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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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!

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!

“That Mom”

I’m not always ‘that mom.’ The one who brings in treat bags, cookies, cakes, games, or other thoughtful pieces of holiday goodness for little ones.  I’m not always smiling or feeling like I have my act together, because to be honest I don’t.  Most days I’m just doing my best, trying to remember all of the balls that are juggling in the air.

However, there are some days when I find the time, the little extra window in my day where I can appreciate the smallness of my children and drop into a Dollar Tree and put together silly little bags for dance class.

There’s a few reasons I felt called to write this post, and most importantly that it’s OKAY to be that mom who forgets or didn’t have time to do something extra.  It’s also OKAY to be the mom who does.

This morning as I worked out, I figured afterwards I would take Bradley over to the Dollar Tree and pick up some glow sticks for our pumpkins to light up.  I then remembered last year’s dance class “Halloween Party” and how it sent me spiraling into an emotional meltdown.  I feel that it’s important to share these things, because to some people, it may look like I have it all figured out.  I simply stay home, raise kids, cook a lot of food, run a real estate business, take care of two dogs and do most housework because my husband works crazy hours.  But the point is, I do it mostly alone, with little help here and there.  The pressure I put on myself (yup, it’s me and my mind!) can sometimes bring me to a breaking point, thus resulting in last year’s escapade.

I remember sending some friends a Marco Polo after getting home from dance class.  I just rewatched it, and man I want to hug that girl! My eyes were swollen from hysterically crying and I remember just feeling alone, like a failure and like I should just go on meds because I felt just absolutely crazy.  (Disclaimer, I do believe medicine has a purpose, I just don’t think it’s best for me, at this time.)

Why was I so upset?  Because I knew that Brooke (who was in her 4th year of dance) would be having a little Halloween party.  I knew the other moms/girls would have treats or trinkets for the girls to give out.  I also just didn’t go to the store and get some…

Prior to dance class I had been going around and around with a frustrating tenant who fell behind on the rent, and was arguing with me that he had paid x amount when my records showed differently.  I was extremely frustrated and since this was really the first tenant we had any issues with, it truly caught me off guard.  I let my emotions get in the way, some insecurities and such, and it just threw me.

But when I went to pick up Brooke at dance, I felt like she was the only one who didn’t have something to pass out to her little friends.  It killed me.  Now, I knew even then, that no one really cared about the candy (hello, they’d all be getting SO much more in another day trick-or-treating) but the fact was, that I enjoyed doing the little things for her and her dance friends.  I love holidays, even Halloween, mostly because of the magical element of innocence, simplicity and wonder it brings out in the kids.  I sat there, with tears welling in my eyes as I saw the girls exchange and Brookie looked at me like, where’s my bags to give out?  Of course her 5 year old self didn’t say anything, but it hurt and clearly still haunts me to today.  Why?  Because I was not being my authentic self that day.  It was a number of things that lead to that feeling, but I truly felt like a shell of myself this time last year.

It’s about the effort.  It’s about doing something, even if it’s little, if you can and want to.  It’s about not letting negative people who aren’t paying their rent, bring you down.  It’s about rising up even after you may have failed, and getting a second chance to do something right this time.  It’s about asking for help, whether it means paying a sitter a lot of money to have time away, or hiring a cleaning service to help you get your house back in order.  It’s about being the mom you want to be, not what anyone else may expect or want from you.  It’s about loving yourself in the moment, even if you don’t want to.

That girl a year ago had a lot of growing up to do.  It wasn’t just about not having a silly bag of Dollar Tree goodies (that may or may not end up in a dog’s mouth or the garbage) but it is more about SELF LOVE.  SELF COMPASSION.  SELF WORTH.  SELF IMPROVEMENT.  This past year I have worked on ME so much and it has made me a better, happier, stronger, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, human.  Anyone who tells you differently, makes fun of you for working on YOU, has more work to do on themselves.  Let me say that again, any person who tries to say anything negative about loving herself, has a lot of growing to do and it’s not up to you to fix her.  We can only change ourselves, that is all.  Other can learn by us leading by example.

I had some major changes that had to take place that were not easy. Shortly after this episode, I had to walk away from a friendship that was no longer serving me.  I had to put myself first and join the gym again.  I had to surround myself with loving, encouraging friends that lifted my spirits. . . I needed to find out what made JENN happy. (This blog from last year explains a bit more.)

Life is not always easy, nor do I expect it so.  I think one of the most beautiful aspects of life is that we can look back and truly grow from our experiences.  I write all of these words not to brag about my goodie bag, but to share that you are right where you need to be right now, friend.  Whether you’re a mom or not, whether you are struggling, or feeling high on life, everything is going to be okay.  It’s not all perfect, it’s not all going to fall into place, but each day we have the chance to be a little better than we were yesterday.

So stop beating yourself up about what you did or didn’t get to do, and maybe just go out and do it now.  Make the cookies.  Join the gym.  Read the book.  Cancel the cable.  Take the class.  Join the side hustle.  Whatever is speaking to your soul, listen.  The more wound up I find myself getting, the more I need to simplify and quiet my world around me so that I can hear what I am being called to do.

I hope that you can begin to listen too.