Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

It's the last Wednesday of the month and I am linking up with Sheaffer, Mel & Shay for What's Up Wednesday to share a little about what's going on in our world...

What We're Eating This Week...

Last week I shared Menu Planning 101, and had a few people ask for an example of my monthly menu.  I will be sharing my complete August menu next Tuesday.  Be sure to check it out if you need a few ideas. Here' what we're eating this week...

Sunday: Cajun Chicken (from Trim Healthy Mama's Cookbook) over Zoodles &  Caesar Salad

Monday:  Lemon Pepper Tilapia over Quinoa, & Ina Garten's Roasted Broccoli

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday (In a Low Carb Tortilla)

Wednesday:  Crockpot Chicken Parm with Dreamfield's Noodles & Salad

Thursday:  Pulled Pork With Sugar Free BBQ Sauce (Buns for the family, Low Carb Tortilla for me)

Friday: Kitchen is Closed!

What I'm Reminiscing About...

What I'm Loving...

You guys know I watch my carbs closely, and after hearing my Dad rave about his Zoodles (zucchini noodles) for a while, I broke down and bought a Veggetti.  Here's the deal, if you make a really good sauce, like my Olive Garden inspired Alfredo Sauce, you won't even miss the noodles.

What We've Been Up To...

Since school started I have more free time, and I am trying my best to stay on top of housework and laundry.  All is right in the world when my house is organized.  I found this schedule on Pinterest last week and have been trying my best to follow it.

I just realized how sad it is that my what I've been up to lately is about cleaning and laundry.

What I'm Working On...

It hit me last week that Kendall is a JUNIOR!  She has TWO years of school left!  I have been working on a spreadsheet (yes, I'm crazy) on colleges that we need to check out, how far away it is from home, how much it costs a semester, and what the requirements are for Kendall.  We are even planning some college tours this fall.  As much is it makes my heart ache to think of my baby leaving the nest, I am so excited for her future.  

What I'm Excited About...

My weekly Bible Study starts a week from today, and I am so excited about it.  It is hard for me to be disciplined enough to study the Bible daily without a scheduled plan.  This Bible Study helps me to study scripture, but it also gives me perspective from a variety of women, which I love!  Women with grown children, women without children, women raising children, I love the perspective!  This Bible Study is always one of the best parts of my week!

It's been a long time since I've done a Jennifer Rothschild study, but I really like her.  She is an amazing speaker and writer who lost her sight as a teenager.  She is completely inspiring, and I can't wait to see how she challenges me through this study.  If you're a local friend, you should join us next Wednesday!

What I'm Dreading...

Is it too early to be dreading January?

What I'm Watching/Reading...

Consider this a Public Service Announcement:  The UP Channel (which is 188, if you have Dish) has the best reruns ever.  Shows like 7th Heaven, Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, The Middle!  This may be completely old news, but this is the first time in a LONG time that my TV has been on in the afternoon for anything other than an animated show.  

(Picture from

I do have a goal to read one book in September, and by that I mean not a Curious George or Pete the Cat Book.  I'm not usually a book reader, but am pushing myself to be.  I love to write, and I think my writing skills will improve when I read more.  I have narrowed it down to Uninvited by Lisa TerKeurst or Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.  I'd love your input, if you've read either of these, or have any other suggestions for me.

What I'm Listening To...

Fact: I've been stuck on Billy Joel lately!

(Picture from

His music is soothing!  I pulled up my Pandora station to see what my top ten stations have been lately, my musical taste are all over the place...

1. Billy Joel
2. Rod Stewart
3. Adele
4. Dan Seals
5. Needtobreathe
6. Prince
7. Eric Church
8. Outkast
9. Randy Rogers
10. Hootie & The Blowfish

Everyday calls for a different soundtrack, right?  Just, beware of the Outkast days, y'all.

What I'm Wearing...

This is always hard for me, because I am not a fashion blogger by any means.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love shopping and clothes, but at this stage of my life (i.e. raising kids) fashion just takes a backseat.  So, consider this your second Public Service Announcement today: Go To Dirt Cheap!  Have you been there?  Yes, you have to dig, but the savings are ridiculous!  I bought these Rock Republic jeans advertised on the Kohls website for $88 for $12.

Yes, $12!  I wasn't sure that I was cool enough to pull off distressed jeans, but I was willing to test the waters for $12.  I also saw some Tahari and Lilly Pulitzer dresses in there for between $12-$20, too.  If you have a Dirt Cheap near you, it's definitely worth a stop in.

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month...

Jentry and Jesse celebrate birthdays one day apart in October, so I'm looking forward to planning their 3rd and 5th birthday parties, and start shopping for their presents.  I am also looking forward to breaking out some soups, chili, and stew as the weather cools off.  

This month's bonus question: What is your favorite transition piece for fall?

This fashion related question was super easy for me!  My military jacket is by far one of the most worn items in my closet, especially this time of year!  My fashionista friend, Andrea, says olive is going to be the "it" color this fall, too!  I love that this jacket is easy to throw on and matches anything, PLUS the utility pockets make it so easy for an afternoon at the park...I don't even have to tote around my purse.

That's what's up with us, what's up with you?


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Who Ya' Rootin' For?

There are a couple of things in life that I really want to be: an Olympic Ice Skater, a singer, a runner, and a college football fan.  Of all of those, the easiest to achieve is probably the college football fan, right?  My husband loves it, but I have a hard time understanding football.  As big as football is here in the south, Football 101 should really be a mandatory class before graduating high school.  I mean that is way more useful than Geometry!

I graduated from LeTourneau University, undefeated in football since 1946...which is code for, we don't have a football program.  My husband is a Sam Houston State University Alumni.  The Bearkats (Why do they spell Bearcat with a "k"?   It's weird. You would think an English Professor would have fixed that by now.) have had a great football team the past few years, but sadly their games aren't broadcast here very often, BUT that doesn't stop him from watching and rooting for other teams.

My husband is a HUGE Dallas Cowboy the mood of our home usually depends on how the Cowboys are doing.  Mark is the most easy going person ever, but I see a different side of him when the Cowboys are on.  It' pretty ridiculous.

(Jentry says, "Someone please make my Daddy stop yelling at the TV")

As much as my husband loves football...I love to drive him crazy.  I have come up with a few things I plan to say each and every game just to annoy him keep conversation flowing during the game.

  • What inning is it?  (I'm a baseball girl, I can't help it!)
  • Is this Tom Brady's team?  He is so cute!  
  • I love the color combo of their outfits. (Mark's #1 pet peeve is when I call uniforms "outfits")
  • Is that guy on your Imaginary Football Team? (Yes, I know it's really called Fantasy Football.)
  • Have I told you lately how much I LOVE Terry Bradshaw?
  • Is that the dude from the Blind Side? (Yes, I know what his name is and what team he plays for, this is purely done to annoy my husband.)
  • Oh my goodness, their mascot is adorable.  I am totally cheering for that team now.
  • Why don't they show the half time show every game.  That's the best part!
  • Make fun of Tony Romo in anyway.  It's pretty easy these days to come up with something.  My husband loves Romo!  I don't even know football and I know he needs to let that go.

I know what you're thinking, why does he keep me around?  Because I make good game day grub, that's why!  Here are a few ideas for your football watching parties that can be hearty and manly, but also low carb for us watching our game day physique!  

Who are you rooting for this football season?  

Link up with Shelly and Katy and Spiel the Beans...

Have a terrific Tuesday!


I'm also linking up with Beth!  You remember Beth from yesterday, right?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Meet & Greet Monday

Happy Monday!  I'm back with another edition of Meet & Greet Monday to feature my friend, Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls.  As soon as I stumbled upon Beth's blog earlier this year, I felt a connection with her.  I adore her wit, creativity and her boldness in her faith.  She just celebrated her 9th wedding anniversary, and has two beautiful girls that she home schools.  If you aren't already a loyal Beth Reader, get on the bandwagon.  You're sure to find something you love about her.  

How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start blogging?

I started blogging in March of 2014. I originally began my blog wanting to keep a "diary" of life with my girls and our home school adventures. The blog ended up being SO much more than I ever expected it to be. It turned into a creative outlet, ministry, family journal, recipe book, source of income and more.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

I was sitting at the computer racking my brain and drawing a blank. I remember asking myself what I wanted this blog to be about and 'our pretty little girls' popped into my head. Somehow it stuck. I have thought about rebranding in the past, but that just seems like WAY too much work so I am pretty sure it will stick around. Besides, they'll always be my pretty little girls. 

Of all your posts, which one was your favorite to write and why?

Goodness Emily that is a HARD one.

I think it might be Our Love Story.  
Never have I ever felt so real, honest and vulnerable on my blog than the day I posted that. 

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

To be yourself. Sure it sounds simple, but it is so hard. I feel like we take on the identity or try to take on the identity of the person we think we are supposed to be. Being totally comfortable just being yourself is something I think few people live out all the time. 

Let’s pretend a big TV executive called you up and wanted to feature you on a popular talk show each week.  Who’s talk show would you want to appear on and what would your segments be about?

HA! I just can't see this happening but I would totally try to rock some sort of recipe on the Today show. I am assuming that would be the only reason anyone would be calling me because my DIY & fashion skills are questionable. 

What are your go to’s?  In other words, I’m going to give you a scenario when you might find yourself in a time crunch…tell me the first thing that pops in your head.

You need an outfit and you only have an hour to find it.  What store is your go to?

JCP. One reason, coupons. We live on a tight budget and I can always find something cute and affordable there.

Friends are coming over for dinner tomorrow night?  What’s your go to entertaining meal?

Grilled pizza. Who doesn't love pizza?! I'd serve it with a salad and apple crisp with ice cream

Your cleaning house on a Saturday afternoon.  What’s your go to CD or Pandora station?

All Sons and Daughters. I adore that Pandora station. It stirs my heart to sing praises.
You need to stare mindlessly at the TV to unwind.  What’s your go to TV show?

We don't have cable so I'd turn on Netflix and put on some random Food Network show.

You’re planning a date night (or girl’s night out).  What’s your go to restaurant for a fun time?

Cheddars. The food is good & cheap plus the atmosphere is pretty fun too. 

You need some encouragement.  Who’s your go to person for a little pick me up?

Anna. She is the friend who I can call any time. I remember hystericall calling her on the way to the ER with my Emily. She kept me calm and prayed with me over the phone. I'll never forget that phone call.
I also often turn to Stephanie too. She is my blogging bestie and an amazing source of support and encouragement, in real life and blog things. 

Thank you, thank you, Beth for letting me pick your brain today!  Beth is the host of some fun linkups, too!  A few of my favorites are Tuesday Talk, The Kids Behind the Blog and $10 at Target (although I've never participated in the Target linkup, it's still one of my favorites to read).  You can learn about all of her linkups here.  Make sure you stop by and say hi to Beth today!

Be sure to check out my other Meet & Greets, too!

Meet Johannah from the Sirois Family
Meet Shelly from The Queen in Between 
Meet Amanda from A Brownie World
Meet Jessica from Life.Love.Reality
Meet Jill from Pharr Out Creations
Meet Jenny from California
Have a great week!


I'm linking up with Johannah for Hello Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Favorites: Back To School Edition

Happy Friday!  We have had a great first week back at school and are settling into our routine nicely.  Normally, I tell you all about my favorites from the past week, but since this week has revolved around school so much, I decided to do something a little different today for Friday Favorites and ask my kids their favorite part of school this week.

Last Friday the kids put on their First Day of School outfits (although Jess changed his mind on his first day outfit before Tuesday rolled around) for me to take a couple of pictures in.  I had planned a different location, but it started raining, so we went downtown and shot these pictures in the alleyway.  We're fancy here in Smalltown, Texas.


Kendall is a junior now!  She said her favorite thing about this week was getting ready for the pep rally and football game.  It's safe to say her priorities are definitely in the right order.  My favorite thing about this week is her independence this year.  She drives herself to school, home from school, to practice, from practice, and to the grocery store when she forgot she needed a poster at 7:00 at night (yes, Katie, it's already happened).  She has done a great job this week, and I am super proud of her!  I can't believe how fast her school years have gone, but I am so excited about her future.  She has a light in her and I cannot wait to see where it takes her!

In other news, my least favorite part of the week was when Kendall reminded me I need to clean out my closet..."Hey, we're suppose to dress like the 90's decade tomorrow.  Can I borrow something from your closet?"  Bless her heart.


Jess is in the four year old class, also known as the Zoo Crew, this year.  It's his third and final year at Wee School.  He says his favorite thing about school this week was going down the big slide on the playground.  He also did some fun projects like making play doh and a magic name painting that he loved, too!  My favorite thing about Jess' week is that he has one of my very good friends as a teacher.  Yes, I'll pray for her a bit more than I already do, but I am excited that she gets to love on him and his classmates this year.  


 This girl has been waiting to go to Wee School since she knew what Wee School was!  She has dropped Jess off with me the past two years and has been patiently waiting for her turn.  To say she loved it would be the understatement of the year!  She says her favorite thing was playing Princess Dress Up.  Speaking of praying for teachers, her class has 12 girls and 1 boy, so her teachers need some prayers, too!  Oh, and probably that lone little boy, too.  Ha!  My favorite thing about Jentry's week is the huge bear hug I get when I pick her up.  She is always so excited to tell me all about her day.  

We have been blessed to have had such a fun week.  I am thankful for easy transitions for all my kids, and for the familiar faces they see in their hallways.  I love this community and am grateful to raise my family here.  Tonight is a big deal in a small town.  You guessed it, it's Friday Night Lights!  If you need me I'll be sitting somewhere on the 50 yard line, waiting for the halftime show to start!  

Incase you missed my other posts this week...

I hope you all have a great weekend!  Don't forget to #GOMO!


I'm linking up with the regulars...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

I Promise To Tell The Truth, The Whole Truth...

When you get an email saying you are being sent an Infuenster box, it's like Christmas!  You start dreaming of what might be in that box, wondering if it's something you'll fall in love with, or if it's something you'll stick in the back of your junk drawer and forget it's there.  I was super excited that my blog buddy, Amanda, received the same box from Revive VoxBox Influenster that I did, and we decided to review our products together.  

If you're not familiar with Influenster, they send out complimentary products, for testing and reviewing purposes.  Yes, I received free products, but I promise to you, my friends, that I will give you my honest opinion.  In fact, I think you'll see Amanda and I don't always have the same opinions on these products.  

So, let's get started....

 First up, this shampoo and conditioner combo from SheaMoisturize Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless Shampoo & Creme Rinse (goodness, that's a long name).  I mentioned this shampoo & conditioner in my Friday Favorites, but it is worth mentioning again!   It is advertised as weightless, and I think that is the perfect word to describe it.  Between the sun and chlorine, my hair has taken a beating this summer.  This shampoo/conditioner duo left my hair feeling clean and soft, without that over conditioned feel.  My hair tends to be a little frizzy and I have to straighten it everyday.  I noticed when I used SheaMoisture I actually used my straightner a little less, because my hair was so smooth.  In fact, I didn't realize how much I liked this combo until I had used up my sample and went back to my other shampoo.  SheaMoisture claims to have a humidity blocker, which this Texas girl needs, majorly!   

I would definitely consider buying this again!  In fact, I plan on buying it after I run out of my Bedhead stuff I'm using now.  And, at the affordable price of $10.99 for 13 ounces, it doesn't break the bank.  Plus, it is widely available at stores like Target, WalMart, CVS and other major drug stores.  

Up next, SnackWell's Biscuit Thins.  These come in three flavors, French Vanilla Latte, Caramel Macchiato, and Dark Chocolate Mocha.  I received Dark Chocolate Mocha.  If you know me personally, or have been reading my blog for a while you know a few things about me...#1) I watch my carbs, #2) I don't eat sugar, but I took one for the team and split this little package with my husband as a late night snack.  

 If you don't really care too much about carbs, and you watch your fat, you'll be interested to know that there are just 8 grams of fat in four cookies.  But, if you watch your carbs and sugar like me, you won't be too thrilled that these little babies contain 26 grams of carbs (3 grams of dietary fiber) and 8 grams of sugar.  It is also worth mentioning that they have 6 grams of fiber, are made with whole grains, and are free from high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil.  

Hmmm...would I buy it again?  To be honest, I actually liked the taste.  They are light and not too sweet with little bits of coffee baked into it.  Judging by taste, I would absolutely buy it again, BUT in a perfect world I would be thrilled it these babies were significantly lower in the carb department. 

I absolutely enjoyed reviewing these two products.  Please, please go over and see what Amanda has to say about the same products.  You might just be surprised...

Also, check back next Thursday to see what else was in that cute, yellow box!  Sneak peak below!

Have a great day!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Meal Planning 101

For the first time ever, all three of my kids are in school!  Here's a few back to school pictures...

I'll probably post more later in the week on that, but I just have to tell you, today when Jess got home he asked if I had been sad all day because I was home alone.  I nodded and put on a good show, but in reality I was skipping out of the preschool singing Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This!"  I love my kids with my whole heart, but I have been waiting a LONG time for a moment like that...a few hours of freedom.  And, by freedom I mean uninterrupted laundry.  I'm adventurous like that. Back to school also means getting back into routine, and breaking out the fall meal planning ideas.

I wouldn't say that I am the most organized person in the world, but I love a good list and an old fashioned paper calendar.  I feel like I am the last person in the world to keep one of those handy dandy little checkbook size calendars in my purse for doctor and hair appointments.  I don't put anything on my iPhone calendar, but I'd be lost without my Ann Geddes handheld calendar.  Ok, so my calendar isn't Ann Geddes, but you know what I mean.  Go ahead, snicker all you want.  I feel like once it's written on paper I can release it from my mind.

In fact, would you like to know what some of my family members (Mom & Stephanie) make fun of me the most for?  My clothes calendar!  OK, I don't keep a clothes calendar now, because I don't work outside of the home, so my outfits are pretty boring, but back in my workin' days, I kept a calendar of what I wore to work each day so that I wouldn't repeat outfits for a month.  Hey, I was young...I had lots of time on my hands.  You know something else I am passionate about...planning meals!  Meal Planning...are you in or are you out?  It can be grueling.  It can be frustrating.  It can be a complete waste of time on the weeks when you forego all planning and end up in a drive thru, but overall, a well thought out meal plan can save you time and money.

I have been meal planning for five years.  When I was pregnant with my middle child, I also had an active thirteen year old who was involved in extracurricular activities at school and church, and played club volleyball about an hour away.  I was tired of eating fast food after spending an hour saying..."What do you want for dinner?" and "I don't know what do you want?"  or "Nothing really sounds good to me."  We've all been there, right?  So, I sat down with a notebook and a pen and started my meal plan journey.

The first step is to write down everything in your cooking repertoire.  I wrote down some categories and just started listing.  My categories are:  Italian, Mexican, Soups, Sandwiches, Breakfast for Dinner, Crock Pot Meals, Other Beef Meals, Other Chicken Meals, Seafood, Pork Meals.  Yes, some may fall into two categories, but put them wherever you want.  It's your meal plan, afterall.  Putting all of my options out on paper helps me see the bigger picture.  Basically, my goal is to cook four to five times a week.  I am old school and print out a calendar for each month and put it on out refrigerator filled with everyone's events.  I can look at the schedule and know the nights we'll be home and I can cook a home cooked meal, versus the nights we are busy and may need a crock pot meal waiting on us at home.  I can also use this list as a "cafeteria plan" to pick and choose from, so I don't end up with four chicken meals in a row one week.  Also, once my hubby and kids have deemed a new recipe as one they'd like to have again, I can add it to the list under the appropriate category.

The first year was probably the most challenging, but now it is second nature.  Here's a HUGE tip from the pack rat in me.  Keep your menu's.  Yep, you heard right, do not trash them when the month is over.  I have every menu from the past five years in a binder where some of my favorite recipes are printed out.  This is a huge time saver.  September is right around the corner.  If you're like our family, things get busier (which means more crock pot meals) and weather gets cooler (which means more soups).  All I have to do is pull out my previous meals from Septembers past, and see what we were eating then, chances are, it'll sound good this September, too.  When the Spring rolls around and we're cooking out more, I just have to see what we were cooking up then, and I have a quick and easy meal plan.

I usually let the VIP review the menu, and upon their approval, I proceed.

Simple and easy, right?  Do you meal plan?  If so, what are some of your best tips?

Have a great day!


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