Monday, January 30, 2017

Clean Eating Challenge


If you follow along with me on Instagram, then you saw this awesome haul I bought at the grocery store yesterday! Today I'm starting a 5 day clean eating challenge. I'm trying to cut the processed crap and added sugar out of my diet because I know it's bringing me down. As with most things in life, my eating is cyclical. I'm really good for a long time, then kind of bad, then I'm good, then my sweet tooth rears its evil head. Right now I'm constantly craving sweets. All. The. Time. No good y'all. I have my Disney trip and Glass Slipper Challenge races coming up in less than a month, so I figured this is as good of a time as any to kick my booty into gear!



Naturally I've been perusing Pinterest to see what I can cook up for dinner! I've got my whole week meal planned. Here's our menu:

Monday: Crockpot Pot Roast with sweet potatoes and carrots
Tuesday: See pin above!
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes
Thursday: Ground turkey spaghetti with zoodles
Friday: Left overs or I'll find something I can whip up with the food we still have!

I know I need more whole fruits and veggies in my diet after the holidays, so I'm ready to tackle this challenge. Anyone want to join me?

If you have any great clean eating recipes that I need to try, shoot them my way! I'm starting to get pretty good at this cooking thing!

Happy Monday y'all!

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Chloe Grace: 18 Months Old


It's been 6 months since Chloe's last monthly update! I can't believe that on Sunday she'll be 18 months old. It's going to be my baby's half birthday. More importantly, she's really not a baby anymore. Of course she'll always be my baby, but we are in full blown toddler mode.

Speaking of babies, Chloe is obsessed. Many of my close friends have babies or are about to have a baby or two! Luke and Olivia are 2 month old twins that Chloe can't get enough of. She's constantly wanting to touch and love on them. We're working on gentle hands and not trying to touch their faces. For the most part she does great though. Below you can she her doting over Luke. He was sleeping in his carseat before Chloe found him and had to give him love! She also love Renee who is only 10 months younger than her. She does get a bit confused when Renee crawls around and pulls up on things. I can see her thinking, "Why doesn't she just walk mom?" She loves to pet Renee and say baby! Meanwhile I'm just thinking, you're a baby little girl!

Not only is she obsessed with human babies, but baby dolls are her FAVORITE. At least one of her babies has to go everywhere with us. If she doesn't have a baby at the store and then sees one, she thinks that she needs another. I think we're up to almost 10 baby dolls. She certainly doesn't need another. At nap and bedtime, Cinderella and Bitty Baby have to go to sleep with her. I'm not kidding. One time, I put her down for a nap with only Cinderella, and she lost her mind. Screaming bloody murder. I thought something was wrong until I realized those screams were actually words...baby...BABY...BABYYYYY! I rushed Bitty Baby up to her and she laid down like it was no big deal. I'm telling you, this girl wears me out.


My little mommy is all about helping us out. She likes to sweep, vacuum, pick up dog poop, paint, you name it. If only all the "work" she was doing actually helped get things done, instead of making it take longer. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have her "help" me every single day. She like to follow behind me with her broom or mop when I'm sweeping, and her vacuum is one of her favorite toys. If only it actually worked!


She is definitely my mini me. My little shadow watching everything I do. She follows me everywhere and wants to be just like me. I love that about her. It makes me so aware of my actions and words because I know I'm setting an example and she's learning from me. Lately she's been super interested in everything I do in the bathroom. One time, she waltz right in, spread my legs and almost stuck her hand in the toilet. She's done that to my mom too! Now I'm trying to take her in with me and explain to her that mommy goes pee-pee in the potty, so on and so forth. She's not ready to potty train, but I figured a little early prep couldn't hurt! I bought her this potty this week and she loves it. Mostly she tries to stand in it, but she'll figure it out soon enough!


This last month we started gymnastics at The Little Gym! The first few classes Chloe was pretty timid. It was a new environment, new people, new things, so I can see that it was intimidating. She clinged to me for the first 20-30 minutes of the 45 minute class, then opened up at the end. This week she did awesome from the get go! She played all the games, gave her teacher a high five and participated in all the skills. She did such an awesome job on the bar. This girl has great grip strength! I hope she continues to enjoy the class and starts to interact with her classmates as she becomes even more comfortable. I love the class. I love watching her run around and experiment with the equipment. The former cheerleader/gymnast in me loves seeing her do things that once made my world go round!


This is when I usually go over all the firsts from the last month. Not sure if I'll get them all, but I'll hit on the highlights of the last few months!

The last few month's firsts:


It's hard to believe my baby is truly a toddler. The more I look at her, the less baby I see. I love watching her grow and change, but man I wish time would slow down. I feel like I'm allowed to be excited for things in the future while still wanting her to stay little. This little girl is my greatest joy. I can't wait to see what the next few months bring. All I know is that it will be wonderful. As long as she's with us, everything is wonderful. I love you Chloe Grace!

Did you miss an update?
birth story 1 | birth story 2 | one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

We Bought a Home


On December 19, 2016, JP and I closed on our second home. We didn't just buy a house. We bought a home. We packed everything up and on December 27th we moved in. Home. The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. Home. Where the heart is. Home. The place where something is discovered, founded, developed, or promoted. Home. If there is one global thing we all share, no matter our race, income, religion or beliefs; it is that we all want a place to call home. Home. The meaning of home cannot be expressed in just one sentence for it is different to us all. Home. We're taking this house and turning it into our forever home. {Unless oil & gas decides to move us.}

Tomorrow we will have been living here for 1 month. I realized that other than the first picture of the outside of our home, I haven't shared anything! Now I don't have that much to show y'all. We still have boxes strewn about. We still don't have enough furniture to fill all the rooms. I'm still hanging, decorating and rearranging, but I figured I could show y'all what I have so far!

Downstairs Guest Bath
Almost all of the decor was from the bathroom in my old house. To complete this bathroom all I needed was a shelf over the toilet. I found this beauty on Jane.com. It's made from recycled barn wood and I love it. This piece comes and goes on Jane {wait for it if you want a good deal}, but you can find similar looks here and here

The towels and other decor pieces are all from Target!




JP's Office
Across from the downstairs guest bathroom is the office. Since JP works from home 70% of the time, this is his daily headquarters. It's not complete, but I wanted to show y'all what we have so far.

This map was a Christmas gift from Auntie Annie & Uncle Steve. We have pins to mark places we've visited and lived individually as well as pins for the places we've been and lived together! Putting the pins in was so much fun because we were able to remember all the amazing trips we've been on together. We're planning to put 4x6 frames all around the map with pictures from all of our adventures!


As you can see, JP was hard at work when I snapped a picture really quick. We hung our diplomas and our Aggie Ring picture by Benjamin Knox over this desk. The desk is a work in progress. I need to beautify it for him!


Living Room
For the most part, our living room is done. I ordered this rug and will share a picture of it as soon as it comes in! My friend told me about Rugs USA and it's awesome. I got an 8x10 with a rug pad and shipping for $300!

Here are some pictures of the living room. Starting up close and then zooming out.



Yes, Chloe is watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. No she wouldn't let me turn it off or move her to take these pictures. #toddlerlife


This bookshelf is from Ikea {Billy Bookcase} and used to sit behind our TV stand at the old house. I've redone all the shelves with fun knick knacks that we've collected over the years. Plates from Pittsburgh. Sangria from Spain. Wine bottles from friends' home made wine collections. Harry Potter book collection. So on and so forth. I love how it turned out. Since the TV is no longer in front of it, Chloe has reign over the bottom 3 shelves. Her books usually go on the second to bottom shelf, but they're currently scattered all over the floor.


When JP got his promotion back in September, we bought this couch from Bassett Furniture and I am still obsessed. I'll probably go to them next time I need a long lasting furniture piece. They were so easy to work with and their products are great quality.



Coffee Bar
Since our kitchen and living room essentially act as one big space, we put our coffee bar in between to kind of merge the two rooms. I love it so much! Plus when we have people stay with us, there will be plenty of room for everyone to have access to their daily dose of caffeine.

The coffee bar itself is from Target. They still have it in stock. Same with the shelf we've turned into a mug holder! Artwork is by yours truly at Pinot's Palette and mugs are from Starbucks around the world!


Kitchen Dining
Just to the right of the coffee bar is our kitchen dining area. We bought this table and chair set from Rooms To Go 5 years ago and it's still in excellent condition.

My sister helped me start my collage wall with 5 pieces originally. I was able to pick and choose pieces from my old collage wall to reuse and I love how it turned out. I'm working on my hand lettering skills and the "The Gouglers" sign was my first stab at it.



Kitchen
Since my kitchen was kind of a mess, I only have one actual shot for y'all. The second picture is from the house listing with just the staging furniture. It gives you an idea of the overall look though!

Here is the back wall of the kitchen with all my stuff. I didn't have the best lighting, but this will do for now!


Here is the listing picture of the kitchen. My island currently has stuff all over it. Finding a home for everything is hard! We're currently on the hunt for the perfect barstools. I want some comfy counter height ones with backs. Then they can just turn around and work as seating for the living room as well!


There you have it! This is probably about half of the down stairs. I don't have furniture in the formal dining yet and there are boxes all over the space. We're working on decorating the master bedroom. You can see the door to it in the picture above! Once I get our space decorated, I can show y'all the master suite. Slowly but surely it's coming along. If you know of any good furniture/decor stores or any great sales that are going on, please let me know! I'm on the hunt!

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Monday, January 23, 2017

A Love Letter to the Green Bay Packers


To all of my Packer boys:

It's true, I've loved you from the start. I grew up brainwashed wearing Packers onesies and baby cheeseheads. I've watched the men of the Green Bay Packers almost every Sunday of football season for the last 29 years. No, I've never lived in Wisconsin or even the midwest, but my dad did. He's the one who taught me to love football after all. I've been sure to raise my daughter the same way.


Growing up a Packers fan wasn't always easy. People like to hate on you and ask why and how your a fan. They generally assume you're a fraud or a bandwagon fan as the season is ending. For the majority of my life the Packers have been pretty good. I was only 5 when the Brett Favre era began and that led straight into Aaron's reign! Don't get me wrong, I know that every year wasn't that wonderful. There were a few years that playoffs didn't happen or didn't go well at all. For the most part though, I've had the privilege of supporting a pretty great team.

In 2011 y'all went to the Super Bowl and played the Steelers. Oh my goodness how awesome was that? It was even better because the month before I had just moved to Pittsburgh. You want to talk about people hating on me? Yeah, it was pretty intimidating, but I wore my Packers gear with pride. After I made it into the bar that is. I don't think I would have gotten in without some Steelers gear! I did end up making it through the evening with only one really negative interaction when I was cornered in the bathroom. The dirty looks were so worth it when we came out champions!


I've managed to make it up to Lambeau twice in my adult life. Both trips were the greatest experiences in their own way. I'm lucky to say that I've been there in the sunshine and the snow storm. It's not the Frozen Tundra without freezing temps and snow falling!


Now the season has come to an end. Yesterday was rough. It definitely didn't start out the way that you wanted it to, but hey you definitely won the third quarter. Not sure if that counts for anything. The way I see it, you didn't give up. Even though the Falcons came to dominate their last game in their current home stadium, you didn't quit. You still managed to score 22 points which is better than nothing! The best part is that a majority of teams can't even say they made it that far this season. 2nd place in the conference isn't too bad. There's always next season!

You don't get to go to the Super Bowl or Disney World, but you get to relax without the pressure now. Your fans still love you and we're ready to support you and cheer you on next season. Just come back ready to fight. A few weeks ago no one thought you could have made it this far. We weren't even guaranteed a spot in the playoffs until 2 weeks before. So keep your spirits up and start thinking about getting to the Super Bowl next year...because you will. I can feel it.


Go Pack Go! I love you boys!
xoxo,

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Five

Happy FriYAY! Friday is here and the work week is ending! Time to kick back and relax. If you don't work, or don't work often like me, then that means you get your partner back to help you with the kiddos. There isn't really any relaxing once the babes arrives. Unless you count after their bedtime!

Here are my five favorite moments from this week...

one. yogurt face
We're working on using utensils. Keyword...working. Most of the time I give her a spoon or a fork, she holds it in one hand and then digs into her food with the other hand. At some point, she just drops it an digs in. We'll get there one day! Until then, it makes for super cute and super messy pictures!


two. Harry Potter workout shirts
Something that every Harry Potter and brunch fan needs in their life...this shirt. It's mimOsa not mimosA! Ashley got these for me and Ali for Christmas and I'm kind of obsessed. Obsessed enough to take this fabulous sweaty selfie.


three. my class peeps
When we decided to move out to the burbs, I had to decide whether or not to keep working at the gym downtown. I started working there 3 years ago and it's hard to part with people you care about. I thought a good way to make it work was to keep my Monday classes! Now I'm just teaching my back to back cycle and Tabata classes. It's a win win for me! I still get to see my work family and my awesome students, I get to do what I love and help people, plus I still get paid to workout. It's also a nice bit of alone time for me when I'm driving back and forth. Some days I wonder if it's worth it as I'm driving in, on the way home I realize that it definitely is.


four. home decor
I've been working hard on trying to get my new house decorated! Slowly but surely it's coming together. We definitely have quite a way to go and some more furniture to buy to make everything complete. I'm hoping to get a post up on the blog soon to show the house and where we're at now. Until then, here's a sign that I made the other day while my momma whisked Chloe away! I need to work on the "The" but I'm a big fan of the "Gouglers." :)


five. go Pack go!
Okay this picture didn't actually happen this week, but the Packers beat the Cowboys this past Sunday and we're all super jazzed up about the game this coming Sunday! Plus, she's so incredibly cute that I can't even stand it! So here's to the game on Sunday...Go Pack Go!


Have a wonderful weekend y'all! If you don't care about any of the teams left in the playoffs, go ahead and cheer on the Packers with me. They could use a little love! You could also cheer me on a little while I spend my Saturday painting and scrubbing base boards at my old house. I'm ready to get that sucker on the market ASAP!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Boho Floral Baby Shower


This past weekend I had the pleasure of teaming up with another wonderful woman, Logan, to throw a gorgeous baby shower for my dear friend Chandra and her twin baby girls! Chandra had a sort of floral theme in mind to go along with her girls' bedroom. Logan took charge with the decorations while I followed up with all the food! It was the easiest shower to throw and so much fun.

I thought it would be fun to go through the different parts of the shower and share with y'all!

The Mom-to-be



Chandra is our mom-to-be in the middle. You would NEVER guess that she was in her third trimester with TWINS! Chandra and I met through our running club in in 2012 when we were training for the 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon. On the day of our first group run, we were told to find someone and introduce ourselves. I found Chandra walked up to her and told her that we were going to be best friends. I'm lucky she didn't think that I was a psycho. Unfortunately injury kept Chandra from running the marathon that year, but we ran together in January 2014 and then I was a bridesmaid in her wedding in May 2014. {Logan was too!} And the rest is history. She's an amazing friend and person. I'm so blessed to have her in my life. Logan and I would do anything for this girl! Okay, enough sap, let's get to the details!

The Desserts


Every good shower needs an awesome dessert table. Since Chandra and I share a deep love of sweets, we knew that this party needed a little sugar!


Cookies: Logan ordered cookies from her "cookie lady" and they were pretty much gorgeous. Yes, that first picture in this post is of beautiful cookies. And to top it off, they taste great too! If you need a cookie person and live in the Houston area, let me know!

Cupcakes: I ordered cupcakes from my go to cupcake bakery in Houston...Crave Cupcakes! I have them at pretty much every party I throw. This time I did 3 dozen mini cupcakes in strawberry, cookie 'n cream and red velvet! You can customize the toppers with different colors and designs to match your party.


It's a Girl Muddy Buddies: Thank you Pinterest! This was a super easy muddy buddy recipe with white chocolate instead of milk chocolate, and I added pink pearlized Sixlets to make it girly!


Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups: Trader Joe's for the win! When your mom-to-be loves peanut butter more than anything, you NEED these at your party.

Pink Swirly Lollipops: These are from a local party store and I bought them simply because they were fun and pretty. Apparently toddlers think they're delicious because Chloe may have stolen one and she's obsessed.

 The Drinks


Water: Baby showers tend to have other pregnant mommas-to-be plus let's be honest, we all need to hydrate! We bought mini water bottles and Logan had labels made!

Red Wine Sangria: This is my go-to sangria recipe. My boss' girlfriend made it at a company Christmas a few years ago, and now it's what I make whenever I host a party.

Caramel Apple Sangria: This one is so easy...1 bottle pino gregio, 1/2 cup carmel apple vodka, 3 cups of apple cider. Add a bunch of apples, let it sit over night and serve! Feel free to up the vodka if you're feeling a little crazy.


The Food


Chips & Guacamole

Veggie Tray & Ranch Dip: baby carrots, celery, cucumber, grape tomatoes, green bell pepper. Ranch dip is light sour cream and a ranch dip packet poured into a green bell pepper

Summer Sausage, Cheese & Cracker Tray

Fruit Tray & Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip: apples, grapes, blueberries, strawberries.
PB Dip was another win for Pinterest. This one is easy and you can even just make it for a regular day lunch or snack at home.

Meatballs: The classic crockpot combo, meatballs + grape jelly + chili sauce = awesomeness.

Babies in a Blanket: A fun twist on the common brunch favorite pigs in a blanket, but with a twist. Instead of the wrapping the cresent roll around the smokie sausage, swaddle it! You can even add little eyes with food coloring if you're up to it!


Popcorn: As a little to-go treat, we had bags of "ready to pop" popcorn! 


The Decor



Logan was on point with the decor for this shower! She found a great lady on Etsy that did all the paper products for the shower. She sent Logan the files for the invites, signs, banners, labels, etc. All Logan had to do was take the files to Kinkos and have them printed. HA. All she had to do. That takes so much time and effort. I know because I've done it before. She had so many adorable touches that she went out of her way for...popcorn bags, water bottle labels, signs and everything!


I made these special onesies with my Cricut! Avery and Ellyson were prayed for for a long time. I can't wait to see their little faces in March.



We chose not to do any games and just have a mix & mingle type couples shower. We did want to set up a fun diaper station to write some funny saying for mom & dad during those midnight changes. No one likes waking up at 3am to change a poopy diaper, so reading something silly or encouraging from a loved one is always a pick me up!


Beautiful banners celebrating the twins. Another one of Logan's projects!


If you look back at the food pictures and the onesie pictures, you'll notice lots of flowers on all of the tables! We wanted to make sure there were tons of flowers everywhere. We used fake flowers instead of real ones and I think it was a great idea. They were set up the night before and didn't get the least bit wilted. We were also able to handle them a lot while trying to get them to stay in balloon bouquets and other odd places. Plus they can be used again!


Logan thought of everything for the decorations! While I did help with the actual decorating, all of the ideas were Logan's. It has definitely given me some ideas for future showers and parties though!


The Presents


No party is complete without presents! Michael, Chandra, Avery and Ellyson were showered with so many gifts. It's hard to believe that they'll be using everything in just 2 months.



Leave it to little Chloe to make her way into the pictures! She had a blast running around and playing with all the kiddos. She can't wait until her new friends arrive. I mean she does love her baby dolls after all!

Michael and Chandra,
I'm beyond excited for this journey you're embarking on. I know that you'll both be wonderful parents. The road to parenthood wasn't exactly what you planned, but your journey is your own and brought you these two precious gifts. Always know that I am here for you whenever you need me! I know having an infant isn't easy, so I can only imagine how crazy it will be with two! I love you both so much and can't wait to watch you grow together as a family over the next few months and all the years to follow!

xoxo,
Amy

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