A New Kind of SuperMom

#MommaMonday

A New Kind of SuperMom

You’ve seen her…

The perfect mom.

The one who appears to walk right off the pages of Southern Living with pearls softly draped around her neck and a freshly baked batch of homemade mini muffins in her designer tote that are still warm for God’s sake.

She would never have spaghetti stains on her ankle jeans.

She couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to scrub poop off a crib at 2 am.

And we kinda don’t like her, do we?

Even though we have NO CLUE what goes on in her home.  Her head.  Or her heart.

Have we gotten to know her?

Do we really know what goes on in her Pinterest Perfect life?

I’m guessing if we are honest, the answer is a resounding, yet sheepish, “No…”

But we sure are judging her, aren’t we?

And if we’re being honest, it’s because we’re chillin’ in our sweatpants during carpool jammin’ to the latest rap watching her strut across the parking lot in her stilettos … and we just feel….well, inadequate.  Less than.  Not totally up to this crazy intense challenge also known as Mommyhood.

What if we stopped creating mental standards?

What if we committed to stop using the phrase, “there goes that mom again.”

And we just loved each other.

And supported one another.

And (gasp) what if we took the time to actually get to know one another?

Because every single Mom is incredible in her own way.  And the real beauty behind the whole “Mommyhood” thing is that we have our own unique strengths…and weaknesses.

We can celebrate both.  Together.

It is in our darkest spots, that God can come in to shine the Light.

In a world where kindness is sadly a rarity, let’s be the Moms that love one another unconditionally.  No matter how Pinterest Perfect…or lack thereof… 😉 each one of us truly are.

There is a new #SuperMom in town.  And girlfriend, allow me to share a little secret …it’s YOU!

Have you ever struggled with being labeled or maybe labeling other Moms? 

Please share your experiences in the comments to encourage others!

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Cupcake Turkey Treats

#TipTuesday

Cupcake Turkey Treats

I could share some pretty amazing Thanksgiving-esque delicacies with you today…

And if you are really on a hunt for some last minute soul food recipes, click around under the Food tab, because, Friend, I’ve got ‘ya covered 😉

BUT, today, I am sharing the easiest, cutest and most delish treat that your loved ones will beg you to make for years to come… Cupcake Turkey Treats!!

You will need:

1 Bag of Candy Corn

Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing (as many as you would like)

Candy Eyeballs (You can purchase these at Hobby Lobby, Target or Amazon 😉 )

Directions:

(1) Bake cupcakes and ice your cupcakes (OR buy them at Publix like me…ha! – that’ll save you a whole step 😉 )

(2) Using 5 candy corns, space them evenly around the top of the cupcake in a half-moon design to create the look of feathers.

(3) Using 2 candy eyes, place them evenly spaced in the center of the cupcake to create the turkey’s eyes.

(4) Using one candy corn, place it in the center at the bottom of the cupcake for the beak.

(Side note: I didn’t really have to type all these tedious, yet painfully obvious, instructions out… did I?!?)  HA! Have FUN!

What are you fixin’ in your kitchen this week? Please share in the comments!

Welcome to our Tribe, Friend! SO glad you are here. If you’d like weekly tips, recipes and encouragement, please sign up for our Monday newsletter 🙂

Erase It and Start Over

#MommaMonday

Erase It and Start Over

This week, my toddler took me to church.

And school.

And just…well, schooled me on all things life in general.

Back story comin’ at ya right now…

It was a Monday. That simple fact is foreshadowing enough for the events to follow…

The time was 11:42. Carpool line was about to get really cranked up. All of us had been either idling in our cars for an hour up to this point or stealing that awesome carpool cat nap. (Side note: Praise Jesus for carpool catnaps)

Thinking I was being super responsible, I arrived 30 minutes early, turned my car off, paid some bills, checked some emails, scarfed down a BLT and wait….hold up, #realtalk I was catching that nap, girrrrrl…

So, when I heard the sudden whirring of engines cranking up, I jolted to attention. As the teachers started spilling out of the school, I put my car in drive only to hear silence when I turned the key.

Important note: Apparently, it is universally well-known that you cannot crank a vehicle while it is in drive…

Um.  That little ditty sure wasn’t on my permit exam. UGH!

Jesus Be A Driving Manual…

SO, after 15 minutes of sheer embarrassment, forced awkward conversations with school personnel and face palm moments times a million, my ignorance was eventually remedied, my child was finally released into her crazy mother’s care and life went on.

The second my little one got in the car she could sense my angst.

It was palpable, to say the least.

And kids just have a sixth sense about those kinda things, don’t they?

I began the pleasantries, “How was your day?” “Who were your friends?” “What did you learn today?”

She reached into her bag and retrieved her artwork (which let’s be real, folks, is always museum worthy 😉 ) and informed me that I was viewing her self portrait.

I complimented her on the beautiful smile she had drawn.

That’s when she chose to lower the boom of truth on her frazzled Momma…

She said, “Thanks Mommy. Smiles are really important. One of my friends drew a frowny face on her picture. I just told her to get out her eraser, erase that thing and start over. And Mommy you need to erase your frowny face and start over, too.”

WHOA.

Hold up, kid.

Now I’m not saying I’m raising the next (faith-filled version) of Oprah…

But, what I’m saying is: I’m raising the next (faith-filled version) Oprah.

Because the girl’s got this world figured out, friends.

In all seriousness, if I would take a moment each time I find myself down, to just stop and reboot, I might find happiness is far less elusive.

Erasing and starting over seems all too easy, doesn’t it?

But the second we realize that happiness is a choice, it gets a little easier.

We cannot control what happens to us.

But, we can control how we react to it.

We must choose to be happy.

And when the dreary days come (and they will…) and those frowny faces pop up, let’s erase ’em … and start over 😉

What lesson(s) has your child(ren) taught you this week? Please share in the comments!

We’d LOVE to have you in our Tribe! Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly Mom love, recipes, tips and encouragement! 🙂

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

#TipTuesday

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Are you hungry, yet?!?  Just look at that thing!!

I gotta say, this is a new fave up in here!  Those roasted potatoes are beyond and I have a new trick for roasting green beans…Burn ’em a little bit! 😉

Confession: I left the green beans in the oven a littttttle too long.  But, boy was that a good mistake!  When they get that crispy shell, they are honestly better than any other way!

You will need:

Pork Tenderloin

12 ounces of Yukon gold potatoes

6 ounces of green beans

1 shallot

Rosemary

1-2 tablespoons of fig preserves

Balsamic vinegar

Chicken stock concentrate

Olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Dish Deets:

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Feeds: 2 adults

Directions:

(1) Preheat oven to 400.

(2) Halve, peel and mince shallot.  Remove the rosemary leaves from the stems and chop them.  Make sure you have about 2 teaspoons of rosemary.  Dice the potatoes.

(3) Toss the potatoes in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of rosemary, salt and pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast the potatoes in the oven for 20-25  minutes or until fork tender.

TIP: Toss the potatoes half way through the baking process to prevent them from sticking to the sheet and to ensure even cooking.

(4) Season pork with salt and pepper to taste.  Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet and sear the pork tenderloin on all sides (not just on top and bottom – on the sides as well) for about 5-10 minutes until golden brown on the outside all over.  Transfer the pork to one side of a foil-lined baking sheet.

TIP: Reserve the drippings from the skillet for later use in making the sauce.

(5) On the other side of that baking sheet, toss the green beans in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Roast in the oven until the pork is cooked throughout and the green beans are crispy!  This will take between 10 and 15 minutes.

(6) Using the same skillet you cooked the pork in, heat a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the minced shallot and 1 teaspoon rosemary.  Cook until softened, making sure to toss throughout cooking process.

(7) Add the fig preserves, 1/4 cup water, balsamic vinegar, and stock concentrate.  Stir to combine all ingredients.  Cook until the sauce is thick.  Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter and stir until it melts.

(8) To serve, put healthy portions of both potatoes and green beans on each plate.  Then use a knife to slice the pork tenderloin and lay the slices neatly on top.  Drizzle with the balsamic fig sauce.  Serve and ENJOY!

What are you fixin’ in your kitchen this week! Please share in the comments!

Welcome to our Tribe!!  Please sign up for our Monday newsletter to receive weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Flouncing Into Fall

#WardrobeWednesday

Flouncing Into Fall

Jumpsuit: HERE

Leopard Heels: HERE

Sunnies: HERE

Is anybody else layered up this morning?  Whew!  It is cold here in Bham!  Fall has finally arrived.

But, the best thing about Fall in the south is that by afternoon, the weather is absolutely perfect.

This past weekend was no different.  We loved getting out and enjoying the beauty all around us!

Bama Belle all the way, friends.

This past weekend, I took the kiddos out for a tour of some of the iconic spots in our town.

Amongst other fun things, we spent a good bit of time oohing and ahhing over the legendary Alabama Theatre Sign.

We’ve seen this sign so many times before, but something about having the whole street pretty much to yourself on a quiet weekend makes it magical.

Confession: we stood in the middle of the street and pretended like we owned the place.

#NoRegrets.

In fact, wherever you are from, take a weekend and go explore your own town.

Stand in the middle of the street and act like you run the show.

Because who is going to tell you that you don’t…?  Except for that policeman posted up outside the landmarks…but as it turns out, these guys are super awesome and kind.

Not tellin’ you how I know this.  Just trust me

I promise you won’t be disappointed by the rush this little activity gives you.

And next time I’m drivin’ downtown on a slow weekend day, I promise not to run over you as you bask in all your glory! 😉

If you are from Alabama, you may have heard that this iconic sign is about to be removed and the actual original sign will take its place.

SO…if you want some memories with this beauty, get out and snag some pics while you can!

I love this red ruffle number.  Is anyone really surprised?!?

With the holidays right around the corner, this look would be perfect for a holiday party, cocktail party or night out on the town!

I paired this look with my all time fave leopard heels for that extra special pop.

Because, don’t forget… leopard is a neutral! 😉

I didn’t choose to wear any earring with this so I wouldn’t take away from the drama of those red ruffles!

But you could totally rock any pair you wanted with this, even another pop of color if you wish!

This whole outfit came in for under $ 60!  And the best part is that those leopard pumps will get put to realllly good use now that those temps have plunged.

In fact, they may even show up next week… 😉

NOTE: As always, sharing fashion inspiration with y’all is super fun, but please remember most importantly, that true beauty is found within : “[T]he Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16

What fashion pieces are you playing dress up with in your closet this week?  Please share in the comments!

Welcome to the Tribe, friend! Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes, fashion inspo and encouragement so you’ll never miss out! 🙂

Crises to Convictions

#ThoughtfulThursday

Crises to Convictions

Hey, friends.

I sure have missed y’all.  I wanted to apologize and offer up an explanation of why the past few weeks have been pretty quiet on the blog.

Y’all have become my family…can you believe we’ve been hangin’ out each week for almost 2 years now?!?!

And I love every minute of “doin’ life” with y’all!

So, I want to thank you for your patience.  Some of you reached out, and I felt the need to extend my hand back with some extra inside info 😉

Bare with me, this is still a bit raw…

Last week my youngest (3.5 years old) woke up one morning and was unable to use her legs.  She could barely stand and when she did, she screamed in pain, fell to the floor and writhed as if her little insides were being internally attacked.

Just as any Momma would be, I was shocked, scared out of my mind and in tears.

After a loooong appointment at her pediatrician’s office, the doctor stared at us and shared that he thought she had early onset arthritis.

No.

Nope.

Wait.  WHAT?!

My overly bubbly, in your face amazing, gigantic smile-creating sunshine of a child was now suffering from something that Mommy couldn’t wipe away with a tissue, or kiss away like a scrape…

My little one just stared into the doctor’s eyes unaware of what her future might hold in those moments.

Over the next few days we were able to secure an appointment with a rheumatologist.  We went to bed the night before the appointment having no idea whether or not our daughter was destined to years of therapy, medication and whatever else was required to return her to her “new normal.”

The morning before her appointment with the specialist, I heard a familiar lilty voice peep on the video monitor.  I think I fell out of bed jolting to look at my little one!!

SHE HAD CRAWLED OUT OF HER BED AND WAS WALKING AS IF NOTHING HAD EVER HAPPENED, PEOPLE!

I kid you not.

Miracles are real.  God is real.  He is with you.  He never forsakes you.  And He goes before you to pave the way on which you will walk.

We are each going to face trials in our lives.  That is promised.

But, God can use those moments to shape us into an even better, stronger tool to be used by Him.

Even in those 3 am, crying moments when we don’t have any of the answers, God is there.

And He is the only one who does have those answers…

Just gonna leave this little gem right here:

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

I’ll tell you what, though.

That is not the only lesson that God was teaching me that day.

When we arrived at the rheumatologist’s office I began to gaze around the waiting room.

I saw a mother carrying a child in her arms who was unable to walk.

I witnessed a child attempting to hold her sippy cup and it falling from her hands because she could not grasp it.

I watched as a little boy cried into his mother’s shirt in pain.

And I stopped and asked God for forgiveness.

How many times do we take everything for granted?

How often do we yell at God for the tiniest of storms that pop up in our lives when others are going through nightmarish ordeals?

And do we truly thank Him for the calm moments He so graciously provides?

God used this hiccup in my child’s life to teach all of us so many lessons.

The one I cling to every day going forward is to be grateful.

When we wake up and we have breath in our lungs, let’s thank God.

When we walk to our kitchen to fix a meal (even when it’s just cereal and water before a grocery run), let’s praise God for providing.

When we look at our families, let’s exalt the Lord for His goodness.

Life goes a million miles a minute at times.

And it can seem overwhelming, like we don’t have a second to spare.

How about we take a few moments each day this week to reflect on God’s goodness…

And about how we can address the needs of others…

The world is hurting.  The world so desperately needs Jesus.

Let’s take a meal to a neighbor,

offer to love on someone’s child for a bit while they take a much-needed break,

send an uplifting word of encouragement,

donate clothing and food to a local shelter,

volunteer at a local hospital, or

offer to help a loved one in a time of need.

Let’s actively live in gratitude.

Let’s give back to God’s world.

And let’s remind them that He is there in crises and in miracles.

And He is always good…  All the time.

What lessons have you learned this week?  Have they come in surprising forms? Please share in the comments!

Welcome to our tribe!  We are so thankful you are here 🙂 Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly recipes, fashion inspo, tips and encouragement!

 

Fab FriYAY Five

#FabFriYAYFive

Thanksgiving Essentials

Fab FriYAY Five is a weekly listing of my five favorite products, verses, quotes, crafts or ideas of the week – hope you will discover some new favorite items, too!

This week I am sharing some fun Thanksgiving finds that are sure to add to your festivities for years to come!

(1) Festive Décor – Who says that Christmas is the only holiday worth spending an entire weekend (or weeks) decorating for?!?  I think if we had some décor saved up for Thanksgiving, it would help us not breeze through it and start singing Christmas carols so quickly!

Ok, maybe that will never happen….but at least it could help us a little bit…maybe?!?

Here are a few thoughts for some gorgeous décor for your home…for…..wait for it…..THANKSGIVING!  You know, that too often forgotten in-betweenie holiday tucked in the middle of Halloween and Christmas 😉

Photo: Etsy

Thanksgiving Décor Inspo comin’ at ya!  Ladies, I found this stunning photo on Pinterest and had to share because it incorporates a similarly gorgeous “Thankful” sign!  Hoping to somewhat recreate this look to warm up my home for Thanksgiving this year, too!

Photo: Some Really Talented Pinterest User 😉

(2) Seasonal Wine Glasses and Appetizer Plates – I love any reason to add to my entertaining gear.  These festive wine glasses and appetizer plates are just the right amount of seasonal spunk for anyone!

They are subtle and elegant.  Plus, with gold taking over the world, they should mesh well with whatever colors you are using for chargers, dinnerware, etc.

Check these out for your next holiday cocktail soire!

Photos: Bed, Bath & Beyond

Glass: HERE

Plate: HERE

(3) Beverage Dispenser Station – I have showcased these before, because I seriously could drink out of one of these every single day.

They are very handy and make your beverage pouring much more posh 😉

PLUS, you don’t have to schlep around your house all day offering to pour more drinks!  Let your guests take care of their fill up at their leisure and give yourself more time for mingling!

Photo: Bed, Bath & Beyond

(4) Turkey on the Table I gotta say, when I saw this I had to have it.  It reminds me of a new Elf on the Shelf-esque tradition, BUT finally one for Thanksgiving!

This little guy will surely become a tradition that your loved ones will look forward to year after year!

Photo: Bed, Bath & Beyond

(5) Monogrammed Door Hanger – Dear southern friends, in case you haven’t noticed, monogrammed door hangers are ALL THE RAGE.  And if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon just yet, treat yourself (and your family) to an early stocking stuffer and step up your stoop game!

These are available everywhere, but I’ve linked them at Swoozie’s here.

Photo: Swoozie’s

NOTE: I do not receive any form of commission or affiliate revenue from any of my product endorsements.  These are simply just products I really love and thought you may love them, too!

What were some of your favorite products this week? Please share in the comments!

Welcome to our Tribe!!  Please sign up for our Monday newsletter to receive weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

One Shoulder Wonder

#WardrobeWednesday

One Shoulder Wonder

Shirt: Le Tote

Ankle Jeans: J Brand

Bangle: Kendra Scott

Sunnies: Charming Charlie

Heels: Jessica Simpson

Purse: Boutique Find

Those Fall temps are finally rollin’ in…

But, I’m not quite ready to drape myself in oversized cardigans and layers upon layers.  Is anybody with me?!?

So, I decided to play around with an all year ’round look and came up with a one shoulder / ankle jean combo!

Side note: I also think this would be a killer frock for a July 4th function, too.  HA!  Thus, the title One Shoulder WONDER! Because you can wear it all. year. long!!

The one shoulder really draws attention to your face, so you can play around with fun accessories such as statement earrings, sunglasses, etc.

I love when looks appear very “styled.”  Meaning they look effortlessly put together, and you can tell they “go” together.

This outfit could not have been easier to accomplish that goal.  With that vibrant stripe of red, I played off of that and coordinated my accessories accordingly.

Always look for a bold color in your frock, and pop it out with your accessories…one of the easiest ways to make a look stand out and appear “styled.”

But also, remember the “3 is too many” rule.  For example, with my look, I went with two big “pops” of color.

Had I added a bright red belt or statement necklace, my outfit would’ve looked overdone.  But, by keeping it to two big “POPs” it doesn’t scream busy and overwhelming.

Plus, you are really giving those two pieces their individual chance to shine.

I’ve been having a little too much fun exploring my city lately.  Have any of you taken a weekend to just explore your town?

I find that my city influences my style a good bit.  In Birmingham, we have so many vibrant gardens and lush flower sanctuaries near the city center.  It really adds color to our everyday life.

But, I love that Birmingham is also known for it’s focus on industrial growth and city structure, which I feel influences my business-y looking frocks quite a bit.

Plus, you can’t help but spot a pearl necklace or gold accent anywhere you go in this town!

Let your surroundings inspire you to find some fun pieces you maybe never thought you’d want to rock!

What is your go-to look?  For example, if someone says “Swing by for dinner tonight?”  Do you automatically become frozen with the fear of “What will I wear?”  Dressy or Casual?

Well, this outfit seems like it would be a pretty easy go-to for all those last minute calls.

If you don’t want to rock the heels, you could easily sub in a red flat.

But, can you even get over these power heels?!?  I call these my Power Pumps!  I put them on and instantly feel like I’m ready to Super-Woman take over the world!  Jessica Simpson outdid herself with these things:

As far as hairstyles, I decided to leave mine down in loose curls.  But, you could totally rock a side pony, high or low bun or low pony and rock this look, too!

If you do choose to wear your hair up, always remember to add an earring (especially if you have pierced ears).  Another quick and easy way to spice up this look!

NOTE: As always, sharing fashion inspiration with y’all is super fun, but please remember most importantly, that true beauty is found within : “[T]he Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16

What fashion pieces are you playing dress up with in your closet this week?  Please share in the comments!

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes, fashion inspo and encouragement! 🙂

5 Tips for Organizing and Storing Children’s Artwork

#MommaMonday

5 Tips for Organizing and Storing Children’s Artwork

One of my favorite things about my kiddos being back in school is all the incredible artwork they bring home.

But, you know what one of my least favorite things is about my kiddos being back in school?

All the incredible artwork they keep bringing home…

This is what one of the corners of my house currently looks likeBRACE YOURSELVES:

Because, of course, I’m that Mom that legit keeps a toothpick if it even remotely appears that my kid engaged it with some kind of creativeness.

Each one of those long storage containers represents a year of school for one of my children…

Quick Embarrassing Fact: When my oldest child was about 8 months old, she accidentally hit my brother’s printer and caused it to print a blank piece of paper.  I kid you not, I swiped up that piece of paper and wrote: “Bellalise’s first time to print / June 7, 2013.”  Devastatingly, I am not joking.  Are you crying for my sanity, yet?!?

Jesus. Be. A. Trashcan.

It’s like our little Picassos are busy from the second we drop them off ’til the second we return to pick them up.

And, I LOVE IT.  We sure are gettin’ our money’s worth, folks!

But, the cleanliness (or lack thereof …) of my house…not so much.

After giving myself a mini therapy session the other day, I am officially here to help.

Do you need to dump 75 rolling carts worth of childlike creativeness?  Got you, girl.

Wanna clear your head and your closets of clunky, glue-dripping insanity?  Track with me today, sister.

Feeling like you just need to build a storage shed out back and call it a day?!?  Love you long time.  #SoulMate.

Whatever your choice may be, today I am sharing 5 Ideas for Organizing and Storing ALL our babies’ beautiful artwork.  Take this journey towards sanity with me, will you?

Here goes…

(1) BE SELECTIVE

For a recovering pat-rack-aholic, I can tell you that this will be the toughest thing to conquer.  What does selective even mean when it comes to your child’s artwork?!?

Some people follow the handprint / footprint only philosophy, but I think that’s a little too restrictive.

SO, here are some guidelines:

– Is there a handprint / footprint?  Yes = definitely save; No = Proceed to next questions…

– Is there any of your child’s handwriting? Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR proceed to next questions…

– Is there any identifying info about your child (i.e. the teacher has answered questions on your child’s behalf after asking them the questions; developmental info like hair color, eye color, height, weight; graded project, etc.?  Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR proceed to next questions…

– Is it a coloring page that does not go with anything else and appears to be ripped out of a standard coloring book or a free teacher printable? If the coloring is extra spectacular = I would save; If not = toss.

– Is it a craft that required your child to use a special skill such as cutting, gluing, measuring, etc.?  I would save, but it’s up to you.

Hopefully, you are able to begin answering more “No’s” and tossing some things.  If not, I’ve got you covered on some organizational / storage ideas…

(2) DOWNLOAD ONE OF THE APPS MADE TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM!!

Who else is screaming for joy right now?  Yours truly has tracked down a mega list of all the apps to help you with this very issue.  Each one of these apps will take photos of your child(ren)’s artwork and turn them into beautiful coffee-table quality books for you to cherish for years to come.  So, now you don’t have to join the television show Hoarders…like I’m destined to do….

All you have to do is upload photos of your child(ren)’s art projects into the app and it takes it from there.

Each one of these apps has different capabilities and products.  Plus, they have different price ranges as well.  So, check each of them out and find the best fit for your needs.

Without further ado I present them to you… and happy hunting for the perfect one for your family! * Just click on any of the links below to head straight to the sites to pick the best one for your family!

ArtKive

Art My Kid Made App

Canvsly

Keepy.me

As a quick bonus, here are some photo organizing / storing solutions:

Google Photos – upload your photos to this app and then you can delete off your phone to make room for more memories!

Shutterfly App – Upload directly to Shutterfly to order prints, photo books, gifts and more!

Sandisk Smart Phone Disk Drive – This is so genius, I am thankful one finally exists!  Sync your phone and computer = voila!  Photos are ready to organize / store / print!

(3) Take Photos of Your Children’s Artwork, Upload to Chatbooks and Print a Keepsake Book

– A little trick I have is a secret Instagram account.  Nobody knows the username of my super-Top-secret Instagram account except for my Mom and Dad.  Predominantly because who else wants to see 100 photos of my kids every single day…?

It’s really neat because I can upload ALL our photos for the day and not send all of my friends / “followers” into rage induced oblivion when 45 of MY photos clog their newsfeeds.  As a heads up, all of us love each other, but NOBODY wants to see 45 pics in a row of any of our kids except for us and maybe our Moms…trust me on this.

Once you’ve uploaded the pictures to Instagram and synced with the Chatbooks app, simply select the size book and send to print.  Within a week, you will have a beautiful photo book keepsake and none of the clutter!

P.S. While you’re in there, go ahead and print some photo books for the whole year.  You’ll be so glad you took the extra 10 minutes now rather than waiting for 5 years once ALL the kids are finally in school…I see you, girl.

(4) Create a gallery art wall in the children’s Playroom / Bedrooms

Not all art is created equal…I think we could all agree on that statement 😉

But, there are some really great pieces of art that deserve a place on the wall.   Meaning, of course, that there is a free space in your storage box for yet another piece of memorabilia.

For example, here are some watercolors that my daughters painted a few weekends ago.  I plan to have them framed and hung in either the playroom or my bedroom for a splash of color.

SO, Mommas, don’t always look at artwork as a waste.  SOME of those millions of pieces might just be wall-worthy!

(5) Old School Scrapbook Session

Takin’ it all the way back to eighth grade when rather than packing the latest cold brew to chill with our homegirls, we packed up all the silly edged scissors and decorative stickers we could find…And don’t forget the Cricut!

Scrapbooking now feels like a chore.  But, it doesn’t have to be!  Get the kids involved for a weekend of fun!  Give them some kid safety scissors and let them go to town while you scrapbook to your heart’s content!

Phew!  Ok, Mommas.  This post gives us lots of solutions to our artwork / photo storage concerns.  Let’s hop off the stress-mobile and onto the happiness wagon!  WE CAN DO THIS!

How do you store your child(ren)’s artwork?  Please share in the comments!

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Parmesan Crusted Chicken Salad

#TipTuesday

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Salad

My go-to, last minute meal is a chicken Caesar salad.  But, we got so sick of plain ‘ole grilled chicken with bottled dressing.

SO…

I jazzed it up a bit, and think you’ll agree that this little (SUPER EASY) ditty will send your tastebuds on a dream culinary vacay for a bit…

You will need:

Lettuce – you can use spinach leaves, Romaine or butter lettuce (We love it all and have used all of those options at different times)

2 Chicken Breasts

1/4 cup of panko

1 cup parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Sour cream (or mayonnaise – your choice)

1 Lemon

Optional: 6 ounces of Yukon gold potatoes (trust me on this…)

Balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Dish Deets:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes if you don’t cook the potatoes; 25-30 if you do include the potatoes

Feeds: 2 adults

Directions:

(1) Preheat oven to 450.

(2) Dice potatoes into very small dices – think of these potatoes as a garnish rather than a stand alone potato…  Put the potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper (I also toss with dry ranch dressing salad mix and / or seasoning salt to give them extra taste).  Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender and a nice golden brown color.

TIP: Toss your potatoes half-way through cooking to prevent them from sticking to your pan and to enhance even cooking.

(3) In a small bowl, combine the panko, half of parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper.

(4) Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  I sear mine off in the skillet with some olive oil to keep in as much moisture as possible before baking.  Sear for about 2-3 minutes on each side (or until the outside of the chicken is no longer pink).

(5) Place chicken breasts on a lightly oiled (olive oil) baking sheet.  Brush each breast with sour cream (or mayonnaise, your choice) and press the panko / cheese mixture on top of each one.

TIP: You can add more parmesan cheese to your crust if you wish…we LOVE us some cheese 😉

(6) Bake chicken in the oven for 12-15 minutes until cooked throughout.

(7) Halve your lemon and cut one of the halves into wedges.  Set the wedges aside.

(8) Time to make the dressing: combine a large drizzle of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of sour cream, a large squeeze of lemon juice and salt / pepper.  Toss the dressing with the lettuce coating each piece.

(9) When the potatoes are done, toss those into the lettuce / dressing as well.

(10) To serve, fill each bowl with a healthy serving a lettuce / dressing / potato mix.  Lay a chicken breast over top.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy!

What are you fixin’ in your kitchen this week? Please share in the comments!

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