Monday, March 23, 2015

Monster Cookie Protein Balls

Happy Monday!! I hope you all had a beautiful weekend!

Mason had his first soccer game of the season this weekend. He did such a great job! I couldn't believe that the little ones play for a whole hour. He was wiped out when they finished. He had a lot of fun though! We even went to "Chick a Leg" (Chic-Fil-A) after to celebrate. I can't believe how big and smart this Little is getting. He also has a memory like a steel trap, so don't screw up around him, or he'll remind you about it for the next 6 months.
He was so excited to wear his soccer shirt.
He's the one in front, getting ready to kick the ball into play. 

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey
Today I am thankful for Spring. I am thankful for the new life and joy this season brings. I am thankful for our tiny veggie sprouts that have started to pop up. I am thankful for the chance to be active with my family.
I am thankful that we spent most of our weekend outside. It was so, so beautiful, 70 degrees and sunny. We grilled every chance we had and it made me suuuuppppper excited for Summer. Grilled Summer veggies are my favorite!

We are getting into nicer weather, which means more time spent outside and active! I made these a few weeks ago and I have gotten a few requests for the recipe, so I thought I would share it with y'all. These are so tasty and so easy to grab before or after a workout and they seriously taste like a monster cookie. You could even grab a few for a quick breakfast on the go. 
Monster Cookie Protein Balls:
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup of organic honey
pinch of salt
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder{I use ItWorks Vanilla ProFit}
2 cups of oats{I used old fashioned oats because I like the texture in mine, but they might get a little softer if you use quick oats}
1/3 cup of mini m&m's

Mix the honey, peanut butter, and pinch of salt together. I used my stand mixer, but you can do it by hand. It would be a great workout and a reason to eat one of these bad boys immediately!
Add in the protein powder. Once protein powder is mixed into the peanut butter mixture, add in all of your oats. It should from a pretty stiff ball. Hand mix in your m&m's so they don't break. 
Shape into 1 inch balls. Refrigerate and enjoy, or eat immediately as fast as possible because these are so good :) 

All My Love, 

Friday, March 20, 2015

5 Things No One Tells You About Pregnancy

I'm going to share a little secret with you all...I have a bad habit of not watching shows when they first come out, so I haven't seen Modern Family. I KNOW! Where have I been?! And let me tell you how hard I am kicking myself for not watching this show sooner, because Cam is my spirit animal. 
This is all of me, especially this one lately:

I am blaming my third trimester hormones for this last one. I have been so emotional lately. I am trying to remember that the hormones will stabilize after the baby is here and I shouldn't be crazy, but it's tough friends. I take things super personally when I'm not pregnant, so everything is amplified by 1,000 now. 
I also haven't been sleeping well, and that doesn't help. 
Which brings me to my next point, 

5 Things No One Tells You About Pregnancy:
1. You will lose your mind. I wish I was kidding, but between pregnancy brain{which is so, so real} and hormones making you happy, mad, sad, and every shade of emotion in between, your brain will be a useless puddle. 

2. You will develop weird skin issues that you never had before. With Mason, I had awful acne. With Ellie, I had this weird bump that would develop on my eyelid and then go away only to reappear the next week. With this Little, I have rashes that come and go on my legs. Hooray! 

3. You might not crave crazy things like pickles and ice cream, but there will come a day when you absolutely NEED Chinese food and if you don't get it, it will become all you think about and it will haunt your dreams at night. Husbands, if your wife ever says, "do you know what sounds good?", you listen and make it happen. Remember number 1? She's crazy already, just get her whatever sounds good, don't ask questions and rub her feet for good measure. 

4. You will be exhausted by 3pm. You will feel great all day and you will find yourself thinking "This is so easy! Why do people complain?? I can do EVERYTHING I did before I was pregnant!" This is a lie that your crazy brain is telling you. By 3pm you will have realized that dragging 3 kids to the grocery store, organizinging the pantry, mopping all of the floors and having a dance party with those same three children was the worst mistake of your life. I could tell you to take it easy, but you're a mom, that's not real life folks. 

5. It is WORTH IT. It is worth every moment of struggle. No pregnancy lasts forever. You WILL feel normal again, I promise! Just hang on and warn everyone that you love to be extra nice, because you have mush brain, Chinese food haunting your dreams and the urge to clean everything you own while simultaneously napping. 

All My Love, 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Grateful Heart: My Husband

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey
This weekend was full of things to be grateful for, but today I am grateful for my husband.
I have talked a little about Matt on my blog, never really much in detail, but this guy deserves the spotlight.

I met the man that I would marry in high school. Well, I was in high school, he was a rock star in a local band.
I worked at Hot Topic in our mall and he came into the store and gave me a demo of his bands CD.
He was{and is still} so handsome.
We went on our first date the day before I started my senior year of high school, almost 10 years ago this August. 
He was my escort for my homecoming and prom, even though he was waaaayyy too cool for that. 
FIY this dress was my mom's for her junior prom, I think. I LOVED this dress. I spent HOURS sewing on the gold sequins to the top.

We're on the far right. Check out Matt's blonde mohawk folks.

We spent every possible moment together that year. We went to concerts, his band's concerts and other bands we loved, we went to movies, we talked on the phone{that was still a thing!} we dreamed and planned.
I knew that I loved him, this boy that was still just a boy.   
When I was making college decisions, Matt quit the band and came with me to Benedictine in Atchison, Kansas.
We were scene before scene was a thing yet.

He proposed on Christmas break our Freshman year of college. I obviously said yes, but I had no idea what we would be faced with, or how difficult things would be at times. I did know, however, that I loved him, with my entire soul.  
We were just babies! This was taken with a disposable camera and then scanned onto my computer. My phone didn't take pictures then, ha!

We moved to Springfield, MO in the summer of '07. Matt had decided to pursue an Engineering degree and Benedictine didn't offer an engineering program then. 
We moved into our first apartment in June and both found jobs before school started in the Fall. I worked in a daycare from 6AM-6PM and went to school for a few hours in between working. Matt went to school in the afternoon and worked every night until 10PM and worked every weekend as well. We saw very little of each other. 

After living in Springfield for a year, we bought our first house.
We moved in June of '08. It was a cute little house that we put our heart and soul into fixing up and making our own. 
That Fall as we prepped for our wedding, I was going to school, working at the daycare, working at Hot Topic in the Springfield mall, and working in a Sunday School for an Episcopal church. Matt was going to school and working full time at O'Reilly. The most time we spent together was probably the week before and after our wedding that year.

We were married on December 20th, 2008 in the church that my grandparents, and parents were married in and our current church home.  
One of my favorite photos from that day.

Marrying this man, was the best thing I have ever done.

Nailed it.
After we were married, we saw very little of each other, which is never easy. We were both still growing and learning who we were as our own people, as well as who we were as a couple. It was very lonely for both of us. Work and school dominated our lives because we knew the end result would be worth all of the sacrifice. Our marriage took a backseat and suffered dearly, but we both held on because we knew God had a plan for us, for our lives, and I was not giving up on the boy, now man, that I was still so in love with.

When Matt graduated, we didn't know how to move forward as a couple. Mason was a year old and I was pregnant with Ellie. Things were strange and difficult because we had spent our entire marriage waiting for this moment and now it was here and we didn't know quite what to do to fix our relationship, but God knew.
God worked in both of our hearts to fix the heartache and strangeness that was our marriage. We spent the first 3 years of our lives together as husband and wife, basically apart, but God pulled those strings that still tethered Matt's heart to mine and drew us together and drew us closer to Him.
We did not have an easy road in the beginning, but it has been worth every rocky step. I would still choose this life, over and over.

Last year, we renewed our vows in front of family and friends, in the same spot we had made our original vows.

God gave us a chance to be newlyweds and I am so, so grateful for this opportunity to continue to fall in love with the man that I have loved since I was 17.

We have now been married for 6 years.
Matt is everything I could have ever asked for in a partner, husband, best friend.
Today, I am grateful for him. I am grateful for a God of second chances. I am grateful for pure stubbornness. I am grateful, that even when people specifically try to tear us down, we are there to build each other up and encourage one another. I am grateful for people who help to build up our marriage, instead of tear it down. I am grateful for a love that continues to grow. 
I love you Matthew. 

"But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man seperate." Mark 10:6-9

What are you grateful for today?

How can I pray for you?

All My Love, 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Busy life and a prayer journal.

We have had the craziest week.

Mason woke up Tuesday morning at 5 and threw up all over his bedroom floor. I don't do vomit very well, so God bless Matt, who is the best dad and husband, he cleaned up Mason and the floor while I moved Ellie into our room. We made pallets in our room and tried to lay both kids back down, but Ellie wasn't having any of it, so she and I went downstairs and let the boys go back to sleep. Mason woke up at 7:30 and we didn't have any more puking, but he did have other tummy trouble the rest of the day, so I spent my day cleaning both bathrooms repeatedly, sanitizing every item in my house and washing every sheet, blanket, stuffed animal and rug. So far no one else has been hit with it, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an isolated incident.

Yesterday he was feeling much better, so we let him go to his first soccer practice. 
There is nothing cuter than a bunch of preschoolers learning how to play soccer. 
Mason did so good!! Matt and I were a little nervous because Mason is the youngest on his team since he won't be 4 until the end of April, but he was the tallest one on his team and he participated and listened to his coaches so well!

I really have to buckle down and meal prep for Wednesday's since his soccer practice is at 5:30. We got home last night at 6:30 and I didn't have anything ready for dinner, so we didn't eat until 7:15. The Littles were not impressed.

We are on serious baby countdown and our calender is alarmingly full right up to my c-section date. Matt's dad broke his wrist, so Matt will be helping on Saturdays at the meat shop and some evenings after work since grilling season is kicking off. My Deacon responsibilities have started also, so we will be busy little beavers right up until our newest Little's birthday.

I am currently working on a naptime craft for the playroom, and I can't wait to show you all! We desperately need to repaint, but that will have to wait for a while. We made the mistake of using a satin finish in the playroom. With small children, we definitely need a high gloss so I can wipe off the peanut butter, marker and dirt without wiping off our paint.

Thanks to my beautiful friend Emily, at Ember Grey, I was inspired to start a prayer journal. I always find myself hollering quick prayers at God throughout the craziness of my day and Emily posted about her prayer journal, which I thought would be a great way to focus and center my thoughts instead of yelling them up to the Heavens in my head while I make grilled cheese sandwiches.

How can I pray for you today?

All My Love,

Monday, March 9, 2015

Grateful Heart: Gender doesn't define you.

Yesterday as I was taking Mason to use the potty at an event that was all men, except myself and Eleanor, Mason realized there was no soap in the tiny restroom. Since we are sticklers for hand washing, I knew he would lose his child mind if I tried to explain that it was okay in this instance not to wash his hands, especially because he had been playing outside and his hands were naturally filthy. I quickly scanned the scene and noticed some Dawn dish soap. I grabbed it off the counter, squirted some of the bubbly blue liquid into his hands and turned to shut the door again. As I turned around to replace the soap, a man came in to use the restroom and as soon as he saw me he said "oh, is she cleaning it?"
Now I understand it probably looked strange me exiting a bathroom with Dawn dish soap, but who uses Dawn to clean a restroom and why on earth did he address all of the men in the room and not me, the "she" he was referring to who was standing right in front of him. This immediately hit the sore spot in my soul that is "the role of a woman".
I just looked at him for a moment, waiting for him to laugh or give me a just kidding, or acknowledge ME at all, but he stood there just staring, so I spoke directly to him "um, nope, I'm just taking my son to the bathroom." 
I hope he treats his wife with more respect.

Yesterday, was fittingly, Women's Sunday at Church. 
I, along with the other women in my Church were blessed to lead an entire service. 
I love being a part of a church where women can not only participate in missions, but we can LEAD. We are part of the governing body. We aren't delegated to the kitchens or nurseries. We can be Deacons, Elders, and Ministers. 

I am so grateful to be a woman. I am so grateful to have such beautiful and inspiring women in my life.

I am also so grateful to be able to raise my son to be respectful and understanding that ANYONE can do ANYTHING. We are all different. We all have different qualities, abilities and talents and that is what makes us beautiful. I am grateful to teach him to be respectful of everyone. I am grateful to teach him to be polite, use his manners, and to be kind to every person he meets. I am grateful to teach him that he can be smart and handsome and successful and he can do it with respect and kindness.

I am grateful to teach my daughter that while being a mom was my career choice, she is more than capable of doing ANYTHING in her life, just as I am capable. She can be smart AND beautiful and she should never be ashamed of either. She can be an astronaut or an engineer, a fashion designer or a surgeon. There is no limit for her.

I am grateful to teach my children that gender does not define you.
"There is no longer Jew, nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cheesy Bell Pepper Bites

I have been so under the weather this last week. I have doubled up on my Greens and I have been trying to watch my diet more in hopes of shaking this sinus trouble, but nothing has helped. Breathe right strips and mentholatum are my BFF's. If I could just get some decent rest in, I could probably kick this illness to the curb, but that's not real life y'all.

We finished our kitchen project Sunday! I am so thrilled with how it turned out. 

Unfortunately, I don't think our sink has been empty of dishes since we finished the project, so all of my photos have some sort of clutter in them, but that's reality in my house. I have an almost 4 year old, a two year old and I am 31 weeks pregnant, my house won't be decluttered completely for the next 20 years. 

I'm kind of scared to cook anything for fear of getting our beautiful new cabinets messy, but I did get brave today and try out a fun new snack though! 
Cheesy Bell Pepper Bites:
4 mini peppers
2 light string cheese sticks

Cut peppers in half and remove the seeds. Cut string cheese into fourths and stuff each 1/4 of cheese into a pepper slice. I broiled these for about 3 minutes, but they weren't as melty as I would have liked so next time I'll bake them first and then broil them if they need some color. 

These were delicious! They felt like a super decadent treat from all the string cheese, but it was only 130 calories for 8 pieces! 

I have been suuuuuper struggling with any form of diet lately. I am tired and sick and have just been giving in to all of my cravings. I have gained more weight already than I originally wanted too and that's been kind of depressing also. I am unofficially back to following the Weight Watchers structure. It is my best option since I can eat anything I want as long as I stay within my point range. It gives me a little more options and definitely hope that I will be able to shake the baby weight pretty quickly after Little Miss gets here. Once I'm back within a more comfortable number on the scale I will focus more on cleaner eating. 

I hope you all have a great Thursday! 

All My Love,

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kitchen Remodel for UNDER $130

So when we bought our house in 2013 we knew that we would need to do some work to our kitchen. Check out these photos from our realtor.

The beadboard around the bottom was painted navy blue friends. Who does that to perfectly good beadboard in a 1930's house?! The top of the kitchen was a dirty yellow beige.

Here is our kitchen in all of its glory before we moved in. I don't even want to talk about the horrible tile they have as a counter top. I am so thankful to have a husband who is as handy as he is smart. Matt is pouring me concrete countertops to round out our kitchen project!

Here is our kitchen as of Friday evening. Matt was in such a hurry to get started that I didn't get any good before pictures without the tornado of junk and cabinets already missing.

Our refrigerator literally had artwork falling off of it. Mason knows that when he brings home art from school, I will hang it up on the fridge, but lately he's been putting EVERYTHING onto the fridge. I found a piece of notebook paper with one Thomas sticker on the back hung up in that mess. My next project will be a place for Mason and Ellie to proudly display their art without wading through paper to get my coffee creamer out in the morning. In fact when I cleaned off the fridge to move it, Mason went in to get his cup and he looked at me with such confusion and said, "How do I open this?" You know it's bad when your child can't even recognize the same refrigerator.

We started the project by taking off all of the cabinet doors and marking the hinges, pulls and screws for each one and putting a label on each door corresponding with the correct cabinet.

Nymphadora supervised from the window sill.

My living room was the holding place for all of our kitchen and dining room items. Can you spot the cat? She was not impressed by our mess.

We had 3 big tables set up to house all of our wet cabinet fronts.
We sanded each door and the base of the cabinets with 100 grit sand paper, cleaned up the sanding dust and painted the first coat of primer. We then sanded again, cleaned the cabinets and primed again.

Here is the bottom half of our cabinet bases primed once.
Once we had everything primed twice, we sanded again with 220 grit paper, wiped everything clean and laid our first coat of paint and repeated the process again.

Here is a basic breakdown of what we did: sanded with 100 grit paper, cleaned, primed, sanded with 100 grit paper, cleaned, primed, sanded with 220 grit paper, cleaned, painted, sanded with 220 grit paper, cleaned, final coat of paint.

The primer we used was a sealant, water based primer. We used Dutch Boy cabinet and trim paint in Whispering White.

Here are the final results!

My kitchen is so much brighter! It looks 10x's bigger than before. The best part is that we completely changed the look of our kitchen for UNDER $130!
Paint and Primer: $60 both purchased at Menards
New décor: $50 worth of Hobby Lobby finds
New rug: $14(marked down from $49.99 at Kohls, plus I had an extra 20% off)
$124 total.

I replaced the gold hardware on our glass front cabinets with these pulls from Hobby Lobby and I am obsessed!!

I also put our 8 boxes of cereal into this cute basket for the top of our fridge and then kicked myself for not thinking of this sooner!

I LOVE my pressed copper ceiling and the top of my cabinet décor.

I also have a Pyrex obsession. The Early American pattern has a cat on it people.

So again, here is a recap:
BEFORE                                                                                AFTER

I can't wait to get my new concrete counter tops to finish out this project!

All My Love,

Monday, March 2, 2015

Grateful Heart Monday

I cannot say enough about the Grateful Heart link up with the absolutely lovely Emily at Ember Grey.

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

If you need some sunshine in your life during this long last bit of Winter, read anything she posts.

I love the quiet of an early morning. I am battling a terrible cold and haven't slept well for the last few days and my house is currently an epic disaster from our cabinet remodel{which looks B-E-A-UTIFUL by the way. I have an awesomely talented husband and dad!}, but I am so grateful for the moments before my Littles wake up. Moments spent in prayer and reflection. I am so grateful for the quiet of my coffee and the tip tap of my keyboard as I type this post. I mean I am absolutely blessed beyond words and I love having these little quiet moments to thank God and reflect on how truly lucky I am. I mean look at these faces!

So this is a photo of part of my kitchen on Friday evening. There was stuff everywhere!

Our piano is currently a resting place for our mug tree, Kitchen Aid, all of my ItWorks products and our record player is housing the toaster.

Saturday morning my mom dropped my dad off at our house and picked up both Littles so we could really get to the messy part of priming and painting the cabinets.
I can't wait to share the results with you!!

Saturday evening I went back to my Parents house to avoid inhaling excess paint fumes from the high gloss, high fume cabinet paint. As we painted on Saturday, it snowed. And snowed. And snowed some more. We made it home to my Parents Saturday evening despite the terrible road conditions and I got to snuggle my Littles before bed, even if they insisted I couldn't read their bedtime story or tuck them in because they were at Grandma's house after all. We woke up to this scene and it made me miss living outside of the city just a little bit.

We did not make it to Church Sunday morning since their roads were still completely snow covered, so my mom made us all pancakes and we waited for the roads to clear so Matt could come pick us up since he stayed home to finish sanding/painting. He brought the kids sleds and snow boots, so we had a chance to go sledding! My parents have an awesome sledding hill. 

I cannot believe how brave Mason and Ellie were! They both had no fear sledding by themselves all the way down the hill. They even walked back up it by themselves!

We even got to build a snowman. Ellie named him Olaf

How did you spend your weekend??

All My Love,