how cool would that have been??  He did sit and start it though… #lame.

We wandered around a little and I found William Faulkner’s house.  So cool!

We stuffed our faces, yet again with some po’boys.

One of my breakfasts was super yummy!  Loved this NOLA version of eggs benny…sweet potatoes yum!

We were at Café Beignet but didn’t try any.  #fail We did enjoy the view, live jazz music and some drinks…

Random old bar…

After our carriage ride/tour, we had to make sure we went back to the Oldest Bar in America for an authentic Hurricane.  According to our guide, he said these are the best on Bourbon St.  They use real juice, not a powder, so you don’t get all that nasty sugary taste/flavor and don’t feel sick afterwards!  It straight up tasted like juice, and I could see how very dangerous these could be!!

I was trying to have Joe take a photo of me in front of the bar/sign…this will do though! Haha.  It sums up the end of our getaway quite well:  Messy hair, crumbled red bull can/garbage…oh, Bourbon Street!

We attempted to rally that last night, but I could barely do dinner, I was beat.  My reflux/body had enough of the booze, the fried foods and all the things, so while I did enjoy a Muffalatta pizza, we were back in the hotel quite early.  I just couldn’t get into the whole drunken frat boy/puking scene happening on Bourbon.  BTW these shoes I bought specifically for NOLA and they did not disappoint! $20 and they were comfy, covered my toes from any–errr…grossness on Bourbon– and they seriously went with everything!

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While we had so much fun and were so grateful for this experience, by Friday night/Saturday I was really missing my babies! We love traveling and it’s something that I want to do more of in years to come.  Rumor has it next year’s conference will be in Miami.  I haven’t been to South Beach since I was 20! Oh, I better prepare better for next time around!

Autumn Tag

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Writer’s Block has hit (hello, it’s been a few weeks and my words don’t know where to begin again!) But as with anything in life, you’re supposed to just start. Don’t overthink, don’t sit and ponder, just jump in and take action! So here we go.

I googled Fall Bog Tags, and this one came up.  (I know it’s not early autumn, but hey it still worked!) I thought it’d be a fun and easy way to get back into the writing groove.

1- Favorite thing about Autumn?   The changing of the leaves.  I am obsessed with the colors this year!  I also love how it slows me down and I find myself being very present and in the moment.

2- Spooky Autumn or cozy Autumn?  Personally, I love cozy and cute.  I would not really call myself much of a spooky fan at all, however I married a man who loves halloween and all scary things, so there’s a nice mix here at our house.  My little guy who’s 4 is still a little spooked of some things, but even the kids love scary Halloween stuff!
3- Haunted house or Halloween party? I would much prefer a party, I don’t love being scared out of my mind!  I am thinking next year we have a Halloween party for the kids.  We always had them growing up and my dad (and his buddy) would dress up and scare us.  We’d wear costumes and dance around, play the donut on a string game, bob for apples…simple sweet memories!
4- Carve pumpkins or paint pumpkins? I love the look of a carved pumpkin.  Even if we just do a simple face, the glow and the memories are my favorite.  I do like a pretty painted pumpkin, but I just don’t like to do them.
5- Go apple picking or go on a hay ride? I’ve never actually gone apple picking, so I’ll go with hay ride.  I would love to get the kids on a hay ride before the season is over! They go with Joe at the land behind his lawn mower and always have a ball.
6- Pumpkin spice lattes or mulled apple cider? Apple cider.  I used to love PSL but I don’t drink coffee any more.  However, the pumpkin cold foam chai was pretty tasty! I should get one more before they’re gone…
7- What did you dress up for Halloween last year? I didn’t!  We didn’t go to any parties and Joe had to work late, we kind of rushed Halloween last year and I am hoping it won’t be so crazy this year. As for this year’s costume, it will be fun though.  Stay tuned!
8- Falling rain or a crackling fireplace? Ooooh, can I have both?!  I love being cozy inside when it’s raining out, but that fire will always be my favorite.  We currently have a real fire place which smells and feels amazing, I just don’t love the mess.  In my dream bedroom I’ll have a gas fireplace!
9- Have you purchased any fall decor yet? I bought some pumpkins and mums for outside.  I usually buy one new seasonal item to add to my collections, but I don’t think I bought anything this year?  Maybe when they go on clearance I’ll take a look~
10- Favorite photo that you took last fall? I just took these these this year.


11- Favorite Autumn-themed movie? You’ve Got Mail.  LOVE Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks.
12- Favorite color to wear in Autumn? Mustard or purples.  I also love black, and I feel that it’s very appropriate for Fall!
13- Favorite Autumn-themed book? I’ll read a thriller or mystery…just finished Sharp Objects, that was a good one to read in October!
14- Best way to spend a rainy day? Tea, a good book, cuddles on the couch with the dogs and kids–maybe even a nap!
15- Favorite Autumn food? Pumpkin or butternut squash soup. I am using my slow cookers all the time right now! I also love baking breads, muffins, all the yummy and heartier things.
16- Favorite Autumn quote?

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17- Favorite Autumn leaf? Probably that red maple you’d see above.  My husband and I keep seeing these gorgeous bushes that are turning from a green to an amazing red–we need to find out what kind they are!
18- Favorite Autumn activity? Walks in the leaves, picking out our pumpkins, baking and cooking!
19- Favorite Autumn scent? Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, anything maple, apple, I love food scents.
20- Is your birthday in Autumn?  No, but my husband’s is!! October 9th.

Crustless Egg Bake

A few weeks ago I shared a few quiche recipes (which are SO good!) but I just did a 10 day cleanse and cut out processed carbs, so I decided to try out this egg bake using ground turkey for the bottom.  — More on that cleanse later, but MAN cutting extra sugars and carbs make me feel so lean and great!!

I don’t know about you, but mornings can be crazy hectic, no matter how organized I am the night before, there’s something that pops up and needs attending to in the mornings.

I have my husband to get out the door–clothes ironed, breakfast made, lunch packed.

My first grader to get ready for school and catch the bus before 8:30.

Every other day my 4 year old has preschool.

Plus two dogs who need to be taken outside and fed as well.

Oh yeah, and there’s me!

This was awesome because it fed me ALL week.  I cut this into giant squares and it honestly filled me up.  I was able to run errands or workout and did not feel hungry at all.

Best part? You can use whatever veggies you have on hand!! Clean those refrigerators out people! I am really being more aware of how much food we have and trying to use it up before it goes bad.

Recipe:

Pre-heat oven 350

Brown the ground turkey (chicken, beef, whatever your preference!) and add spices.  I used herb de provence from Trader Joes.

Sauté veggies (if raw) until soft.

I used 4 eggs and I had 3/4 carton of egg whites left — stir in a mixing bowl.

In a 9×13 layer ground meat, then all of the veggies.  I double checked the fridge and found some broccoli leftover from a dinner so I threw that in as well!  Then pour the eggs on top.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the eggs are cooked.

I salt and pepper to taste before I eat it.

You could add cheese, but again I was cleansing so I didn’t until I was finished. I did add a little goat cheese after I was done, and it was so good!

I love when I can make something ahead of time and simply warm it up.  You could probably freeze this as well if you don’t think you’d eat it every single day, but I didn’t mind since I knew it was filling and healthy.

Enjoy!

 

Productivity

I’ve been really focusing on what’s making me productive and how I’m getting everything done.  I watch tons of other moms on YouTube doing their thing, I surround myself with positive people and have a few tips that I believe can help you if you feel overwhelmed.  I am doing the #last90dayschallenge and so a few of these are inspired by Rachel Hollis, but I started implementing them before 10/1 so I can speak from experience that they are helping in more ways than one!

1.) Cut distractions. 

This could be negative family or friends, social media in general, mindless snacking, or your phone.  I know babies, kids and dogs can be a bit demanding, but get into a schedule and figure out a good routine.  I know if I put the dog outside on her doggie run, I have a good amount of time to get some stuff done without worrying about her puppy-ness wanting to chew on toys that haven’t been cleaned up etc.  My kids are getting older so I can set some timers and let them watch a show, play a video game or independently play without having to watch them like a hawk.  If you have a baby or a toddler, then give yourself grace.  You’re number one focus is keeping that human alive!  Otherwise, turn off the phone, ignore messages (for now) and set a time later in the day to accomplish those things.  Having a list helps me.

2.) Finish things.

There’s not much worse than that feeling like you have a million things left not done.  Maybe you’ve started most of them, but if you’re like me, you can easily get distracted (kids, dogs, life!) and then I don’t finish something and it hangs there.  Just do it.  It probably only takes half the time we think anyway.  Set a timer and get-er-done!  The satisfaction of crossing it off the to do list and actually seeing an end result will catapult you onto the next activity that needs to happen.

3.) Drink your water & Cut or limit sugars, processed foods, and alcohol. 

Tired? Drink your water.  Hungry?  Drink your water.  Bored? Drink your water.  Feeling run down? Drink your water.  Want a soda or coffee?  Drink some water.  I’ve been making myself drink half of my body weight in water, and before I allow myself to eat or drink something else (even tea) I chug a bunch of water to see if it’s something I still want.  Water is SO important for all of our organs and to keep us running full steam! Here me out, I get it.  The latté, cookie, chips, pop, whatever seems so helpful but it I find that the quick fix does not fix the overwhelm.  I know I’m just coming off a cleanse, where I did omit these items, but seriously, I have no brain fog, lots of energy (at 6am) I’m sleeping great and if I had not gotten mindful about what was going into my body, I don’t think I would have realized how great I could feel.  Am I never going to have wine or a Green Tea Latté again?  Heck no, BUT I will have them in moderation.  I think we all tend to get a little lenient in the summer and before we know it, we feel like crap, and the spiral continues.  Plus half of the problem is that we don’t even realize how much we’re consuming until we step away from it for a bit…

4.) Wake up an hour early.  

It’s not easy.  I love sleep.  I love the cozy bed and the feel of the soft sheets.  BUT, when you start making a habit of getting up before the rest of the house, something changes inside.  I look forward to starting my day.  I get to do a few of my favorite things, writing, reading, sipping tea and just be alone with my thoughts.  You could workout, pray, meditate, whatever you feel like doing, but do it before you have to go take care of everyone else.  Creating before you start consuming will change your life people!  I’ll write more on my morning routine later, but just try it for a few weeks.  If you normally get up at 7, set that alarm for 6 and just set things up the night before.  I literally cannot stress the importance of this one!  YOU matter and putting yourself first to be with God, or a good book, or sweat sesh will give you that push the rest of the day.  An hour sound like too much?  Start with 15-20 minutes and work your way up.  I was up at 5:45 no alarm today, just because.

5.) Have fun!

The less we look at things at “chores” or things that we have to do, the better we feel.  If I have a dirty floor, clothes piled everywhere, messy rooms, food to prepare and overflowing dishes in the sink, the first thing I do is breathe.  Push play on a good audiobook or even a fun song, watch a TV show or YouTube video while you get to work.  {I recently just rented an old favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail, so that I could watch it while I folded and put away the endless loads of laundry}.  Once I realize I can habit stack, I know it won’t be so bad. Then I throw some laundry in, (to feel like I started taking action on SOMETHING!) get going on the dishes, prepare the food, clean up and before I realize it, everything is back in place and I can sigh in relief that my kitchen is no longer a disaster area!

Fitness Meets Fashion: Fit Couture

I have the pleasure of being a brand ambassador for Jenn Richardson’s new fitness apparel Fit Couture.  Jenn is a genius when it comes to creating pieces that fit well for every woman, using trendy styles as well as higher end material, while keeping the price reasonable.

My items arrived in a super timely fashion and were adorably packaged with little stickers.

I ordered three pieces to try out and honestly I cannot decide which is my favorite.

The Adelaide sports bra has taken over first place for my favorite Lulu sports bra! $34 (which is way better for the budget!) and it’s supportive (34c here) and buttery soft.  I love that you can remove the cups so that they continue to support the girls, but I do hear that she’s working on different inserts.  (she listens to feedback!) I’m a sucker for the strappy back and really like that it pokes out of open back tanks etc.  It does not cut or dig into me nor do I feel suffocated, like other VS sports bras I have tried.  It’s literally the best!

The Ivy Leggings were honestly the #1 thing that caught my eye.  These come in black or this pink (mauve–which is SO in right now) and they are only $59. Again, I adore the crisscross design and how it gives the booty an extra lift!!

They are so cute!! I received so many compliments.  I did a Medium in these as well.  (I am a size 6 typically.) They are plenty long enough in the legs.  I’d say they are mid-rise but they do come up almost to my navel.

The Maia top is SO fun!!  It comes in Black, Grey or White and is $30.  I ordered a Medium and it’s not a full crop, but definitely rides up a little, but with a higher waisted legging, I felt totally confident and not too teeny-bopper!  It’s edgy but I’m comfortable working out and running errands in it.

Jen is currently working on some animal print pieces too, so stay tuned!!

 

Remember to use my code JENNDELLEFAVE to save 10% when you order from here. 

 

Five on Friday

I am linking up with Becky, Della,  Whitney,  and Tif for High Five on Friday!

1.) I am officially on Day 5 of my cleanse today.  Less bloat, more energy, no mindless snacking or shoveling all the things into my mouth.  No pumpkin chais—sad face– but I feel great! I honestly don’t remember the last time I cleansed, so that is usually a good indication of me really needing to ‘reset’.   I’d tell ya how much weight I’ve lost, but oh yeah, my scale died.  Bought new batteries.  That didn’t work.  So a new scale is on the way, thank you Amazon–can’t wait to try it out!  I really didn’t think I was eating ‘that bad’ but oh goodness, the sugar detox has been REAL!  All those starchy carbs, sugary lattes, cookies, cakes, breads, pastas…I was out of whack.  (PS my tank is linked here!)

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Post day 3 hump woo!

2.) Last 90 Days starts Tuesday!! I’m super pumped, and have been rocking the ‘Start Today Journal’ as part of my morning routine the last few weeks. I bought it back in November of last year, then Joe got really sick (we didn’t realize it at the time, how sick he was) and then holidays came and his Crohn’s was so bad that he ended up in the hospital.  I abandoned this little journal (and myself) and then found my Life Coach.  I spent so much time working with her until August.  I honestly just felt the need to pick it back up and start again! I can’t wait to fill it up!  I love it.

3.) Family Fridays.  I miss these.  I know kids need to be in school, but man the four of us have so much fun together in the Summer and on holidays!  Sure I need my mama breaks like everyone else, but I just love spending time with these two goofballs. I miss Summer already!  I am already dreaming and scheming how we will spend our holidays and breaks.  I want to visit more pumpkin patches, drink hot cocoa, visit the kids museum, go sledding…All the things!

4.)  We had another meeting to build our dream home.  We couldn’t find a sitter, so we were hoping that we could rely on some good old technology.  Unfortunately the cemented walls in the conference room made it for ZERO cell reception.  Meeting seemed to be a (very) small step forward (better than back?) and the kids did pretty well considering.  Onward and upward!  I am leaning into my faith on this one.  Building on your own lot is no joke! Patience is key and I continue to focus on my gratitude.  I was super frustrated after leaving the meeting, but then I turned on Joel Osteen (no, I don’t care if you’re a Christian and you think he’s no good, thanks though!) and as always, the very first sentence I heard him say, spoke to me.  God will take you through the fire sometimes, and he will make you fire proof. Other times, you will be delivered and not have to fight that battle at all.  I calmed down immediately and let go, to let God.

5.) ETST aka Kelle Hampton on the gram.  (Enjoying the small things). She’s probably my favorite account to follow.  She takes beautiful photos, is so creative and I just adore her.  She has three children and is so real, yet artsy.  Her page sparks joy, inspires and I never feel less than when being in her little space here on the internet.  She does this 15 minute shake down she shares on her stories and cleans up her kitchen, which resembles any families on an after dinner evening.  She’s great! I always leave her page wanting to be a better momma. She shared this last week and I MUST MAKE IT for my crew (and neighbor friends!)

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Motivating Quotes

It was time for a photo phone dump of my motivating quotes!  I love looking at inspiration, but my iCloud gets mad at me telling I am full all of the time.  I thought maybe you’d enjoy a few of these too!

Have a wonderful day!

 

And, reader beware, adult language:

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I Confess…

I miss the link up for these!! {If there’s a new one, someone please LMK! K thanks.}

…I’m on day 2 of my cleanse and I’ve got a whole chicken in the slow cooker—I’m dying to eat it and it’s no where near dinner time.

…Yes I am still doing Advocare cleanses.  They are gentle and effective and my body just seems to reset just perfectly when I do them!

…I went to step on my scale yesterday and the batteries were dead.  NOT COOL! I need to know how many el-bees I lose man!!

…I am super pumped that my husband agreed to go speak on a panel again for an awesome Auto Financial Group conference.  Mama gets to go again too—yay!!

…On that note, we are staying at this beyond gorgeous & swanky Hotel Monteleone.  You guys, there is a carousel bar.  Yes, an actual carousel that spins slowly while you sippy your drinky!

…I am in a silly mood.  I just finished a great uplifting audiobook, maybe it is that.

 

…For real though, I love the way Marie tells her truth bombs and sprinkles adult language throughout the book. It’s real life and quite motivating! Her uplifting and encouraging spirit brought me here to type a blog post!

…Every time my dishwasher beeps, Joe typically says, “Jennnnnnnn” when he’s here.  Now even when he’s not here, that’s all that I can hear when the damn thing beeps.  It’s funny bc it’s true.  I’m the only one who really unloads the dishes.  Well, Brooke helps with the silverware.  And I am not complaining; I love my dishwasher!

…I’m still going at it with 100 Morning Meltdown, but I adapted so I can do it at the gym or I’ll just do other cardio instead of her crazy plyo moves.

…I’m sore from the Meltcon workout I did yesterday.

…One of my favorite YouTubers launched some Merch!! Check out her adorable sweatshirts and tees here!!!

…Ya’ll know I’m a Rachel Hollis fangirl and I have been so excited that the last 90 Days is coming up!! People, we have less than 100 days until 2020—what are you doing to make it count??  I cannot wait to break out that new journal.

…One of my favorite authors/spiritual ladies Gabby Bernstein had a new book launch today and as soon as my audible credit loads (as it does the 24th of every month) you bet that I’ll be listening to her!!  She mentioned on Good Morning America today that yes it’s about talking about getting what you want in life, but first and foremost you must feel good in order to receive.  YES!!

 

…Why yes, I am a book & journal nerd and I’m not mad about it.  I also just love the feeling of completing a book or finishing writing in a journal.

…Prayers up for my dad.  He’s having a small procedure done Wednesday and as always, good vibes & health are always welcome.

…There is no better feeling than being in alignment or my authentic self.

…Fall is in the air and me breaking my pumpkin cold foam chai addiction is real.

…Gratitude does do so much for the soul!!  I’ve been doing my Start Today Journal after I personally journal and there is always something to be grateful for.

…”Create before you consume” is also my morning routine motto.  Before I let in anyone else, I let my own inner light, soul and beauty shine on paper, in my mind and heart.

 

Have a fabulous Tuesday friends!

Cleaning Routine

It’s only taken me my whole life to come up with and stick to a cleaning schedule–haha!

I used to try to clean the whole house and it’d take most of the day.  Then I had kids and if you have children, you know that you cannot do anything for 4 hours straight, let alone clean the whole house.  I would try to sneak in cleaning here or there, but I’d inevitably get backed up and struggle with keeping up.  I will admit that I do hire help once in awhile; I build it into our budget and it’s really great to have the whole house clean at once AND it forces me to keep up with it.

However, I don’t get help every week or even every other week, so I started this a few weeks ago.  I cannot take full credit for the breakdown, as I watch YouTube and How Jen Does it uses a similar routine.  I did choose my own chores on what days worked best for me.

I’ll be the first to admit that with two little kids and two dogs (especially a big one who drips water all over the floor after she drinks every single time) it’s not easy to keep the house in tip top shape.  I use the Roomba almost daily and am constantly wiping the counters and table down, as my little guy is still home with me most of the time.  I do feel like I found a way to keep a handle on the mundane chores that need to get done without feeling like all I do is clean.

My Top 5 Tips:

  1. Get everyone to help.  Even my little guy loves to help vacuum, dust or wash the mirrors.  Sure it’s not perfect and I usually have to re-do some things because he’s 4, but I’m teaching him how to help, he feels useful and he will have this valuable skill for life.   My daughter is great at putting folding her laundry and putting it away as well as being responsible for helping with keeping the kids bathroom clean.
  2. Do a WHOLE load of laundry every day. We are a family of four and I swear we have too many clothes haha.  It’s the never-ending chore and if I don’t keep up with it for even a day, it backs up pretty badly.  If I can wash, dry, fold AND put away one single load daily, I feel like it really does help.  I’m not perfect, but I do attempt to put a load in first thing every morning. If I know I’m home all day, I’ll do a couple of loads, but at the very least aim for one.  I hang dry a lot of my husband and my clothes, to keep them nice, so they usually take a day to dry before I can put them away.
  3. Clean sheets Monday This started a few months back and I am always so grateful to start the week off fresh clean sheets!  There’s nothing better than falling into bed with a nice new set of sheets, am I right?  I also take time to pull the kids sheets and wash their blankets, rotating every so often.  That way I’m not left wondering, wait when was the last time that happened??
  4. Be flexible. I’ll be honest, some Tuesdays I don’t get the vacuuming done because we had to XYZ, but the next day I’ll just make up for it.  It really doesn’t take that long for each chore, but if you let everything go, it does seem next to impossible to finish.  Sometimes I combine dusting & glass/mirrors too because our Friday is when Joe is off and it’s hard to do chores when we are off doing something enjoyable or working on real estate.
  5. Post your schedule. Routines take time to establish and get into, so the first few weeks here I had to make sure I wrote down in my planner, posted the routine on my fridge and reminded myself daily what needed to get done.  It’s also great so if the kids want to play on electronics, I can quickly look and see what they can do to help out before I let them play.

 

Bottom line, don’t get frustrated or overwhelmed with housework, but do something!  Setting a timer for 10 minutes can really help you de-clutter a messy countertop or start organizing a play area too.

Do you follow a cleaning routine?

 

Life Hack: Habit Stacking

As most busy mamas, I attempt to “do all the things” pretty much on a daily basis.  When I start to feel overwhelmed, I do have a few tips that seem to work for me.

I heard the term “Habit Stacking” after reading the book Atomic Habits. You can find out more here.   It made total sense when I heard it explained.  It’s not simply multi-tasking.  I feel that sometimes we feel overwhelmed because we are doing too much at once and not really enjoying things.  However, when you make conscious choices of who, what, where, why and when you are spending your time on, things start to fall together a little easier.

He explains it more in a sense of cues, and moment by moment, like pour your tea, read your book, write in your journal…combine the things that you need to get done anyway, but chunk them together.  I took it a step further…

If you’re feeling like you never get to do anything for you, or that you have too many things going on, I suggest you shrink your daily “must do” to about 5 or 6 things.  From there, are any of them able to be combined?

For example, this may be a list for me:

1.) Meal prep.

2.) Spend time with girlfriends.

3.) Unwind & enjoy some delicious tea.

4.) Clean the house/chores.

5.) Read more books.

6.) Work on business training.

Taking a look at the list above, I could be negative and just cross off #2 because, helloooooo, I’m a busy mom with NO TIME!

Wrong. 

The truth is, we all have the same amount of time in a day and the glorious part is, we get to choose where we are spending that time!  Of course there are obligations and such, but overall, you are in charge people!

So a better way to look at the things I’d like to do is asking myself, is there any way I can mix some of these together, so that I actually get some things accomplished and feel great.  In the list above, I decided to join my friend Cathy at her house for a Tastefully Simple Freezer Meal Workshop.  While I was there, I got to catch up with her, meet someone new and as an added bonus, I got to try some amazing Chai!   Y’all know I love me some tea.

As for reading more books, I consider audiobooks reading as well.  Nothing beats a a good book in my hands, but again, as a busy mama, instead of using #notime as an excuse, I find the time.  I listen to audiobooks (and podcasts) while I drive in the car, grocery shop, clean the house, fold the laundry, do the dishes, walk the dog…I mean really any time I can.  I choose not to watch TV, I choose to spend most of this time reading or listening.

Working on business training, through mastermind groups or watching videos, I set aside time to focus on that (instead of TV) or if possible, I’ll do some light housework while listening too.

Another example of habit stacking would be acknowledging your wants/desires.  In this case, we wanted to be outside, eat lunch, and work on some business.  We stopped at our favorite burger joint and went to a park. Bradley was content as there was a little playground, so we could also enjoy time with him.  It was honestly a win all around!

I think more than anything, when you are optimistic and see the glass as half full, your mood shifts.  You’re in the “I get to” mentality vs the victim “I have to.”  You realize that you do have time, you just have to really think about how you’re going to spend it.  Now I totally don’t structure my days 24/7, but if I can take the time to plan them out 80% of the time, things run so much better!

PS I told my friend Cathy she was even better at habit stacking than she realized! She was making money with her side hustle (Tastefully Simple), enjoying girl time AND making meals for her family.  #rockstar

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Focus on the wins and celebrate ladies.  We really can do it all!  (Not all at once, but if you put your mind to it, anything and everything is possible!)

What are some ways you already habit stack, or is it something you may consider? I’d love to hear some different ways you are choosing to spend your time wisely!

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Quiche

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Believe it or not, I’ve never actually made a quiche before! Joe’s not a huge fan, but I am realizing how crazy my mornings/ok life are and as much as I try to meal prep or stay on top of cooking, I could use a little help!

I had a craving for some quiche after watching some YouTube videos.  I picked up my pie crusts at Aldis, they came in a pack of 2. I decided to make two different ones and see how they came out.  I wouldn’t consider these “clean” because I did use pie crusts, half & half and cheese, but you could totally lighten them up!  (Use egg whites, go crust-less & switch to a fat free milk). I really enjoy a hearty breakfast since I workout, but I’d probably make it not so rich in the future. This would be perfect for a holiday breakfast or for a bunch of people.

Spinach Mushroom Quiche

1 pie crust

1 cup of cheese (I used cheddar)

1 cup of spinach & 1 container of mushrooms

3/4 cup of milk (I used half and half)

6 eggs

Salt & pepper to taste.

Set your oven for 375 degrees.

Slice mushrooms & sauté in a pan with a little cooking spray.  Add spinach and cook until both are soft/wilted.

In a bowl stir eggs & milk — salt/pepper to taste.

Pour mushrooms/spinach into pie crust.

Top with half of the cheese.

Pour egg & milk mixture over that.

Add the rest of the cheese.

Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.  I had set the timer for 45 but they were done before that!

Let it set before slicing into it. Enjoy!

Ham & Cheddar Quiche

1 pie crust

1 cup of cheese

1 cup of cooked diced up ham

3/4 cup milk (I used half & half)

6 eggs

Green onions (I just used one)

Salt & pepper to taste

Set your oven for 375 degrees.

In a bowl stir eggs & milk — salt/pepper to taste.

Pour ham & most of the cheese into pie crust.

Pour egg & milk mixture over that.

Add the rest of the cheese.

Top with green onions.

Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.  (I baked the two together, so again I had set the timer for 45 but they were done before that!)

 

Do you have a favorite quiche recipe?  Please share! I want to experiment with different cheeses and such.  Bacon, prosciutto, Canadian bacon, sausage, ground turkey are all great meat ideas too!  I think this is a great way to meal prep but also use up what’s in the fridge.

Falling for Fall

I figured I’d just share a few of my recent finds!

Aldi’s did not disappoint! From yogurt, to creamer & cream cheese there are lots of pumpkin spice yummies!

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We were in desperate need of some new (non chewed on) pillows, so Home Goods had these cuties!

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I saw this recipe floating around and my neighbor said it was super yummy in hot cider.  It’s the perfect sweet for an after dinner drink.  I bet it’d be yummy shaken with ice & served cold too!

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This color always makes me feel Fall.  I love a good red, and this is more like a red wine.

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I sent this to my hubby saying it reminds me of him!  He loves Summer as much as I do, but October (his birthday month) is his favorite time of year! He loves the spook, Halloween and all things Fall.

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He also found this photo and we are so blessed to live in a region where the trees really do look like this!  It’s honestly breathtaking and this photo made us smile.

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And let’s not forget Fall Fashion.  I have a whole Amazon storefront page of lust worthy items! From boots, booties, skirts, dresses, tops, sweaters—cozy and cute!

 

What are you falling for this Fall?

Currently

Watching: You Tube  I confess that yes, I have still been binge watching these meal prep videos, cleaning videos, housewife/momlife you tube videos! I honestly have picked up so many little tricks (Slow cooker liners!) and delicious recipes that it’s worth having them on in the background while I’m doing laundry, making beds, washing dishes, ya know the fun things in life!

Drinking: Chai Latte with Pumpkin Cold Foam. I hopped on the pumpkin spice train and am loving the iced soy chai with pumpkin cold foam from the Bux.  If you’re looking for less sweet, get only one pump of pumpkin, but if you wanna go crazy, enjoy the 2 pumps.

Wearing: Leopard Print. And I do love this leopard cardi from Amazon! It’s a bit of a different material, but it’s lightweight, buttons and perfect for these wacky Fall weather days! I sized up to a medium, as I feel like I have long arms.

Loving: Brooke started dance. She had so much fun! She’s in competition dance this year, so we have a lot to look forward to.  She’s got some sweet girls she’s friends with in there and loves every second of it! She already found out she’ll be doing a dance to Frosty the Snowman for a hospital to raise money.

Enjoying: My morning routine.  It’s been a whole week–wahoo! I’ve been setting my alarm for 6:00 am and pretty much getting right out of bed! I sneak downstairs, stir up some pre-workout, take my probiotics, & have some ‘do you time.’ I like to read one chapter of a leadership book (currently reading Mind Power) do my Start Today Journal & then I also make time to journal.  (My mood instantly improves after a few days of journaling!! Thank you again to Lindsay Preston, my life coach who truly helped me tap into my best self.)  I feel so much better after putting ME first in the morning to get my mind & heart right for the rest of the day.  It’s truly worth playing with!

Workouts: I’m back to the gym.  After a few months hiatus, I felt like I wanted to go back to the gym.  I loved being with the kids so much during the Summer and it was just so nice out, I didn’t want to be inside much! We were pretty active too, playing, riding bikes, walks…I have already done a Zumba class and even did some Beachbody on Demand right in the dumbbell area! I need to be told what to do but sometimes a whole class is too much.  It’s the perfect way to get out of the house, socialize a bit and get a quick (yet effective) workout in.  I love being back in a routine.

Reading: Fall Books for kids. I pulled out my Fall decor and have been letting Fall slowly creep in here and there.  I have seen some wonderful book recs on Instagram, so I decided to keep an ongoing list here so I could go back and see them and share them with you! I am excited to read them with my kiddos.

Laughing: Corny memesMy mom has always loved stupid silly jokes and I honestly do too.  I saw this goofy one the other day and shared it on her FB timeline.  I think laughter is truly the best medicine!

 

Weekend Review

We had such a great weekend! As always, it flew by super fast!

Friday I snuck out for some “do you time” and honestly enjoyed my mani/pedi like no other! It was a great ‘cheers to me’ for having an awesome Summer home with my babies, and an amazing feeling knowing they were both off and in school while I soaked my tired feet! I went with a Fall color, kind of like a red wine!

After that I ran some errands, met up with my boys for a working lunch at a park and we were home to meet Brookie off the bus before we knew it.

Saturday was a pleasant surprise, as I had made plans to attend a freezer meal workshop with my girlfriend Cathy, and assumed I’d bring the kids.  Joe decided it was his Saturday off and took them instead! It was so wonderful to focus on chopping the meats, fixing/bagging up some recipes and most importantly have some GIRL time, I was so grateful! This tasty Chai comes out soon and you betcha I’ll be ordering some!

Saturday called for a night out with my honey, and since the temps are cooler, it was time to bust out one of my favorite faux leather jackets!  Still rocking open toe shoes though.  Had to show off that pedi!!

We dined at a local favorite and it was so good! I hear comments from time to time about how many date nights we go on, but honestly it’s THE BEST THING for us.  I miss him when we don’t see each other a lot and with two dogs, two kids and a business, it’s pretty much vital we get this alone time.  We always have a good time no matter what we do or where we go!

I didn’t snap a photo of the pork belly special—we were starving!  The pork was outstanding and they served it with avocado mousse, melon, watermelon & cucumber balls–drooling just thinking about it!

This pizza was also scrumptious!! It was like a salsa verde on a pizza with a chorizo, cilantro–total party in our mouths.

As for Sunday we had places we should have gone, but our bodies said rest…so I spent the morning finishing up Big Little Lies and honestly relaxing all day.  It was heavenly! I was full of energy this Monday morning and attacked the day!

Happy September!

Tea with Me

If we were to sit down and have a cup of tea, I’d enjoy this kind! My bestie gifted me a “Sipscription” and this was one of the teas from Sipsby.  This one actually kind of tastes like coffee!

I’d have so much to tell you, since back to school just started!  Summer flew by, but I so enjoyed every stinking minute.  I sometimes wonder why I feel so much emotion though; even the change from Summer to Fall has me all weepy.  I know I love Summer the most, but I do enjoy our Fall weather.  When the trees all change it’s so pretty! I enjoy going for donuts and cider, pumpkin picking and all the slow cooker recipes!  Football, red wine and cozy fires are in my future and I’m not mad about it.

I’d probably tear up telling you all about my babies going off to school for another year.  I was a teacher, you see, so of course I know the value of an education, the mingling of like aged children and stimulating my kids’ minds is so important to me.  But selfishly, I miss them.  I miss the baby snuggles, the bottles, the sticky cheeks, the consumption of them needing me.  No, I don’t want more babies, but I think it’s normal to always have a feel of just wanting your babies just a little while longer.  Don’t get me wrong though, 4 & 6 is such a fun age! They are so sweet and innocent and get along pretty well for the most part. My husband and I keep saying how much know we will miss this phase too! I really had such a beautiful Summer with them.  Parenting is so crazy; I am so ready for bedtime and to sit down quietly, but gosh they grow so darn fast!

I’d tell you if Summer 2019 had a sound track, you’d find these songs on it!

Dancing With a Stranger, Calm Down, Git Up Dance, Old Town Road, Have you Ever seen the Rain, and it would conclude with Dreams–this song has come to me over and over and over again in August.  I would see the lyrics, “thunder only happens when it rains” and I heard it on Big Little Lies.  My husband randomly played it, and I’ve heard it come on several times on the radio.  Why?!?

If we were having a chat, let you in on a little secret—I may not watch TV, but I am known for binging on You Tube! I can’t help it, but I get sucked down a rabbit hole once in awhile. Lately I’m back on the wife/mom bandwagon and adore these two ladies!  How Jen Does itBeauty & The Beastons

I would fill you in on my manifestations.  “What you think about you bring about.” Thanks to a mastermind training, I’ve started really putting things out there and whoa—they do come back at ya!  Something as small as Joe and I talking about how we wanted a picnic table for the land, and we just wanted to find one…I was walking with the dog and someone had it out by the road. Score! Now we can have picnics or even a bonfire before it gets too cold!

I’d say that I am pretty pumped that I have done 37 workouts out of my 100!  I’m feeling so great and can’t wait to just keep going! It’s amazing what CONSISTENCY does.  I don’t love every workout but I get them done and that’s what counts.  30 minutes or less, there’s really no excuses.

I was also proud of myself for not buying all the things at Home Goods yesterday! I did scoop up a few new pillows for our couch, because Bailey, and all of the Fall Decor was so cute.  I cannot wait until I have our new home to decorate!

I’d admit that I still haven’t used my Instantpot.  I don’t know what my problem is, I’m like nervous or something?! I did use my slow cooker yesterday.  I did the old chicken breasts, cubed small potatoes, green beans, butter & a packet of Ranch dressing. I didn’t want to have to grab fast food after a late afternoon at my sister’s gymnastic’s center, so I prepped before we left. I felt like a total badass for having dinner ready when we walked in the door.  So, I’m giving myself some grace on the Instantpot.

I am pretty excited about some “DO YOU TIME” tomorrow.  With Joe’s work schedule and the kids back to school crazy, I haven’t done much for me. I have worked out, but I am excited for a few hours of daylight alone! I see a pumpkin cold foam iced chai latté in my future.

I’m looking forward to doing some Freezer meals with my friend Cathy on Saturday.  Some of these recipes look so yummy!  I’m really making efforts to make more meals at home as we got into a bad habit of eating out a lot this Summer.  It’s okay, we’ll reign it in and it will be delicious!

Currently I am trying to read my Book of the Month book, The Reckless Oath we Made, but I haven’t been into reading much.  I am making it a goal to read tomorrow though!

Looking back at this Summer, I can’t help but believe that since I took all that time to work on me, it was truly the best gift I have given myself, my husband and my children.  I am so grateful for this crazy beautiful life.  I have never been happier, and it’s crazy because I know life is only going to continue to get better.  It’s what we make of it, and I know and believe there’s so much more in store.