Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What do you mean 'I can't wear yoga pants in Europe?'


So I've shared on here before that I kind of despise my entire wardrobe at the moment.  When one spends the better part of the previous five years either pregnant or carrying post-pregnancy poundage, the last thing one wants to do is torture oneself with a trip to a clothing retailer. 

Not that I haven't done that. 

It's definitely one of those experiences where you grab things off the rack that look super cute on the size zero mannequin, but accentuate all of your flabby parts. I'm sorry, but if a piece of clothing doesn't scream "you look five sizes smaller," ain't no way I'm gonna buy it. 

Or, you walk in and stick to the accessories, like just shopping whatever is closest to the check out lane.  Super fun.

As a result of these shopping experiences, I've taken a nice LONG hiatus from buying clothing for myself.  But now that I'm finally more comfortable with my weight/size, I think it's high time I squirreled away some pennies and purchased a few pieces of clothing.  Fun, right?

And on top of the fact that I have no wearable clothing, we also have a little 10 year anniversary trip coming up that I'd like to be at least moderately stylish for--cause they don't play in Europe.  Everybody looks nice all the time.  Something tells me my standard "mommy" uniform just isn't going to cut it. 

So I'm calling in the big guns.  'Cause girlfriend needs some HELP in the style department. These particular big guns come in the form of a great friend, Meagan, who has THE BEST style blog on the planet.  It's fun, and fashionable, and relatable all at the same time--just like Meagan!

I messaged Meagan and threw myself at her feet with my words, begging her to please have pity on a desperate style-less friend.  She helped me up, dusted me off with her email, and assured me that my cause wasn't completely hopeless. Not completely. 

We're going to do a little bloggy exchange here and Meagan is going to put together some looks for me, and then I'll pick a few outfits and do a big reveal from Europe.  Cool, huh? Makes me feel way more classy and sophisticated than I actually am. I promise not to come back a snob.  Pinky swear. 

I so look forward to sharing our adventures. And come on, we're getting a kiddy break! So really, we could go stay in a seedy motel for a week and it would still probably be the best week ever. We're already planning out the sight-seeing part of things (thanks to information from great friends) and will also include lots of trips to the pastry shops. 

So Meagan, here's my parameters: comfort (lots of walking), style (HELP ME), and maybe some loose-fitting tops and elastic pants so the clothes still fit by the end of the week.  (I'm KIDDING! Kind of.)

I can't wait to see what Meagan comes up with. So check back in Thursday morning for a vacation style post you won't want to miss!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Weight Loss Goal + A $105 CASH GIVEAWAY!

If you follow me on any social media platforms, you may have heard me screaming from the high heavens on Friday that I had FINALLY, after eight and a half long, rollercoaster months of diet and exercise, made my weight loss goal.

F-I-N-A-L-L-Y!!!

I shared my celebratory breakfast on Instagram...


...posted my excitement on Facebook...



...and on Twitter.

And I want to share more about it with you next week, like what worked for me, what didn't, and why it took SO long, but for now I'll leave you with...

...AN AMAZING SPRING GIVEAWAY!

I am teaming up with 10 other bloggers for a Spring Giveaway where you can win $105 cash money! I think that's a pretty amazing way to celebrate reaching goal weight, right?!

Here are all the amazing bloggers hosting this giveaway!

Aubrey of Dreaming About Someday // Lena of Root & Blossom // Jennifer of Mommy Life After Ph.D.
Ema of Our Love in Bloom // Fel of Fels Photos // Michelle of Our Three Peas
What an amazing group of bloggers!  There are many ways to enter and no mandatory entries!  Do as many or as few entries as you want!  Do them all to maximize your entry potential!  And don't forget to tweet about the giveaway for an extra entry every day!

Enter via rafflecopter below and good luck!  Happy Spring everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 18, 2014

5 Favorite Make-Ahead Meals

It's no secret that dinner time around our house can be pretty chaotic.  What with Mr. M sitting at my feet crying his heart out because I'm just not moving fast enough to Mr. A and C Puddins duking it out in the playroom while that sweet BabyGirl sits quietly coloring at the table.

Those are the moments that I (fleetingly, 'cause teenagers) wish we had three girls instead of three boys.

And honestly, next to the morning get-to-school rush, the dinner preparation hour is the most stressful time of my day. Everybody's hungry and wants a snack.  Everybody is keyed up from nap time. Everybody just wants to sit down and eat a peaceful meal in complete silence...ok, not everybody, but that's definitely what the parents want.

So what's a busy, tired mommy to do?  Make meals ahead, of course! I'm sure you have used the same tactic to spare yourself that dinner-time drama, so please share your make-ahead favorites in the comments below or on the Facebook page. I LOVE adding new recipes to the rotation. 

Here are some of our favorites:

1) Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells

I got this recipe from another blog and have used it to stock our own freezer as well as for giving new-baby meals to friends. Super easy and freezes great! TIP: Just add a little chicken stock before baking to keep the shells moist.

I actually made some of these the other night, one for dinner and one for the freezer!




2) Taco Stuffed Shells

Are you sensing a theme here?  I like to stuff a shell with ingredients and freeze it, 'cause I'm boring that way.  These were actually a creation inspired by a meal some friends brought to us.  My recipe  calls for ground beef, black beans, corn, tomatoes, plain greek yogurt, chips and cheese.  Cause everything's better with cheese, right?

I posted the recipe for that one here

3) Red Chili

This one is super easy to throw together even as a non-freezer meal, but I do like the ease of having everything ready so I can pull it out of the freezer to thaw overnight, and then just pour it in a pot to heat up before dinner.  I just follow the recipe on the spice packet, or if you make up your own spices, it's just one can each of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, pinto beans and black beans. Add in some ground beef and you're all set!

I like to serve this with cornbread, which I mix up adding sour cream and colby jack cheese so it's moist and delicious.  My kids devour this meal!

Chili and Shells, ready for the freezer.





4) Crustless Cheesy Spinach Quiche

We can't leave the breakfast foods out! I've shared the recipe for this one on the blog before, so you can click the name above to check it out.  I don't freeze the quiche, but make it ahead the night before brunch. Just stick it in the fridge instead of baking it off, and pop it in the oven the next morning.  Definitely a crowd-pleaser. 

5) Slow-Cooker Cashew Chicken

Not to be left out, let's include a crock-pot make-ahead meal. This one is from my Yummy Things board on Pinterest (not to be confused with my snobby Whole Foods board) and straight from my go-to recipe site: Six Sisters Stuff.  Chances are, if you have a food board on Pinterest, you probably have a pin from their site.  This dish is great over rice, and is always happily scarfed down by all the Crazies, both old and young. 

Bonus Meal:
6) Order a pizza.

Ok, ok, so it's not exactly a make-ahead meal, but it's definitely yummy and clean-up is a cinch.

Your turn!  What are your favorite make-ahead meals?
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