Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So What Wednesday

Today I'm saying So what if...

  • I'm not ready to put up Christmas decorations. Normally I'm all over this. Two weeks after having Hadley, I hobbled around the house putting put fall decor. But Christmas...I'm just not ready {but my shopping is done}!

  • We're packing up our home in hopes to put it back up for sale in January. I swear it doesn't matter how much we pack, I still feel like there's stuff everywhere!

  • Josh can't keep people in movies straight. Sunday night we were watching The Wizard of Oz and he asked, "did she kill the Ompa Lompas?" referring to the Wicked Witch. No, that would be Willy Wonka.

  • My cat gets on top of the kitchen cabinets every day...all the time! I am constantly wiping down the counters. He drives me BANANAS! But I still love him.

  • I love Starbucks Caramel Brulee Latte. It's delish! Thank goodness for the Groupon I bought a while back! I wanted to make them at home but have you seen this recipe?!
What are you saying "so what" to today?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Thanksgiving Timeline

I definitely want to continue to share how I plan our weekly meals with you, but today I thought I'd share how we are planning Thanksgiving.

Let me tell you a little bit about my parents and cooking. They rarely cook. My dad is a pretty descent cook. He can make food and he's working on following recipes for the flavor. My mom on the other hand is lucky to boil water. When I was in first grade she made cookies for my class. After that she was asked to bring in paper products. While she may not be a chef, she was blessed with decorating skills.

This leads me to Thanksgiving. I can't remember the last time we made Thanksgiving food. Usually my mom will open a can of cranberry sauce but other than that, it's catered from a local restaurant. You heard that right. We pick up everything the day before and all we have to do is heat it all up on Thanksgiving day. It definitely makes for a much more relaxing holiday, but it's just not the same.

I finally convinced my mom to let me help her by cooking some sides and only getting the turkey and pies from the restaurant {I'm not superwoman}. My aunts and grandma will also be bringing a few things. This is a pretty big deal for us because it will almost all be homemade. Something that is not commonly said aloud in my parent's home. But I just couldn't help myself this year with the wonderful recipes from The Pioneer Woman and The Chew {love both shows}.

I've thought this all out and made a plan. Definitely something that had to be done with a three month old! This year I am making: mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted broccoli, cornbread, and pumpkin pie (for the fire/police).


  • Grocery list made and shopping done

  • Pick up last minute items and anything else forgotten
  • Find serving dishes to be used
  • Make cornbread for stuffing/to eat
  • Candy pecans for pumpkin pie going to police/fire department Thanksgiving dinner
  • Cut up cornbread for stuffing (let sit out 24 hours)
  • Make mashed potatoes and keep in fridge
  • Bake police/fire pumpkin pie and deliver
  • Cut up all ingredients for stuffing (onion, celery, etc)
  • Prepare broccoli
  • Put together stuffing and bake
  • Heat potatoes
  • Make broccoli
I'm really hoping by spreading the cooking out over a few days it will make Thanksgiving day much more relaxing and easier to handle. I love cooking at my parents because they have a huge kitchen and a new wonderful stove. But my mom hates messes, especially when company is coming over. So, I'm going to prepare everything at home in my kitchen so it can hang out in their warmer. Honestly, what I'm making is not hard and doesn't really need a lot of space to be made it. I just have to keep with my, "clean up as you go" motto! So important!!

How does your Thanksgiving cooking map look this year? I love learning about how others prepare for their Thanksgiving feast! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hadley meets her Great-Grandparents

Hadley is one lucky girl. She was welcomed into this world by four wonderful grandparents, two great-grandmas, on my side, and four great-grandparents, on J's side.We are so thankful she is able to meet them, spend time with them, and they can watch her grow. J and I both love learning about our family history and having four generations together is pretty awesome!

Over the weekend, J's grandparents came to visit from out of state. We have Skyped with them a few times since H was born but they had yet to meet her! We got up early, dressed up H in one of her winter dresses (it was 34* outside) and were on our way to meet them! Lately H has been really shy and timid around people she doesn't know. As soon as she saw them she was all smiles. J thinks it's because we've been talking so much about them and showed her pictures {let's pretend that's it}. Either way, she warmed up to them very quickly and we were able to capture a few pictures.

We definitely plan on taking more pictures when we see them for Thanksgiving. But we are thrilled to have these first meeting pictures to always remember! This spring we hope to make it to NC to see her other set of great-grandparents!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Five on Friday


On Monday, Hadley turned 12 weeks old. 12 weeks! Time has just flown by. I'm so sad to know that next week is my last week off with her. The past 13 weeks have been absolutely amazing and I've enjoyed every minute--even when we were both crying. I don't want to leave her and would do anything to stay home with her. I'd love to work at home but that's not really an option with my degree. But she will be going to a good friend who is amazing and has wonderful kids, so I know she will be happy and safe. That is the most important.


Jenny and her daughter Lucy came over to "play" on Monday. It was so nice to talk to another new mom about how both girls are doing. It's also crazy to see how different they are a month apart. I sometimes feel like I don't see a lot of change in H because I see her everyday. But when I saw Lucy it made me remember when H couldn't quite do the things she's doing now. It's crazy and wonderful at the same time. I love watching her grow!


Sorry, another one about Miss Hadley. Last week we took her to see Santa. I definitely have respect for the bird but I hate lines. We went on a Friday morning and nobody was there. We walked right up got our picture and left! It was great! I was really hoping for a smile picture or a total meltdown picture (because those crack me up) but she was just chillin. She kept looking at all of us (me, Josh, and the three elves) like we were crazy trying to get her to laugh.


I made this delicious crockpot chicken tortilla soup. It was so good. I'm really happy that we have extra to freeze. It will definitely come in handle on those cold winter evenings!


Christmas pictures are tomorrow! I'm so excited!! I spent way to long thinking about what we would all wear, but I'm liking it and hoping it works out. I ordered H a few bows from one of my favorite "bowtiques", Diva Baby Bowtique. I love their hair puffs!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

So What Wednesday!

Today I'm saying so what if...

  • I'd love to win the $350 Black Friday Giveaway! But I can't because I'm hosting it with a group of fabulous ladies! I'm very excited to see who does win it!

  • Hadley randomly decided she's going to start getting up three times a night instead of the one she had been doing. Thanks love. Right before I start going back to work :)

  • I can't decide what color bow to put in Hadley's hair for Christmas pictures. It's a stinkin' bow!!

  • I changed my mind about what I'm wearing for Christmas pictures. Shame...shame.

  • I didn't know there was an "other" folder under my FB messages. I had 30 unread messages!! Some from people who were interested in piano lessons months ago. I feel terrible for not getting back with them.

  • I've cried every night this week when putting H to bed because I'm not ready to leave her yet. I know it will get better. I'm just sad.
What are you saying SO WHAT to?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Setting up your Pinterest Boards

Don't forget to enter the Black Friday Shopping Spree Giveaway for a chance to win $350!!!

Pinterest is a huge part of my meal planning. It is my main go-to place where I can get ideas and inspiration for what I will be cooking. So before I share with you exactly how I meal plan, I wanted to share with you how I set up my pinterest boards.

In the beginning I just had a food section. Every food recipe was in one area. But this became overwhelming. Slowly, I moved the one board to 27 boards. That's right, 27. This helps me stay organized and find exactly what I want.

Here is how I decided how to split up the boards:

  • lunches
  • chicken
  • beef
  • pork
  • turkey
  • pizza
  • texmex
  • breakfast
  • crockpot
  • soups + stews
  • sandwiches
  • salads
  • fish
  • breads
  • gluten free, low carb, paleo
  • beverages
  • appetizers + snacks
  • freezer meals
  • sweet treats
  • mixes
  • grill
  • aisan inspired
  • pasta
  • dips + sauces
  • meal planning
  • budget friendly
  • pioneer woman (my fav)
How did I decide to split up the boards this way?
Well, I first really looked around at other Pinterest boards. Then I thought about what would be best for me. What would be the easiest and quickest way for me to find recipes? Finally this is what I came up with. It has been so much easier to know that I want to use chicken on Tuesday and I would like to try to find a crockpot meal. So I can just go straight to crockpot recipes. If I can't find a crockpot meal that will work, I can look under chicken next.

Yes, 27 boards is a lot! And it may be too much for you, which is completely okay. But I wanted to be very specific with my boards. This is not something that is necessary, just works best for me. Do I use all of them all the time? No, not at all! But they're there if I need them.

I love Ree, the Pioneer Woman. I use her recipes constantly. So for me, instead of searching in the pasta for her delicious lasagna, I decided to make a board just for her! I usually go to this board first.

This was step one to making me meal planning work for us. Do you have to use Pinterest? Nope! Not at all. But I can meal plan much quicker using it as my main tool and then using other sites as needed.

Are your pinterest recipes organized? If so, how and what made you organize them that way?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Black Friday Shopping Spree GIVEAWAY!!

I'm so excited to bring you the Black Friday Shopping Spree Giveaway today!  I'm teaming up with a group of my favorite bloggers to give one lucky reader $350 Paypal cash on Black's that for a shopping spree?
Meet your hosts!

Leslie - Lamberts Lately
I am a wife to Noah and a mommy to Emma Ramey.  I blog at Lamberts Lately about life, family, beautiful things, and anything home.  When I'm not blogging, I love Alabama football, a great dinner, and time with family.
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram _________________________________________________

  Amy - Total Tippins Takeover
I'm Amy and I blog over at Total Tippins Takeover. I write about my faith, our family, and life with three little a little monogramming, reality tv, and crafting thrown in the mix, too!
  Blog  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

  Megan - In This Wonderful Life
I am a Lifestyle Blogger over at In This Wonderful Life. I love journaling life, motherhood with twins and the most random thoughts of my day!
  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram _________________________________________________

  Lindsay - Baby Mama Drama
I'm Lindsay! Wife to Adam and Mama to Presley--both who I have diagnosed as worlds biggest Drama Queens. Surviving the "Terrible Two's" will be lifes biggest accomplishment--I'm sure of it!
  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram _________________________________________________

  Lindsey - Blessings, Miracles, and Thoughts in Between
Hi, I'm Lindsey! Late 20s wife to Alex and financial advisor turned stay at home mom to miracle babies Kate and Will, both bone marrow transplant survivors. I am a follower of Christ, infertility survivor, book nerd, and advocate for bone marrow transplant donation!
  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram _________________________________________________

  Shannon - Life After I Dew
Thirty{ish} years young. Wife turned mama {times two}. Exceptional cook, wannabe crafter. Only child and it shows {sometimes}. I believe honesty is the best policy, reality TV is quality programming and wine is better from a box.
  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram _________________________________________________

  Emily - Louisiana Bride
I am a teacher by day and the food & lifestyle blogger behind Louisiana Bride by night. I love God, my hubby, our crazy dog Ellie; I can't finish a DIY project to save my life, I'm a foodie, and I consider Target to be my second home.
  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram _________________________________________________

  Lindsey - A Dollop of My Life
I am a wife & boy mom, and have a deep affection for all things Southern. I blog at A Dollop of My Life, where I chronicle the joys and chaos of running a home of all boys.
  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram _________________________________________________

  Brittany - Not So Newlyweds
I'm a wife, new mom, and teacher. On my blog, Not So Newlyweds, I share my thoughts on cooking, decorating, fashion, and the ups and downs of everyday real life!
  Blog  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

  Jennifer - Life in the Green House
I blog at Life In The Green House about motherhood, what I'm cooking up in my kitchen, the many DIY projects I always manage to talk my husband into pulling out his power tools for, and family. I'm a fan of a great vacation, a good cup of coffee, laughter, and carbs.
  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram _________________________________________________

  The Chirping Moms
Courtney & Julie from The Chirping Moms are best friends that met at a neighborhood park. They started their friendship as neighbors, but now Courtney lives in New Jersey & Julie in DC. Together they share their adventures in motherhood along with great activities for kids, crafts, recipes and ideas for family travel.
  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram _________________________________________________

  Lauren - A Page Is Turned
I'm a wife to a fantastic husband and a teacher-turned-stay-at-home mama to two beautiful, busy boys. I'm a lover of books, cool weather, bundling up, cooking, spending time with my friends and family, and I blog about our day-to-day life at A Page Is Turned.
  Blog  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

  Jennifer - Our Dream Come True
I am saved by His amazing grace, happily married to a hunk of a husband, and a new mommy to my precious Baker, who was born with Down Syndrome. I am daily blessed to be living my dream come true.
  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Instagram _________________________________________________

 Enter with the Giveaway Tools Widget below! This giveaway will close at 9pm (CST) on the night before Thanksgiving, November 27th.  Once it closes, we will pick and contact the winner!
Good luck, and a great big thanks to everyone who enters! Disclaimer:  No purchase necessary.  To enter, participants must use the Giveaway Tools widget above.  This giveaway is not affiliated with or endorsed by Paypal, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin', Google, or Instagram.  Winner must have a Paypal account to receive winnings.  Winner must be at least 18 years old and a US resident to win.  Giveaway closes at 9pm CST on November 27th, 2013.  Winner will be contacted after the close of the giveaway on November 27th.  Once contacted via email, winner has 24 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen.  Winner is responsible for any applicable taxes on winnings.  Any winning entry will be verified for completeness before winner is contacted.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Newborn/Family Pictures

It just occurred to me today that I never posted Hadley's newborn pictures. Better late than never! We decided to go more for family and newborn rather than just all newborn. We found an amazing photographer, Kari, who came to our home to take these pictures. I am so thankful for this! Not only did it help that we didn't have to go anywhere but we also got to take the pictures in Hadley's room, which I loved the idea of doing. Because of Josh's work schedule we had to wait a little longer to get them taken (I think she was about two weeks). It made it a little more difficult because she was much more alert and basically refused to sleep except for about 15 minutes. Either way, the pictures turned out beautifully! We are so excited to work with Kari again next week for our first Christmas pictures!

Kari took so many beautiful photos, these are just a few of our favorites!

The main thing I learned about family pictures--plan your outfits ahead of time. When J told me he had a black shirt he left out the part it had a logo on it. Then when he put it on, right when we were starting, I noticed it. I later made him change and still wasn't thrilled with the choice, but we have pictures and that's all the matters. Our Christmas picture outfits are definitely planned, looked at carefully, and purchased already! Oh men!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New: Tasty Tuesdays

I've been thinking for a while that I wanted to start blogging again about our weekly menu. I also want to blog more about how cooking has changed since becoming a mom and then again as a working mom. I want to share how we meal plan and shop on a budget. I want to share this because I'm very proud of both Josh and I.

At the beginning I was completely clueless but I knew there had to be an easier way. We went from coming home at night searching for what were were going to make and not looking at the price of our groceries to meal planning for the week (or more) and sticking to a grocery budget.

I will share with you what works for us, what doesn't work for us, and other bloggers who have inspired us.

Originally I wanted to start these posts today but Hadley had her two month shots yesterday and hasn't been feeling too great, so I decided to wait until next week. Definitely stop back to see my first post on Meal Planning!

Also, I want to put out there that there are certain things that I am terrible at when it comes to cooking and planning and I also know there are many other ways to do things. If you would like to share any of your ways and write a guest post I would love to have you! Email me at

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

So What Wednesday

Today I'm saying So What if...

  • I called to find out when Santa will be at the mall and his first day is this Saturday. Saturday?? Really? 
  • I also texted J and told him we are going to the mall one day right when they open and running to get in line. I do not want to wait in a line for hours...J does not do well with crowds! 
  • I have a countdown in my head to go back to work and it's not a happy countdown. It's an, "I'm not ready to leave my baby" countdown. I'd do just about anything to be able to stay at home with her, even part time. But it's just not God's plan right now (or my student loans).
  • I have quite a few blog post ideas but just need to find the time to write them.
  • I'm worried about how I'm going to balance baby/husband/family/work/house when going back to work.
  • Oh, friends? What friends? I figured that comes later when I get myself somewhat together with a new schedule...hopefully.
  • We can't really find a church that we love. We've tried a couple but nothing just feels right.
  • I'm hoping for a lot of snow days this year. Snow days means spending more time with my sweet girl!
  • J and I still haven't had a date night since H was born. That's on our "to-do" list. We talk about it a lot though!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Meal Planning with a Baby

I never thought once Hadley was born I'd have much time to cook. Honestly, that's totally true. I don't have enough time...and I haven't even started back to work yet! But I try to make time. I don't nap while she naps (although I want to and sometimes need to), instead I clean up around the house and try and start to prepare dinner.

Meal planning has been my key to success. We (by that I mean Josh) do a bigger grocery run every other week. And by bigger, I mean it's still less than $100, or right around there. That usually consists of all the groceries we will need to make dinner for the next two weeks except for some fresh produce and things we run out of. On the in between weeks, we spend $30-$50 on fresher items or Josh's go-to milk and cereal. Side note: I don't know what I'll do when/if I have a boy one day because J already goes through two gallons of milk a week by himself! We will have to buy a cow! I don't drink milk.

I'm not a couponer. I wish I was but just can't get it together. However, meal planning really helps and does save us money. Every Saturday or Sunday morning I sit down at the computer and decide the meals for the next two weeks. Do they change? Yes, sometimes. But  I try to stick with it as much as possible. Changing will only cause me stress, more money, and more running to the store. More store trips equal more things you don't need and again more money spent. I plan the same with now that I have H as I did before. And we actually stick to the meals more now because we don't time to think about what other possibilities are available.

Another way I help myself out during the week aside from meal planning is to prepare early. For example, Sunday H took a good nap. Not only did I make dinner during her nap, but I also set everything out I would need for the chili the next day (minus the refrigerator items). This allowed me to easily put the chili together on Monday. In the case that I'm using the crockpot, I will often put all of the food in the night before, put the whole thing in the fridge, and then just pop it in the warmer the next morning. This will be my life the first few weeks when I go back to school. Anything I can do to prepare ahead when I have the time, I do it. Whether it's cutting up onions, cleaning veggies, or just laying things our for the following day. It saves me time and that is time I can spend with my family.

Here are a few meals that I've made over the past few weeks:

Pioneer Woman Spaghetti Sauce- So easy, makes a lot, freezes well! Before I make anything, I see if Ree has a recipe for it first!

Pioneer Woman Frito Chili Pie- We eat it as chili (I add a little more tomato sauce) and go light on the Fritos. Still delicious!

Outback Copycat Steak Sandwiches-I've made these before and they're delicious. Definitely takes more time though because I make my own focaccia bread.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings- Super easy and delicious. I would half the recipe if it's for two people.

Zupa Toscana Olive Garden Copycat-Takes a little more time but such a good soup. Love that it has Kale in it as well!

Are you a big meal planner? How do you plan dinner? Are you a working mom as well? If so, do you have any tips on how to prepare dinner with a little one while working?