5 for Fall: Walmart Edition

If you’ve been hanging around my Instagram for any time, you’ve seen my love for Walmart. Not only is this obsession out of necessity (There is no Target within 45 minutes), but Walmart has really stepped up their game in the last two years. The prices are very affordable, pieces well on trend, and the fits are usually pretty great/true to size. That said, I still am very much a “try it on first” kind of girl, so you can be sure anything listed here will be an item I’ve had in my own hands (and probably own! ie: I have everything but the plaid and it’s on my to do list).

Let’s get started!

This button front mustard top always gets compliments around town. For $15.88 and a variety of colors, I may have to go back and snag another. I wear a large and it is very roomy. You may want to size down one. Paired with skinny jeans, it creates a very flattering and forgiving silhouette.

 

Black and white prints seem to roll back around every fall and for some reason I STILL have none of it in my closet. This will finally be the year with this plaid top from Time and True for $15.44. Fits true to size and is light enough to wear even in the sweltering fall we have in the south.

 

I’m getting myself a little ahead of the game here with this pick, but I just could not pass up the perfect camel color of this turtleneck. It is lightweight and perfect for layering, but with a good pant and fun shoe, it is a stand out outfit all its own. It is less than $12 and available in several colors, but I do recommend thinking about sizing up one for a looser fit.

 

 

I have been having so much fun styling these jeans! (I hate myself for using the term “styling,” by the way.) While I am not quite ready to branch out into other cuts of denim that are hitting the shelves these days (looking at your flare leg, ankle length jeans!) I am totally into how different this wash is from what’s already in my closet. They feel so good on, and I’m really looking forward to wearing them with slouchy white sweaters when the weather is cooler. I’d say they fit true to size, but we all know jeans sizing is all over the place so slide on into your local store and try them on.

 

Last but not least we have these fun slip on faux leather “moccasins.” For $10 I am not sure how well they will hold up, but they’re super easy to slip on, look great with so many outfit choices, and they are super comfortable! They’re the perfect mom on the go shoe and if they don’t last more than one season, well I’ll still feel like I got my monies worth.

 

So what do you think? Did you ever think you’d be a Walmart girl? I’ve honestly never been above wearing any brand or store. If I like something, I just like it! It is crazy the pleasure I get out of scooping up a bargain and then getting to share where it is from. Of course, my best advice is try to get there in the morning to uh, you know, avoid the lines! 😉 Happy shopping!

 

❤ Jill

PS: click the photo or underlined word in each paragraph for a link to the item!

 

 

7 out of 7

The last few months have been a blur, but the best is just beginning. I hope you’ll join me on this journey to a new found freedom of healthy mind and spirit.

Can you even believe it? I have worked out 7 out of the last 7 days and have no plans to stop any time soon. I am not sure if that has ever happened! There was a long streak of activity (seriously, like sixty days or something) back in 2015 where I met the goals my FitBit set for me before I got pregnant with Hayes, but ever since then I haven’t been able to stick with anything. Nothing. Nada.

And trust me, I’ve tried it all. Cleanses, detoxes, group workouts, gyms, virtual coaching, nutrition challenges. In the last 3 years I’ve signed up for anything and everything I could throw time and money into just in case it would be the ONE thing that would stick. But nothing ever did. Sure, there were bouts of success where I hit small fitness goals or shed a few pounds, but nothing could ever outlast my worst enemy: myself.

I had to get over myself and out of my own way if I was ever going to see light at the end of this tunnel.  After months of wrestling with my emotions and looking for the root cause behind my constant “failures,” I finally I think I’ve figured it out. I certainly do not think I am going to go headstrong into 100 out of 100 days of this new workout without waivering, but there is one thing I am not going to let get in the way. No longer will I allow myself to give into the feeling of unworthiness.

For the longest time I have felt unworthy. I have felt less than, left out, and left behind in so many aspects of life. I’ve battled depression and anxiety, and raged an internal battle always feeling like I was letting everyone around me down. I’ve hated my body, belittled my accomplishments, and felt small about my contributions to the world. It seems silly to say out loud knowing how blessed our lives have been, and I have not taken the goodness of God for granted even one second the last several years. Yet I am addressing this because I am sure I am not the only one feeling as if somehow we don’t deserve the goodness that comes our way. I know first hand how hard it is hard to make positive change when you don’t even see yourself as deserving.

But let me tell you, friend, you are deserving. You are worthy. Your life is of value. Not because of what you do, but because of who you are as a child of God. No matter past short comings, mistakes, and regrets, there is always hope for a future that is good. If God can know everything about you and still love you, if he can call you his own and send his son to die for you, you can rest assured that you are loved and deserving of love. Sometimes that has to start within.

For me, learning to love myself means taking better care of my body and mind. I am picking up healthy habits like workout routines, better nutrition, reading and quiet time. I’m also stepping away from unhealthy habits like Instagram, guilt inducing eating, and negative self talk. It isn’t going to be easy. Change is not going to happen overnight in my mind or my body, but I think I am finally ready to put in the work that is needed. This part will look different for everyone but there is one thing that is for sure:

If you truly want to make a change within yourself, you can do it. And you certainly don’t have to do it alone.

❤ Jill

3 Tips for Toy Storage

Well hey friends! It sure has been a while since I’ve sat down to share a real post with you. I am so thankful for my new computer and I really hope that it motivates me to blog more often. I am also so thankful that this winter flew by (in retrospect – because let’s be real, January had 83,263 days while we were living it). Now that spring is officially in the air I am finally feeling like getting around to sharing my most requested post: Toy Storage.

I have to be honest, I am no pro. We do not live a minimalist lifestyle by any means, but I am always intent on making sure everything has a place. Having a home for every item not only makes it easier for the boy to find what he’s looking for, but it also makes a huge difference in how quickly we can tidy after play. There are a few solid rules we live by that would work for any family in any home.

1. Reduce, Reduce, Reduce!
(Don’t worry, it’s all downhill from here. Once you conquer this step it will make working out the other details so much easier.) I am sure most of us are aware that our kiddos have more than they could ever need. Studies show that children actually function better with fewer toys. Does your family, like ours, need to dial it down a notch?

Whenever we bring in a new toy, I try to put something to the side to donate or trash. Thin out the toys that don’t get attention, that are above or below your child’s level of play, and keep small clutter at bay by not collecting happy meal toys, party favors, and other odds and ends. You can also help this effort by speaking to family and friends about showing love to your child in other ways (college fund, anyone?). If your child has outgrown a nice item, consider selling it to put towards other needs. This is a win win!

If tossing some of the items seems overwhelming, try boxing up toys that are rarely played with and putting them away for a while. If they are missed, rotate them out with other items to keep play fresh. If not, donate or toss them. I would probably be the one to forget they were in the attic so we haven’t tried this method but it seems like a great idea.

2. Multifunctional Furniture
This idea played a huge part of how I planned our move into this house last year, but even if you’ve been in your home a while, I am sure there are ways to repurpose pieces you already have. For example, we purchased a vintage buffet table for our family room television table. The height worked perfectly under our wall mounted TV, and the drawers and cabinet doors are the perfect place for stashing away race car tracks and trucks. We also added baskets in both sides inside the doors to take the organization up a notch and make access easier for the boy. We also took the same approach in the living room by reusing an old dresser as a TV cabinet.

Both of these pieces of furniture, along with the built-in cabinets in the family room, allow toys to be put away behind closed doors. Instead of having adult furniture and kid furniture, we just have multifunctional pieces. While a lot of currently very popular console tables or bookshelves will have storage space for baskets there is often still a lot of visual clutter. Put the toys away behind closed doors and let your eyes rest!

3. Every Thing in Its Place
From a very young age, the boy has been responsible for helping clean up his own things. The best way to help him do this has been having storage space for everything and putting it back in that exact spot each time. For example, his wooden puzzles and other wood toys go inside one cabinet in the family room. He knows exactly where to find these things when he wants to play with them, and he also knows where to put them away. The never-ending “Mama, where is my…” is asked much less but also easy to answer.

The key to this is organizing everything once by grouping like items, then continually putting things back where they belong. If you are running out of storage space, go back to Step #1. We also try to keep things with small pieces out of the toy box that stays in the boy’s room. Small items are easily “lost” and are hard to find in deep storage boxes. We reserve that space for stuffed animals and dress up toys.

There are a few odds and ends, like baskets of balls, ride on fire trucks, and the food truck (and a basketball goal in his room) that are impossible to hide, but that’s okay. We are a family. A kid obviously lives here too! Not to mention that the dog has bones thrown across every room of the house. Our goal is simply to make it a peaceful environment for everyone, family members and visitors alike. (Peaceful environment = save mom’s sanity!)

I hope that some of these tips are helpful for you. If you have any other fun ways you keep your little ones organized I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Happy weekend!

My Favorite Finds

Since I don’t have the handy swipe up feature on my Instagram stories you’ll find all the fun things I share with you that are available online listed here!

Please still feel free to reach out if you have any questions or your favorites can’t be found on this list.

—–

Safavieh Evoke Collection Vintage Oriental Grey and Ivory Area Rug (6’7″ x 9′)

Bohemian Statement EarringsAcrylic

Compatible with Newest MacBook Air 13, White Marble case

Maybelline New York Eye Studio Brow Define + Fill Duo Pencil, Blonde
1 ea (Pack of 2)

Blue and white striped top

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Women-s-Button-Front-Top/205765771

Smart Kup – cup holder adapter for large water bottles

Floral Phone case for iPhone 8 Plus

Acrylic Hoop Earrings – 4 Pair

Blue Light Filter Computer Glasses

Cottage Road Desk

Leopard Apple Watch 38mm 40mm, Soft Silicone Sport Bands

Acrylic Earrings- Tortoise Shell Drop Dangle

Carfia Vintage Polarized Sunglasses for Women

A White {Chocolate} Christmas

Merry Christmas, everybody! Or are you like me, still rushing around with so much to do in the final hours that you aren’t feeling so merry? While I knocked out the decorating tasks rather early, I’m always a last minute kinda girl for the cooking and shopping. I’ll be hosting a Christmas cookie exchange party this week with friends but with all that entails, I don’t actually have time for a whole lot of baking. (read: I never leave myself enough time.) That’s exactly why I am so excited to share this super easy Christmas candy recipe with my fellow kindred spirits.

As you may have figured out by now, I am a huge fan of anything that has to do with the crock pot or Instant Pot. This candy recipe combines my love of sweet and salty with that obsession. Let’s get down to business.

Ingredients:
– 2 lbs white chocolate / vanilla candy coating
– 1 six ounce white chocolate baking bar
– 12 ounces white chocolate chips
– 3 cups dry roasted peanuts
– 2.5 cups pretzels, broken into small pieces
– sprinkles (This is optional, but don’t be a scrooge.)

Instructions:
Place all chocolate ingredients into crock pot that has been set on low. Leave to melt for one hour before checking.(Time to wrap those presents!) Once melted, stir in peanuts and pretzel pieces until completely coated in chocolate. Use cookie scoop/melon baller to spoon mixture on to parchment paper. Add festive sprinkles to mounds of candy. Leave to cool for at least one hour. Enjoy!

This recipe could easily be done with milk chocolate if you’re so inclined like my husband (but his waist line will thank me for this version.) Also, my more careless style with the cookie scoop produced 60 servings, but those were very generous. A more steady hand could produce 90 or so smaller candies. Do with that knowledge what you will.

Another helpful tip for this busy holiday season? Check your local Aldi for amazing deals on holiday treats, baking supplies, and even items for cheese plates and other holiday hosting supplies. I was able to grab my peanuts, pretzels, and white chocolate chips for this recipe in Aldi for cheaper than my other go-to grocery store. (They also had plenty of milk chocolate baking supplies available.) Just my two cents for helping the merry stretch a little bit further.

Is this white chocolate Christmas candy going to be added to your never ending to do list? Let me know in the comments if you’re a fan!

Merry Everything!
– Jill

Easy DIY Floating Fireplace Mantle

I could not believe how easy it all came together. The change to the feeling of the entire room was instant!

Y’all! Finally! I am so excited to tell you that at long last we have a fireplace mantle. With the holidays on the horizon I just could not stand living without one another second. How could I decorate if I couldn’t even hang my stockings? Priorities, people!

For months the process has seemed daunting, but in reality it was so easy that I am actually mad at myself for going so long without tackling it. If a floating mantle is on your to do list, jump on it! Within just a few hours you can totally transform your fireplace. The total cost for our project came in under $50! We are in love with it. What do you think?

Getting Started

The issue that had scared me away for so long was how to attach a mantle to the brick masonry. It turns out we were lucky enough to be able to reuse the two old anchors that someone else had previously drilled into the brick. (I have to wonder what the old fireplace mantle looked like and why someone would ever remove it?) If you’re hanging on drywall or wood, your project will be easier, too!

Once you’ve settled on how you will attach your mantle (Google this if you need help!) you will also need the following:

– Three 1×8 boards
– 2 end cap pieces (leftovers from cutting your 1x8s)
– 1 2×4 support board
– bolts/screws to attach to wall
– Liquid nails
– a nail gun and nails
– clamps
– sand paper
– tools to distress your wood
– stain

It turned out that with my dad’s help, we only needed to purchase new sandpaper, the 1x8s, the 2×4, and the bolts that screwed into the brick anchors. Easy!

With the help of my handy (and often mentioned) painter’s tape, I was able to determine map out what I wanted the mantle to look like and I determined I wanted it to be 8 inches thick and 55 inches long. We cut the 2×4 support piece just shy of the 55 inches and attached it to the wall with 1/4 inch bolts, being sure it was level along the way. At this point we pulled, wiggled, and did all we could to be sure this support piece was sturdy and secure enough to hold the future mantle and decor. I can’t lie, I was so nervous the whole thing would come crashing down but no such horror happened even when my husband was basically hanging from the board.

Once the support board was in place it was time for the fun to begin! My husband had already cut the 3 1×8 boards to 55 inches and trimmed the end cap pieces to fit to form what is basically a box. Once I had sanded down the rough cut edges I was able to to start distressing the boards. Using nails, a flat head screwdriver, and a hammer, I dented, chipped, scratched and banged away at the boards so that they no longer looked new. I also used two different colors of stain to create a more custom look. (I always wear gloves and use a rag when staining. I feel like this gives me more control of the saturation than a brush would.)

We left the boards to dry overnight and started again the next day when my dad arrived with the air compressor and nail gun. This project could be accomplished without the nail gun, but let’s be honest, it made it a whole lot easier. At this point all we had to do was clamp the boards together to form the mantle, being sure that the front of the mantle showed no edges so that once hung, it would look like one solid piece of wood. We used liquid nails for extra security and nailed the “box” together. We took extra care to be sure that when nailing the boards together that all the edges lined up as smoothly as possible.

Once the mantle was fully assembled, I hammered down all the sharp edges of the 1x8s to give it a more rounded appearance and add more distressing, especially on the corners. Then it was time to install! We centered the mantle over the fireplace on top of the support board we had already installed, made sure it was level, and then nailed all along the back of the mantle to attach it to the 2×4. Voila! It was done. I could not believe how easy it all came together. The change to the feeling of the entire room was instant!

The fireplace is so much more impressive with the mantle right? All along it was just lacking in character and getting lost in the room. Now it feels like the star of the show, finally standing out from the built-in shelving, wood beams, and sliding doors.

Also recently I have gotten a lot of new questions about the painted brick on the fireplace. The whitewashed effect was created by using water to thin out leftover white paint from our bathroom and lightly brushing it on, being sure not to saturate any one area. Once I had one coat finished, I stepped back and decided to go over it all again. The whole process did not take long at all, but I didn’t take photographs or videos at the time. Trust me, it is so easy to do! Don’t be scared. I didn’t buy or use anything special, just what I had on hand. I literally did it the first day I had the keys to this house, just jumping right in to get it done. The impact is dramatic as you can see in this photo below…

Can you believe how far we’ve come? Now that we’ve knocked this big item off our to do list, I think I can settle in and enjoy the holidays without thinking of too many other projects that need to get done. I will say though, tackling something I was scared to try has me more confident and curious as to what else we could accomplish!

Don’t forget, you can always check my saved stories on Instagram to see videos of this project if you’re more of a visual learner. Easy. Peezey. Go for it, friend!

Monday’s Menu: My New Obsession

My newest tool to nutritious, delicious home-cooked meals.

Guys! I just had to take a moment and introduce you to my newest obsession. I’ve told you before that cooking isn’t generally something I am a fan of, but since it comes with the territory of housewife and mom life, I am trying to do better for my little family. Recently the hours of my life that I waste on Instagram brought me across something, rather someone, amazing. Enter Brittany Williams (@InstantLoss).

Brittany shares daily with her nearly 70k Instagram followers about how she overcame bad childhood habits, loss, and a family crisis to lose over 100 pounds in a year. Through this process she developed delicious, nutritious recipes that rolled out earlier this fall in the form of an easy to use cookbook called, Instant Loss. The best part I haven’t mentioned yet? Nearly all of the 125 recipes are designed for the Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker). How could I not fall in love?

The moment my book arrived I leafed through adding tabs to any and all of the recipes I thought our family should try. There are so many fun twists on already popular food items – but the ingredients are whole foods: often organic, gluten and dairy free. Now before your brain shuts down with the mention of such hot topic buzzwords like “organic” just know you can make the recipes to suit your style. Did we buy the gluten free breadcrumbs for the meatloaf? Yes. Did we HAVE to? Absolutely not.

So far on this journey we have made the following: egg roll bowl, better than takeout orange chicken chili, 5-minute poblano chicken chili, and spicy stuffed peppers. This week we are also tackling the skinny enchiladas and classic meatloaf (which my friends have raved about!). Speaking of friends, I was so excited about this new inspiration I immediately started telling a few of my friends. Two were crazy enough to listen to me and ordered the cookbook right away. They are BEYOND happy with the results they’re experiencing both physically and mentally as they cook these new healthy meals for their families. (I’m so happy for you Katie and Morgan!)

I actually finally convinced another friend to invest in an Instant Pot and her Instant Loss cookbook should be arriving today. While her final verdict on the contraption is still out, I highly encourage anyone that is on the fence about joining the IP community to take the plunge and buy one. It has dramatically improved how I feel about cooking, the easy at which it gets done, and even the clean up! If you have any other great IP cookbooks to recommend or favorite recipes to share with us, I’d love to hear all about them in the comments!

– Jill

Bathroom Refresh: Stenciled Tile Floors

Hey friends! Whew, it’s been a while!

I’ve been easing back into social media after a much needed break. The change of season has me feeling creative again and I think I am finally ready to tackle a few more projects around the house. Before I start on any of my new ideas I just had to take time to share with you our “new” bathroom floors.

I remember touring this house for the very first time and day dreaming about the ways I could spruce it up. The bathrooms had mostly been left out of the real estate listing photos and for good reason. Some aspects of this house were pretty shocking. Even still, I just knew this was the home for us and that the issues (for the most part!) were purely cosmetic. A little paint here, a little paint there, and viola! Home sweet home.

First, let me start with a disclaimer: My floors have only been done for 3 months as I am writing this. I am in no way a professional, nor have I lived on them long enough to know how they will really hold up. That said, I read a few blogs and watched several Instagram stories on the topic and almost everyone (that’s had success!) has used this exact process. Everyone must be on to something, right?

Let’s Talk Supplies!

My stencil was custom ordered in 14″ through Cutting Edge Designs – their Augusta pattern. Many sizes are easily available online but the custom size wasn’t much more in price. Picking out a pattern was the hardest part! I suggest going ahead and ordering two stencils while you’re at it. Save yourself some shipping, especially if you plan to do more than one floor.

Next, through a combo of Amazon shopping and Lowe’s, I was able to collect the other necessary items. You’ll need a few small foam rollers, an artist’s brush, a regular paint brush, and painter’s tape, along with whatever paint tray and liners you’re comfortable using.

The important products I used were:

Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer in white
Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte Paint in Linen White
Rust-Oleum Chalked Ultra Matte Paint in Country Gray
Minwax Water Based Polycrylic Protective Finish in Clear Matte

Getting Started

The first step is to clean your floors really, really well. I swept, mopped, scrubbed, and vacuumed (and I repeatedly used a hand held vacuum to pick up debris that made it into the room over the course of the project). Next, I used painter’s tape to tape off any areas I was concerned about like baseboards and the toilet and then I got down to business.

Using my foam roller I spread the first layer of the Bull’s Eye Primer over the tile and followed up with a second coat of primer once it was dry. Using a foam roller and a 3″ angle brush (with a short handle!) I put down two coats of the Chalked Ultra Matte Paint in Linen White with at least an hour of dry time between coats. Chalk paint is famous for its quick drying abilities! I was in love with how much brighter this room looked with the new white base coat.

Fun tip: wrap your brushes in saran wrap in between coats to save on washing and clean up time. Simply unwrap and get back down to business when you’re ready for your next coat. (By the way, I really kind of hate the word “coat.”)

Next it was time to stencil. I was so NERVOUS about this part. I had to remind myself that the look I was going for was handmade, concrete tiles and those would not be 100% perfect either. There were guidelines built-in on the stencil to help you line it up properly with your existing tiles/space. I used the foam roller to put down my Country Grey and was thrilled once I saw 3 tiles in a row. A few small pieces of painters tape were helpful for holding the stencil in place. I immediately had a “blob” of grey paint go through the stencil, but I knew I could clean those messes up with an artist’s brush. Don’t sweat it!

I worked my way around the room being sure not to put the stencil down over an area that was still wet (since the stencil is large and overlaps other tiles). The process moved rather quickly. Another quick tip I have for you is to blot the back of the stencil off on a old towel after each tile so that you don’t build up excess paint. This was a HUGE help to me. Don’t skip this part!

I wound up cutting my stencil at the end to fit more easily into the odd areas, especially around the toilet, but it wasn’t anything you can’t manage! If you’re unsure of how it is going, just pick the stencil up. Take a break! Don’t press on if you think you’re making a mess. It’s okay to pause. This is also when I broke out the artist’s brush. I used it to both touch up areas where paint was out of line, as well as to create lines that didn’t go through on the stencil. It takes some patience but the results pay off! The transformation was unbelievable.

Once the floor had really dried well I began the process of putting down the protective poly. I used the same 3 inch angle brush to put this down, being sure not to put it on too thick. I was also sure to go in a different direction with each layer. I settled on three coats of this, following the dry time on the can, but I have heard of others doing up to five. Three has held up fine for us in the last three months. It isn’t a forever fix, anyway. One day we will remodel both bathrooms.

For now I am loving the new look the stenciled floor gives our bathroom. It tied in perfectly with the DIY concrete counters and shiplap backsplash, and has brightened up the room in a wonderful way. I would love to do this process again in our small bathroom and perhaps the laundry room where we had the same beige tiles.

If you have any questions feel free to ask or hop over to my saved Instagram stories to see the videos about process. I hope if stenciling has been on your radar that I can help inspire you to finally get it done!

Monday’s Menu: Mexican Spaghetti Squash

Pack in the veggies with this delicious Mexican Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Happy Monday! I can say that honestly because my son and I drove down to the beach this morning to meet up with friends. It’s been a great day in the sand and surf and now we’re having some downtime before dinner. There is no place in the world I love more than the beach (except maybe my own house because I’m weirdly becoming more of a homebody.).

If I were home I’d probably be whipping up another batch of delicious Mexican Spaghetti Squash Casserole for the week. I made it for our family on Friday night and just had to share it with you because it’s nutritious and reheats like a dream making meal prepping super easy. If you’re like me and always looking for ways to squeeze more veggies in your diet than this is it!

I originally found this recipe on Nesting With Grace’s blog and fell in love. I’ve tweaked it a little (ie: I add cheese to everything) but hop over there because she has TONS of inspiration for home decor and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s talk tools for a moment. An Instant Pot makes this meal a breeze. I can’t rave enough about this! If you haven’t already, get out of the dark ages and buy one: it’s life changing!

If you have an Instant Pot then you will cut your spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds and strings, place it with one cup of water inside the pot on the metal trivet, and set the manual pressure to 12 minutes on high. Once it’s finished you can quick release the steam and let it cool down a bit before shredding the squash with a fork. This method is far and beyond easier than roasting in the oven!

While the squash is cooking in your IP, you can get busy dicing your veggies. On Friday night I used carrots, onions, and an orange sweet pepper but any ol’ pepper will do. Red would’ve been a nice color contrast from the carrots. Eat the rainbow, right? Once they’re diced you’ll toss them in a pan to cook until soft.

I usually use the same pan my veggies were cooked in to do my meat. Now, you’ve got options for this part! We’ve been using ground chicken because it was on sale, but ground turkey or chicken sausages would be great, too. Whatever you pick, brown your meat and place in mixing bowl with the softened veggies.

While that’s all cooking down, can you just take a moment to talk about this spice drawer? Laying our spices out where we could see them all has made for a much happier kitchen! I’ve been thrilled to see that some other friends are trying it out since I shared about it on my Instagram post. I always love seeing how other families stay organized.

By now your spaghetti squash should be finished and easy to shred. Add it to the bowl with your other veggies and choice of meat. Now it’s time to mix in your seasonings and salsa. Mix well and place everything into a baking pan. Whisk 3 eggs and add to the dish before placing it all in the oven. You’ll bake the dish at 350* for one hour. I always pull it out with two minutes to go, top with cheese, and set my oven to broil. Now your family will have a delectable and nutritious meal for days to come. I love leftovers and meal prepping!

Do you think you’ll add this to your rotation?


Mexican Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

• 1 Medium Spaghetti Squash

• 1 16 0z Jar of Salsa

• 1 Red Pepper

• 1 Onion

• 1 Cup Diced Carrots

• 1 Cup Cooked Chicken Sausage or Cooked Ground Turkey/Chicken

• 2 tablespoons cumin

• 1 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1 teaspoon chili powder

• 1 teaspoon paprika

• 3 Eggs

• shredded cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*

Use Instant Pot to cook spaghetti squash by cutting it in half, removing seeds, placing it inside pot on metal trivet with one cup of water. Run on high manual for 12 minutes. Quick release when finished.

Dice carrots, onion, and sweet pepper and cook until soft. Cook ground turkey/chicken or chicken sausage and add to bowl with soften veggies. Add shredded spaghetti squash, salsa, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika and mix well. Place in greased 9×12 baking dish and pour in 3 whisked eggs.

Cook dish for one hour. If adding cheese, remove and shredded cheese, placing it back in on broil for two minutes.

Eat and enjoy!

Fresh Cut Hydrangeas

A tip on how to help your cut hydrangeas bounce back

Boy! It feels great to be back home in our routine after a wonderful (but exhausting) vacation in Wisconsin. I’m a creature of habit and being out of my own home for so long really takes a toll on me mentally and physically. We also had some unexpected travel drama so needless to say I slept nearly 12 hours our first night home and have been taking extra care to have quiet time this last week.

To help us get back into the swing of things we stopped by Trader Joe’s and Costco on the way back from the airport. Of course we stocked up with delicious, healthy food, but what I’m most excited about are the fresh flowers I picked out at Trader Joe’s.

After the long car ride home my beautiful flowers weren’t looking so great and I set out to find out how to help them bounce back. I knew some folks were able to keep hydrangeas looking gorgeous for long periods of time, but what magic did they have up their sleeve?

The best advice (and easiest!) I came across said to submerge the blooms in water for up to 45 minutes. That felt too long for me so I trimmed the stems under water at an angle and went for 15 minutes of soak time. Let me tell you, it worked! Those blooms bounced right back and here we are an entire week later and they’re more beautiful than they were to start with!

Aren’t they gorgeous? They’re exactly the breath of fresh air our family room needed. I’m curious to see how long they’ll last. I’ve never had flowers look BETTER after a week than when I got them. Do you have any green thumb tips to share for keeping cut flowers fresh?