FOOD + LOVE | At home date night: Valentine’s edition

With Valentine’s Day coming up I know there will be plenty of opinions floating around the internet regarding who is pro “Hallmark Holiday” and who is so against even recognizing that the day exists on the calendar. I understand where people are coming from, it is really hard to justify celebrating a holiday that has been overly glorified by every aspect of consumerism. But then again, the romantic in me really doesn’t mind taking one day out of the year to focus on the person I get the privilege of loving and caring for the rest of my life.

I know that quality time, date nights, and the general freedom to celebrate each other whenever and however we wanted is something that my husband and I completely took for granted in our pre-children life. Looking back on those much simpler (and quieter;) days I want to scold the girl who would spend countless late nights and hours stressing out expending energy into endeavors aside from her new marriage. But then again, having kids has made us cherish our date nights all the more. It does make the time out together that much more intentional because there are usually babysitters involved and planning ahead in our calendars.

  
While date nights out are all well and good, we are really trying to reign in our budget this year. With a new little one on the way and lists being made for the future, one of my goals for this year was to be more premeditated in planning at-home date nights. It’s so easy for us to get caught in this rut of scrolling through Netflix and just vegging out together. Sometimes that’s needed, but sometimes it can also get way too cyclical and becomes not nearly as special.  Something we always loved doing together while we were dating was cooking a good, fun, exciting meal together, cracking open a bottle of wine and watching a movie. That’s a routine that has unfortunately gone by the wayside in the past couple of years and I’m hoping with this newfound outlook on the at-home date night I can revive our old ritual and make it a regular habit once again.

  
Last Saturday we did just that and made one of the first “fancy” meals we ever made together. Years ago I found a recipe for Gorgonzola Crusted Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon in a cooking magazine while in the waiting room at the dentists office (actually, I think it may have been Southern Living…not entirely sure and don’t want to mis-reference). Since finding that recipe we have really honed in our method for searing steak to our liking that has made it such an indulgence to eat. We paired that nice chunk of meat with some classic garlic butter sauteed string beans and oregano dusted garlic bread. We even busted out a little cheese tray for a pre-dinner snack while we kept our little one company during her (early) dinner and for dessert I made dark chocolate + coconut oil dipped strawberries with whipped coconut cream. Then we watched The Intern and aside from not being able to share a bottle of wine together…it really was a pretty perfect date night!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! No matter how you plan to celebrate or not – I hope the day is special and you can find love throughout the little moments.  
 

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Creating 2016

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For the past two years I have chosen a word that would ultimately act as a theme or motivator in this next new year of life. In 2014, I chose the word trust. Which turned out to be pretty apt for that year since we welcomed our first daughter into the world and I completely changed my current career path from being a full time public school teacher, to stay at home mom, to part time teacher. Then in 2015, I decided to simplify. With the purchase of our house this past January I felt the need to purge (and still do) and start fresh. I also really wanted to focus on saying no to every single social event (even though I still want to do this all of the time;) and really figuring out how our family unit could thrive in our new community.

So, continuing on with tradition I wanted to pick a word for this bright and shiny 2016. I kept bouncing back and forth between two words and decided that both might come in handy over the next 366 days. I also decided to set some actual goals for this year! I’ve never been one to make resolutions because I hate not crossing things off my to-do list and would rather not feel like I’ve let myself down at the end of the year in the case that I don’t fulfill a certain resolution. But goals and intentions I can do. Hopefully this will all help me to be better organized in my thinking over the course of this year and keep me motivated to continue the journey of bettering myself for my family and friends.

Without further ado, the two words I have chosen for this year are: create + cultivate. I think I should also throw in the word survive because this year we will be welcome our SECOND daughter into the world and I think that there will probably be a good few months that are solely dependent on copious amounts of coffee and a hefty dose of prayer. But anyway, I landed on these two words because last year I felt like even though we did simplify in a lot of ways – I didn’t really get a chance to dig deep into creative endeavors and relationships I wanted to see grow. I let this blog go by the wayside in so many ways and it really is a space I enjoy. I feel like I would enjoy it even more if I actually dedicated regular time to it, rather than just ignoring it for months on end only to pop up every once in a while with an apology for an unintentional hiatus. I also really love cooking and sewing and both of those hobbies haven’t really been cultivated in the ways I have been hoping for lately. Again, time and dedication are going to have to be something I implement in my calendar in order to achieve the goals I want but I think that’s doable. There have also been some new friendships made over the past couple years that deserve time and attention, and again the cultivation poured into them that I just haven’t been lately.

Now as for goals, after deciding on these words I was able to sit down after the start of the new year and break down certain areas of my life I really want to see improve. My planner has a nice little space right in the front that I was able to brainstorm in and write down all of these lofty ideas. I hope to refer to them monthly and make smaller more attainable goals from there. I think a problem I have had in the past with resolutions/yearly planning is that I have always had these huge ideas in my head and then haven’t taken the smaller steps monthly, weekly, and daily to achieve them. Some of these goals are things I’ve just needed to write down to keep myself more accountable, for example: I want to make going to confession a monthly event. In college I was so eager to get to confession as often as I could. I was a part of a very involved student ministry and felt so supported and encouraged all the time to go. Then I started working and became a real deal grown up. I got bogged down in the day to day of going to work, fostering friendships with coworkers, and helping my students in anyway that I could that I forgot to help myself. Then I became a mom which blew any sort of regularity out of the water. Some of the other goals I have are a bit more practical like really taking the time to meal plan every week, making the most out of our Costco membership, and buy smarter when it comes to clothes and accessories. Then there are the fun/silly goals (which I think the Costco membership one could be filed under this as well;) like creating more at-home date nights with my husband, making more constructive activities for my toddler and I to do together, and reading at least one book a month.

I’m so excited to fill this year up. I already know it’s going to be a full one but I think it’s going to be even more so just knowing all I want to achieve.

Happy 2016 y’all!

 

2015 inventory

Watch out people, I’m about to sound the most cliche…but 2015 flew by, right!? I feel like I just sat down to recap 2014! The sentimental sap in me is already a bit sad that 2016 is already on it’s sixth day of the new year. Entirely too fast! Time, slow down! I demand it!

I thought I should go ahead and sum up this past year before I can be found warming myself in the summer sun and really having a moment coming to terms with how quickly these days and months of life are passing me by.

January

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Well needless to say we started the year off with a bang + a BIG purchase. On the 22nd we closed on our FIRST HOUSE. After a very long and unexpected home buying process (we were under contract from Thanksgiving until the signing day…so roughly two months!) we were more than happy to end the chapter of our lives that was hunting for and buying our first home. We took this picture after leaving the office of our title company. Relief + joy are written allllll over those faces.

February 

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This month was filled with painting our new home, packing boxes upon boxes, and finally MOVING (picture taken from our moving day). February brought us the new opportunities of home ownership along with some snow days and many a play date with friends.

March

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March was the month of celebrations! Our calendar was pretty packed with a first birthday party of a little friend, my dad’s birthday, a couples shower for my sister + trip down to Houston (photo above is of that delicious crawfish spread), a bridal shower for a college friend, and a housewarming party for our new home. So many happy moments and opportunities to celebrate and if you know us we never turn down the opportunity to celebrate!

April

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At the beginning of the month my sweet baby girl turned one and I felt all the feels of a new mom experiencing her child surviving the first year of childhood (she’s pretty much in college now). Later in the month we were invited by a friend to attend the Bishop’s Pro-Life dinner and I honestly don’t think me or my husband have ever felt so fancy Catholic in our lives. It was a great time. I also wrote a couple of really open posts that month: on recognizing a crisis of faith/identity in my life and my thoughts as a teacher on the expectations of testing in Texas.

May

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May was another month filled with big events! My brother-in-law graduated from college (our alma mater!), we were able to spend time with family, our little one got ear tubes and we went to the wedding of some old college friends. I celebrated my second mother’s day and we hung out with our new neighbors! We also enjoyed many an at-home date night breaking in our new patio with some grilling + gorgeous weather. Towards the end of the month we celebrated my sister’s upcoming nuptials with a bridal shower + bachelorette party weekend that was filled with yummy food and delicious wine.

June

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June may have been my favorite month of this past year. This month is always packed with family birthdays but my favorite lands on the 21st because that is the day the world gave me the best bearded husband! My sister also got MARRIED in June and we had the opportunity to take our first trip with out a kidlet in tow (a million thanks go to my in-laws!!!). It was a really great week filled with relaxing, reading, swimming with dolphins, watching my sister marry the love of her life, and a tropical storm (oh and many a poolside margarita!).

July

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This month we really started to get into our summertime groove. I watched my nephew a couple days a week which, even though tiring at times, was a really special experience that I know I will look back upon fondly. We also ventured to our local aquatic center a lot, took swimming lessons, went to many a library story time, and tamed the beast that is our backyard gardening plot! On July 25th on of my best friends and former college roomie got married to a fantastic guy and we thoroughly enjoyed celebrating them and their new vocation together in marriage!

August

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We celebrated three whole years of marriage this month! We celebrated with fancy beers at home on the actual day of but then ventured out to a new local restaurant that weekend to make an official date out of it (photo is of our simple and sweet presents to each other). My sister came into town for a weekend and we visited over delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and pie. I also took over our parish moms group as a co-leader. It has been such a fruitful experience this year to give back to a ministry at our parish that I have come to love so deeply. The women I have met and connected with and support I have found has been immeasurable. Oh and the very last week of August we found out that we had a little belated anniversary present on the way and due in April!

September

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September brought a new school year, new neighbors, and (not so new) morning sickness. Also a super extended blogging break because between school + a the fresh little baby in my belly I just could not get the creative juices pumping or will to type! We did find the time and energy to venture out to a local balloon festival with friends as well as attend our first roller derby! The rest of the month was spent adjusting to the new schedule of the school year and enjoying our super rambunctious toddler.

October

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We finally let the cat out of the bag this month and let the world know that we were adding another tiny human to our family! I went to a friend’s baby shower and we went as a family to another little friend’s first birthday celebration! We explored the arboretum’s pumpkin exhibit with friends, took our annual family photos with our beloved photographer, and partied hard (toddler style) for Halloween!

November

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We kicked off the month of November with All Souls day on the 1st and ventured out to a local Catholic cemetery with friends to pray. It was a first for me and hopefully can become a new little tradition we carry on because I thoroughly enjoyed it. We were able to witness a sweet friend from high school get engaged! It was quite the production and even involved her fiance getting Ginger Spice sending her a video. My belly started popping more towards the end of the month (usually with the help of a big meal or some ice cream;) and we were able to travel down to New Orleans to celebrate Thanksgiving with family!

December

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December was so incredibly jam packed. It began with an advent retreat hosted by my moms group that was the fruit of some seriously dedicated planning and months of continued labor! It was a huge success (in my humble opinion) for the first year of an event we hope to make an annual tradition. We wrapped up the fall semester at school with Christmas crafts and parties. Then we were able to settle into the holidays and spend time with family and friends. We went to a Harry Potter themed party thrown by a former co-worker, and it fulfilled all of our nerd-ly desires. My birthday was on the 20th, my husband attended his annual silent retreat, and new years eve brought our traditional board games + booze night with friends. We also did a small gender reveal with family before Christmas to let everyone know that we were having another little girl!

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I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it has been almost three months since my last blog post. I have always admitted to being an inconsistent blogger but this is bad, even for me. So what’s been up lately? A lot and not so much all at the same time.

We have been living our life pretty normally. We have been tackling small home projects and living the day to day normal that we have always wanted. It’s fun and exciting and slow all at the same time. Toddler life has really been throwing me for a loop lately. The new world that is discipline and consistency is tough, but of course well worth it. Our biggest news in the life department is that we are expecting baby #2 in April! This baby is already behind in bumpdate posts and all of the chronicling that I made sure to do with it’s older sibling. Poor second child! Hopefully we can catch up on some of that soon enough. IMG_5723In the pregnancy department I’ve actually been feeling relatively good as of late. My first pregnancy I was lucky enough that between anti-nausea medication and good luck I didn’t suffer from morning sickness too much. This time I was not so lucky. But in the past couple of weeks I have seemed to turn a long awaited corner in this pregnancy and am not so dependent on my anti-nausea meds to make it through the day. I am currently 15-16ish weeks – and there isn’t much of a bump to show yet (sorry!). At my first sonogram the baby was on the smaller side and so my OB said that I was probably on the later side of things in terms of due date. But next month we will get a better measurement at our anatomy scan, where we will definitely (little person permitting) find out the gender! (Gender reveal party decision still up in the air.)

Since I last posted I also started a new school year. I don’t think I ever formally posted about my decision to work part time last year (I wasn’t sure it would be something that would stick with our new lifestyle). But I was able to start working one day a week at a preschool that my mom has been working at for years. It really helped fill the void I was feeling after leaving my elementary school when I decided to be a stay at home mom. Last year I was primarily in the nursery and this year I am working with 2-2.5 year old’s which is a whole new can of worms! It’s been a fun and much desired change. I feel like I get to put my degree to use a bit more this year and challenge myself. With this change has also come  a new teaching partner and some new expectations. Which has left me planning/prepping more and working creatively on my own (aka: blogging) less.

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I also decided to co-lead the relatively new moms group at our parish this year! Which I have to admit has been my most exciting and fulfilling venture as of late. It has been a lot of work and honestly if I were not supported by both my co-leader (who is incredible) and my husband (also incredible) I would be losing my mind right about now. We have had such a successful year in membership and have reached out to so many new mamas in our parish. We’ve been complimented multiple times over about how needed this group is in our parish and I really couldn’t agree more. We are hosting our first (hopefully annual) moms retreat in early December and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

Along with teaching, pregnancy, moms group, and regular social life commitments – I was also leading a book study the past six weeks (for our parish moms group) and have joined up with some other friends from college to start another book club! Needless to say, things have been a bit B U S Y. But very, very fulfilling.

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So I suppose that I could blame my blogging break on the fact that life has been happening and it’s been great and leaving me with little time to pursue any other creative efforts. But I feel like that would only be giving you half the story. I have also been lacking in creative inspiration. While I definitely think that life has been contributing to that (like I said, b u s y) I was feeling this drain in ideas far before I took my break. I just felt like I needed to be living a bit more, and stressing out about blogging pursuits less. I read so many blogs and gather so many amazing ideas from other people it can be a bit intimidating when I look at my own “work” and think I’m not really producing much here.

Another thing that has been holding me back from writing lately is safety. I have been seeing more and more bloggers leave their spaces on the internet due to safety reasons and this is something that has always been on my mind – especially since having a child. I want to share and be a part of a creative community, but at what cost? I know that so many mothers and families post their lives so confidently on the internet and I guess I have just always had a hard time finding the balance of  1) how much information is too much? and 2) how to authentically share my life without putting my safety or the safety of my family at risk? I know this might sound overly dramatic but if I want this to be an honest life updating post – I feel that those things need to be included.

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Whew! So that’s a lot. Anyways, I have been thinking about my little corner of the internet a lot lately and I have a few things that I would like to share in upcoming posts. Thanks to those of you who actually read my words and care about what is posted here. I know that I may not post every day or inspire millions but I do hope that in someway this blog might bring a smile to your face or a new yummy recipe to your belly. (:

Happy Wednesday!

 

Podcasts…not just for nerds anymore!

I have been meaning to gather and share a list of my current favorite podcasts for a WHILE! But alas, life with a toddler is busy busy and time seems to slip away each and every day. By the time I sit down at night to have a moment to myself I usually end up falling asleep within 10 minutes (unless we are watching Parks and Rec – our current Netflix binge #marriage). Also, in reference to the title of this post – in no way do I think I am not a nerdy person/think there is anything wrong with being a nerd…I have a blog.

But anyway, podcasts! They sure seem to be all the rage right now, huh? I honestly feel like for once in my life I was ahead of the curve and into something trendy before it was trendy! How cool am I!? (As for pleather pants and jellies, I wore those two trends far past their trendy phase. Can’t win ’em all.) But if I am being completely honest, my husband was the first person to introduce me to podcasts. A little tangent to appease your curiosity: we started listening to podcasts almost three years ago. Like I said, Eric was into them far before I was and he would find really interesting science/history podcasts for us to listen to when we would make the 8 hour drive down to New Orleans when visiting family. I really thought that, that was what podcasts were – little interesting lessons to listen to while trying to stay awake in the car and I never really pursued them beyond our Texas-Louisiana jaunts. Well fast forward a year (two years ago) and Eric started telling me about a few newer podcasts that he was listening to, some comedy, some informational, but a bit different than what I was used to; so we added these shows into our road trip mix. Then we started taking our birthing classes and found ourselves in the car for about 20-30 minutes each week, driving back and forth to the hospital – we decided to listen to one of my now favorite podcasts (Sawbones – medical history podcast, listed below) in the car to spark our conversation and take our minds off of life’s current stresses, while always making a stop to get ice cream on the way home.

Now here we are today, while I still listen to some of my husband’s podcast recommendations I have been venturing out more on my own and discovering this new beautiful world of people who are wanting to share a little bit of themselves for all to hear in the hopes that it will bring someone some help in someway, or at least a good laugh.

Here is my current favorite list of podcasts – I separated them by a general category in case you are looking for something in particular to listen too! I’m always finding new podcasts to listen to as well and if I find anything I’ll be sure to share!

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Personal Journal

  • The Girl Next Door Podcast – two next door neighbors sit down and chat about a particular topic pertaining to their lives every other week. They also enjoy a good cocktail and share the recipe as well as their local neighborhood news. I always love listening to these girls, it always feels like a coffee date between friends and leaves me feeling refreshed, inspired, and positive!
  • Real Simple Podcasts – My favorite magazine meets my favorite form of listening media. It really couldn’t get much better.

Kids & Family

  • Edit Your Life Show – a podcast about simplification and editing what is unnecessary from your life
  • One Bad Mother – this is technically categorized under Comedy – but it is a parenting podcast done by two hilarious ladies. They always have great topics + fantastic guests (there is profanity used in this podcast just a warning:)
  • Mom and Dad are Fighting – the editors of Slate magazine discuss the latest parenting topics
  • Messy Parenting – Catholic marriage and parenting podcast hosted by a wonderfully funny and entertaining married couple with an abundance of parenting wealth and knowledge to share

Marriage

  • Totally Married – a very real couple discusses the ups and downs of their marriage as well as answer relationship advice questions
  • Matrimoney – one of the girls from The Girl Nextdoor Podcast has a show with her husband in which they talk about their marriage/relationship as well as discuss their personal finances very openly. I honestly hate talking about money, and they both are so positive and upbeat about finances that I can’t help but keep listening!
  • Sexy Marriage Radio – sex and marriage, etc (pretty self explanatory from the title;)

Popculture

  • NPR Popculture Happy Hour – a weekly roundup from NPR about books, movies, music, television, comics and culture. For a mom who feels out of the loop pretty much all of the time – this podcast helps me stay somewhat relevant
  • The Nerdist – really solid interviews
  • The Gilmore Guys – two hilarious guys talking about Gilmore Girls. One of the guys is a die hard fan and is introducing the show to his friend for the first time. They have also had some of the former cast on so the fangirl in me has just been dying.
  • My Brother, My Brother and Me – comedy/advice show put on by three brothers
  • Bachelor(ette) Reality TV RHAP Ups – because I have no shame and am addicted to the Bachelor and it’s plethora of reality tv goodness. Two girls chat about the weekly episodes and say everything you were thinking while you watched on Monday night.

Science

  • Sawbones – a medical history/comedy podcast put on by a husband and wife (who is a doctor) – the husband is actually one of the brothers from the above podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me
  • RadioLab – interesting popculture and science investigations (if you were a fan of Serial I feel like you would be a fan of this podcast)
  • InterBrews – craft beer/brewing podcast (brewing is a science which is why I put it under this category;)

Religious/Inspirational

  • Caritas – a new podcast being produced by two blogger friends! They are discussing living life and loving in the every day. I just recently had the privilege of being interviewed for their show! Check them out!
  • Fountains of Carrots – two of my favorite Catholic bloggers have joined forces to create a show in which they discuss faith, books, culture, etc. This is another show that always leaves me feeling inspired and positive and like I just had a good, long, inspirational chat with a friend!
  • Building Bridges – podcast about staying connected and inspired in every day life.
  • This Inspired Life – Catholic motherhood/parenting show
  • The Lively Show – podcast about finding and creating an intentional life. This show covers a lot of ground – from personal habits to parenting to relationships and careers.

Happy Listening! What podcasts are you currently listening to? I would love to hear any and all recommendations!

FOOD | back pocket banana bread [muffins]

Oh this week. How full and crazy and unpredictable you were.

At the beginning of every week – usually Sunday or Monday – I sit down with my beloved planner and think about how we are going to fill our days. Usually with most of the same old routine, but with a few small adventures here and there to keep things exciting. I was really ready to get back to our normal grind after taking last week to volunteer for our parish VBS + tend to a sick babe later on in the week. On the agenda for the coming 7-day spread were bootcamp classes, swim lessons, and a couple of cousin play dates. Busy, but simple…or at least I thought it would be. Little did I know that our bout with Roseola would leave me with an overtired and irritable toddler (even though we were way past our feverish days and the rash was starting to disappear), a surprise (slow) leak from our air conditioning unit that resulted in a long night on Tuesday and floors being ripped up in the morning on Wednesday, and our toddler having to sleep in the office for the time being. Top all of that off with the regularly scheduled stresses of daily life and this week was more than a doozy. This week was by far an exception when it comes to crazy in our home but it’s weeks like this that make me fall back on my most trusted recipes. The ones that I can replicate without missing a beat. The recipes that always bring a smile to the faces of my husband and my sweet girl no matter how exhausted we may all be at the end of the day.

One of my favorite treats to make during an unexpectedly crazy, hectic week is my banana bread. I found a pretty solid recipe a couple of years ago while browsing through Pinterest and combined it with a recipe I had been using from a hand-me-down cookbook. I’ve honestly gone to the store to get bananas only so they could sit on our kitchen counter a few days and I can make this bread. Lately I have been making muffins because they are the perfect size for our little miss to eat for breakfast and an easy afternoon snack for the both of us. They freeze well and will last us for a solid two weeks and we never really tire of them. This recipe is also easy to tweak to your hearts content. I’ve added (more often than not) mini chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and dried blueberries. I have also tried different flavors of greek yogurt in the mix like banana, vanilla, and honey but our favorite is still plain.

I hope you are as bananas for these muffins/bread as we are at our house! (Sorry I just really couldn’t help myself #parentjokes.)
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Recipe: Back Pocket Banana Bread

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 c flour (I use all purpose white but have used whole wheat and they are just as good)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c steel cut oats/rolled oats (I usually use whatever oatmeal we have on hand)
  • 1/2 c mix-ins of your choosing (chocolate chips are our go to)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg white lightly beaten
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (2 medium bananas)
  • 1 container of plain greek yogurt (I prefer 2% Fage, but I have also used Honey flavored Chobani and Vanilla bean Siggis)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

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Instructions: 

  1. Mash bananas using a fork or a potato masher – you want to make sure that there are as few chunks as possible and that it is relatively smooth.
  2. Add in your liquid ingredients: coconut oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla and whisk together with bananas.
  3. Once all liquid ingredients are completely combined whisk in sugar.
  4. Once sugar is completely combined whisk in salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  5. Once the previous dry ingredients are completely combined whisk in flour 1/4 of a cup at a time. I find that by adding in smaller amounts of the flour at a time I end up having a more consistent batter.
  6. Fold in oats + chocolate chips into batter with a spatula.
  7. Spoon batter into a lined muffin tin or loaf pan.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    1. Muffin cook time: 30 minutes
    2. Bread loaf cook time: 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes

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Like I said before, this recipe is so simple and never lets me down in the wake of craziness! I hope you enjoy.

Happy eating!

A very merry unbirthday to you!

I only entitle this post as such because I’m a day late on wishing my dear husband a happy birthday on this here blog! Yesterday we were not only able to celebrate this great man’s birth but also celebrate all he has done in his journey of fatherhood thus far.

This guy. He’s a good one.

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This is probably my favorite picture of my Mr. Martin on our wedding day. He isn’t the biggest fan of having his picture taken but I like to think that he was so happy that day that he didn’t mind all that much.

Yesterday was filled with a lot of normal and low expectations. I was pretty up front with my sweet husband about that facts that our house is still a mess from our recent travels and his presents were ordered only days in advance (and his father’s day card may have been made the day of…). But because he is one of the greatest and most patient people alive he was also upfront in telling me that it was all fine and that the day was exactly what he wanted.

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I forget how lucky I am so often. I have a person in my life that has stood by me consistently since we first met in college. He has been a true friend to me in every sense of the word and has shown me what commitment really means. He is patient, loving, funny, and just the right amount of stubborn to challenge me on a daily basis. To top it all off, he is a really, really fantastic father. I remember when we first started dating and sharing our dreams and future hopes with each other. Being a dad was something he was always so sure of and something he wanted in life so badly. It is apparent that it wasn’t just his will to be a dad in the way he interacts with our daughter and talks about parenthood.

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I really don’t think I could gush (or probably embarrass;) anymore.

Eric Martin, I hope you had the best day yesterday (coated in all of its lackluster glory) because as cliche as it sounds – you are the best, and you deserve it more than you know.

HI BLOG!

Helloooooooooooooo!

Oh goodness it’s been a while. Blogging has been on the back burner for a few weeks now as we have been powering through the first chunk of wedding festivities for this summer. My sister got married in Mexico last weekend and a few weeks before that we had a bridal shower + bachelorette combo weekend. So needless to say, we have been B U S Y ’round these parts. But now we are home and almost recovered from the marathon that was traveling to New Orleans with a toddler >> flights/connections to Mexico >> flight/connections/tropical storm delays BACK to New Orleans >> a flight smack dab during the middle of dinnertime back to Dallas. Throw in a couple of stomach bugs, leaving my baby for a trip for the first time, and maid of honor duties and I kind of feel like I need a week long sleep to recover from our vacation!

Anyways, I’ve been brainstorming quite a bit about some things lately and can’t wait to get back into the swing of things. I am giving myself the rest of this week to demolish the laundry mountain that is taking up residence in our bedroom right now and get back to our normal grind here and then I’m hoping to be back more frequently on the blog if not more consistently!

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite snaps from our little Mexican fiesta. It was such a blissful week.

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FAMILY | weekend update: planes, trains, + graduations (oh, and a wedding too!)

This past weekend was FULL. Fully of family, fun, and fond memories (I had to keep going, alliteration is the most addictive of literary elements, agreed?). My in-laws flew in from NOLA on Wednesday night to attend my brother-in-law’s graduation from my alma mater! It’s crazy to think that he is already finished with his undergraduate career. I distinctly remember helping him move into his freshman dorm room and getting used to him being in Dallas. Now he’s living here and has two bachelor’s degrees to boot! Between Miss M and my nephew the graduation ceremony was definitely entertaining. Thankfully it was before dinner, and not during dinner, so snacks and sippy cups were our go to entertainment and when those ran out there was infinite amounts of people watching to keep the littles occupied.

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We spent the rest of the weekend just hanging out and spending time together as a family. We picnic-ed at our local park on Friday night and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset accompanied by cool breezes and baby giggles. Saturday we lunched on pizza in downtown Plano and visited the train museum that my dad has been working at for ages.

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Saturday evening, we had the wedding some old college friends to attend! The bride was a freshman when I was a senior and we have been able to witness the relationship with her now husband grow over the past few years. They are the epitome of adorable and their wedding ceremony + reception were a blast. We also haven’t been out without a little one in tow in quite sometime so THAT was extra nice.

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Happy Tuesday, y’all!

Weaving into the lives of others

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It was around this time last year that I decided to stay home with my little one instead of go back into my classroom as a third grade teacher. The years I spent teaching and learning in my classroom are ones that I hope to never forget and contain lessons I intend to pass on to my sweet girl in the years to come. While there were undoubtedly long, hard days I can honestly say that I loved working as a full time classroom teacher. There was always at least one moment in my day that brought me light and joy and confirmation in my career’s vocation.

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This week was teacher appreciation day (or week for those districts that like to celebrate their teachers for more than one day – which I fully approve of:) and I always loved that teacher appreciation day/week usually coincided with mother’s day weekend because I always felt like a mother to my students. I was with them for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, and sometimes even longer if I needed them to stay for tutoring or after school events. By the end of the year my students and I would always develop this comfortable, familial rapport with each other. They knew about all of my daily, quirky habits like what days I would eat in my classroom and work through lunch, what names I would use in my word problems during math, my obsessive love for manatees, they even knew which afternoons I needed a diet coke. In turn, I learned about their funny little preferences and had the privilege of watching them grow and learn over the course of the school year. I was their school mom, and they were my 20 wild, crazy kiddos. The relationships that form in a classroom are just as in explicable as those with your family members. There is that sense of comfort and warmth and nurturing found in those walls and among those tiny desks.

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I think about the day that my little one will walk up the steps and meet her Kindergarten teacher and the relationship that they will form over the course the academic year. All of the learning she will do and all of the hard work, dedication, and patience her teacher will endure over those long day and short months. I think about the trust and encouragement her teacher will need. I think about the hours her teacher will spend grading papers, sorting through books, and writing my daughter’s name on name tags. My appreciation for my former coworkers and friends has grown exponentially as I have started my family. While I am no longer working 12 hour days in the classroom, prepping science experiments and writing lesson plans and I am working on a much smaller, part-time scale I still think about what a great calling it is to be a teacher. To get to be even a small part of a child’s life is such an incredible thing. To all my teacher friends out there – happy teacher appreciation day! I hope your students and families have showered you with words and gifts of encouragement because you have more than earned it.

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” -Pericles

Happy Wednesday!