Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Brunch and Bubbly for the Bride

Last month I had the honor of hosting a bridal shower for a girlfriend leading up to her wedding. I went with a Brunch and Bubbly theme and it was a hit.


I hosted the shower in my home on a Sunday morning. I love hostessing but one thing I have learned since Madeline was born is how important it is to prep everything ahead of time. So, the night before, I poured myself a glass of wine and then set out all the serving pieces I planned to use and put together my flower arrangements. 

I kept the flowers very simple by picking up a mixed bouquet and some blue hydrangeas from Trader Joe's and then cutting some knockout roses from my yard. I arranged them in mason jars and tied a little navy ribbon and burlap twine around each.


For the menu, I chose a cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes and added flowers to the top myself. I took Madeline with me and let her taste the flavors and we decided on white chocolate raspberry. 

I set up a biscuit bar with tea biscuits and my mom's homemade pear preserves, apple butter, and pimiento cheese. I also prepared a few ham biscuits with a dill spread. My mom always makes these for showers and they are always a hit. They didn't disappoint this time, either.


I used the same homemade dill dip to serve with fresh vegetables and prepared a fruit tray with cream cheese yogurt dip. 

I served mini frozen quiches from Costco and mini chicken n' waffles. These were for sure the highlight and were so easy to prepare. Simply order some Chick-fil-A nuggets and place them atop mini Eggo waffles. I mixed red pepper jelly with maple syrup to drizzle on top. These will definitely be served at any future morning showers.


We dined on vintage china that was passed down to me by a close family friend who had no daughters. The pink floral scalloped design was so perfect for a shower.

For beverages, I made a very simple mimosa bar of champagne, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grapefruit juice and set it up next to the framed invitation and a pitcher of lemon water.

Aside from the flowers, I kept the decorations to a minimum and just hung a Bride to Be banner from the fireplace that matched the invitation. We showered the bride with so many fun gifts to celebrate her upcoming marriage. 


We had a great morning sipping champagne and celebrating our bride. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Avocado Chicken Parmesan


I am so excited to share this recipe with you today because it is one of my family's favorites year round. In the winter, we enjoy this over zoodles (zucchini noodles) or a bed of spaghetti squash. In the summer, I ditch the noodles and opt for a fresh salad on the side.

Something about adding avocado to the top of this lightened up chicken parmesan recipe gives it a really fresh flavor. Its also a great way to get in those blue containers or healthy fats. Or just fulfill your avocado craving.

Unlike most chicken parmesan recipes, this recipe bakes the chicken as opposed to pan frying it. The cutlet remains moist and flavorful though so you won't feel like you are missing a thing.

I use thinly-sliced cutlets when I make this dish but you could also use regular chicken breasts and pound them thin. When cooking an Italian chicken dish like chicken parmesan or chicken marsala the key is to work with a thin piece of meat.

Ingredients
  • 4 thinly sliced chicken cutlets
  • 3/4 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs (don't be afraid to make your own)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp lite Italian dressing
  • 1/2 cup no-sugar added marinara
  • 1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/2 ripe avocado (I wrap the rest in plastic to make toast for lunch)
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 and lightly spraying a glass baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray. Then, combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl.

Add your Italian dressing to another bowl and lightly brush onto chicken. If you have the time you can even let your chicken marinate in the dressing for a few hours. Dip your chicken cutlet into the breadcrumb mixture next.

Place in the baking dish and add about 1 Tbsp marinara to each cutlet. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, add avocado and 1 Tbsp mozzarella to each cutlet. Return to the oven just until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).

You can finish under the broiler for a couple minutes if you really want to brown and crispen your cheese.

I use my paderno spiralizer to make zoodles. For this recipe, I used three good sized zucchini to feed our family of three and have a little leftover for later in the week. Spiralizing zucchini is not hard but many grocery stores sell pre-spiralized if you would like to skip that step. To cook my zoodles, I simply saute them in a skillet with a little extra virgin olive oil just until they are al dente.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Coffee + Conversation


Happy Monday. If we were having coffee this morning, this is what I would tell you.

This girl has hit separation anxiety big time. Combined with beginning the transition to one nap, this has made our days over the last week pretty long. This sweet little thing just wants her mama day and night. I don't totally hate it because I know one day she won't want anything to do with me, but I still wouldn't mind getting a little more sleep. The last week has been pretty tough around here.


Corey and I had a great trip to St. John a couple weeks ago. I'll get around to recapping it soon but it was absolutely gorgeous and such a low-key relaxing trip. Very different from Hawaii, which was our last big vacation. 

For Memorial Day weekend, we enjoyed a little lakeside picnic and this sweet girl had so much fun waving at the boats. She is fifteen months old now and had her checkup last week. She weighed in at 21 pounds and 29 inches and is in the 20-25th percentile for both height and weight with a 95th percentile head circumference. Haha! She is perfectly healthy and was even such a big girl getting her two shots this visit.

This is my favorite view ever. Corey playing on the floor with Madeline and Riley before heading off to work. And giving me a moment to sit under the blanket and drink a big cup of coffee.

We went to a friend's wedding on Friday and I finally popped the tags off of this cute Lauren James dress that I bought right before learning I was pregnant with Madeline. It was much too small last summer when I was newly postpartum. Since the wedding was a day time wedding, I thought it was perfect. A blue seersucker with an open back and the largest, most dramatic bow at the waist. It is one of their staple designs so it is still available in multiple colors here. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Madeline Diaries (15 months)

It has been several months since I shared what our days our looking like. We have been on roughly the same schedule since Madeline dropped to two naps when she was 8-9 months old. I think we are getting close to transitioning to one nap, which I'm both excited and terrified about. We've really perfected this schedule over the last six months.


I am definitely loving my days with my girl. It is such an honor to be able to be home with her every day and I wouldn't choose any other way to spend my days. I know being a SAHM/WAHM isn't right or possible for everyone, but I am so thankful that I've been able to have the opportunity. 


7:00 Madeline wakes up and we have a diaper change. Then, we head downstairs for a sippy cup of milk. We started doing the morning sippy around 10 months and she did great. We started with this awesome transitional cup.

I let Riley out, feed him breakfast, and make coffee for myself and Corey is he is home.


8:00 Madeline eats breakfast. She loves cheesy eggs with fruit or a whole grain flax seed waffle with peanut butter and some fruit. These suction plates are our favorite. 


I make my shake while she eats breakfast and then wipe down the kitchen counters. We head back upstairs to play in our bonus room/play area. I drink my shake while she plays and try to keep her from sticking her whole hand in it. 


9:30 Madeline plays and I try to get dressed in workout clothes and make my bed. At 9:30, we brush her teeth with her Sonicare, which I think is hilarious, then read a story, and Madeline goes down for a nap.

While Madeline naps, I workout and then get dressed for the day. There are definitely days that I workout and then end up staying in workout clothes all day but I do attempt to shower during this time and at least get tinted moisturizer and mascara on to look a little more put together.

I also try to spend a few minutes on laundry. I still wash and dry one day and then fold and put away the next. I completely loathe laundry but there is nothing more frustrating than when it piles up.

11:00 Madeline is up from her nap. She has a sippy of milk and a snack. Usually, she has cheerios with Trader Joe's dried fruit mixed in. I give her her snack in one of these snack cups because they're so easy to take with us.

On Wednesdays, we go straight to music class, which starts at 11:30. This is definitely the highlight of Madeline's week. We also have a couple playdates that meet once a month at this time, too. If we don't have an obligation, we run errands or play outside.


12:30 Madeline eats lunch. I try to eat with her. I meal prep my lunches (you can visit my business page to see how) so I can usually just pull one out of the fridge. If the weather is nice, we eat outside, which makes clean up a breeze. Madeline has this cute little toddler outdoor chair that slides up to be the perfect level to our outdoor coffee table. 


Madeline plays until 1:30 - 1:45 then gets ready for her afternoon nap. I put on a dry diaper and put her sleep sack on. 

1:45-3:00/3:30 Madeline naps. During this nap, I work. On Wednesdays, I have a weekly call with my team. I check in with my clients, enroll ladies into next month's bootcamp, schedule posts, respond to emails, brainstorm with my success partner, and basically just try to cram as much #mamaboss work in as I can during this time. 

I save the last ten minutes or so to clean something. With me working from home part-time and the residual income I earn from Teachers pay Teachers, we are able to keep our bi-monthly cleaning lady that we had when I was working full time so she does the deep cleaning stuff. I did end up getting the Roomba I so desperately wanted for Mother's Day and it has already made this so much easier. I have to run four cycles for it to get the whole house based on stairs and how the house is laid out so every area is done every other day. Now, I just do a vacuum with the real vacuum once a week, vacuum the stairs as needed, use my favorite steam mop twice a week, and clean the bathrooms, laundry, and kitchen. 


3:00 - 3:30 Madeline is up from her nap and ready for a snack. She loves cottage cheese with fruit or a yogurt for this snack. While she eats, I try to prep for dinner by dicing any vegetables that I need to to get a head start. Then, we play outside or take a wagon or stroller walk.


Our neighborhood has a fun little playground with swings that Madeline loves and sometimes we will meet up with some friends at a local park. 

On Mondays, I tutor so my mom or mother-in-law will come to watch Madeline at five o'clock and finish the night time routine with her then stay for dinner. 

5:30 We are usually home by now if we've gone out for some fun and I get back to prepping dinner. Madeline either plays in the tupperware cabinet or I give her some paper and jumbo crayons to color with in her high chair. I definitely use that term loosely at this age but she enjoys banging the crayons on the paper and seeing the different colors. 


6:00 Madeline eats dinner. If by chance Corey is finished with work and our dinner is ready, then we all eat together but most of the time Madeline eats at 6:00 and I  just sit down with her and talk to her.

I usually take her out in the wagon after dinner to help water all the outside plants. Making it part of our routine is really the only way I can be sure that I don't kill off all of my pots. #justtellingitlikeitis


6:30 Bath and begin bedtime routine. If Corey is in town and home from work, he does bath, which gives me ten minutes or so to do whatever I need to get our dinner going. Then, I go up and give Madeline a sippy cup of milk and some snuggles. We brush teeth, read a story (this one is her favorite right now), say prayers, and she goes into the crib by 7:00. She listens to a lullaby on her sleep sheep and talks to herself for anywhere from 5-20 minutes before falling asleep.

Once Madeline is in bed, Corey and I have dinner and spend some time together. We both try to switch off work mode in the evenings but we aren't always successful with that. There are definitely nights that we both have our computers out but we try to make that the exception not the rule.

Our days are filled to the brim and I'll be honest and say that I don't navigate them with the same level of grace every day. There are definitely days that I crawl into bed then sit straight up because I realize I never responded to a client's message on Facebook or I forgot to schedule something for the next day. Madeline and I are pretty consistently fashionably 5 minutes late every where we go. I still wouldn't trade it for the more punctual, put together life I was able to lead two years ago, though!

You may notice that there is no part of our day right now dedicated to blogging, which explains my inconsistent posting. I just haven't quite figured out how to fit it in regularly in this season of life so I'm sure my posting will remain pretty sporadic for the time being. I hope you guys can bear with me and continue to stick around.

Happy Thursday!

Madeline Diaries 10 Months / Madeline Diaries 7 Months / Maternity Leave Diaries



Friday, May 12, 2017

5 on Friday

one.
Corey and I are headed to St. John on Sunday for a little vacay. I have never been so I am excited to get away and export a new place. Also a little nervous to leave Madeline for that long because I've never been away from her for more than 3 days.

two.
With Mother's Day right around the corner, I picked out the most romantic gift for myself. I have asked for a Roomba. Haha! For a brief moment I considered upgrading my diaper bag to a nice tote, getting a stamped necklace with Madeline's initials, or a spa day. But then practicality got the best of me. Anyone else have a super furry dog that requires you to vacuum every.single.day? Just me?

three. 

I ordered these cute Jacks on sale the other day. I just love that Jacks go with everything and that the cute bow on this pair is a little something different from the standard Navajo.  I also have this cute pair of baby Jacks for Madeline. She had a pair last year and I loved them so much that I reordered for this year also. 


four. 

I picked up a couple cute bikinis from Target online for my trip like this faux wrap one and this cute scalloped one. I also got this crochet one piece that I am excited about. I wore a super modest suit last year since I was newly postpartum and nursing but after lots of working out and proper nutrition, I'm ready to part ways with the mom suit.

five. 

Mamas, this one is for you. In honor of Mother's Day, my teammate and I are offering a free 7-day Busy Mama Bootcamp. The ladies in our last two bootcamps have gotten some incredible results so I am excited to offer a little taste of what they are like for free. All info and application here


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Easter 2017


During my little blog hiatus, we celebrated Easter with our family. This was Madeline's second Easter but her first was honestly a blur. It was during her fussy, colicky no-sleep phase so I hardly remember it. This year, though, was so much fun. Madeline is at such a fun age. 

 

We started the morning off at home. The Easter Bunny came to visit Madeline and brought her these hide and squeak eggs, some Daniel Tiger toys, a stuffed bunny, and some cute bunny ears from the Target Dollar Spot.


Madeline was mostly obsessed with the fake grass in her basket. I ordered this cute Easter basket from the hospital when I was in labor and plan to set it out with her on Easter Eve each year. 


No make-up and messy hair but I couldn't resist sharing this picture of our little bunny. We watched an Easter service on TV this year while our little one played and took her morning nap.


Then we all got dressed for brunch at our club. Madeline and I wore the Lilly hibiscus stroll dresses we got in the after party sale last year. 


My parents and mother in law joined us at the club for brunch and Madeline was tickled to have all her grandparents in one place. 


She met the Easter Bunny and thanked him for her basket. I think he was better received than Santa back during Christmas. 


After brunch, Madeline participated in the egg hunt. She actually kind of got the hang of it and enjoyed putting the eggs in her tiny little basket.


This is one of my favorite pictures because this is definitely not her basket! Haha!


This was the best attempt at a family picture. We enjoyed celebrating such a special day with our girl.


We made it home in time for Madeline's afternoon nap and then enjoyed playing outside in the 
afternoon. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thursday Coffee Talk

I didn't mean to take such a little hiatus from the blog. Things have been busy around here and I have lots of fun things to share soon.

We've been having lots of fun with our girl, including a family picnic on Easter weekend. Madeline loves playing outside, swinging on the swings, and eating so this was pretty much her dream activity.

We had a great Easter. I'll probably do a full post on it next week. She was so young last Easter that it was kind of a blur but this one was super fun.

Corey and I leave for St. John in less than two weeks so I have been doing lots of working out to get ready.

Madeline got a sandbox from my parents for Easter so she has enjoyed playing outside and its a super fun way to spend the afternoon.

There's been a lot of healthy eating while I was away.

And some splurges too. I'm such a sucker for a charcuterie tray and the one from Dilworth Tasting Room did not disappoint. 

This super unfortunate incident happened. A blogger and online business owner's worst nightmare. Here's to hoping the genius bar can pull the hard drive.

More outside fun with my girl. We've enjoyed lots of play dates and park time with the weather being a great temperature. Charlotte has also had lots of rain recently so that has given me some time for work, too. 

Happy Thursday!

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