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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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!