Pasta night is always a win in our house so I've tried to get creative and find a way to incorporate more veggies in the family's diet while also finding a way to cover it up (I'm not big on the taste of them either LOL). Sometimes I'll even throw in some diced zucchini to the mix to add another veggie in. and it's quickly becoming one of my favorite meals to make!

Ingredients:
  • 1 pack of tomato basil chicken sausage
  • 3/4 green pepper
  • 3/4 yellow pepper
  • 3/4 orange pepper
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 - 24 oz jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 - 16 oz box of pasta
Directions:

  1. Set your pot of water to boil. While waiting for your water to heat dice your onions, peppers and chicken sausage. 
  2. Heat oil in a skillet then begin sauteing your onions and peppers. After 5 minutes add your chicken sausage.
  3. Cook your pasta to the directions on the box, drain the water then add the sauce. 
  4. Combine all ingredients and enjoy!



In about a month from now I'll be coming up on 32 years on this earth, I've had a lot of thoughts and feelings streaming through my head for a while. Balancing a full time job, two very active little boys, maintaining a home while coming up with fun family activities. I don't really take much time for me... (I mean what mother really does?) other than an occasional face mask and getting my brows done every couple of months. The only thing I religiously do for myself is paint my nails. I decided it was time to change that but I also wanted to make a change that could also benefit everyone in my family.

After months of going back and forth and being super self conscious after having my youngest I decided I wanted to start working out and introducing more nutritious meals into my diet / family's diet. After all the body doesn't bounce back so easily after your 30's especially sitting at a desk all day and eating like garbage... (who knew?! lol) For as long as I could remember I've always been petite, fit in size 0/1 jeans and had a six pack. However, that changed with each pregnancy, with my oldest I went up a size and was able to get some definition back to my abs but after my youngest who was a much harder pregnancy, I didn't get so lucky. Again I went up a size in pants but also noticed those abs we're no longer there, in it's place was a bit of a pouch and the muffin top rearing its ugly head over my jeans when I wasn't wearing high-waisted leggings just nagged at me.

Don't get me wrong I know for being a mother of two over 30 I have a pretty decent body but it's just not the body I'm use to. After months of seeing friend all join BeachBody I decided I'd take the leap of faith and give it a whirl. This decision is much more than just to get back to the body (or close to the body I use to have) it's also a way to burn off stress, a way to get some more energy into my day and a way to get my family on track to better nutrition.

I already know I won't be follow the programs to a T and there are days I'll end up skipping the work out but for me attempting to do this is far better than just thinking about it and dwelling on wanting change and not going after it.

Maybe I'll surprise myself, maybe I'll press that play button everyday and maybe I'll get my oldest to eat the fruits and veggies with me. (He's just as picky as I am... more than likely more picky than me...)

I'm already in the prepping phase currently, I went out and purchased a yoga mat, 2 - 2 lbs weights and a step with risers. I set up a meal plan to help introduce nutrients while not over eating and have also started back on protein shakes to help get the rest of the nutrition I'm not getting in because of my pickiness. Not only did I pick all that up I also picked up a notebook to take time each night before bed and track my journey and just write my thoughts out on a page (the old school way) a journal of thoughts if you will.

Now the question is... Why am I sharing this here? I'm pretty positive I'm not the only mother at home internally side eyeing my body or wishing I could make some time for myself and I want you to know you aren't alone. Plus this is a great way to hold my self accountable for keeping up with this and also get back into my love of blogging. I can share my journey with you all while keeping track and hopefully motivating someone else to take a chance on your self! So here's to it! Time to get that hot mom bod and health back!
So it's obviously been a hot minute since I've had a chance to sit down and write a post. My goal is to at least get one a month in for the 2019 year but we shall see.

Back in October, we got to go to one of our friend's house for their housewarming party (Congrats Todd & Tiffany!!) and they had a bowl of pretzels out amongst all their other snacks available. One bite in and we were hooked. I asked her where she got them from cause I needed to have them in my life more and she said they were spicy pretzels and would text me the recipe.

I couldn't believe how easy it was to make them and have been enjoying them ever since and had to share it with you guys! (Plus I try and share all the recipes I love to here so when I remember I want to make something I can easily reference it here haha)


Ingredients:
  • 1 - 16oz bag of pretzel sticks (you can also do the 20oz if you want them milder)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (or canola oil if you prefer)
Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (except pretzels) and still together
  2. Add in pretzels and mix together.
  3. Continue to still and allow pretzels to sit every 10 minutes until pretzels look dry.
  4. Store in a gallon ziplock bag & enjoy!

I'm always trying to find new and easy recipes to make for my family (especially with an UBER picky toddler) with fall here and the temperatures decreasing I was looking for something warm, goofy and hearty to fill us up and this was a hit for my husband and I. My toddler just looked at it but there is always next time!

Ingredients:

  • 2 can cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup
  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups rice (pre-cooked)
  • 1 packet Italian seasoning
  • 1.5lbs chicken
  • 1 - 8oz pack of cheese (I justed colby jack)

Directions:
  1. Cook chicken with a little bit of the Italian seasoning and then cut into bite-size pieces. 
  2. While the chicken was cooking, I mixed together the soup, water, the cheese, and rice in a 13 x 9 baking dish. 
  3. Mix well, making sure all the rice is covered. 
  4. Stir in chicken pieces
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 350º for 30 minutes.

If you've been here long enough you know I have a thing for stuffed peppers, however, I'm far too lazy to make the normal stuffed peppers and while I do have a crockpot recipe I did find that it can over soften the rice and turn it to mush. (Still yummy but reminds me of my infant's food LOL).


The other day around 3 o'clock I got a hankering for stuffed peppers so I decided to do some digging and found a easy stuffed pepper soup recipe that I was able to throw together with my son in about an hour (prep won't take a sans-kid adult this long but a toddler helping and an infant crying will slow you down a bit LOL) I opted to double the recipe so I had lunch for a few extra days that week (or more like enough for us to eat it for lunch and give my mother a large Tupperware of it too whoops)

It turned out delicious and was a quick, great, and warm meal to pop in the microwave the rest of the week.

I cooked the recipe fit for 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic (warning this was a LOT of garlic I'd recommend cutting in half)
  • 2 green peppers diced
  • 2 - 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 56 oz of water
  • 4 tablespoons beef bouillon granules (4 cubes)
  • 4 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 6 cups of rice - prepped
Directions:
  1. In a large dutch oven, cook beef, Italian sausage and onions over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients excepted for rice; bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until peppers are tender.
  4. Stir in rice and simmer for 5 more minutes.


The other day while pumping I was thinking how I was kind of a former shell of my self. Back before a career, marriage and children I was a wild child. I voiced my opinion (well I still do that..). I would go try crazy new things and live “balls to the wall” so to speak. But then I also realized I’m even more of the daring person I thought I was, I took chances, I took risks.

At 31 years old, I’ve been in a committed relationship for 13 years, I've purchased a home, established a career, brought 2 children in to this world (via c-section no less).

While to some that may not seem like a big deal (they've probably never raised a 3 year old LOL) but those are all big risks. How do you know that relationship won’t end in divorce? After all the rate of divorce in the US is 40-50% in the US! How do you know you won’t lose your job and end up having your home foreclosed on? How do you know your children will grow up and be successful, respectful and caring people? Truth is you don’t but you take that chance and you give it your all. With every fiber of your being, you push to make sure you are the best person you can be.

Are there going to be days you lose your shit and get into a fight with your husband? Or when your kids will make you lose your patience so you yell at them? Sure but at the end of the day you you take a deep breath and work through it. You display compassion and don’t go to bed angry. You wipe the tears with hugs and kisses and tell them you love them and that it is okay. There is alway tomorrow to try again and do better.

So you see, I may not be the wild and crazy person I was back in high school all those years ago but I’m a brave woman, giving my all to the blessings I was provided. And this goes for anyone out there. If you take each and every challenge you are given and face it head on no matter the bumps or bruises you may get along the way you too can say “I took a chance and you know what? I did it!”

If you know me in real life you know the one thing I try and keep up with are my nails. I fully blame it on working at Starbucks for three years and not being able to wear nail polish for my obsession today. As a full time working mother, I don't have much free time on my hands anymore and with another little one on the way, it's about to get even rarer.

I'm so happy I finally decided to check out the Gel Couture line from Essie. Essie is easily one of my favorite brands of polish. I love their color range, the applicator brush and that their bottles allow for a neat and organized storage. The Gel Couture line has the same curved applicator tip that works with my cuticles allowing me to get close to the edges of my nail without flooding my cuticles with polish.

I've been looking at the line for months but just couldn't really justify the $11 a bottle till one day my perusing down the Target aisles I discovered Find Me A Mannequin was on sale for $6, now that's a price I can get behind! So into the cart it went for me to finally try out along with the Gel Couture top coat.

Fast forward passed dinner, playtime, cuddles and bedtime routine I was able to try this baby out! The application was great and I had a nice opaque color with one coat but I'm a set in stone routine type of person with always applying two coats of color and finished it off with the Gel Couture top coat. (My routine is base coat, two coats of color then top coat ALWAYS.)

Essie - Find Me A Mannequin | Day 1 of wear
Off the bat, I loved the color of the polish bottle to nail she was stunning and the top coat really put out the shine! Now the real question was would it last the 14 days of wear they were saying?

Well, I'm happy to report by day 15 (even after switching bedrooms around and a minor break in a nail) my polish was still looking pretty fabulous! I could have probably continued to sport it for a while longer but was itching for a new color on my nails. LOL

Essie - Find Me A Mannequin | Day 7 of wear

Essie - Find Me A Mannequin | Day 15 of wear

I have tried the no-chip polish route before in hopes of long-lasting color and well obviously no chips but hated the removal process when the whim came to change my color. With Essie's Gel Couture colors I am getting the lasting chip free color without the nightmare of removal when I want to change my color and it is cheaper than a trip to the salon. It's definitely easy to say I've found a new favorite polish collection!

Essie - Turn N' Pose | Day 1 of wear
And for anyone curious I opted to try Turn N' Pose when I switched my color out. Another stunning color!

After a bout of stomach flu followed by an upper respiratory illness two weeks ago, I'm starting to finally feel better however, it really played havoc with my energy and skin. Not to mention I'm also dealing with the internal struggle of keeping my hair long or chopping it off.

So tonight I decided to indulge in some self care, with the end of my pregnancy fast approaching I've decided to indulge in as much self-pampering as I can get before the chaos of balancing a newborn, toddler, career and being a wife consume any and all free time I may have (not that I'm really complaining.)

I'm currently really struggling with making a decision to keep my hair long or chop it off so for now, I'm opting to try and keep it as moisturized and static free as possible with my Kenra Daily Provision and Daily Serum Oil. I just evenly coat my hair with both products, brush my hair with my Wet Brush to avoid any further breakage with my hair and allowed it to air dry.

Next was cocoa butter to the belly to avoid any further stretch marks my darling little man is choosing to give Mommy this round of pregnancy. then time to embrace my facemask. Let that baby set for 10 minutes, rinsed off then moisturized with my Perfectly Posh Caffeine Stick and Moisutruze 911.


Queue intermission where it was time to play with my son and do our bedtime routine (He's very particular about sleeping with his cars & firetruck at night!) Once he was settled and down for the night



Time for some blogging, cookies and a movie to complete the decompression before bedtime and gearing up for another week ahead. What's your favorite way to indulge in self-pamper time?

So it's obviously been a hot minute since I've posted here, like almost a year... My goal for 2018 is to change that. A lot has happened in this past year that I'd like to share with you wonderful readers.


My little guy isn't so little and will be three years old already this year. His personality is larger than life and we can barely keep up with him HAHA. He absolutely loves all things with a motor. He's definitely Mommy's little gearhead. If we aren't watching Thomas the Train then he has us play Fast and Furious (the second one and the 8th one are his absolute favorites!) He's obsessed with drag racing too. I'm sure I'll be in big trouble when he turns 16. (Lord help me!)

My living room can be constantly found littered with trains and cars from him holding races with them but we wouldn't have it any other way... Okay maybe we'd like the house to look a little neater but I'm pretty sure that comes with the territory of children.


Eleanor is her usual high maintenance princess self not that that should surprise anyone LOL

And for the big news! 

After a tough year of loss, praying and hoping we are expanding our family. We have another little boy due to arrive in April! 16 days shy of his big brother turning 3. I'm officially a boy mom and Eleanor & I are now outnumbered but we are looking forward to the challenge. 

 Now that's you're all up to speed on the past year let's jump into my goals for 2018. I decided not to do resolutions because I didn't want them to feel forced. I've opted to set goals for myself to accomplish this year. 

1. Get back into blogging. I really missed it.
2. Make weekly meal plans and stick with it.
3. Learn how to do calligraphy.
4. Survive motherhood with 2 little boys





I'm also hoping to share daily motivation posts on my social media channels [Facebook | Instagram | Twitter] so be sure to follow so you can see those as well.

Today's Daily Motivation is: