Renewed Appreciation

My hat goes off to single mom’s.  Really.  I don’t know how they do it.

Last week, Luvy was traveling for work.  That meant Baby D and I were left to fend for ourselves.

renewed appreciation

I love my baby boy, but it was tough.  We don’t have any family here, so it made finding a sitter, taking him to the sitter, picking him up, getting dinner, baths, and all the stuff in between hectic.

Thankfully, I have an amazing friend who offered to keep Baby D for me so I didn’t have to drive 45 minutes away to our normal sitter, which is at Luvy’s work.  What a God sent!

We tried to plan some fun activities while Luvy was gone to get out of the house and help the time go faster.

Baby D loves going to Costco and people watching… much like his mama.  :)  We also found him a Halloween costume!  Cutest thing ever!

renewed appreciation

Plus, we had a date with Miss Clare!

renewed appreciation

Baby D loves her, and for good reason!  :)  She is great with him.  We did some mall walking, consignment shopping, and coffee drinking.  As long as we were on the go, Baby D was content.

 renewed appreciation

Although it was exhausting without Luvy here this week, it gave me such a renewed appreciation for all he does do when he is here.  I’m telling you, you don’t realize how much your spouse does until they aren’t there to do it!  That extra set of hands and eyes are so helpful, especially for a curious and fast little boy.  :)

Needless to say, we were both thrilled when Luvy came through the door Saturday night.

renewed appreciation

We celebrated by going to pick out Baby D’s first pumpkin and relaxing.

renewed appreciation

He was too interested in people watching to smile for the camera.  (again.. like his mama…)

renewed appreciation

I think Baby D is much more relaxed when all three of us are at home together.

Luvy, thank you for all you do!  You are a great dad and husband.  PS.. never leave again.  ;)

Whether it is your spouse, parent, sibling, or roommate… go tell someone how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate what they do today!

Mom Time: Getting Pretty and Fresh with Cottonelle

This post is brought to you by Cottonelle, but all mom advice and thoughts are all my own.

Once I became a mom, I feel like I lost my “get pretty” time.  Not that I’m complaining at all.  I’ll definitely trade my “get pretty time” for this sweet boy.

For a while, I was feeling just gross.  I didn’t usually shower until the evening, and I lived in either pajamas or yoga pants all day.

2014 10 17 08 37 25 1

(We aren’t morning people)

Naptime is sacred around here.  cleaning and taking care of house things usually takes first priority before showering.  I hated not feeling “fresh”, especially when Luvy came home in his suit and tie.  He was looking all GQ, and I still had my pajamas on… nice right?

No longer my friends!  I have found a way to get pretty and fresh in about 5 minutes.

Let’s just be honest… 5 minutes is about all you get sometimes.

Each morning, I wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, and put contacts in.  I feel so much better to just taking my glasses off and having a fresh face.

I also put on a little bit of blush, some eye shadow, and mascara.  Plus, I put on fresh clothes.  Even if it is workout/ lounge wear.  It is fresh.. meaning sans food and spit up.

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Feels like a new woman!

Except that whole shower thing.  Enter Cottonelle’s Flushable Cleaning Cloths.

Cottonelle1

I picked these babies up at Ride Aid, and I’m sold.

I mean, we use wipes on babies tushes to keep them fresh, why not us?  I’m telling y’all.. they are awesome!

Plus, when you have a baby at your feet (privacy is a thing of the past…), anything that is quick and makes you fresh and clean is a major plus!

Even better, these wipes are completely safe to flush!  Much unlike baby wipes.  Note: Do not flush baby wipes.

Cottonelle

Getting fresh and having a bit of “pretty time” each day really does wonders for my self esteem.  I feel like I am more productive during the day too.  I also get out of the house more when I’m presentable, which does wonders for me mentally!

You can pick some of these bathroom supplies up at your local Rite Aid.  Right now, Rite Aid is offering a coupon for $1.00 off Cottonelle products.

Make sure you grab some of the Cottonelle’s Ultra Comfort Care Toilet Paper along with your Cleaning Cloths!  That is our favorite toilet paper… it is soft, and you don’t need to use much!

Trust me.. you will feel fresh and clean with these two!  If you know a new mom, pick her up some too… she will thank you!

Welp, I’m glad we are so close that we can get all personal about my morning bathroom routine.  ;)

Tell me.. do you think you would like this wet + dry combo?

Mom’s how do you find “pretty time”?

Friday Five and Favorites

TGIF.  Can I get an amen?

It’s been 2 weeks since we have done a Friday Five and Favorites.  Let’s get to it!

1. I am so excited to announce that Love Grown has asked me to be one of their Love Bloggers!

Love grown

If you have read my blog for a while, you may remember me telling you all how much I love Love Grown.  I have a slight addiction to their cereal.  I am super honored to be a Love Blogger.  I’m sure you all will be hearing more about this in weeks to come!

2. It has been a rainy, chilly mess here lately.  Thankfully, it is going to heat up and be be gorgeous tomorrow.  I think Baby D and I are going to go exploring.

3. The heating up doesn’t help me with my Style Me Pretty Challenge I signed up for….

Life lately

I am ready to wear my cute fall outfits!

4. Baby D is pulling up, standing strong, and is wanting to walk!!  I’m not so sure I’m ready for that.  Where did my baby go??

Babyd8mo

5. I got a goodie package from Sizzlefish!  Yet another great company that I love, and I’m so excited to get creative in the kitchen again.  I had just ran out of fish!

Sizzle fish

This time there was scallops in there.  I have never had scallops, so I’m intrigued to play around.  Suggestions???

In case you missed it:

Vanilla Bourbon Plantain Bread

Vanilla Bourbon Plantain Bread

7 Sneaky Ways to Save Money

Raising Money for Adoption with Wendy’s 

wendysadoption1

To Mom’s and Dad’s: What You Do Matters

How We Do Rainy Days

Delicata Squash Fall Salad

Delicata Squash Fall Salad

Favorites:

Food:

Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Potato, and Kale Soup from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Thai Butternut Squash Soup from The Energy We Bring

Roasted Banana Streusel Muffins via Ari’s Menu

15 Freezer Meals and Snacks via The Lean Green Bean

Healthy Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup via The Food Babe

Pumpkin Spice Waffles via Organically Mo

Savory Pumpkin Pasta via The Healthy Helper

Ultimate Pumpkin Guide + Recipes via Never Home Maker

Barbacoa Recipe from Gimme Some Oven

Black Rice Recipe with Roasted Pumpkin, Harissa and Goat Cheese via Food Faith Fitness

Almond Crusted Sizzlefish Tacos from Yes, I Want Cake

. soft and chewy pumpkin granola bars . via Running with Spoons

9 FAQ about plantains via Purely Twins

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup via The Healthy Maven

Celebrate Fall with 35 Favorite GF Pumpkin Recipes via Keeper of the Home

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Brownies from It’s Progression

Single Serve Maple Pistachio Cinnamon Roll via Fit Foodie Finds

20 Kitchen Tips and Tricks via The Lean Green Bean

Fitness:

4 Booty Building Yoga Poses from The Healthy Diva

12 Running Myths via Live from LaQuinta

6 Reasons You’re Not Seeing Results Despite Doing “Everything Right” from Your Trainer Paige

Stability Ball Ab Workout via The Almond Eater

I’m a Fitness Professional, but I Don’t Think Fitness Should Be Your Life from Your Trainer Paige

Home/ Personal:

Easy Homemade Deodorant via The Edible Perspective

5 Ways to Use Coconut Oil in Your Home from Simply Nicole

Seriously, it’s always all about the food posts… and pumpkin.  ;)  Seeing a trend?

What are some of your favorites for the week?

Plans for the weekend??  We are going to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin!

Delicata Squash Fall Salad

This is hands down my favorite salad right now.  I have had it 3 times now in the past 3 days!

I usually think of salads as a summer food.  No so, my friends, not so.

There are so many great fall foods that make a delicious warm or cold salad.  This was my first time having delicata squash on a salad and I’m sold!

This Delicata Squash Fall Salad will definitely be on repeat at our house!

Delicata Squash Fall Salad

Delicata Squash Fall Salad

Ingredients

  • Salad:
  • bed of spinach or greens
  • roasted potatoes
  • roasted brussels sprouts
  • roasted parsnips
  • roasted delicata squash
  • cooked quinoa
  • dried cranberries
  • browned apple chicken sausage*
  • roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tablespoon Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey*

Instructions

  1. Place your spinach or greens in the bowl. Layer all ingredients to your liking.
  2. For a side dish, make a small salad. For a main meal, pile it high!
  3. *to make vegan, sub tempeh or chickpeas for the sausage and maple syrup for honey
  4. On the side, whisk the dressing together. You may want to add in your honey slowly depending on how sweet you want your dressing.
  5. Extra dressing will last a week or so covered in the fridge.
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http://www.delightsanddelectables.com/delicata-squash-fall-salad/

Feel free to sub any roasted veggies you might have.  These are just the ones that sounded good to me.

I love reheating my veggies either in the oven or the microwave really quick before putting my salad together.  The warm foods make it feel more “fall”.

Delicata Squash Fall Salad

Don’t throw your delicate squash seeds away!  Use one of these recipes to roast those babies!

Enjoy!

What is your favorite winter squash?  I think mine might be Delicata.. or butternut!

What is your favorite salad ingredient?

How We Do Rainy Days

I love rainy days when I get to stay home.

Jammy day rocks on days like this.  At least we think so.

baby pajamas

Don’t judge… we eventually changed.

Playing and reading books is way more fun in your jammies anyway.

2014 10 14 09 38 08

Breakfast:

pumpkin buckwheat muffin

I can’t stop with the Pumpkin Buckwheat Muffin.  I have decided that the raspberries make it!

Breakfast is best in your jammies while watching Live with Kelly and Michael.  Best ever.

Lunch:

mexican bowl

Mexican Bowl

I also can’t stop my love affair with sriracha.  Sriracha and hot sauce are made for rainy days.  Right?

After lunch, the rain stopped for a bit, and the sun poked through.  It was still too wet and cold to go outside.

So, Baby D decided to help me rearrange the kitchen.  Meanwhile, I was trying to clean and straighten for a house showing.

2014 10 13 12 55 24

Remind me why I got a highchair with rollers…. ;)

Snack:

baby eats

I ate a banana with nut butter while feeding Baby D his carrots and avocado.  He is such a good eater!

Yet again, we got booted out before dinner for a house showing.

Fun, fun!  (Sell, baby, sell!)

Dinner:

2014-10-13-12.36.25.jpg

Dinner was late.  It was after our showing, so I had already thrown these beautiful Delicata Squash Fall Salads together.  They were waiting in the fridge for us to return and gobble up!

Sure, they would have probably been better fresh, but neither of us were complaining.  I dare say this is the best salad I have ever created.  Recipe up tomorrow my friends!

Even though we were misplaced in the evening for a showing and it was rainy, we still had a great day.

We played hard, snuggled, and laughed.  That my friends is a winning day in my book.  Because, what I do matters!  Agreed?

Happy What I Ate Wednesday friends!!

A very special thanks to Jenn for the link up.

What is your make ahead meal?

How do you do rainy days?

To Mom’s (and Dad’s): What You Do Matters

For the past 8 months, I have been a part time stay at home mom.

What You Do Matters

I love my role as a mom, but I never felt like enough.  I never felt like I was “contributing” or doing enough.

My to-do list was a mile long, and I could never seem to get anything done.  My sweet husband would come home, and the first thing I would say was… I didn’t get anything accomplished today.  I’m sorry.

Gently, he would tell me.  You took care of the baby, you did accomplish something.  Instead of taking it to heart, I would just roll my eyes and shrug off what he just said as “being nice”.  Like a bless her heart kind of comment.  One of those comments you say to be nice and make the other person feel better.  My husband doesn’t do that (he is very direct), but I chose to feel that way.

A couple weeks ago, I found this article about staying at home on Babble.  The writer wrote this:

I realized, for the first time ever, that I didn’t have anything to prove. That I had been working so hard to work from home and always have it spotless and do all my educational activities with the kids because it was my job and I’d better darn do a good job of it if my husband had to work, that I never stopped to consider that my being home with our children could actually be a gift to my husband.

Actually, go read the entire article…. really.. I’ll wait.

Okay, powerful right?  I felt like I had been putting way too much pressure on myself.  It is a blessing that I get to say home all but 2 days a week with our sweet boy.

What You Do Matters

 

I know how difficult it is when something goes haywire with Luvy’s schedule on the days that I do work.  It is stressful for both of us when we don’t have someone to keep him and we are scrambling to find someone.  Or, on days Baby D is sick and needs to stay home.  That either forces Luvy to work from home and rearrange his entire schedule, or I have to call in sick.

When I put it like that, I can see how it is a blessing and a gift to my husband for me to be home.

Instead of worrying about my to-do list and feeling inadequate, I have been focusing on Baby D being my priority.  So what if we stay in our jammies and play all day?  He is learning, he is social, he is vibrant, and he is a dang good eater!

What You Do Matters

Gone are the days when I feel like what I do at home doesn’t matter.  It is shaping our sweet boy, it is honoring God by serving my family, and it is a blessing and gift to my husband that I take care of these things.

This article came at just the right time, because I was just talking to some of my closest friends about how I didn’t know if I was cut out for staying at home part time.  I didn’t feel like what I was doing mattered.

Mom (or Dad), I want you to know that what you do matters!  I don’t care if you are a full time stay at home mom, part time stay at home mom, or you work full time.  What you do matters.  How you raise and impact your child(ren) is the most important job and role you have.

When you feel like all you get done is changing dirty diapers, wiping up spit up, and feeding a baby, know that it matters.

Know that you are shaping that child into who they will become.  It isn’t easy staying at home.  In fact, I feel like I’m getting a break on the days that I do work.  However, it is much more fulfilling to me to be at home now that I took the pressure off.

What You Do Matters

Now, I feel like I’m worth something at home.  I’m needed.  What I do matters.

Have you ever thought of staying at home is a luxury for your spouse?

Do you ever feel like you aren’t doing enough?

Life Lately

How was everyone’s weekend?

I took a long weekend from the blog last week.  Life lately has been crazy around here.

We are always a bit crazy, but lately it has been really crazy.

Why don’t you grab a cup of coffee or tea, and let’s chat!

life lately

I need the caffeine and the warmth.  It’s been rainy and chilly here.

So.. here’s all about my life lately.  Maybe even more than you wanted to know! ;)

I would have to tell you that my time for the next few weeks is going to be devoted to Refresh Summit.  We are officially full!

Life lately

I can’t wait to love on all these ladies next month!!

Usually, I’m a summer girl.  I love the heat.  However, I’m really loving the fall this year.

I think part of it is because of the Style Me Pretty Challenge I’m doing!  Ashley introduced me to this, and I’m so thankful she did!  I’ve picked up a few new pieces for my fall wardrobe, and I’m starting to feel like an adult who can dress myself!

Life lately

Here’s a pic of my outfit from Sunday.  It is so nice to wear “big girl” clothes instead of workout clothes all day!

My life lately has been revolving around our house.  It is on the market again.  We have had several showings recently, and they all come up quick!

I never realized how difficult it would be to straighten, wipe baby prints off of everything, and get us out the door would be!  However, it will all be worth it when it sells.

When we sold it previously, I don’t think it ever really sank in that we were moving.  This time, the reality has hit me.  I have told you all before that I’m not a fan of change.  I’m really grieving the idea of leaving the very first house we have lived in.

I keep telling myself it is just a house.  I’m sure I’ll cry when the time comes though.  Luvy won’t.  He will be jumping for joy that his commute will go from over an hour to 10 minutes!  Truthfully, so will I!

We have another showing tonight.

Of course, everyone wants to see our house during dinner time.  I have become the master at packing up a dinner and eating it cold.  Remember last weeks dinner?   Definitely eaten cold, but it was delicious.

other people's food

We try to make it an excursion when we show the house.  We run errands, go out to eat, or just play in the car.

Life lately

Baby D loves to play in the car!  Such a big boy!

You do what you have to though.  One day it will lead to a sold house!!

Hope you all have a Marvelous Monday friends!

Tell me about your life lately!

How was your weekend?

Raising Money for Adoption with Wendy’s

You all know how much adoption means to me, right?  When the opportunity came for me to work with Wendy’s on promoting their Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Campaign, I was all in!

As a kid, I remember my grandmother taking my cousin and me to get a frosty and fries.  I loved dipping my fries in my frosty.  I had no idea that one day- 20 something years later- purchasing a a frosty coupon book would stir up so many emotions in my heart.

Raising Money for Adoption with Wendy's

For 22 years, Wendy’s® has supported foster care adoption.  When I was a kid, foster care and adoption wasn’t really on my radar.

Luvy and I have discussed fostering to adopt one day.  We know we want more children, and there are more than 100,000 children in foster care awaiting adoption!

Raising Money for Adoption with Wendy's

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® believes that we have a responsibility to be the voice of foster care adoption, so that every child finds a family. As founder Dave Thomas said, “These children are not someone else’s responsibility. They are our responsibility.” The DTFA exist to find homes for children who are waiting to be adopted from foster care in North America.

Thanks to Wendy’s® consumers and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®, 4,000+ children have found adoptive families.

Adoption or foster care may not be something you do, however you can still make a difference!

You can purchase a Wendy’s® Halloween Coupon Book for $1 at participating Wendy’s to support foster care adoption.

Raising Money for Adoption with Wendy's

Ninety cents of every $1 Halloween Coupon Book sold between September 13 – October 31, 2014 will benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®. Coupons are valid for use: November 1, 2014 through February 1, 2015. 

So, that means you can stock up now, and use them as stocking stuffers at Christmas!  I hope my family isn’t reading this… ;)

Even if you aren’t a frosty lover, you can buy it and use it as a gift, or just count the $1 donation as a gift.  I say helping raise money for adoption is a gift in itself!

Help me help Wendy’s reach their goal.  This year, Wendy’s® aims to give $10 million to The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®.

That brings me to tears!  10 million goes a long way in helping children find a permanent, safe, and loving home!

Raising Money for Adoption with Wendy's

What are you waiting on?? Visit your local Wendy’s® to purchase a Jr. Frosty™ Halloween Coupon Book* for $1, which benefits the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®!

*Coupon book may contain coupons for 5 or 10 free Jr. Frosty™ treats. Prices and participation may vary. Ninety cents to every $1 coupon booklet sold between 9/15/14 and 10/31/14 will benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®. Coupons valid from 11/1/14 through 2/1/15. ©2014 Oldemark LLC”

Raising Money for Adoption with Wendy's

In all seriousness, please do what you can to spread the word about Wendy’s and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.  You can click below to tweet, share on Facebook, and/or PIN this post.

I know my life is forever changed by adoption, and so is my little boy’s life.  Let’s help many more children find their forever home!

wendysadoption1

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Eating Other People’s Food

I love food blogs.  Just check out one of my Friday Five and Favorite posts.

I can’t get enough of food pictures…. they make me drool.

Plus, I love making other people’s food.  It changes things up, and takes the pressure off when I have a crazy day… like yesterday was.

Breakfast:

2014-09-11-08.29.35.jpg

Pumpkin Buckwheat Muffin.

Okay, so this one was mine… but it’s so good I couldn’t NOT have it.

Lunch:

mushroom and millet soup

Mushroom and Millet Soup from Oh She Glows.

Perfect for a rainy fall day.  Absolutely perfect.

Snack:

Vanilla Bourbon Plantain Bread

Seriously y’all.. I can’t stop eating my Vanilla Bourbon Plantain Bread.

I made a double batch, and I only have a 1/4 of it left.  Need more plantains….

Plus, a Cream Soda as a treat post mopping.  I made myself useful during nap naptime!

zevia

Dinner:

other people's food

Ashley’s Butternut Squash and Apple Quinoa Salad.  I added chicken sausage and zucchini into the mix and it was delicious!

We ate it at a friend’s house last night… other people’s food at other people’s house!  LOL.  Our house was being shown last night, so we got booted out.

Do what ya have to do though right?

Happy What I Ate Wednesday friends!!

A very special thanks to Jenn for the link up.

What fall food are you loving right now?

Do you like making other people’s recipes?

7 Sneaky Ways to Save Money

After Baby D came along, I cut back my work schedule from 4 days a week to 2 days a week.

When you cut your income in half, you must think of sneaky ways to save money.  Staying home those extra two day allows us to save a ton on child care, which is great!

I’ll be really honest.  I’m not a couponer. (is that a word??)  I don’t have the time or patience to coupon.  So, I get creative!

7 Sneaky Ways to Save Money

Here are some of my sneaky ways I’ve been saving:

1. Consignment stores and sales

sneaky ways to save money

I have fallen in love with consignments.  I scored huge with finding clothes and things for Baby D on consignment.  I have also been consigning clothes of mine that I no longer wear, and buying clothes for me there.

You can hardly tell many of the clothes have been worn, and sometimes they still have the tags on them!

2. Shop what is on sale and seasonally.

sneaky ways to save money

I love shopping my local farmers markets and getting produce that is in season.  Our farmer’s market prices are always MUCH better than the grocery store.  Shopping seasonally also helps you save.  Produce that isn’t in season is usually more expensive… unless it is on sale!

3. Kroger app

7 Sneaky Ways to Save Money

I love the Kroger app for coupons!  You can check the coupons you want to use, and they are preloaded on your Kroger card.  You don’t even have to print anything out!

Here are 7 other tips to lower your grocery bill.

4. Know when to buy in bulk.

7 sneaky ways to save money

I buy Baby D’s formula from Costco.  I also buy other things like organic rice, quinoa, tortilla chips, dates, organic spinach, etc. from Costco.  Don’t buy in bulk just because it is cheaper per unit though.  If you aren’t going to use the 10 avocados before they go bad, you aren’t saving any money!

5. Target Cartwheel app

7 sneaky ways to save money

This is another app that I LOVE.  I went shopping this past weekend, and because of my target app I saved 25% off all women’s clothes.  All they have to do is scan your phone and money saved!  Easy peasy!

6. Freeze and store

sneaky ways to save money

Over the summer when produce is cheap and bountiful, I freeze things.  I will freeze fruit, chopped veggies, and now I’m freezing butternut squash and pumpkin for stews.

Here’s how I freeze peaches.  This can be used to any fruit or veggie.

7. Meal plan

I can’t tell you how much money this saves us!  Meal planning allows me to only shop for the things I am going to need for that week, and things don’t end up spoiling or going to waste.

Here’s a few tips for meal planning.

2 other ways I’m experimenting saving money is by brewing my own kombucha and cloth diapering!  Those two deserve posts of their own here soon.  :)

Tell me.. what are some of your sneaky ways of saving money?