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Breakfast Meal Prep| Turkey Bacon and Eggs

About a month and a half ago,  I bought a Groupon to try out Crossfit. I know a lot of people have their own opinions on whether or not Crossfit is amazing, or whether or not it should cease to exist, but I personally really love it, and have had such a positive experience with it. I in fact loved it so much that when my Groupon was over, I signed up to be a full fledged member of the gym, and will be doing my first Memorial Day Murph in just a few days. I can't wait.  


Once I got in a good exercise routine, I wanted to get my nutrition in check too, so I've started meal prepping all my breakfast, lunches, and dinners for the week so that I have good healthy food ready to fuel my body all week long. I usually prep food for four days, eat that all gone, and then make four more days worth of food. 

To make this easier on myself, I usually cook a lot of leftovers Sunday night for dinner, and then use those leftovers as my next four lunches, and then on Monday morning,  I make a ton of breakfast, and then pack that up for the next four days as well. I bought these meal prep containers on Amazon, and I love that they're dishwasher and microwave safe, and of course BPA free, so you can feel good about using them again and again. 

This is what I eat for breakfast basically everyday of the week. I don't need a ton of variation in the morning so I'm happy to eat the same thing again and again. Simply cook some yukon gold potatoes in a skillet, then the bacon, then the eggs, steam the broccoli, and call it good. It takes me about 20 minutes that first morning, and then it's just a matter of reheating the other meals for two minutes the rest of the week. Quick and easy.


Ingredients: 
1lb potatoes
Coconut Oil
Salt 
Pepper
8 slices turkey bacon
8 eggs
Lots of Broccoli


Directions:

Dice up your potatoes into bite size pieces, and then in a skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil and then add in your potato slices. Cover the potatoes and let them cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally while you prep your other ingredients.

When your potatoes are done cooking, portion them out into your food prep containers, and then cook your turkey bacon in the same pan. Cook for about two minutes on each side, and then add them into your containers. 

Whisk together your eggs, and then scramble them to your liking in the same pan, and then add them to your food prep containers. 

Finally, cook a ton of broccoli. I do this by cooking the broccoli in a microwave safe container like this one, with the lid on and some water, and then cook in the microwave for five minutes, and then add that to the containers as well. 

These will store in the fridge for up to three days. If you make more meals than that you can store them in the freezer up to a month and then take out of the freezer and then put in the fridge the night before you want to eat it.

New Dishes For A New Kitchen

This post was written in collaboration with Re-Play, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

One thing that  I've been working hard to do over the last several months is to streamline our house to be full of things that we love, and use on a regular basis. This mostly means getting rid of things that we aren't using, and don't bring us joy, but also bringing products into our home that fit our lifestyle, and the space that we have for them.


Through the entire process of getting our kitchen redone, I've been collecting new pieces here and there, and getting rid of old kitchen items so that when the room is finished, it's just a really nice, pretty, functional, and organized space. One way that I've been doing that is by getting rid of all of our old mismatched dishes, and transitioning to new pieces that are not only pretty, but stack well in our cabinets. 

We ditched all of our newlywed dinnerware pieces for a new dinning set that  I really love and matches the aesthetic of our new kitchen, and I got the kids some new dishes to replace the ones that were five years old, literally falling apart, and always made a huge cluttered mess in our cabinet.


It should be no surprise to you by now that I'm obsessed with Ellie and Jared on Youtube. Ellie had mentioned in one of her videos that she loved the Re-Play brand dishes for her kids because of how well they stacked together, they were cute, and they held up really well. After hearing that I immediately Googled them to check them out and fell in love with not only their products, but the brand as well. 



Re-Play dishes are made from recycled milk jugs, which means that they're not breaking down or consuming other materials and resources to make their items. I also really love and appreciate that they're an American brand, manufacturing all of their products in North Carolina (and hello, you all know that I LOVE North Carolina). 

Most importantly though, I love their design. I love that all the pieces stack really well in my cabinet and don't make a huge mess, and I love how great their products are for young kids who are learning to eat themselves. The higher edge on the plates make it so much easier for Em to drag her food to the side of the plate and then use the edge to help prop the food onto the fork while she gets it to her mouth. They really are such great products.


If you're wanting to get some awesome Re-Play dishes for your family, you can use the code TheHappyFlammily2017 through 5/26/17 to get 15% off your entire purchase of $20+. Also, be sure to enter the giveaway on my Instagram where one lucky winner will get one complete feeding set in a color of their choice!

An Essay on Mental Health

May is apparently mental health awareness month. It's also something that hits really close to home for me. I've wanted to share this a few times on the blog, but the words never came out right, or it felt like bad timing, but this month I've felt a little voice in my head saying share, share, share... And so I've sat and thought a lot the last couple weeks on what I could possibly say that could benefit someone, or what I could say to be inspiring. As I sit here and write, I honestly don't know where this post is going to take me, but starting is always the hardest part, so here I go. 


I've battled with mental illness for the last ten years of my life. Ten years ago there was a little voice in my head that went off and said, "you need to do X, Y, and Z to be better, to be more, to be liked... to be loved." I've had thoughts for what seems like most of my life that I am not enough, that everyone else is better, and that I will never measure up. 

In high school this manifested  itself as an eating disorder. There is a preface to this that does need to be cleared up though. I was very overweight in middle school and the beginning of high school, and most people think that my eating disorder started as me wanting to lose weight, and that was not the case. Despite being overweight, I was a very active kid. All through middle school I did cheerleading and played soccer, and then in 9th grade I did those same sports, along with track and tennis as well. The very last day of ninth grade, I started my period, puberty began,  and then I finally hit a growth spurt. That combined with living a very athletic lifestyle, I slimmed down really fast. Over the course of one summer I'd lost about 20 pounds and grew several inches, and then started at a new high school, and was essentially an entirely different person than I was just a few months prior. 

It was after that massive growth spurt, and slimming period though where I felt like I would do anything to never be that overweight person again, and  I would do, be, say, try, anything to make sure it didn't happen. It took me a long time just to even realize that I wasn't an overweight kid anymore. Despite being in smaller clothes and being several inches taller, I still thought of myself as the dweeby overweight kid that got picked on a lot. On top of all these thoughts raging through my very limited 16 year old brain, I was at a friend's house one day when a boy from our high school came over to her house, and told my friend that he thought I was fat. So even though I was wearing size zero jeans, I let this kid who I hardly even knew dictate how I felt about myself. 

So from there is what started a long period of over exercising, cutting calories, and taking laxatives to make sure that I always stayed in this bubble range of what  I thought was an acceptable body or physique to have. I would go to track practice after school having only eaten about 500 calories for the entire day, and then would go home and jog a couple more miles through my neighborhood. On the weekends I would go and hangout with friends, and eat and do whatever they were doing, but then would go home and take a bunch of laxatives to make it seem like the entire weekend never happened. 

And so this has been the struggle and battle that I've dealt with on and off for the last 10 years of my life. There have been times where it was worse than others. Probably peaking the most around the time that Derek and I got married, dropping 15 pounds in just a couple months to make sure that I fit in what I thought should be the perfect size for my wedding dress. After we got married things were pretty fine, and we got pregnant (by choice), pretty quickly, and I had no problem gaining weight during my pregnancy, and then I lost the baby weight with minimal effort after delivery, so there really wasn't a problem then either.

Then we moved to North Carolina, Derek was working nights, I was finishing my associates degree and staying home with Jay during the day and things became stressful. That, and feeling threatened in my circle of mommy friends for the "smallest mommy" title began the cycle of running and cutting calories all over again. Then we moved to a new town and I became pregnant with Em, and again had a pretty easy time gaining and loosing the weight and never felt like I had to do anything extreme to lose anything more. 

What I wasn't expecting to happen though after having Em was a wave of post partum depression that hit about six months after she was born, and then I never felt like I'd truly snapped out of it until about a year ago. She wasn't sleeping, Derek was doing his MBA, we hated the house that we moved into in Georgia, our landlord was a nightmare, we were dealing with doctors, and therapists, and bills galore, and I truly felt like I was a spectator in my own life. Like I was somehow in a fog, and I could see Derek and the kids having fun and laughing, and having the greatest time ever, and I for the life of me could not laugh. I didn't understand why they were laughing, and I couldn't personally feel happiness, despite how desperately I wanted to. 

Then in March of 2016 I went to Time Out For Women in Raleigh with my friend Sammi, and stayed at her house for the weekend. We were driving around in her car, and talking about things and I'd asked, "Do you ever feel like everyone around you is happy, and having an amazing time and laughing, and then you're just standing there watching and for the life of you, you just don't get it?" She'd told me that she'd personally never felt that way and then it hit me that I had post partum depression. I didn't even know I had it, or how long I'd been there, but it was just a culmination of one thing after another and another that I guess just lead up to me finally verbalizing it and realizing what I was feeling for what it truly was. 

About a month after that trip to Raleigh, I started to be able to slowly come out of it, but it wasn't an overnight process. Our lives are still stressful, we don't know what one day will bring from the next, but I've slowly been able to find peace, to find rest, and to find refuge in things that bring me joy, and to eliminate the things that don't. My kids are getting older which means that in as much as each passing day brings a stage of life that I won't get back, it means that they're both getting older, they're both communicating more, their needs are being learned, and therefore met a lot more easily. Em isn't as medically fragile as she was in the beginning. She can sit unsupported, which brings my life both ease, and joy. It opens more opportunities for her to learn, grow, and develop faster than she previously could. I find myself hearing my two kids playing together, and the corners of my mouth turning out towards a smile more and more. I was telling Derek just tonight, our kids bring me so much joy. And it feels so good to be able to say that truthfully, and not just as something that I'm supposed to be saying in a cliche Instagram post. 

One thing that I've thought about over and over the last several months, where it seems my life is on this perpetual upward track of recovery from mental illness is this: I will always have a mental illness, it is a part of me. I will always have tendencies where I feel threatened and want to revert to old habits and coping mechanisms, but I also have agency, and I have a choice. Every morning I have to make the choice if I'm going to have a mental illness that day or not. I have a choice of whether or not I'm going to eat breakfast. Whether or not I'm going to love my children for who they are, and not for who I want them to be. I have to choose whether I will physically pull myself out of bed, brush my teeth, and get the day going. One thing that I've learned though is that once you choose those things once, it gets easier to choose them again, and again, and again. There is hope, strength, and empowerment that comes with mental illness, but it comes when you're able to make that first step, reach out to that one person, and have them help you to be accountable. And if you don't have someone to be that person for you, you can always reach out to me. 

A Sweet and Simple Last Minute Mother's Day Gift

Mother's Day is one of my favorite holidays. As much as I love being pampered and waited on for the day, I love reflecting on the special privilege that I have in being a mother, and all the prayers and faith that it took to get our babies here. Parenting is hard, but it is the greatest thing I've ever done. I love being able to watch my kids learn and grow. I love challenging them, and seeing them blossom through their own difficulties. 


That's why on Mother's Day, I personally love getting gifts that remind me of my children, and the phase of parenting that we're in right now. My dear friend Jaye recently sent me these beautiful silhouettes from her shop, Sweetheart Silhouettes, and I love how well they capture Jay and Em, and the stage of life that we're currently in. The best part? They're only $5 each, and can easily be tucked inside a Mother's Day Card, and will surely help give mom all the warm fuzzies about her little ones.


The design process is really easy, and I love how helpful Jaye was during it all. To create your picture, you just need to take a profile view image of your child(ren), and send it on over to Jaye. She does all the work in creating the silhouette, and then you get to pick the background that your images are set upon. I got this adorable floral print for Em, and a triangular modern print of Jay, and I think that they capture both of their personalities really well!

To get these in time for Mother's Day, send Jaye a message on her Instagram account, and she'll help take you through the entire process. Last day to order in time for Mother's Day is Wednesday 5/10/17, so start taking your pictures now and you can have a lovely gift for mom on her special day. 

An Unexpected Sick Day


For the most part, Em has always been a pretty healthy child. There are many kids with her diagnosis that spend a lot of time in and our of the hospital, and luckily, that has never been the case for Em. Derek and I frequently joke that she has an iron immune system because at ago two and a half, she has still never had to be on antibiotics, unlike her brother who is more familiar with them than I would like. Em has only been sick a small handful of times, but when it happens, things escalate a little quickly. 


Last year when we were in Idaho for Derek's sister's wedding, Em came down with an innocent cold, that resulted in her getting congested, and throwing up every time she went  to eat. This meant that over the course of 30 or so hours, she hadn't eaten anything, and thrown up whatever happened to be left in her stomach from the previous day. She quickly became dehydrated and we had to take her into the hospital on the morning of Maurcine's wedding to get her IV fluids and help her fever come down. And as you can imagine, I missed the wedding.  This happened the one other time she had a bad cold too, and it's basically the worst experience ever. I wish I could be trained to administer IV fluids so that I wouldn't have to head into the hospital whenever this happened and I could save time, and a huge hospital bill. 



A couple nights ago we were on the phone with Derek's mom when his parents asked how that kids were doing. I said, "Great! Em  has basically slept the last 24 hours, which has felt like heaven!" For anyone who knows Em, sleep isn't her strong point, and Derek's mom was quick to tell me she probably didn't turn into an amazing sleeper, she was probably coming down with something... And sure enough the next morning we were barreling full steam ahead towards a full blown head cold. 

I've been trying to stay on top of it the best I can so that it doesn't get out of control and involve a hospital visit. We have essential oils running in her diffuser, and are administering them topically to the bottoms of her feet, and we're trying to stay on top of her water and food intake before things get too bad so that she has something substantial in her stomach should things go south before too long. 


Em loves all things in a pouch, so we've really been loving the new Gerber Smart Flow pouches that we found at Kroger yesterday afternoon. The lid is made with this new Smart Flow technology that helps the food come out of the pouch slower to make feeding easier for little ones who are still trying to figure out how the whole "Self Feeding" thing works. I've loved being able to let Em take it easy on the couch while watching a couple shows, and sipping on one of these. Each pouch contains a complete serving of fruit, and one complete serving of vegetables, so it's a sick day snack I can get behind to ensure she is getting all the right nutrients that her little body needs. 


And if you need me for the next 36 hours, I'll be doing all sorts of Indian, tribal,  voodoo dances in our bedroom to make sure this cold, and whatever else is going on peaces out in a timely manner that doesn't involve me cleaning up vomit and changing bed sheets. Prayers and good vibes appreciated.

 

We're Walking Pregnant

One thing that I appreciate about my own version of motherhood is my ability to be sufficiently humbled and admit when I don't know things, or I don't have the answers. I tend to plow full force and give my all in one direction, and then when I get the screeching halt from Heavenly Father, I'm able to direct course and turn the other way. I sometimes feel like that's the typical way that I receive direction and inspiration for our family, and it's worked well for us for quite some time. Pick a direction, and when the door gets slammed, go the other way and keep going. 

Without going into too much detail, Derek and I were recently presented with an option to do something and we were so torn on it. I was dead set and determined with what I wanted to do, and Derek could not meet me there with any enthusiasm. We talked, and talked, and talked, and ultimately landed ourselves in a meeting with our Bishop to talk about our options some more. Again, without going into too much detail, we said our sides of the "argument, debate, whatever..." I argued that what I wanted to do seemed to me like such a righteous desire, and that  I would never have an opportunity to do something as selfless as that for the rest of my life. 

Our Bishop thought differently, and explained to me that my most important role right now is raising and nurturing our children, and that I'll never do a more selfless thing than that in my entire life. Fast forward a few days later, we go to the temple and pray some more about this thing that I want to do, and finally both come to the mutual decision that I shouldn't do what it is that I wanted to do, and leave it at that. (This couldn't be anymore cryptic and vague I know, hang with me guys). So then this week we tell the people that we were going to be doing this thing with that we can't do the thing, and then all over again, I'm heck bent back to square one, throwing everything to the wind and wanting to do this thing again. 

Switching gears to the non-cryptic things where all of this ties together now... this afternoon Em's occupational therapist came over for a session when we started talking. I've had this idea for months that if we just gave Em performance enhancing drugs (steroids... the ones body builder meat heads use), in addition to therapy, that she would be up and walking and that everything would be fine. He explained to me that "low tone" isn't about having weak muscles, as much as it is about having weak muscle memory. Guys. How in the world have we been dealing with this for two and a half years and I'm just now realizing we're battling weak muscle memory, and not just weak muscles?! How has this never clicked in my head before?! (This is also where the connection to me being humble and being able to admit when I don't know things comes into play.) 

I'd been stirring with this new found information all night, and then when I got in the tub,  I decided to finish reading my friend Kelsey's new book, "One Day At A Time: 100 Days in the Life of A Mother". It's admittedly hard for me to feel like motherhood is the most glorious work that I can ever be a part of. It's not something that comes natural and easy to me, and I really have to work at it. And if we're being so, so terribly honest, I often feel a little bitter when I see people who are doing an amazing job at being a mom and think, "yeah, but all of their kids walk..." And while we do feel at peace with Em, and her situation, and whatever it amounts to, it does feel harder for me to feel all the feels of motherhood and parenting, and its divine and glorious everything, when in a lot of ways it's still really hard for us to do things. But as I was finishing Kelsey's book the one take away that I got from it is that she feels the most joy in her life when she's all in with her kids and she's able to set aside everything else in the world and just be all in. 

And then it made me reflect on all the things in motherhood that I'm not "all in" on. Or the things that would at least be helping my kids thrive. One of those areas has definitely been getting Em walking. I've been so focused on this idea of just getting her stronger that the things we've been working on at home haven't really been what she needs most. Sure we've been working on sitting, and that's so important, she definitely needs to be working on that core foundational strength, and she belly crawls like a champ, and she can stand and play with toys... but working on movement patterns, like getting her up and walking, and getting her crawling up on her hands and knees... we've been hardcore lacking in those areas. 

The words of our Bishop re-echoed in my mind. The most selfless gift that I could ever give would be the work that I do in our own home. The most selfless gift isn't what I can give to someone outside our house, but to someone in our house, to Em. The most selfless gift I could give to Em are the tools and knowledge that she needs to get walking. We've been told so many times that Em will walk, and that it's going to be based off a lot of what we do in the home. And guys, to be honest, doing PT and trying to get a two and a half year old to walk who screams her face off the second she even looks at her gait trainer? It sucks. Which is why we haven't been doing it, and keep putting it off. But I feel so jazzed, and so spiritually recommitted to this mission that Derek and I are officially announcing that we are walking pregnant. 

The goal isn't far fetched, and in fact, it gives us a month longer then what was actually projected. But in nine months, it is our goal to try our hardest to get Em walking. That means that by January 20th 2018, we will have a walking, almost three-and-a-half-year-old. Derek and I have committed together as a team to do at least one thing each day that is beneficial to Em to get her walking. Whether it's holding her hands and walking her around the house for a few laps with her leg braces on, or buying obscure contraptions to strap her in and make her walk... we're both committed to the new goal, and we're both excited about it. It also means that we're going to have to watch some youtube videos, figure out how to teach her to crawl, and get that going too.

And because I'm totally the type of person who needs the internet to hold me accountable to things,  I'm going to try and post once a day on Instagram, what we did each day to help her out, and use the hastag #GetEmWalking275 for the 275 days that we have to make our goal. And like all things, if we put in this effort and still fall short, and she doesn't walk, then we can still say that we put in more effort, and tried a lot harder than we would have otherwise. So here's to feeling empowered and recommitted... And to hoping that a clinic gets a PT opening soon. 

Kitchen Progress Update + A Dream Kitchen $12,000 Giveaway

In a little over a month, Derek and I will be celebrating our first anniversary in our house. In the time that we've lived here we've accomplished way more in terms of home renovations than I ever thought we would. We started small with painting Jay's bedroom, and then moved onto painting the play room. After that we added some industrial shelves to our powder bathroom, and then moved on to tackling the kitchen. 



It still feels so unreal to me that we are almost finished with our kitchen renovation. What started off as a dream when we first purchased the home, will be our reality in just two more weeks. Two weeks until I have my dream kitchen. I never would have imagined being able to get it done, but the first major ticket item fell into our laps for free, and then everything else happened around it.



During the winter, we had friends up the street from us who had a leak in their home. The water went from their upstairs bathroom, through the ceiling, and into their kitchen, ruining about 4 square feet of the laminate hardwood floors in their home. The homeowners insurance came, and wound up giving them all new floors on the entire first floor of their house, and when they took out the rest of the floors that were untouched from the water damage, they gave them to us for our house for free. This turned what would have been a $3,000 job in our kitchen into a $60 run to the hardware store to get the tools needed for install.

I wanted to get a new light fixture to go above our dinning room table, and reached out to a company who actually sent us one for free in exchange for a blog post that will be going up next month. Taking down the old light fixture and adding the new one completely changed the entire look of our dinning room, and I can't wait for the entire space to be completed!



Next we got some cheap granite we found on Craigslist and had 38 square feet installed for $1,200. Derek was convinced that I'd handed a con-artist an upfront check that he was going to run away with, and that we were never going to be getting real counters, so I was really happy when everyone came on install day and I didn't actually get ripped off. Because we got new counters, this meant we also had to invest in a new sink, and faucet, so we upgraded all those items at once. 



Now here we are, waiting for our painter to come in two weeks to paint our kitchen cabinets and the walls in our dinning space and down our stairs. What started off as a huge task that we thought would never get done, has turned into a relatively fun and easy process that we've actually really enjoyed. 


While new cabinets weren't in the picture for us and this home, we've teamed up with Wellborn Cabinets today to share with you their dream kitchen giveaway. They're going to be giving one lucky reader the chance to win a $12,000 check for them to get the kitchen of their dreams. You can find Wellborn Kitchen dealers all throughout the South East States, where they can help you design your own dream kitchen, and have their licensed contractors come and install the entire thing for you. They have a large selection of cabinets from shaker, arched, and raised panels! Whatever you're looking for, they have it!

To enter their dream kitchen giveaway, head on over to the Wellborn Cabinet Site, and fill out the form for you to be entered to win a check for $12,000 to go toward your own dream kitchen remodel! And don't forget to come back here in a few weeks to see how our entire remodel turned out!

This post was sponsored on behalf of Wellborn Cabinets inc, on behalf of Blog Meets Brand, all thoughts and opinions are my own.