Friday, April 25, 2014

Quotes & Tattoos

Do you have a favorite quote? A quote that means something to you - really speaks to you? I do.


This quote, oh my. This quote doesn't speak to me - it sings to me. This quote is the only way that I can describe the way I feel about Christopher. We are the same. 

This quote is so special to me that I'm seriously considering having it tattooed on my body. I don't have any tattoos y'all. I've thought about getting one many times but I never found anything that was important enough to me to have it on my body forever. This quote is that important.

Do you have tattoos? Tell me about them!

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quick & Easy: Sheperd's Pie

Y'all know how I much I love to cook but did y'all know that I prefer the meals I make to be quick and easy? I mean, most of us do right? This Sheperd's Pie is one of those quick recipes that is so good your entire family will think you spent the entire day slaving over the stove. No worries, your secret is safe with me!


What You'll Need:

1 pound ground turkey (or beef, chicken, etc.)
1 15 oz. can mixed vegetables
Worcestershire Sauce 
Your favorite season "all" seasoning - I use Tex Joy
Mashed Potatoes - I used two pouches of Betty Crocker's Instant Roasted Garlic

What You'll Do:

Brown your ground turkey in a pan over medium heat; season with Tex Joy. Heat oven to 350*. Once the meat is browned, spoon in the mixed vegetables and sprinkle with desired amount of worcestershire sauce. Let simmer. Meanwhile prepare mashed potatoes per directions on the package. Transfer meat mixture to the bottom of a baking dish and then top with mashed potatoes. Bake the pie for approximately 10 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned. 


I also made a brown gravy to serve on top of the Sheperd's Pie along with my famous cornbread. This one was a huge hit at our house; Chris had never eaten it before but he is glad now that he has! The kiddos loved it as well and gobbled it all up - a HUGE plus in my book! 


What is your "go to" quick & easy meal?

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Weigh In!

Happy hump day ya'll! We're half way through this week and that is something to get excited about; but for now it's Wednesday weigh-in time! 

I lost another 3 lbs. this week! I was super excited to see that when I stepped on the scale this morning! Apparently what I've been doing is working! Whoop! I got in a great workout this afternoon and I'm feeling great. Since I'll be kid free this weekend I plan on hitting the gym hard in between my client's photo shoots. I'm seriously looking forward to sweating it out! 

I was given a 3 day trial of Plexus Slim this week; I did it for two days and for some reason I just didn't drink it the 3rd day. I will say it tasted great - like kool aid, but a little sweet for my liking. Totally tolerable though! For me, there is just no way to tell if something "works" in 2 to 3 days so I kind of blew it off. I think I may be "over" the quick fix stuff. I know a lot of people believe in it and it has worked for many. I just don't know if it's something I want to give a real shot. 

Regardless, I'm happy with my results for this week and I'm hoping I see something similar out of this upcoming week. We're going out of town in exactly 4 weeks from today and I'd like to shed another 10-12 lbs. by then! I may be dreaming! 

How'd you do this week? Have you ever tried Plexus or something like it? How did it turn out for you?

Linking Up!
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Catch 22


Pouring My Heart Out Today.

I started this blog for many reasons; when I first began blogging I was a coupon blogger but I burnt out on that pretty quickly. I knew that I had more to say and share with people than just the latest deals (no offense to coupon bloggers - I give y'all HUGE props for what yo do - it's hard!). I began writing in this space to share my life, my heart, and my family. Any blogger knows that when you start a new project all you really want is for people to read what you write, to love what you write, and hell we really love it when you share what we write. Am I right y'all?

It took some time but as I continued to publish more content and engage with my audience my readership grew, and it has continued to grow. My  numbers are small compared to many standards but I have Google Analytics - I know y'all are there! I'm thankful for my loyal readers. However - it seems that I've found myself in a bit of a catch 22 here lately. 

I longed for readers in the beginning, but now there are people reading my blog that I wish would stop reading! There are people who have taken it upon themselves to lurk in the shadows of the internet to read up on me and my life. Is it curiosity? Is it jealousy? Are you just plain nosy? My God, stop torturing yourself with every tiny detail of what is going on over here because it's really none of your business.


Except for when you do.
Knowing that certain people read this space kept me from writing for awhile; I felt sorry for some of you because you were subjected to reading things that you probably didn't want to see. I felt like I had to hide my happy so that I wouldn't offend or hurt feelings. Why I felt the need to protect you is absolutely beyond me. I didn't want to share my life with you; I didn't want you to know me. I didn't want you to know my story.

I made the decision a long time ago to share my life in a public way by writing this blog. I made that decision and I have to deal with the fact that what I write here is open to anyone who chooses to read it. I can't stop you from coming here and obsessing over what I write. That's fine! If you want to torture yourself with the details of my life go right on ahead. I appreciate the boost in page views. While I don't love knowing that you've been here creeping (and I do know) it doesn't bother me so much anymore. I just smile and shake my head and go on about my day. 

So for those of you reading from the dark corners of the internet (you know who you are): I hope you enjoy your time here, and I figure you must since you keep coming back. 
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Challenge Accepted: Packing Creative Lunches for Kids

Thank you to Fruit Shoot for sponsoring today's post and encouraging me to share creative ways to prep fun lunches for my kids!

I'll be honest - packing school lunches is one of my least favorite things to do. The monotony of packing the same types of things over and over again really gets to me and I can only imagine how my daughter must feel every day when she opens up her lunch box to the same 'ol thing. I try to pack her favorites but surely she must get tired of eating the same thing day after day.

Recently I've been trying to amp up my "cool mom" status by packing fun and creative lunches. I've spent plenty of time browsing my "lunchbox ideas" board on Pinterest and that has been a great help! I've decided to challenge myself: for the remaining six or so weeks of school I'm going to do my best to pack my daughter a creative and fun lunch. This is going to be hard y'all! However, thanks to Robinson's Fruit Shoot drinks - I'm feeling inspired!

http://r.linqia.cc/e2a07c9
About #FruitShoot:

We want to share some of our favorite things about Fruit Shoot. It has a new no-spill cap, perfect for children of all ages, and contains no fructose corn syrup, making it a much better option than other flavored drinks.

This fun hydration drink is perfect for energetic, independent kids who desire fun on the go. It contains real fruit juice, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no added sugar or natural flavors.

Fruit Shoot lets moms balance the hydration their kids need with the taste that they love, making hydration fun for kids and easy for moms.

Fruit Shoot also features an innovative no-spill cap (no more juice stains in the car!) making it easy for kids to be independent and on the go. These vibrant fun colored bottles come in tasty flavors of Orange, Apple, Berry Burst, and Strawberry/Raspberry."

Monday's lunch was super simple. My kiddos LOVE those little pre made cheese and cracker packages you get from the grocery store. I don't purchase them often so they know they are getting a treat when I do. I spruced it up with some other finger foods because what kid doesn't like finger foods? Cherry tomatoes (my daughter's favorite!), some mandarin oranges and an Orange Fruit Shoot made for one happy kiddo!
http://r.linqia.cc/e2a07c9

I'm not sure how today's lunch went over yet because she is still at school but I thought it was pretty fun! I made an easy turkey and cheese wrap held together with just a bit of ranch dressing - another favorite! Add in her "go to" foods - chips, pudding, and tomatoes - she should be satisfied. I'm anxious to hear what she thought about the Berry Burst Fruit Shoot as well.


As you can see, Addison was really excited to try all four flavors of Robinson's Fruit Shoot!



Bonus: Right now with the purchase of Fruit Shoot, there is the option for a free download of an Angry Birds game - perfect for parents to play with their kids! Download the Angry Birds game and enter the code on the back of your Fruit Shoot bottle to play!

Fruit Shoot is available at these local retailers: Walmart, KMart, Kroger, Lowes Foods, Harris Teeter, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Spartan, Speedway, Meijer Gas, Sheetz, Kangaroo, WilcoHess, Handee Hugo, Family Fare, Giant Eagles, Marc’s, Dave’s, UDF, Traxx, Redi Mart, J Clarks

What do your kids enjoy in their lunchboxes?
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Truck or SUV?

The subject of a new (or new to us) vehicle has been a hot topic in our home lately. We currently have two vehicles; a 4 door sedan & Chris' Ford Mustang is a project car and also his daily driver.

I love my car; it's perfect for driving the kids back and forth to school and we all fit in it comfortably on a day to day basis. Road trips, however, can get a bit tight and we don't have any extra room for friends or family. Once Chris is done with his car it will probably become strictly a track car for racing. We already know that we want to add to our family in the not too distant future. So - with his car on the track and my car seating only four - We need something bigger.

 
We've been shopping around for a few months and I think we've finally got it narrowed down! Chris and I both want a truck; we've both owned Chevy trucks in the past and loved them. However, I can't stop drooling over the Ford F250! We've also had our eyes on a few SUVs. While I'd love to have a truck for towing and hauling - I just can't get over the idea of having all the glorious space that an SUV offers. To me, a 3rd row seat sounds like Heaven!
 
So here are the vehicles that have made our short list:
 
 
I have no idea which way we'll end up going. My last two vehicles (before my current car) were Ford - and they were fantastic. However, I loved my Chevy too! I've always loved Jeeps and Chris really loves the Acadia!
 
 
So, what I want to know is this - which would you choose?
What do you drive and what do you love or hate about it?
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Bourbon Street Chicken {Minus the Bourbon!}

Have you guys ever been walking through the food court at the mall and had someone offer you a sample of bourbon chicken? Did you try it? Did you fall in love with it? I love bourbon chicken and finally I have an awesome recipe to make it at home.


This bourbon chicken has become a real favorite in our house. We had it for dinner last night actually and our oldest informed me that she'd "eat this for dinner every night if she could."  Truth be told, I could probably handle it at least once a week! It's a dish that is sweet with a hint of tang and it is just so delicious. Of course I tweaked my recipe just a bit from the original; I'm not big on measuring out dry ingredients like spices, but for the sake of sharing this recipe I'll include the exact amounts called for.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. chicken, cubed
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, crushed (I used garlic powder)
1/4 tsp. Ginger
3/4 TBS Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (I just sprinkle a little in to avoid too much spice)
1/4 C Apple Juice or Cider
1/3 C Light Brown Sugar
2 TBS Ketchup
1 TBS Cider Vinegar
1/2 C Water
1/3 C Soy Sauce
1 TBS Cornstarch (if you want a thicker sauce; I've made it with and without)

Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add chicken, cooking until browned. Remove chicken and set aside. Add all other ingredients and blend well. Spoon chicken into the pan and stir and bring to a hard boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. The sauce will coat the chicken and thicken up a bit.


I serve the bourbon chicken over rice and usually I add steamed veggies to the plate. That's it! The hardest part about this recipe is preparing the chicken. It's quick, easy, and your kids will most like LOVE it.

I'd love to know if you try this recipe at your house! Tell me what you think!
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Emma's Easter Photos!

Wednesday I had the opportunity to photograph a sweet 8 month old as well as her Mom & Dad. Little Emma was the sweetest thing and just all smiles; I had a ton of fun with this family! Here are a few of my favorite photos from the shoot! I hope you'll consider visiting my photography fan page or my photography blog to see the rest! As always, I'd love to know what you think. Happy Easter, XOXO






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Thursday, April 17, 2014

How To Stay Connected in Spite of Technology

Alright, let's be honest: we are all guilty of spending too much time with our electronics. You, me, your spouse, your neighbor - all of us. Oddly enough, I can remember when I didn't even have a cell phone or a computer. I can also remember when I thought it was absolutely insane to have internet access on your phone. Who the heck needs INTERNET on their phone?!?! ..oh, that'd be me. 


It's really easy to stay wrapped up in all of the technology we have access to these days: we can stay in touch with our friends, work from anywhere, watch funny videos, and listen to the latest music - among other things. Hell, if I didn't have my phone I probably wouldn't know what time it is, what the weather was like, or what I'm supposed to be doing on any given day.

With all of that said - sometimes you just have to put down the gadgets. Connect with the people who are there in front of you. Difficult at first, maybe, but setting a few boundaries will certainly help! 

These suggestions may not work for everyone but implementing just one is sure to make a big difference!

Schedule time with your friends and family - device free. 
No more coffee or play dates with your gal pals where everyone is glued to their phones. Look up at each other and have a real conversation. 

No phones/iPods etc., at the dinner table. 
This is huge in our house. No phones at the dinner table and no answering of the phone while we're at the table (unless it's an emergency.) Our kids aren't old enough for that other stuff so we don't have to worry about that. Yet.

Set time limits. 
I firmly believe in setting time limits for electronics. Our kids are only allowed so much time on their leap pads, in front of the t.v., etc. Now Chris and I don't set limits for each other when it comes to our devices. However, we will both speak up if we feel like the other is "lost in technology." 

If you can, just turn it off.
Hey - that device needs a break anyway. Turn it off! Whenever we have the chance we just power our phones off. This gives us 100% uninterrupted time with one another. It's nice to not have the phone ringing, text alerts going off, or facebook notifications chiming.

I think the most important thing you can do to stay connected in spite of technology is to take a step back. Technology is a wonderful thing and it typically makes our lives so much easier. However, every once in awhile you should put the phone down and look around at the big picture. Which connections are the most important?
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let's Pick This Back Up Shall We? {Weigh In Wednesday}

Hey friends! So the last time I did a weigh in post was in December and before that it was April. YIKES! It's time to get back on the bandwagon, am I right? If you are still keeping track feel free to link your progress post in the comments and I'll come visit your blog!


So back in December I excitedly told all of y'all that I had lost 17 pounds! I won't lie, I'm still sorta patting myself on the back for that one! However, in the last four months I've put back on about 5 pounds. It's only 5 pounds, but boy, it's made a difference in my attitude and the way I'm feeling about my body. 

So, I decided to do something about it. I went back to the gym this week - only once so far but I plan to go tomorrow as well. Don't worry, I've been getting my cardio in, outside of the gym! I'm also tracking my food on Myfitnesspal again. I've cut way way back on my soda and I'm eating the right stuff! I'm feeling better and happy to be back on track.

I was going through some old photos the other day from a few years back and I finally realized how heavy I had gotten. I was disgusted with myself and couldn't believe that I was that big. No wonder there are so few pictures of me. 

I'm proud of reaching my first goal of 17 pounds lost, but I am not done. My goal is to keep losing, keep toning, and get into the best shape I possibly can. 

Are you with me?
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Bet You Didn't Know


I share lots of information with you on this blog, but I'm willing to bet that there is still plenty that y'all don't know about me! So...I made a little list (checked it twice, but not really) and here it goes:
Kidding, sort of. 
1) I'm addicted to Sonic ice. Nearly every day I buy a Route 44 Coke with extra extra ice! Chris says I need my "fix." Hey - at least I go during happy hour!

2) I'm clumsy as all get out. I'm talking running into walls, tripping over my own two feet & banging my head on the shower door. 

True Story
3) I'm horrible with movie quotes. We will watch a movie & immediately afterwards Chris will quote it and I'm like "huh?" Completely lost.

4) I have way to many irons in the fire. I'm a multi-tasker of multi-taskers. I come up with a new idea and I run with it until I'm out of steam. I've typically got 3-4 projects going on at once. I just can't help myself.

5) I love to explore! I am all up for being spontaneous and checking out random places. Be it a store, restaurant or a town. I'm down for whatever!

6) At any given time there is a significant possibility that I will have at least 6-10 browser windows open at once (HELLO - MULTI-TASKING!). It drives certain people crazy, but I'm used to it.

7) I tend to make BIG last minute decisions. Like just last week, I decided that I want to fly to San Jose in July for BlogHer 2014. Is that gonna happen? Probably not....unless we hit the lottery & then I'm taking my man on a vacation to sunny California! 

8) I really enjoy cooking for other people. It actually makes me happy to see other people enjoying my food. I'm always making extra food or baking cookies for Chris to take to school and/or work. He will call me and tell me how good it was and that all the guys LOVED whatever I sent. It's a good self esteem booster! 

9) I seriously HATE putting away laundry. You guys probably already know that though because I hate it so much that I'm quite certain I've mentioned it at least once or twice. I thought about showing you a picture of the mountain of clean laundry on the back of my love seat right this very minute, but that would be just too much for anyone to take. You'll just have to trust me, it's bad! 

10) In my personal opinion, there aren't many cuter things in life than baby elephants.

You can't even argue with me on this!

They just look so darn happy all the time! 

Okay, your turn! Tell me something I probably don't know about you! 
Don't be shy!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Find Your Happy

Photo Credit
I was dreading going to the grocery store today; I'm not really sure why because typically I really enjoy it. I don't really think it was the grocery store I was dreading but the act of simply doing anything was annoying me this morning. However, I pulled myself together enough to throw on my yoga pants, make a list, and clip some coupons.

Once I was actually out of the house I started to perk up a bit, but the weather was dampening my spirit. I'm so over this bi polar weather we have in Texas, but that is a whole other topic. Anyhow, by the time I got to the store I was ready to "do this and get it over with!"

So I'm breezing through the store, in a hurry for no particular reason, when I start to notice the people around me. I mean, really notice them. There were many couples in the store today and I can honestly tell you that not one of them had a smile on their faces. They all looked angry and miserable.

I kept pace with one couple throughout the store, not on purpose of course. You know how it is, sometimes you just keep running into the same person throughout your entire shopping trip? It was like that and man, one time on the same aisle with them would have been more than enough for me.

The man had the most sour look on his face. He was obviously irritated and impatient. Many times I heard him snap at his partner and motion her to hurry up and get on with it. He stood there as if it were an inconvenience for him to be there shopping for food that he would probably be eating later.
The woman - this poor woman - she looked so sad and defeated.

I stopped right in my tracks and I pulled out my phone. I texted Chris: "I'm at the grocery store and noticing how other couples are treating each other and how unhappy they look and I'm counting my blessings...just wanted you to know. ILY."

Y'all - the people at the store today - I don't know their stories. They all could have just been having a bad day, but chances are that isn't the case. I say this because that used to be me. I used to be the irritated, impatient, sad and defeated woman in the grocery store every week. If I hadn't been in a bit of a "blah" mood today I probably would have never noticed these other folks. I would have just been in my own little world, happy as a clam. However, I'm so glad that I did notice and reflect on them and how it relates to me.

I'm so thankful that I don't live that life anymore. I am thankful that finally, after so many years I have found happiness again. I'm thankful that I had the courage to change my situation even though it was risky. I'm thankful to have someone who brings sheer joy into my life every day. I'm thankful that I can go to the grocery store with my significant other and laugh and joke down every aisle. I'm even thankful that he stops me in the middle of the aisles and kisses me like we're alone - even if it does make my face turn beet red.

Life is way too short to be unhappy y'all. Find your happy.

I'm pouring my heart out.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

So Thankful

Okay, I have a confession. ..and I just realized that I start a lot of posts with that statement!

Anyhow - you know how every November for the entire month people post something that they are thankful for, daily? That really annoys me. Not that it isn't great to be thankful and to be aware of all of the things you have to be thankful for - because it is great. I just think you should be grateful for those things every single day and it's a bit redundant to see these posts all November long.
Go ahead - call me a jerk now.

Now call me a hypocrite; here lately I think a lot about all the things I have to be thankful for and when I think about those things I seem to want to share my gratitude with everyone! It's like I'm those people who post daily throughout November except I do it all the time (or at least I have the urge to)! YIKES!

Well, I figured you all would be grateful (ha!) if I just went ahead and listed some of the things that I'm super thankful for right now.



  • Slow dances in the kitchen to "our song"
  • Unconditional love & support
  • Family & friends who do not falter with their love & loyalty
  • Happiness
  • Late night talks on the patio
  • Morning Coffee
  • "I love you so much" text messages
  • Making memories
  • The freedom to pursue my passions

I could go on and on. In a world where it is so easy to focus on our troubles - take a moment to remember what and who you are thankful for! And I promise..this November I won't be so annoyed with the daily "Thankful For" posts!

What are you thankful for?

I'm pouring my heart out.

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Spring in Texas

Spring is definitely here - the sun is shining a little more each day, it's no longer freezing cold out, and my entire house is sneezing and sniffling non stop. My favorite season has always been Fall but I have to tell you guys - this year Spring is giving Fall a run for it's money.

Every year around this time Texas is blessed by a sea of wild flowers. Blues, reds, and purples have folks breaking their necks to get a second look. It's a long standing tradition for a lot of us Texans to take photos in the wild flowers every Spring. This is something I've always wanted to do but for one reason or another it had never happened. Until this past weekend!

My sweetie indulged me and drove us the hour and half to Bryan, Texas to my Aunt's place where she has wild flowers that take your breath away. I was so excited and grateful that he was willing to do that - and I didn't even have to twist his arm!

We got some beautiful photos thanks to my Aunt! I took some of them, but without her help I wouldn't have gotten any pictures of our whole family or of just the two of us. I'm so grateful for the photos and memories made and I wanted to share a few with y'all. We will definitely be making Spring wild flower pictures a family tradition!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Do you have any Spring traditions?

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