Thursday, December 4, 2014

Owen & a long time coming update!


It's been quite a while since I updated on Owen's journey with Microtia & Atresia.  I always have to remind myself of when he was born and I was sitting in the hospital room I would be SO happy to come across blogs of other moms who were documenting their journey... and I would become so frustrated when the trail of posts would just STOP. 

There was always chapter 1. Making decisions. The surgeries.

But what about chapter 2? How were the kids doing now? How did they do in school? How did the post-op go?

So, I will keep writing for those that are googling for the first time. Momma's still in the hospital bed, I got you covered. :)

After the initial couple months of obsession, Owen's ear just became what it was- the smallest part of his make up and not a major topic of discussion in our house.  What happened was Owen emerged as the charismatic, all-encompassing Owen that that we all know and love. With more than enough personality enough to fill a room his ear is just a side note.  An interesting detail in a far more interesting kid.

He's busy eating snacks, I'm busy kissing boo-boo's, daddy is busy doing the morning school drop off grind.  And in between there's a lot of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, potty training and snuggles. Owen has always loved a good hug.

So, there's not too much to report for the last two years.  The first couple months of Owen's life were about exploring options.  Then it was all just about being a family. And, somehow, here we are- that time where surgery dates are being set and the wheels are in motion.  The two years flew by.  And so now, for another small season of life, let's talk about the ear again as we embark into chapter 2.

Owen has medpor reconstruction surgery set for late 2015 with Dr. Lewin out in California.  Its been booked for over a year.  Long-standing appointment. You have to book early!  We had the opportunity to meet Dr. Lewin last year at a Microtia family picnic.  I felt drawn to her immediately.  I had the gut instinct she is the surgeon for Owen. Follow up phone consultations only confirmed this for me.  I also got to meet some of the little guys and gals who had an ear made for them by Dr. Lewin.  They looked absolutely amazing!

We are currently in the process of deciding if atresia repair (building an ear canal) is a good option.  He had a CT scan in October to determine if he is a candidate, and on a scale of 1-10, he scored an 8.  Which is a great score!  This score essentially translates into an 80% chance of restoring normal hearing.  Isn't that amazing?

(Side note, Owen did amazing for the CT scan. He stayed so still, no crying, and no drugs needed to knock him out!)

Anyways, we are in the middle of consulting with the Dr's in California to see if we want to go ahead and commit to the surgery.  If we do we are hoping it will happen during June or July of 2015.  Giving him 6 months to heal and medpor following that in Dec.

Once we have that piece locked into place- we can plan all the details, where to stay, flight arrnagements, coordinating the schedules for our other 2 kids. 

2015 is a big yEAR!

hehe, see what I did there? ;)

More to come soon!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Post-Partum Piyo Results!

After baby number 1 & 2 I spent a long time wishing away the baby weight (and was somehow was angry that my method was't working!)  I had a lot of high hopes but not a lot of hard work.

Finally, after baby number 3 I have learned I just simply need to get the work done.  Slow and consistent progress IS progress.  I may not be where I plan to be...but I am moving in the right direction.

I'm excited to share my results from PiYo.  I finished  the entire program about 3 weeks ago- so proud to say I did not miss a workout.  To be honest, the scale didn't shift drastically, but I can see the results starting to come through! 

So exciting to know I am on a path that will get me where I want to be in a healthy & fun way.  PiYo was such a great program for low impact, strength & flexibility training.  A perfect program for a postpartum momma.

Well, without further delay....Here are some of my results so far!  

Stay tuned.  

This isn't my final"after" -- I'm chasing down my goals!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Quinoa + Bison Stuffed Bell Peppers

This recipe was spurred by a quick need to get dinner prepped, not a very stocked fridge, and a lot of bell peppers on hand!  Luckily for me, I had just what I needed to pull this easy dinner off.

1.When I say that my fridge wasn't too stocked up- I meant it.  No ground beef on hand so bison meat it is! (...whaaa?  Don't worry, it tasted good and is super lean & healthy!) First, I browned the bison meat in a skillet and drained, then I added diced tomatoes, chopped fresh spinach, about 4 cloves of fresh minced garlic and garlic salt & red pepper flakes to taste.

2. OK, confession. The pantry was not very stocked either.  (Apparently, this lady needs to hit the supermarket in my spare time).  Instead of brown rice to add as a filling I made a cup of quinoa.  I prepared it separately, and kept it simple, following the directions on the package and then I added the cook quinoa to the skillet.  I washed the peppers and trimmed off the tops and then filled the peppers with the really good-smelling skillet concoction.

3.  For good measure I added one slice of provolone to the top of each pepper.   Because cheese is a miracle worker and has saved many a dish in my kitchen!  I added a little water in the bottom of the pan (by the way, I am SO not kitchen savvy- I know this is not a pan.  What is this thing?  A oven safe bowl? A dutch oven?) and covered loosely with aluminum foil.  I popped it in a preheated oven set to 375 and cooked for about 40 minutes until....

4. ....the cheese is nice and melty, the peppers have softened and the house smells like "Mmmmmm, mmm, good." (aka garlicky goodness).  Nom nom.

Not going to lie, the boys were a little hesitant to give the peppers a go.  But once they had a bite they ate their supper pretty well for the night.  I would go ahead and call this Jamin-and-Owen-approved!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Happy Halloween!

About a week and a half ago I hosted for my boys (and a new little TinkerBell) their annual Halloween party.  Somehow, I became the crazy Pinterest mom for this holidayy,  I admit it's a little bit over the top, a little bit stressful...but really, it's mostly just fun.  It's worth it for a once a year festivity and the boys look forward to it for WEEKS.  

By the way, how much do you love our themed costumes?  How long do you think I have before the boys realize they don't have to match mom and family??  

I hope it's not next year, because I have a pretty sweet circus theme lined up. 

This year, I decided to not serve a full dinner as I had in Halloweens past.  I wanted to have just some themed snacks and finger foods on hand for everyone.  I also wanted some healthier options since it would be candy galore for the kids later in the night.

This years spread:

Spooky Handed Punch
Make punch of choice and for the hands--> fill non-powdered latex gloves with water, tie the ends and freeze overnight.  Be sure not to overfill with water, the fingers should be able to bend before you toss in the freezer.
When its time to start the party carefully cut off the latex and add ice cubes to punch bowl.
Timing is everything!  They melt after about 15-20 minutes.  I made for hands so I could add more ice when needed.

Here's a little preview of the table.

Another table shot of the food and decor.

For this seven layer taco dip I simply added sour cream to a sandwich bag, cut a small hole in the corner and used it to decorate the web.  For the spiders I slices large olives into spider bodies & legs.

 This one was supposed to be Frankenstein.  But we will just call it spooky vegetable man.

This was my personal favorite.  Clementine's pumpkins with celery stems.  Simple and cute.

I hope you all had a fun & spooky Halloween! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Breakfast on the fly

I am often inspired by Pinterest but that doesn't always mean I am acting on my pins.  Actually, what I do is pin and pin and pin some more dreaming of that one day I can become Martha Stewart.

Well, with going back to work this Friday and with a 6:50 am punch in time I need to plan ahead our breakfast schedule for me, the hubs & the kids.  It's already a 5 am wake up call to workout, gets kids dressed, and the morning routine- and that's WITHOUT cooking breakfast and, well,  I refuse to get up any earlier!

So today I got to experimenting & Pinteresting and I finally decided to try out these muffin pan eggs that I have been pinning for ages!

Step 1: Get your eggs and any ingredients you would like mixed into your scramble.  Today I used cherry tomatoes halved, chopped spinach, a little feta cheese and portobello mushrooms (only in half, my hubby isn't a fan---weirdo!).

1. I sprayed the muffin tin with olive oil to prevent the dreaded sticking.

2.  Add your mix-in's to the muffin pan, I filled each up about halfway.

3. It took me 14 mixed eggs to fill 12 large muffin tins.  I mixed up the eggs in a large measuring cup an poured right over the mix-ins in the tin. 

4. After adding in the eggs I sprinkled each cup with a little bit of garlic salt.

5. Cook your muffin eggs in a preheated 350 oven.  These cooked for 27 minutes to get a little golden on top and cooked throughout.

After I was done with the eggs I baked up some turkey bacon and rationed out the eggs and bacon into individual baggies for each serving.

When we are ready to eat these in the morning we can just grab the baggie, dump onto a plate and after  we send them on a 30 second vacay to the microwave these little guys are all ready to go!

And of course I had to taste test one baggy today for lunch to make sure they were decent and worthy of being made again.  Super delish and super easy for a healthy breakfast on the fly.

Pinning gone right.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Easy Kid Snack!

Sometimes, I overthink it, and totally stress about what to feed my kids day in and day out during the summer.

Of course, inspired by Pinterest, I was excited about the idea of kid-friendly sushi.  I decided to save the Swedish Fish & Fruit roll-up variety for another time and hit the pantry for a kid-friendly snack this morning.

1.  Simple ingredients-  Kids like PB, bread (in this case whole wheat soft taco shells), banana, and I decided to add some sunflower seeds in there for some crunch.

2. Smear on some of the PB goodness, sprinkle whatever healthy seeds you have on hand (for a sweeter variety I bet a few mini chocolate chips would be a crowd-pleaser as well), and banana.

3. Wrap it all up (you can use an extra little swipe of PB as a glue to keep it all together) and then slice it up into little "sushi rolls."

My kids LOVED it.

Simple and easy summertime snack or lunch.  I may have made one for me too.  I do ten to get food jealous ;)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cilantro Lime Quinoa Recipe!


I found a recipe on Pinterest when looking up creative ways to make quinoa and spiced it up a little to make my own version of a Cilantro Lime Quinoa Salad.

I haven't had much success in the past making this stuff- it always seemed a little bland, but this one was definitely zestier!

1 cup Quinoa
1 carotn grape tomatoes
1 can of drained black beans
green onions (i used 6 but really to taste)
Cilantro to taste
2 limes
1/2 cup olive oil
red pepper flakes to taste
salt & pepper to taste
1 avocado


1. Cook one cup of quinoa according to directions on package, set aside to cool.

2.  Halve grape tomatoes, drain black beans, chop green onions & cilantro,

3. Mix sauce together- olive oil, juice of two limes, red pepper flakes, cumin and salt to taste

4.  Add tomatoes, black beans, green onions and cilantro to quinoa.

5. Pour dressing mixture over quinoa and stir up ingredients to coat.

6. Cut up avocado and gently stir into quinoa mix.  Give it a taste and add any additional seasonings to taste.

7. Viola! A zesty quinoa salad- serve chilled! And with some extra lime slices! :)

Super Healthy and easy to make!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Catch the wave--->coaching sneak peek!

A one week, online, FUN & FREE sneak preview into what Beachbody coaching is all about. This lil' group launches TOMORROW!! Meet some current coaches on our team, hear about our experiences, daily activities goals and plans.....and decide if it's something that is aligned to YOU and YOUR goals for your future! 

Email me for more information!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Beachbody High!

Currently on a Beachbody high---> 

1. Cannot wait to start PiYO post baby and KILL my "after" shots!
2. Lots of fun new announcements this week from the annual Conference, Summit, in Vegas & I officially registered for next year...coming for you NASHVILLE!
3. This year Kim Demoss is representing our team over in Vegas and doing a fine job might I add---> BUT we already have 8 from our team COMMITTED for next year and more on the way! YAY!

BUT the best part of the week...

4. Waking up to THESE emails and msg's!!!! These are from challengers who decided to try something new and COMMIT to a Beachbody program, Shakeology, and a challenge group.

Guys, I am not going to lie. There are SO many awesome pathways to get healthy, get fit, connect with others---> thats the truth. But what I KNOW is this has worked for me, its worked in the lives of people I know and love, and it continues to MOTIVATE & BUILD momentum.

This week has reminded me this opportunity to be a challenger or coach is a total game changer. It's about teaming up, supporting each other, and lifting others up to make positive changes.

and I'm not going to is SO. MUCH. FUN.!!!

No wonder so many have sipped the Kool-Aid! :P

Thursday, June 19, 2014

DIY Chicken Wire Bow & Handband Organizer

I have been NESTING like crazy and cranking out some DIY projects left and right.

New house and super pregnant is a good combination I think- getting stuff done!.  My husband may or may not agree ;)

Here is my latest project, with super simple directions for all of the sweet, girly lil' bows and headbands baby girls seem to collect!

1.  Supplies- 18x 24 frame (I found this white one at Michaels for $8); Chicken wire ($6.99 at Home Depot); Ribbon (I upcycled a pretty ribbon from a wedding I was in this past weekend); anything decorative you want on the frame (I upcycled little felt bows from Emerson's baby shower); cute clothespins (also upcycled from Emerson's baby shower); staple gun; wire cutters

2.  Take the backing off the frame and also take the glass or plastic off- you just need a bare frame.

3.  Lay the chicken wire across the back and cut to size.  (btw, chicken wire is scratchy-- my hands took a little beating from the edges!)

4.  Use staple gun to secure the chicken wire in place on back of frame.

5. Cut ribbon to size depending on how far you want the frame to hang down from nail.  Staple to top corners of back of frame.

6.  Glue on any decorative pieces along the frame & hang your new bow holder from nail on wall.

8.  Use your clothespins to secure headbands to chicken wire & enjoy it in all its baby girl cuteness.  I also glued a felt bow to the top of the nail to make it a bit prettier. I might eventually replace with a BIGGER bow--- but this works for now!

PS.  I wanted the frame to be a little more secure since we will be taking things on and off often- so I used double siding mounting tape on the bottom corners and secured to wall to prevent too much wiggling!

Happy nesting!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Coach Internship staring soon!!!

One of the best parts about summer is I get to laser focus on FUN with my family and making my OWN work schedule. No 6 am alarm clock for me!! (okkkk...Jamin is a pretty consistent 6:20 alarm, but still!).

I am SO excited to pour myself into Beachbody for the next 5 months because I have the FREEDOM to work from home and the ability to fully put into this business what I want out of it ---> setting up a SOLID foundation for financial security and a flexible schedule for my family. I can't wait to share this opportunity and impact others with the same goals!

I am looking for BUSINESS BUILDERS. People who aren't afraid to dive it. Being successful in this business is possible and doable-- even for people who work full time, or have kids, or are just BUSY. BUT takes a desire to jump in feet first. I want people who are ready to LEAP with me!

What could focusing on your health and fitness do for you and your family? How about making your own work schedule? What could an extra $100 a week do? How about $1,458 in ONE month?

Join in with me on my coach internship group this month and get daily step by step training, advice and information on how to build your business. I'm taking only 7 coaches for June so I can give my full attention, msg me if you're ready!!

American Mantel

So, I don't know if it's the mantel Jud surprised me with. Or the excitement of really being able to decorate my home with my style.  Or just pure nesting.  But I am LOVING making this house our home!

Inspired by Pinterest of course.  I will not even pretend my creation is nearly as good--but it was fun to make and turned out decent even for an impatient artist such as myself!


I had mason jars on hand and some paintbrushes- so I just picked up some cheap acrylic paint from Michael's today and jumped right in.

I'm going to be honest here.  I'm a little impatient when it comes to projects.  I didn't even bother to wash the jars and make sure I had a good, clean surface.  I just started painting without a care in the world. However, a good clean surface probably makes for a better end product!

I also didn't bother with the washi tape or painters tape.  I decided to eyeball it.  Probably not the best move! 

You will definitely need two coats of paint. I had some nice streaks going on the first time around.

Don't look at the stars too closely.  I did touch them up after this because they were a little....abstract.  They are hand painted and a stamp probably would have provided a more uniform look...and in the end they might have looked a little less like starfish! ;)

I thought about cutting these flowers for my new americana vases...and for some exciting WOW effect for the picture....but they are a few days old and clinging on for life- couldn't risk it!  And they are yellow.  So they don't really go anyways.

But, here is the beginnings of our summertime mantel!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Hutch Remake!

It is a very rare occasion when I decide to tackle a MAJOR Pinterest project.

I usually stick to appetizers and dessert creations.

.....But after buying a new house, and some real soul searching on the type of styles I really like to decorate with  I realized I fall somewhere between a cozy cottage and farmhouse (farm still my heart!).  All the stuff is SUPER cute and I couldn't wait to decorate.

Then I saw the price tags!

These things are NOT cheap.  I decided to give repurposing furniture a chance and try to be a  DIY kinda lady.  I have NEVER taken on something like this so I wanted to start pretty low-risk....

so, I found this beauty on Craigslist for $30.  After sufficiently confusing my husband and father in law with my vision they went to pick up this lovely piece for me...

This monstrosity is a terrible color, and originally had a center door and glass panels on the sides.  and UGLY!  Jud removed the door, the glass panels and the hardware. (Already a majore improvement!) and I patched the holes from the hinges with putty and let dry.

Then I had to figure out how to paint this beast.  I had read a few great online tutorials that I had discovered through Pinterest about distressing furniture (I even made a pretty inspired "hutch makeover" board) and learned about a magical concoction called chalk paint that translates into you did not have to do ANY sanding. AT ALL.  This was right up my alley.

When I went to the Home Depot and asked for chalk paint they kept insisting what I was looking for was chalkboard paint.  Nope.  After some self-doubt and finding a knowledgeable employee to help me he led me to the chalk paint selection.  Crazy expensive Martha Stewart $10 tubs of chalk paint that were only 8 ounces.  I was not about to spend an arm and a leg on this stuff and I knew there had to be a better way!

Right there in Home Depot paint aisle I did a major "no no" and found the info I needed from Lowe's. This tutorial is amazing---> Instructions to make my own chalk paint!

These instructions were SUPER easy to follow and took all the intimidation right out of it.  I decided to make the chalk paint of out Behr's "Stone Fence" and just jump into my project.

Here is the cast of characters I came home with after spending an hour in just one aisle of Home Depot (while my poor husband sat in the car with sleeping kids):

- paint buckets/pail (for chalk paint you do some mixing and stirring so a bucket is the way to go)
-1 inch paint bruch ( that little sponge one you see ended up unused and returned!)
-A medium grade sanding block (I didn't even know what that meant- so I bought "80")
-Tack cloth (ended up returning this and using good old dish rags for dusting!)
-Finishing Wax (I ended up chickening out on the wax and exchanged for clear, satin finish, water based polycrylic to paint on as a sealer)
-respirator (I am pregnant after all!)
- Plaster of Paris (to make all that chalk paint glory)
- and flat, interior paint in your color of choice (again, I used Behr "Stone Fence")  Chalk paint goes a long way so all you need is a quart- AND I had leftover paint.

I followed the Lowe's instructions to a "T" and went at it last Saturday!

couple hours later...

The great thing about chalk paint is it is very easy to distress afterwords. So, I didn't worry to much about getting it PERFECT.  I tried my best but felt okay about the occasional smudgy spot or brush streaks.

The whole painting and mixing process probably took only about 2.5 hours and only one coat!  I let it dry overnight and decided to distress.

I took my shading block, and respirator, and went at it! I was a little nervous at first but it just took some elbow grease and I LOVED the look!  That hideous brown took on a cool shade of gold when distressed.

It hid blemishes so well and I will feel 100% better when my kids ram into it on their ride on Buzz Lightyear car ;)

It took two coats of Polycrylic to seal the thing.  Word of advice with the polycrylic...The first coat I put on way, way too thin.  If you spread it out quite a bit it dries very streaky.  I definitely did a much thicker second coat.  You don't want to swipe the brush too many times.  It's kind of like working with Elmer's glue.  Sticky and drippy.  Just go slowly and make sure you take care of drips as they happen!

We let dry for the day and brought it in!

SO happy with how it turned out!

 We still have a few finishing touches- like some new hardware/knobs to pick out and try and make this thing look properly decorated.  But I am already so happy to have it in my house!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tilapia & Lemon Thyme Veggie Packets

Now, I am no food photographer or expert cook.  But, I can make some good meals now and again! Here is one of my SUPER easy, healthy, & a  fam-favorite recipes (The kids like it too!)

Tilapia (I used 5)
Spinach- 1/2 bag
1 carton cherry tomatoes
2 lemons
thyme seasoning
Emeril's Fish Rub (or fish seasoning of choice)

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and set out 5 aluminum foil squares.  Make sure the squares are big enough to fold over your food!

Step 2:
Make a heaping bed of Spinach on each foil.  Spinach wilts so don't be shy!

3. Place 1 thawed tilapia fillet on each bed of spinach like so:

4. Season fish with thyme (fresh or dried) and I like to use Emeril's Fish Rub (or you can use whatever fish seasoning your fam enjoys) to taste.

5. Add about 5-8 cherry or grape tomatoes right on top.

6. Add to lemon slices on top (looks pretty too!)

7. Wrap the whole thing like a burrito--make sure its sealed tightly and place seam side up on baking sheet or pan (to catch any excess juice during cooking).  Put in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.

8. I like to serve with some rice.  This is one of my fave's:

9.  Serve and enjoy!  Yum!!

Jud: "Oh, you're taking pictures.  Are you going to blog this one?"
Me: "Yup."
Jud: "Good. It's one of your best ones."

Thanks babe! Mangia!

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