Thursday, April 20, 2017


hip hip hooray, we had (another) great day

Sometimes, things fall into place. Sometimes, you're in a house, in a neighborhood, taking your kids to school, doing a job you love and your husband is home for dinner every single night. And you find yourself not having to remind yourself, "Be present" because you just are. You're not telling yourself "the days are long but the years are short" through gritted teeth because you're just enjoying the days.
Part of this falling into place is just the place we are at in general. My kids are big, but not too big. They can put on their own shoes, they can buckle their own seat belts, we never ever need a stroller (PRAISE THE LORD), we can take them places and not have it be a huge production. They still like to hang out with us and we don't embarrass them yet. It's spring time-where the days are warmer and longer and that alone can make things feel better. You could say we're in a good season-in both life and nature.

But there is a little more right now: we love our home (not always the case when you move every few years), we love our neighborhood (same), and the school the kids are attending is fantastic (also: same). Both Neal and I like our jobs and work decent hours. We love this duty station and the town we live in-which is always a blessing because we don't get to chose. And while there are issues, like any where or place (a move in the middle of the school year is not easy), we are so content here.

It feels like home, in a way the last three years did not. It feels like everything has fallen into place for the time being, and I am grateful for it every day.

Friday, March 24, 2017


Happy Friday! It's been an interesting week around here. I lots of new ideas I'm floating and we're settling into our spring schedule which means baseball, baseball, and more baseball. Even though it was a busy week, it was a MUCH better week than last week. Last weekend I did all the things I said I wanted to and it made a huge difference in this week.

Wine + nap + prayer & meditation + a good book = a much better me.

Let's hope this weekend is as restorative!

Here are some of the things I pinned this week:

1. Shrimp and Whole 30 grits? Yes, please. 2. I think I might want to add a floral skirt to my wardrobe. 3. I've been daydreaming about cabins again. 4. I think I want to go full on Southern and paint my porch ceiling blue.

Links I'm Loving:

I'm listening to The Practical Minimalists podcast and it's so good.

I want a recipe box to organize all the random recipes I have laying around, but it's so hard to chose because I like them all.

I just ordered Joy the Baker's new brunch cookbook.

We're starting to plan a camping trip here with some of our best friends and I CANNOT WAIT.

So tempting!

Just ordered my second clean out kit from ThredUp.

This is a great piece about moving by one of my favorite bloggers.

I've been trying to find the perfect crossbody bag.

I think I'm going to try the gluten free bread recipe from my Against All Grain cookbook this weekend.

My favorite city written up in my new favorite magazine.

Have a fabulous weekend, ya'll!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Sometimes, life gets crazy. Sometimes, you and your hubs get home from work and have homework to help with, plus both baseball and Girl Scouts on the same night (WHY WHY WHY), plus dogs to feed...oh and yourself and all the people who live in your house who expect to eat every single day. And that's when you need to have a ton of this chicken salad in your fridge so you have something to scarf down before you run out the door. (Again.) It's great on it's own, with crackers, on bread, or on top of greens!

Also, it's, like, the easiest thing ever to make.

These measurements are good for two very large servings, so feel free to double or triple it for mega food prep. (Make during your weekly meal prep and you're golden!) Most weeks, I throw a couple pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my slow cooker for 4 hours and then shred it all to have on hand during the week, and that works perfectly here. I also make my own mayo, because...I'm crazy (Just in case you would like to try this, I double the Whole 30 recipe) but you can use regular mayonnaise, of course (I suggest Hellmann's for traditional mayo or Primal Kitchen Avocado mayo if you're paleo/Whole 30). I also sometimes top it with Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Thai Almond Dressing and it is DIVINE.

Alright, let's make chicken salad!

Almond & Apple Chicken Salad

2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken 
4-6 Tbsp of mayonnaise of your choice
1 small apple, cored and chopped 
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 Tbsp of roasted or raw almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and salt and pepper to taste. Top with almond dressing, if desired. Can be stored in fridge up to three days.


Friday, March 17, 2017


Happy Friday! I've decided to bring back Pins + Links on Fridays.

Do you ever come to the end of a week and find yourself focusing on all your shortcomings? It doesn't happen often to me, but this week has been a struggle. Some weeks are hard, you know? I'm hoping this weekend clears my mind and sets me on the right path for the coming week. The kids are off of school Monday, so it's a three day weekend for us, which already puts things in a positive light. I need a little downtime, some meditation, a little prayer, and maybe a nap and a glass of wine.

Here are some Pins I found this week:

1. Have you read about how people are choosing to wear a "uniform' everyday? This is my uniform. 2. I'll be making this drink station as soon as it warms up (hopefully this weekend!). 3. I just shopped at Aldi for the first time this week-and I really liked it. 4. Happy St. Patrick's Day! I think a Guinness float sound fantastic. 5. We're looking at new dining room sets and this is the look I'm going for.

Link Love:

Since one of my springtime goals is more gluten free baking, I've been making these Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies from Livin Paleo and they are SO GOOD.

I watched and loved The Crown, but this news of season two is HIGHLY ANNOYING. The Go Fug Yourself Girls break it down for you.

I'm moving toward ALL all natural cleaning products in our home and am finding lots of ideas/inspiration from the blogs From Faye and Clean Mama.

I just bought these Converse and I love them. My capsule wardrobe is pretty much complete!

This stuff is just the cutest. Even though Ava has been extra sassy this week, I want to buy it all for her.

That's it for me! I hope you have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


As you may know, we recently moved to a new state. And when we moved here, we bought a house. A house that I absolutely love! So I thought that it would be fun to do a Home Tour.

Let's start with the living room:

 When you walk in to the house, the living room is to your left. We get a lot of light here! No curtains for us; I like the clean lines of the wooden white blinds. Everything in this room is stuff we already had, but a lot of it was re-purposed into new uses!

 My all time favorite photo of the kids.

When we moved in, we painted the walls. We used Behr White Metal and are really happy with how it turned out-we went with the Premium Plus Ultra in Eggshell finish and it was worth it, in my opinion. 
The television sits on a hope chest that my great-grandfather bought for grandmother when she got married. He owned a furniture store in 1930's in Arbuckle, CA and it came from there. The gallery wall is full of our favorite photos, which we actually need to update since Ava has been walking for a few years now :).

Family Photos are by Amy Shuman Photography
Silhouettes are from Disneyland.
Initial is from Anthropologie

 This is the first time we've ever had a (working) fireplace in a home and we love it!

Detail of the right hand side of the mantle.

On the other side of that wall is the kitchen and dining area. The chair is vintage via Neal's grandmother. The poster on the wall is a printing press copy of the Declaration of Independence that we got on a trip to Philadelphia. 

Lots of sunlight! And sleeping dogs (Ryder the Lab is lying on the rug just below Dakota).

Doggie and blanket corner

Flea market green glass (from Alabama), fresh flowers, and door coasters (a gift from Ireland from Neal's parents).

Coffee table, The coffee table, sofa table, and end tables were all handmade by Neal's grandfather. Their color just happens to be spot on with the wood floors in this house!

So that's our light filled living room! Come back soon to see more of the Home Tour.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Meal planning is essential to my week running smoothly. I've been meal planning for years, but recently I started feeling overwhelmed by it all. Which is the exact opposite reason I meal plan! Feeling even more overwhelmed at 5pm, while two children repeatedly say, "I'm hungry. What's for dinner? Is it time for dinner yet? I forgot, what's for dinner?" is no bueno. That's how you end up ordering pizza two times a week.

All my meal planning in the past has required quite a bit of creativity, time, and energy. Every week, I'd be searching through cookbooks and Pinterest recipes, planning out all the meals and writing down all the ingredients, and then shopping for all of that, list in tow-including the actual meal plan to make sure I didn't forget anything. And while I love cooking and meals at home with my family, and enjoy grocery shopping, and get real satisfaction out of meal planning it was turning into something that was complicated and...hard.

So I decided to reassess. To simplify. (That is basically my life motto right now: More simplicity. In all the things.) Inspired by this blog post, I decided to assign a meal to each week night. I've always thought that I needed to change things up or everyone-including me-would be bored, but turns out everyone likes these meals best anyway, and are happy to eat them. Plus, I do change them up, but only in the most simplest of ways.

Here's my weekly minimalist meal plan:

Monday: pasta, salad, veggie 
Change ups: marinara + ground beef OR meatballs OR Italian sausage, pesto + chicken, Alfredo. We usually have some sort of squash as the veggie to keep it Whole 30ish for me and the hubs (spaghetti or zucchini are favorites) plus the pasta for the kids. 

Tuesday: stir fry, rice
Change ups: chicken, pork, or steak plus any veggies. I do either Asian seasoning or fajita. Same process, totally different flavors.

Wednesday: burgers, fries, salad
Change ups: turkey burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, BLTs. I sometimes switch out the salad for raw carrots, celery, and radishes. We have both lettuce wrapped and buns. 

Thursday: soup or salad
Fave Soups: split pea, chicken and rice stew, tomato, beef stew, chicken enchilada
Fave Salads: chicken Cesar, taco, salmon BLT

Friday: leftovers or out

Saturday: Slow Cooker
A variety of things, but my default is pot roast or buffalo chicken

Sunday: Sunday Supper
We take turns picking out "fancy" meal each week.

Sunday supper is always a big meal for us, I usually plan it out from cook books and it takes a bit longer to cook, and we all work together. I also take this time to give the kids basic cooking lessons. I love Sunday Suppers and I can truly enjoy the work that goes into them now that the rest of the week has been simplified. 

So, how can you start minimalist meal planning? Think about the foods and meals your family love and actually eat, and things that are simple to prepare. Take into account evenings that you know will be busier and make those the simplest to prepare meals. Go from there, and the rest will all fall into place.

This is hands down one of the best changes I've made this year. Making a minimalist meal plan has made a big difference in my kitchen. Knowing exactly what I'm going to make AND that it will take minimal time, not to mention that I know everyone will eat it without complaining (PRAISE HANDS) takes the stress out of the equation. It also has helped me to enjoy cooking even more, and to try new flavors and more complicated recipes on the weekends and it leaves me less stressed to enjoy our weekday evenings together. And the best part of all? Teaching my children that home cooked meals and eating together doesn't have to be hard or stressful.

Monday, March 6, 2017


It's starting to feel a little like spring here in Kentucky. The days are a little warmer, robins are building nests, and blossoms are tentatively appearing on our trees. Spring is a perfect time to air out new ideas and goals, and, especially since we're in a new place, that's just what I'm going to do. I'm working toward my B+ goals to being more seasonal instead of monthly, out of convenience mostly, but also because I'm all about minimal pressure these days.

Here's what I want to accomplish this spring:

Use my camera more, and look into purchasing a new one.
Spring cleaning!
More baking, with a focus on gluten free treats.
Learn more about our new town and meet new people.
Get a library card!
New deck furniture and grill.
Plan and plant a container garden.
Start running again.
Finish up our guest room.

What are your plans for spring? Any ideas for me to add to the list?