BOO!!! We’re back!

Nothing like a 6 month hiatus!
I hope everyone had a fantastic summer and you are enjoying the beautiful Autumn weather we’ve been having  🍂 🍁🍃🍂 (my absolute favorite season!).

I took a pause from blogging to focus on something important; health.  Back in March of this year, the hubby and I decided to take a huge step towards getting healthy and losing weight (something we had always talked about, but never took serious action on, until now).  We switched to a low carb lifestyle, and let me tell you… it has been pretty life changing.  I myself have lost a little over 30lbs so far and the hubs around 25lbs. Not only do we look better, but we feel great!  In the past month we have added in weightlifting and the results I’m starting to see from that are pretty amazing as well.  You can check out my results and follow along my journey here.  I plan on doing a more detailed blog post once I am closer to my goals.

Our summer went by entirely too fast.  The kids spent every minute they could get running around outside. Hadley mastered her scooter, she’s a total pro now.  Daxxon took on another season of baseball and made even more friends in the neighborhood.  And besides doing tons of healthy cooking & meal prepping, Kyle and I had a much needed mini getaway for our 5th anniversary.  We went hiking at Taylor’s Falls and checked out a local sculpture garden.
Now we are well into Fall with Christmas being only 62 days away.  What?!

Onto something a little more current, our visit to the pumpkin patch!  It was a chaotic, sass filled adventure, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Loving these snaps I got of the kids. 

The weather was perfect, 70° and sunny.  We went over MEA break so of course it was super busy!  The kids were eager to find their perfect pumpkin, carefully examining each one.  My favorite type of pumpkins were the Cinderella variety (if you’ve never seen them, google it).  So whimsical and unusual, no wonder they have a fairy-tale derived name.
Our trip didn’t go quite as smoothly as I had hoped, but does it ever?  (In a mother’s dreams!)
Trying to get both kids to sit AND smile for a picture where they are both looking is near to impossible.  Not to mention miss Hadley was full of attitude that day, and very independent.  She was a little upset when she couldn’t pull the wagon full of pumpkins herself…keep working on those muscles, girl!  Hadley was into the smaller pumpkins, while Daxxon was checking out the white ones.  His plan is to turn it into a Dalmatian, like he did the year before.  Love it!
Of course our trip wouldn’t be complete without Hadley falling trying to get out of the wagon and ripping her brand new pants.  Oh, and when you have pumpkins rolling around in the trunk, they may come out stemless, just saying.

Despite the chaos, I loved spending the day with our crew.  After the pumpkin patch we stopped at Minnesota’s largest candy store and let the kids pick out a few treats before making our way to Target to pick out Halloween costumes.
(Are we crazy for buying the kids candy before Halloween?  Maybe.  But it’s all about the experience!)
Looks like we will be having a tiny doctor & a Minecraft Creeper on our hands this year!

So happy to be blogging again, oh how I’ve missed it.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

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Hadley’s 2nd Birthday

Last weekend we celebrated Hadley’s 2nd birthday with family & friends.  How is that even possible?!  It seems like just yesterday I was rocking her to sleep, curled up in a ball on my chest.  Time, you sure are a thief.

Her party theme was donuts & brunch.  I get so excited for birthdays, especially the children’s.  There is something so magical, a day just to celebrate them.  I go a little Pinterest crazy the weeks before, trying to make things extra special.
//Donut Floatie //Dress //Necklace On the menu was brunch-y foods, including this delicious egg bake, pink punch, and a fun donut bar with all the toppings!  We picked up donuts from our local bakery & mixed up homemade vanilla and chocolate buttercream frostings.  It was fun to see all the varieties guests came up with.  So many family members came out to celebrate, in a snow storm to boot!
We have one very loved little girl, that’s for sure.   

The day of her actual birthday we hung out at home and kept it low key.  Kyle came home from the grocery store with flowers for the birthday girl and I about lost it.  It was one of the sweetest daddy/daughter moments I have witnessed.  ♥ ♥
That night Hadley helped make dinner (she loves to cook!), we played tried to play Candyland, and sang Happy Birthday about 10 times… she was all smiles the entire time.  Overall, I think she had a pretty great birthday celebrated with lots of love.

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Kitchen Refresh + DIY Shelves

Yay!  I’m so happy to say we have finally painted our kitchen!  It was the last room in our house with the original plain, flat white paint; I hated it.  There were so many stains and marks on the walls that were not easily washable.  The color we chose is Almond Wisp by BEHR.  We had previously painted our daughters room + entry way with this color & I fell in love with it.

My dream kitchen would have light cabinets, dark flooring, and a beautiful backsplash…but we were working with a limited budget here!  While it’s not a drastic change, it definitely made our kitchen more pleasing and functional for our family.  We got rid of a lot of clutter as well, including our countertop microwave.  When we moved into our home there was an over-range microwave that never worked, so we finally replaced it.  Just having the extra counter space makes such a difference.

  The distressed shelves we created are my new favorite part of this space.  We had searched for shelving for quite a while before deciding to make our own;  never found anything that fit just right.  Everything was either too expensive, or just didn’t fit our style.  Turns out making your own can be fairly inexpensive, and easy too!

We used some maple-wood boards we had lying around from another project.  Kyle cut them down to 3ft long, 6 1/2in width, just the perfect size for our space (we probably could have even gone a bit longer).    After sanding them down, I distressed the boards (how-to found here) & applied one coat of stain.  I finished them off with two coats of polyurethane to help seal & give them a nice sheen.  The brackets we came across at Hobby Lobby, while on the hunt for shelves!

(That detail!)

A few BEFORE photos for reference.  I did get a little too happy prepping the kitchen for paint and took down a lot of old decor before remembering to take photos…oops!

(happy these 2 microwaves ↑➚ are gone for good!)

Have any fun projects going on in your household?  Comment below with details!

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Spicy Turkey Chili

I really wish mother nature would just make up her mind already!  Our Minnesota weather can be a little unpredictable, that’s for sure.  We go from freezing & snow, to sunshine & t-shirt weather, & then back to wearing winter jackets again…all in the same week!

Luckily, for the cold days, I have this awesome chili recipe to keep us warm (and full).  The young ones aren’t a fan (too spicy for them), but that just means more for the hubby and I.  It makes for great leftovers, perfect lunch for taking along to work.

Full of flavor and vegetables, you are sure to love this hearty dish!

| Ingredients |

-Serves 4 to 6-
✷1 tbsp olive oil
✷1 lb ground turkey

✷1 yellow onion
✷1 red bell pepper
✷1 jalapeño
✷1 (14.5oz) can chicken broth
✷1 (15oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
✷1 (15oz) can light red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
✷2 (14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes

✷1 (15oz) can sweet corn, drained
✷1 tbsp minced garlic
✷4 tbsp chili powder
✷1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
✷1/2 tsp salt
(for a less spicy version, omit jalapeño & add spices to taste)

Toppings (optional): sour cream, shredded cheese, chips, avocado

| Directions |

In a large pot, add olive oil over medium heat.  When hot, add in ground turkey; brown & finely chop.  Dice onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño; add to ground turkey and sauté for 5 mins.  Next, add in all remaining ingredients & stir to combine.  Heat until boiling, then reduce to medium/low heat and simmer for 45mins – 1 hr.  (I will usually put a cover on it for the first half of cooking, then remove it for the second half to allow it to thicken)
Serve hot & add your favorite topppings!

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Enjoy!  Let me know in the comments if you try out this delicious recipe.

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Interviewing My Children

Oh my word, it’s Friday again!  Seriously though, where does the time go?  I’ve been prepping our kitchen all week so we can finally paint it this weekend.  It’s the last room in our house to get finished, and it’s about time.  Flat white paint on kitchen walls is no good.

I have seen this idea floating around for quite a while now, so I set aside some time yesterday to question my littles.  Mr. Daxxon (age 8) was a little reluctant at first, and Miss Hadley (23 months) just wanted to repeat the questions back to me, but it quickly turned into all smiles and laughs.  It will be fun to do this again every year and look back at how their answers change.  

Daxxon is my firstborn, rambunctious & sometimes rebellious, but also loving and wonderful big brother.  He is a great reader & he loves to be active outside with friends.

Hadley is a true mama’s girl, her daddy’s little side kick, and has smiles for days.  She can count to 12, ride a tricycle, eat her weight in snacks (this girl is all about her food!) and is constantly dancing.
I compiled a list of questions from different interviews I’ve seen in the past.  Here we go!
(sibling love, never a boring moment)

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Hadley:  Elmo
Daxxon:  Umm…I want to work at a restaurant. I like cooking.

What is the hardest part of being a kid?
Hadley:  No.
Daxxon:  Doing the monkey bars, that’s super hard.  I can only do like 2. 

What is your favorite color?
Hadley:  Favorite…..color……
Daxxon:  Blue.
Hadley:  Red!

What is your favorite food?
Hadley:  Favorite…food….Beans!  Tatoes!!
Daxxon:  Pizza!

What is your favorite movie?
Hadley:  Mickey.  Mickey.  Mickey.
Daxxon:  Nine lives! (laughing) The guy falls and becomes a cat.

What is somethings that scares you?
Hadley:  Ghosts.
Daxxon:  Bad dreams.  But I don’t really have them anymore.

If you could have 3 wishes, what would they be?
Hadley: ….(what 3 things do you want?)….Cheese!!  One.  Two.  Three.  K.
Daxxon:  Eating candy all day.  Going to Florida to ride the boat and see the dolphins again.  Ohhh, and I want it to be Christmas everyday!

How old is mommy?
Hadley:  Old mama.  Old mama.
Daxxon:  I know!  30!

What is something I always say to you?
Hadley: (runs up and gives me a hug)
Daxxon:  My name.  (gives me a BIG eye roll, haha)

What does daddy do at work?
Hadley:  Do work.  (she then brings me a plastic cake)
Daxxon:  Make stuff for weddings.

What is your favorite animal?
Hadley:  (runs to her stuffed dalmatian & squeezes it)  Friend, oh yes!
Daxxon:  Dolphins, because they can jump up from the water.

What is your favorite smell?
Hadley: Oils.
Daxxon:  Chocolate syrup, it smells sooooo good!

Who is your best friend?
Hadley:  Daddy.  Mama.
Daxxon:  Ryan because we like the same stuff.

Have a great weekend!   We will be spending it covered in paint.
(blog post on our kitchen to follow!) 

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Bath Time Must Haves

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you all are having a fantastic week.  We’ve got a little bit of a “heat wave” coming through this next week (40’s + 50’s), so I’m looking forward to opening a few windows and getting some of that fresh air!    

Speaking of fresh, I want to share a few of our favorite bath products for the littles!  

#1 – SheaMoisture Eucalyptus & African Wild Water Mint Baby Breathe Free Wash & Bubble Bath
This bubble bath/wash smells like a spa!  I also like the fact that SheaMoisture products are made with natural and certified organic ingredients.

#2 – SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Provence Lavender Baby Nighttime Soothing Shampoo & Bath Milk
After washing my baby’s hair with this yummy shampoo, we will never go back to any other brand!  It has a very calming scent, and cleans her hair very well.  Sulfate-free & made with natural and certified organic ingredients.

#3 – Boon Odd Ducks
My daughter loves having lots of ducks in the tub.  These ones are so fun!  These ducks are brightly colored and all different shapes/sizes.  PVC-free, and they do not hold water (they won’t grow mold).

#4 – Tubby Todd Everyday Lotion
If your kiddo has sensitive skin, look no further!  Little miss H has eczema on her cheeks & arms and this lotion has been wonderful for her skin.  It is packed with natural extracts and plant-based ingredients, no harsh additives that will irritate her skin. 100% natural ingredients.

#5 – Tubby Todd Dream Cream
This is an intensive, rich cream to soothe even the roughest dry patches.  I use this on Hadley’s cheeks and any dry patches on her arms & legs.  It makes a big difference and really helps to calm her skin.  It is formulated with 100% natural ingredients, safe for sensitive skin.


Have a great weekend friends!  

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14 Days of Love Notes

It’s February 1st, you know what that means…
Valentine’s Day is upon us!  We usually keep it low key here, dinner & a movie at home and some fun treats for the kids.  This year I wanted to do something out of the ordinary and let the hubby know just how much I love him, with a love note everyday leading up to Valentine’s Day!  This is a fun, sincere way to let someone know you care about them.

I am sending my loves notes through text, so he will know just when I am thinking of him!
You can do this with your kiddos too; make it fun and hand write your notes, then place somewhere for them to find (think lunchbox, bathroom mirror, pockets).    

(sent to my husband this morning!)

Simple words of affirmation can really remind someone that they are loved and appreciated.
“If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it.” Ruthie Lindsey

If you need a little inspiration to get you started, here are a few ideas:
– You make me happiest when…
-I love you because…
-Thank you for…
-I cannot wait to…
-L is for…
-O is for…
-V is for…
-E is for…

And for the kiddos:
-I’m so proud that you…
-You make me smile when…
-You are the best at…
-You are….(kind, funny, smart, beautiful, handsome, hardworking, loving)

Now get to it and make someone feel loved today! xoxo

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Maid Rites (loose meat sandwiches)

If you are from the Midwest, chances are you’ve had a maid rite (or at least heard of them).  It is simply a loose meat sandwich made with seasoned ground beef.  Not only are they delicious, they are also so easy  to make!  The perfect food to serve for a crowd or when you are just wanting a quick, simple dinner at home with family.

While there are many variations on how to make them, here is my version!

| Ingredients |

-Serves 4-
✷1 lb ground beef
✷1 can beef consommé soup (10 1/2oz)
✷onion powder (to taste)
✷small hamburger buns

Toppings (optional): ketchup, mustard, cheese and/or pickles

 

| Directions |

In a large skillet, brown your ground beef over medium heat, finely chop & drain.  Add soup to browned ground beef and a few generous shakes of onion powder.  Cook/boil down the mixture until no liquid remains.  Add meat to buns.  That’s it!  Easy peasy.  Top with your favorite condiments and serve with a side of chips or fresh fruit! Pin it for later

Enjoy!

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Highlights From This Week

Hello lovelies!  Our week has been pretty mellow here.  The hubby has been sick and working from home, and even though I feel bad for him it’s nice to see his face more!
I thought I would share with you a few happy highlights of my week. 


First of all, I am loving the above freezing temps we’ve had this week, and it looks like they will be continuing into the next.  I’ll take it!  Spring can’t come soon enough.  I’ve been daydreaming of playing outside with little miss H, going on family walks, and BBQing!


Yesterday I had the pleasure of helping pack meals at Feed My Starving Children.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never been there before, but it was oh so much fun!  I went with a friend who invited me and a few other people.  Our night was filled with lots of laughs, music & singing, all while doing some good to help children in need.  If you haven’t volunteered lately, I encourage you to.  Giving your time doesn’t cost a thing, and you will feel great knowing you are able to help fill a need in someone else’s life.


Orange!!  This probably my #1 favorite oil.
The smell is amazing, and I use it just about every day. I love adding a few drops to my Thieves Household Cleaner. It also pairs well with so many other oils; this week I have been diffusing it along with Thieves oil since Kyle has been fighting off the flu.


There is nothing that makes my heart happier than watching these two form a bond that will last a lifetime.  Hadley looks up to her brother ever so lovingly, wanting to follow his every move.  They are full of belly laughs daily, music to my ears.  I adore them!

Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!!!

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Hello 2017

We are already more than a week into 2017, craziness!  I hope you all enjoyed the holidays with lots of family & good food.  The end to our year was spent couped up in the house, as our littles were sick with the flu.  Despite being sick, they were still in good spirits Christmas morning and excited as ever to open their gifts from Santa.  There is something so magical in the joy kids exude while ripping off that wrapping paper.  

New Years Eve was low key, as the kids were still recovering from illness.  The hubby and I stayed up for the countdown and enjoyed some sparkling wine.  I also picked up these delicious champagne gummy bears to top it off, so good!
We spent our first week of the new year making up for missed Christmas get-togethers.
This lovely little bottle arrived just in time for the new year.  It smells divine and truly is relaxing.  My favorite way to use it is to diffuse it along with a few drops of tangerine; it creates such a calm & inviting environment.  I am looking forward to learning even more ways to incorporate oils into our lives this year!
If you want to know more about YL Essential Oils, check out more info here and feel free to contact me through the form with any questions!I’ve been doing a ton of thinking about changes and goals I want to make in my life.  The husband and I recently watched ‘Minimalism: A Documentary’ on Netflix and it was pretty eye opening.  I have felt for a while now that we just have too much “stuff”, and watching this really put it into perspective.  So one of our goals is to declutter and get rid of things we really don’t need.  There are many plus sides to this, one being the house will be a lot easier to clean…win!  Less time spent picking up & more time spent with family.  Along with getting rid of the clutter, I really want to do some serious organizing to make the rest of the “stuff” more manageable.
Another thing that coincides with minimalism is being mindful of what we buy.  To really ask ourselves do we need this?  Will it be used/bring joy to our life, is it a quality item?  Just a few things to ponder!

less stuff,
more life.

Something else I need to focus on this year is myself.  I am constantly thinking about what everyone else needs to make their day go smooth, but hardly ever do I stop to think about what I need.  So many times I will feel guilty about going out for a girls night and leaving the kids home with Dad, I just need to let myself take a break sometimes and stop worrying so much!

As far as blogging goals, I definitely need to set aside more time to write.  All too often I feel rushed, putting together posts at the last minute; it’s a bad habit of mine.  I would also love to focus more on my photography skills & possibly do some redesigning to my blog.

I am definitely looking forward to making some positive changes in this new year.
Make 2017 a good one!

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