Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekend Notes 11

This has been a big week. We finally debuted our patio for the Home Depot style challenge, I tried cauliflower crust pizza for the first time, I have completed almost all 14 days of my two week challenge, there are Easter parties to be had, birthdays to celebrate (my Lynndaddy <3), and I've been busy planning a party for Minted that I'll be co-hosting with Annette Joseph at the Mom 2.0 Summit. Are you going? It's going to be real fun. Excited to see some blogger friends and meet some new ones.

I'm on the hunt for a double jogging stroller. Any opinions/rec? Was thinking about this one.

Hot yoga is my thang. I really love these pants and the price (additional 30% off right now!). I also need to get this for all of my crazy hairs. This towel would surely be better than the one I've been bringing that we normally use to wash the car.

I pinned those crazy delicious looking deviled eggs right here. Need to make two sides this weekend. Excited to be able to experiment. Helps a lot having Sam around. Want to make something out of this book.

Art for kids' rooms and nurseries (or your living room!) that I really love.

So excited for Jen and her family. Love this brave and awesome adventure they are going on!

This has been an interesting week in parenting. Both girls have needed extra love for different reasons and there have been some epic meltdowns. Going to attempt to keep a quiet saturday with egg dying and recharging to get ready for hunting, basket filling and overeating (vegetables - game still on). Happy Easter to all! So thankful for the resurrection and for God's love. I'm such a hot mess and glad that He still loves me. He loves you too.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tips for Moms: Meal Planning

What's that expression... "Fail to plan, plan to fail?" Haha, that's a little dramatic but I think in most of areas of life right now that it holds pretty true. My minutes are micromanaged these days and the micros are Matilda and Phoebe ;). Sam and I are working on making sundays "meal planning" days. I've been making an effort to write out a week's worth of recipes, going shopping for the ingredients and then cooking the meat for the week. Sam made two pounds worth of burgers and three large chicken breasts.

Here's the dinner plan for this week:

Monday: Burrito bowl mondays. Deconstructed burritos! No tortillas, but everything else. Lots of cilantro and sriracha for me please.
Tuesday: Thai Chicken Burgers (Sam made ours from turkey + bison) from It's All Good. This recipe is so amazing and worth buying the book alone. Serve with side salad and fruit.
Wednesday: Tacos. Our favorite "always in rotation" weekday dinner. We love mexican food.
Thursday: We do brinner once a week. Thursday makes us tired so bacon or chicken sausage and eggs it is.
Friday: Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Cauliflower crust pizza!!
Saturday: Dinner out. Yes.
Sunday: Sam's Sunday Chicken with Mashed "potatoes."

Each recipe is packed with veggies so they're not just meat by any means. Also working on one vegetarian meal a week!

For breakfast the girls love Ezekial raisin bread and greek yogurt and I tend to make eggs + sausage or drink protein shakes after a long morning walk. I also love making a bunch of these egg muffins and popping them in the oven throughout the week.

For lunch it's mostly leftovers... burgers and chickens with salads, guacamole, etc. I try to mix it up so that they have different sides and sauces. The girls eat whatever I eat with more fruit and sometimes gluten-free english muffins with jam or butter.

I have been snacking on snap peas with hummus and spoonfuls of almond butter. Heaven and keeps those sweet cravings away.

You can also prep veggies and portion out smoothies. Sam will make a ton of chocolate protein shakes and then freeze them. If I have a hot yoga glass I'll leave it on the counter and then it's ready to eat when I get home. I really want to stock up on some glass containers like these and edge out the plastic. Would love to hear any of your tips! xo

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I have been wanting to try cauliflower crust pizza forever! With the two week challenge I've been working on remixes of comfort food favorites and getting creative in the kitchen. Dinner is always a mom topic of conversation, typically followed by "ugh it's impossible with a busy baby" or "I just make the same things over and over again." Guilty as charged for saying both. I was recently sent some samples of Progresso's new Recipe Starter sauces that allow moms to create family meals fast. I thought the Fire Roasted Tomato would make the perfect sauce for this pizza.

Cauliflower is super versatile. We've used it to make mashed faux-tatoes and rice. I think it's sort of the ultimate grain substitute. Here's what I did to make the crust. I'll also give you a more dough-like variation. You can also make a bunch of crusts and freeze them and then add the toppings and delicious sauce for a quick + easy healthy dinner (or lunch!).

Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Cauliflower Crust Pizza
serves 3-4
adapted from this recipe

You will need:

- 1/2 a head of cauliflower, chopped
- 1 egg
- Fresh Parsley (about 2 springs, chopped)
- sprinkle of chili pepper flakes
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese
- salt and pepper to taste

For toppings:

I used sauteed baby bella mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil.

Preheat oven to 450.

Step one:

Drop cauliflower florets through the top of a high-powered blender (a food processor will work too!) and blend until it resembles "rice."

Step two:

Most recipes recommend steaming or microwaving the cauliflower and then ringing ALL the moisture out before combining with other ingredients. We have neither so I left the cauliflower raw and then added egg, parsley, spices, garlic and cheese. I used a wooden spoon to stir and then my hands to combine. Baking it raw creates a more crunchy, textury crust which I love but if you want more of a "dough" then try steaming it first.

Step three:

Form a crust on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then bake for 15 min or until golden brown.

Step four:

Precook toppings. I sauteed the baby bellas then added the sliced tomatoes uncooked.

Step five:

Remove crust from pizza and add your sauce. I used the Fire Roasted Tomato sauce from Progresso which has an amazing flavor with a little kick. I also love that it's chunky and not smooth. Delish! Spread over crust and then add cheese, toppings as well as a drizzle of olive oil around the crust.

Step six:

Bake until cheese is bubbly, about 10-15 more min. Dinner is ready! Remove pizza with parchment paper onto a cooling rack and let cool about 10 min so that you can cut it easily.

Would love to hear your quick dinner tips! Have you ever made cauliflower crust pizza? Check out Progresso's sauces and let me know which one you'd like to try!

Compensation was provided by General Mills via Federated Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills.

For more easy dinner ideas, visit here.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Recap Week One!

Week one of my first challenge (this one is a two weeker) went awesome. The first couple of days are always the hardest but I pushed through and I'm proud of that. Throughout the week I had a lot of highs and a few lows, just wanting that instant gratification. I also really missed chocolate and wine. Sigh, I've been depending WAY too much on comfort foods and by the end of the week I think my body was in a bit of a shock. Having you guys push me and join in on instagram has been amazing and so! appreciated. Here are some of the things I've been doing...

Keeping track of my calories. I am not a "calorie" person and the last time I lost a lot of weight and really learned what foods are good for me and was in great shape, I didn't do it. This time I needed that sort of extra push to see what I was eating and how it was stacking up. I won't keep this up long term, but for now it's helpful. I love the way My Fitness Pal and FitBit sync up.

Have I mentioned how much I love the Fitbit?! Without it I feel like I would have been a little lost with getting in 30 minutes of activity (ie sweating) a day as well as my 10,000 steps. Do you need this? No. Do I find it extremely helpful and motivating? YES.

I've been drinking TONS of water with lemon. My goal is to fill my 32 oz mason jar up at least 3 times. I've been pushing for five times each day.

I've also been trying to go 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. This allows the body to truly break down the food from the day before while you sleep.

What I've been eating: veggies, eggs, nuts, grass-fed beef, chicken, some pork (bacon - can't stop, won't stop), greek yogurt, some cheese (not much), sweet potatoes, and some low glycemic fruit (berries and apples). Aiming at about 1200 calories a day NET, eating more when I burn more calories, etc. Meal plan for the week will be up in a couple of days!

For exercise: hot yoga and regular yoga with Wide Angle Yoga and Be Yoga (aiming for three times a week), walking, wogging ;) Bottom line? I am exercising every day. This is the first time I've sweat from working out since before I was pregnant. The body adapts so quickly and when you're putting in the right foods, it comes much easier. Health is 80% food, 20% exercise. You get results WAY faster.


Weight loss: 3.4 pounds ! I don't think that scales are accurate for measuring changes in our bodies but I still think it's interesting to note.

Feeling like I have more energy, feeling less anxiety, feeling happier.

I need to get my measurements, but I'm taking weekly pictures that I'll share at the end. Ack. Pants definitely not as ahem tight ahem.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Home Depot Patio Style Challenge

Today is the day! I am so thrilled to finally be sharing our Home Depot Style Challenge with you guys. We found out in December that we were invited to participate and many moons later, here we are. I talk about the entire design process as well as share tips + info on how we created this modern farmhouse "patio" over on The Apron (Home Depot's blog). Hope you guys like it! We have loved sitting outside and soaking up these warmer days. Read on for some extra pictures as well as info about the props used in the shoot. Katie Oblinger is a local family photographer and I just about cried when I saw how beautifully she captured everything. I would highly recommend using her for your family portraits if you live in Atlanta. She's amazing!

The swing has been the biggest hit. We purchased ours here and you can find those heavy-duty swing hooks here. I love that we will be able to switch out the seat when the girls get a little bit older. It's awesome to be able to hang out and watch Til play (although she loves swinging too) while Phoebe swings away.

We had a little garden party with tacos from our local Taqueria Tsunami. I'm obsessed with the Aloha Tacos in a lettuce wrap. Just sayin'. Bowls - thrifted | Gold-dipped salad servers | Garden Party Plates | Tablecloth | Vase | Cloth Napkins | Party Horns

I made my favorite St Germain Rosemary Lemonade! Perfect for summer parties. :)

A special thank you to Stokke for the fabulous Tripp Trapp chairs. We love these chairs, especially because they slide right up to the table and lift the girls immediately to table level. The white baby set is so pretty with the natural chair in my humble opinion!

None of this project would have been possible without my amazing husband and Daddy. They worked so hard to build the pergola and potting table, paint the floor, and take down the existing railings. I am so thankful for them. Thank you to my sweet Mama for helping with the girls so we could pull this shoot off. So grateful!!

Can't wait to hear what you guys think. Hope you like it!

all photos by the lovely and amazing Katie Oblinger

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Weekend Notes 10

This week I pinned this quote here and then put my own spin on it on instagram (@lwgchallenge) with the Beautiful Mess App. This quote is just really speaking to me right now. I feel like we can make excuses about anything. I'm already on day four of the two week challenge and before I know it I'll have a week under my belt and then two weeks. It's just one foot in front of the other and it is powerful. I had Sam take my "before" photos last night before hot yoga and dango wango that was motivating!

Starting to think about Easter (pinned some ideas here). Think the girls need these. I'm in charge of the craft at the preschool party. Any great thoughts? Teachers?

I'm going to the CAMP spring supper tonight. I am SO excited about hanging out with my creative friends and meeting new people. Will I see you there?

This week I shared how to get the look of our bedroom on Wayfair's blog. I found some really awesome picks!

We just booked our beach trip to our favorite place and it's kind of all I can think about. Bringing baby to the beach? Here are some tips! I want this bathing suit.

I'm working right now on making our own energy bars and getting the girls to eat what we eat (not always easy!). Phoebe just started mother's morning out... it's going okay. Also hard to keep goldfish and crackers, cookies, etc out of the picture when I'm not around. I just got her this very appropriate lunch box which is the perfect size. Hoping to share some "healthy lunches for kids" posts soon!

Have the best weekend. Okay?

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Marriage: It's the Little Things

Can I candidly talk about life lately? I'm at this amazing point in my journey on this earth where I know what I want to do. To have that clarity is a beautiful thing, the rest of the picture is a little more complicated. I've been trying to piece together moments of quiet to get things done, worrying about my babies getting enough of their mama and feeling slightly inadequate all around. One of the worst things for moms and women in general is comparison. The other day I got caught up on some blog reading, which I'll be frank doesn't happen as often as I'd like, and then began a stream of constant inner criticism: "you should be doing things like this" "she looks amazing" "wow, why didn't I think of that?!" You know the drill. I can be paralyzed by those thoughts sometimes.

Sam has been helping me bounce ideas off about what the rest of the year looks like and realistic ways for me to keep a life/work balance. I think that outsourcing some help would probably make the most sense, but it's a big decision. All of this brings me back to marriage and the importance of the "little things." This week Sam has done two things that just really blew my mind and made me evaluate what love and friendship really mean and how to show that to others. Both acts were small and didn't take much time but they filled me with happiness and made me feel truly supported both mentally and physically.

After we got home from the lake sunday night I started scurrying around trying to get ready for monday morning. I made a concerted effort to set up my day and at the very end I got the coffee ready and was so proud of myself for programming it to brew the next morning. Well, at 6:20 pm the coffee began to brew. I wanted to cry. I threw myself a little pity party and got ready for bed. As I was brushing my teeth I heard the coffee grinder. Sam was surprising me with coffee for the morning. He didn't have to do that but he did and it meant a lot.

Tonight I was 1500 steps from making my goal for the challenge and he told me to get up and move while he dictated emails to me and wrote my replies to the first few. I made my goal! It was the first time and it felt so good. He knew I needed that little victory. Hoping to give him some victories this week too. Feeling very thankful for these gifts this week and reminded of the importance of paying attention to them and also being mindful of letting him feel that same love.

These photos are outtakes from our Home Depot shoot. Our photographer, Katie Oblinger, is quite amazing and I almost cried when I saw these photos. She is that talented. Thank you Katie for capturing us so well!! xo

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