Busy Mom Meals – Go To Chicken Soup

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My boys, like many others, only eat random vegetables like red peppers or cucumbers. It’s aways a struggle. I love things they eat without argument. I noticed they only wanted to eat my Mom’s chicken soup on Christmas Eve. She told me the soup was really easy and was made in the crock pot. I started fishing around on Pinterest and found the recipe above. It was so easy. You basically combine all the ingredients except the egg noodles and parsley until the last ten minutes. Cook everything on low from 6 to 8 hours. Before you put the egg noodles in, take the chicken out and chop it. Then return it to the crock pot.

Would you believe the boys gave me a big song and dance about egg noodles? They were yelling that “Nana’s soup was better! Don’t you know she is a Grandmother that’s WHY”. Oh boy! I forced them to eat it even with the yelling and screaming. The second time I made it I did use vermicelli instead and there was no yelling. Nana even admitted it might have been better than hers.

Eve – There’s a Toddler in the House

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Eve will be eighteen months in a couple of weeks. And although I have certainly felt like I’ve had a toddler for awhile, I am now in the “eye” of the storm. Eve is GIRL! It will be a funny day when she actually finds out. She’s everywhere! I found her on top of her kitchen yesterday. On the tippy top sitting on a tiny square. It is definitely different experiencing all this madness at 39 and not 30 and with two boys that have no problem reverting back to toddlerhood themselves. I keep asking myself , “I did this twice before?” It feels like a tiny tornado is in the house. She’s already busted her lip open, gotten into one of my favorite lipsticks, busted out of all but one kind of shopping cart and has conquered all of the hard surfaces in the house. I can hardly wait to see what is next. But, we LOVE her! I think God knows where to send the active ones.

Monday Mom Style – Splurge!

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While I mostly buy steals, Christmas gifts are a perfect time to splurge. This Christmas my BFF knew exactly what to get me. How could she not? I probably told her how popular Kendra Scott earrings were in Texas about TWENTY times. When they arrived I was so surprised. A gift should always be something that the person wouldn’t buy for themselves. Christine picked turquoise because she knew if I bought them for myself I would have picked a more basic color like white or black. She always says turquoise is a neutral. I absolutely love them. I can put them on an instantly feel fancy. Such a thoughtful gift.

The second splurge in the outfit pictured is this Top Shop faux leather jacket bought for me from Vaughn. I would never have bought it for myself. I plan to wear it a lot. As fancy as this outfit appears, it’s actually not that complicated to throw on. Just a nice jacket and a nice earring. That’s it.

The shoes were a steal bought a year ago at Marshalls for $20.00. Something should be inexpensive, right?

Monday Morning Fashion Report – Pinterest Inspired Outfit

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I am totally late to the Pinterest party but I have discovered it and I’m mildly obsessed. As obsessed as a busy mom could be. I have three boards that I pin things to, fashion, hair and recipes. I don’t go on often but I think this site is an excellent tool for any Mom. All the cute hairstyles, outfit ideas and recipes are saved to my phone and easily accessible when I need them. I pinned the first outfit because these cute skinny, ripped, cuffed jeans have recently caught my eye. Vaughn tells me they are so 80’s and asked me if I “pegged” my jeans or bought them that way. I think the cute little taupe suede booties are the perfect addition. During Christmas shopping I saw that Ann Taylor Loft was having a 50% sale so I looked and found a pair in my size. I think they were $45.00. The suede booties were from TJmaxx for $49.99. The hat was from Target for $19.99 and the scarf was a gift, but you can find a cozy cable knit infinity scarf anywhere. These 80’s inspired jeans are my new favorite jeans. And, in the end my photographer admitted the outfit was pretty cute, even if my jeans were pegged.

Mommy Fashion – Looking Good with Workout Clothes on

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Every year I consider two resolutions. I always say I want to incorporate more exercise into my daily routine while I don’t look like a hot mess doing it. Years ago, Christine and I would look for reasonable workout clothes that would take us from the gym, to the park, to the store or to the school without looking like a frump. All we could come up with were those cute zip-up matching sets in bright colors with just the right amount of spandex so they wouldn’t disintegrate with frequent washes. As I get older, I’m more and more uncomfortable wearing yoga pants and sneakers all day. It really affects my mood. So I have been searching for reasonable and cute options for everyday wear that can go from a brisk walk or run to a meeting with little effort. The outfit pictured above is from Target. The royal blue shirt is, believe it or not, a Champion shirt purchased in the workout section. I had seen a very colorful scarf when I first entered and put the two together. I liked the scarf’s bright colors and I think it looks much more expensive than the $14.99 price tag. What you don’t know about this outfit is that I have on a black Nike tank under the royal blue shirt and thin white workout socks on with my boots. If I want to take a quick walk with the baby in the jog stroller all I have to do is take the boots off, slip on sneakers and take the scarf off.

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This next outfit above is the same Champion shirt with my new favorite workout leggings. These leggings were purchased at Macys at Christmas time during a One Day Sale. Nike is the brand and I had wanted a pair that were good quality and patterned for awhile. My friend Christina had a Lululemon pair very similar years ago and they looked nice on the go. Again, all I would do is remove the boots, jacket and necklace. I also put the outfit below with just a plain black scarf.

I’m not talking about going on a long marathon training run here that would require much preparation and showering but a light jog, light weight routine or brisk walk that would help me incorporate moving my body into my day. I think these are some of my more efficient creations.

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Fashion Friday – Holiday sparkle

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I always want to look festive around the holidays without buying a Christmas sweater or breaking the bank. Christine told me to post some of my creations. My first look (shown above) is a casual look. I love plaid but own very little of it. This year I invested in a cute but versatile plaid top. Plaid is great around Christmas. I found it at Macy’s recently in the Ralph Lauren section, only $32.00. I wore it with a pearl necklace I bought last year at Target for $17.99, and a pair of dark jeans.

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This outfit is one that I am particularly proud of and I think it’s festive enough to wear to a holiday party. I recently purchased a pair of faux leather leggings from INC in Macys. These pants were inexpensive at $32.00, trendy and comfortable. That’s the trifecta right there. The shirt was a score at Kohls for $14.99. I loved the plum color and it looks good with the leggings. The simple gold necklace was from a local boutique in the neighborhood for $5.00. All told the entire outfit was $52.00! Truly amazing.

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Lastly, I love winter white. I always have. And I love sparkle. Last month, I bought a winter white or cream peplum top on Jane.com, along with the sparkle necklace on the same site. The top was $12.99 and the necklace was $9.99. Very inexpensive holiday sparkle.

I hope that inspires some of your holiday outfits.

My Good Side

I had something crazy happen to me last week. We had our family pictures taken last Friday and the photographer made this discovery in the sitting. She said, “Oh, I found your good side”. I chuckled a bit and asked her if that’s really true. Up until now, I really thought people were just being dramatic or high maintenance when they referred to their “good side”. She said , “Here, let me show you”, and she showed me the digital pictures on her camera. Sure enough, I looked better being photographed from the right side. I was amazed. I never put much thought into it. I felt kind of shocked. Here I was almost 39 and I had no idea that I even had two different sides. It only took me 39 years to find my good side? What on earth was I doing before? I thought. so why would I ever show my “bad side” again! I thought about it more and thought why don’t I just apply that concept to the rest of life and not just pictures. So from now on, if you see me, I will be talking to you from my right side. If I ever do get ugly, I will just say, that must be my left side talking.

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What to Wear Wednesday – Faux Leather

There are some trends that I like and that I want to try and then there are some trends that I loose sleep over. The words “faux leather” have come into my thoughts a lot lately. It’s all over the place and I notice it everywhere. I actually like this faux trend. It’s way less expensive than real leather, never mind more socially conscience. I had to just go ahead and scratch the itch this past Veterans Day. I popped into the mall looking to score something, ANYTHING, that was faux leather. I was like a hunter looking for my next kill.

The INC top was on sale at Macys for $29.99. The layering necklaces are another big trend right now. Not one I’m loosing sleep over, but cute nonetheless. I am wearing a classic monogram necklace from Stella and Dot and a layering necklace from Jane.com $7.99.

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Fashion Friday – Aztec Print for the Mature Woman

Last year, I busted out with a pair of Aztec leggings that set me back $10.00.   I still love the trend but I find that anything Aztec related is usually in the Juniors section which means it’s not quite right for someone my age or is likely to fall apart with one wash.  Last weekend while out at Macy’s getting the boys some pants this cute sweater vest caught my eye.  What do you know it was in the “grown-up” section.  It also did not break the bank. With my sale coupon it was $32.oo.

In Texas, this is just enough sweater for me right now.  I’m a big fan of the sweater vest. They always catch my eye for fall.  So cozy, yet easy to throw on with leggings.

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More Guts than Brains – My Tales of Traveling with a Toddler

I always describe myself as having more guts than brains.  I seriously leap before I look and then figure things out.  If you knew me I would whole-heartly tell you it is one of my biggest strengths.  The highlights of my life have been direct results of these “leaps”.  I once quit a job by passing my boss a note, I have moved to New York City on a whim at 22, I decided to follow my “on again off again” boyfriend to Dallas, I decided to throw practicality out the window and have a third baby, and so on and so on.

My recent leap, to move my whole family (and even add another) to Texas has me far away from my best friend.  I am not a sedentary person and I am one of the few people that would say that they LOVE air travel.   I like to know that at anytime I can hop on a plane and see my BFF for a weekend or even a day. I like mobility.  I like to go places. I like to eat breakfast in one city, and dinner in another.

Last week, I boarded the plane from Dallas to Boston with one sweet, yet active, 14 month-old little girl.  The funny thing is that you couldn’t even say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.   She’s my third and we recently endured a harrowing ride from Logan to Dallas only just a few short months ago.  And, let me tell you, it was harrowing. She never slept, always had a body part moving and even let out some of the highest pitched screams at very frequent intervals.   Vaughn and I said we would never ever do it again.  Ever!  And now, this time I was going to attempt it ALONE? Say what?

Here’s some of the funny things that came into my mind during my recent trip:

I can do this, I’m strong.  It will be empowering;

If I can do this, I can do anything;

I will just be super nice and apologize the minute I get into my seat to anyone around me. They won’t be mad;  

I’m almost 40, someone much younger should attempt this;

There will be life after this flight, I will survive;

OMG, the lady next to me is wearing a mask. She’s worried about Ebola while I try to make a toy out of this barf bag;

Look at that baby sleeping over there. What a lucky bastard. I wonder if they gave the baby Benadryl!;

I wonder if airlines will ever outlaw traveling with small children? They really should! Keep crazy people like me off the planes;

Really, seriously, what the F is wrong with me?! Mental note, after this go get your head examined;

Boy was it a funny place inside my head those two days.  I had a stranger even remark, “Oh my,  you are holding it together quite well”.  That was in the witching hours of 6pm to 8pm when Eve was none too happy with our unexpected delays.  I did live to tell about it and I did make it.  Yes, it did get very hairy for a couple of hours and I felt like everyone was looking at me, but the moral of the story is, I had a wonderful 24 hours seeing my best friend.   I got to pop in and make it seem as if it was super easy to do just that.   Why should I let a 24 pound unpredictable ball of energy stop me?   Would I do it again? Hmmm, probably, I’m just that crazy……….Oops, I mean “gutsy”.

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