Meal Planning Monday

It's another one of those weeks. Mama has had a virus and been sick forever and I am finally just not eating real food today. So the delay is strictly based on the fact that thinking of food wasn't my jam over the weekend. 

I probably need to either quit being sick or change our meals a bit. We had our health screening and my HCL was low. I've eaten saltines or rice for days now. My blood pressure was also low, but I was programmed to do deep breathing every time I saw a nurse while I was pregnant with Harry and my BP was insane... now I can drop that puppy real easy. Oops! Next time I won't deep breathe like I'm trying to knock it down from 149 again... it was only 100 today. Anyway... more walnuts and fish (but I don't like much fish). 

Monday | Chicken Picatta

Tuesday | Taco Tuesday with the youth group

Wednesday leftovers

Thursday | Marry Me Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts

Friday | Leftovers

Saturday Creamy Bowtie Pasta with Onions, Spinach, and Mushrooms

Sunday 45 Minute Coq Au Vin 

Elliot | 1 Year Old

Elliot's Current Stats:

❊ Age – 1 year old! 
❊ Weight & Height – 24 lbs and 28 inches long. He's wearing a size 5 diapers and 12/18 month clothing. Mainly for width... the legs have to be rolled. 

❊ Eat – Elliot is showing his picky side. He prefers carbs. Rice. Grits. Potatoes. Maybe it's because this mama was dead to the world and didn't go full blown baby led weaning on him like I did with Harrison. He has many more preferences than his brother did. 

❊ Sleep – Sleeping through the night! 

❊ Recent Milestones – Cruising all over the place. He says bye bye and waves, Elliot will also say mama but only when he's upset and trying to get my attention. Sadly the little crawfish baby still hasn't figured out forward in his walker lol! 

❊ Special Moments – He is obsessed with Harrison and follows him everywhere. He watches Harrison when he's eating and tries to go behind him and take any spoon left behind and use it the same way Harrison did. We had a good laugh recently too, if you haven't heard Elliot's laugh you are missing out. I was smacking Harry with a pillow and he was dramatically falling over, Elliot was absolutely dying laughing at Harrison. 

❊ Mama’s Experience – Slowly but surely right? I'm much more for the ease of the newborn phase or anything after 18 months. This clingy one year old baby is rough on a mama who likes to go and do. He has demands and makes them very clear. 

❊ Comparison - You aren't getting the fully edited Elliot photo but here is a look at just how different they truly are. Same shirt and photo backdrop, but totally different faces, skin tones, and hair. Lucky for me Elliot also got the pretty baby curls like his brother had. 

Life Lately

Elliot's one year post will be up soon, I've just been editing  photos here and there as I get a chance.

Bare with me, I've been sick as a dog since Sunday afternoon. The kids at school think I'm nuts because I also haven't worn makeup... but why where it when you're about to blow your nose constantly.

Harrison had a blast on Halloween as per his usual. This child loves a holiday and one that allows you to gather candy is even better. We just went to the Trunk r Treat at church and that was plenty of tricking and treating for this mama. 

Elliot meanwhile, he isn't allowed to laugh in photos anymore. The child does not have a pretty laugh. He's a full on tossing your head back, turning beet red, and ceasing to breathe kind of laugher. 

Jeremy had the idea that we should all dress up this year... I doubt this becomes a yearly thing. Mama is apparently not a medium in an adult onesie. Found that out the hard way. 

The birthday cake, it was great and quickly turned into mom's daily treat after work. If you haven't made this layer cake... you need to. 

It's officially been cold enough that frost has hit. It was so cold the first of November that my car actually still had frozen spots when I got to work. Not to mention Jeremy's trunk wouldn't even open for me. 

Heaven for this winter lover! 

It's been staying chilly and that is something we don't see on the regular in South Louisiana. 

Plus... hello open doors! 

Oh, and with the coming of November has also come the end of nursing our youngest baby. I was ready for it to end this time. I think had we not moved I wouldn't have felt this way, but this new phase of life has thrown me off enough that I didn't enjoy stressing over milk. If anything I've learned a few things I'll do different when and if I have another. When I took a break from pumping this summer my supply tanked and it was a hot mess from then off and I never recovered. 

But with that I am able to get back to using Retinol. Just so happens that back when I was pregnant I ordered a bottle of Buffet serum from The Ordinary and they accidentally sent me their Retinol 1%, I was told to keep it and I've hoarded it away in my beauty drawer. This week I busted it out and am using it nearly like I did RetinA. 

Granted RetinA was twice a week, but I am using this every other day... washing my face, waiting about 10 minutes, putting Retinol on, waiting 20, putting on my moisturizer and then going to bed. I can't find a good post anywhere about how to use The Ordinary Retinol so I thought the safest way would be to mirror my use with RetinA. The squalene in this is supposed to make it much more gentle on your skin and you won't see the RetinA peeling. 

As soon as I'm done with this bottle I'm ordering tried and true RetinA though. 

Fall Picture Outtakes

I wanted to do our yearly pumpkin patch photo but it was an absolute bust this year. With the patches being open on the weekends here it limited the time we could go. 

It only took me looking outside and seeing the orange glow in the trees in front of our house to stop stressing and just plop the kids outside our front door. They turned out so good it might actually become our Christmas card this year. 

Elliot can't just laugh. He belly laughs and throws his head back, making him particularly awkward to photograph. I thought this turned out cute though, everyone was copying Jeremy. 

Elliot was done, and leaving. Harrison had a cute face.

They need to coordinate this better. 

Elliot looked adorable. Harrison was mad that I even suggested we take photos. 

Teary eyed but cute. 

And last but not least of the outtakes... Harrison picked up the blanket and said "That was 3 minutes Mama, you said 3 minutes."

And we were done.

Meal Planning Tuesday

Y'all these fall temps just make me want to skip work, open the doors, drink coffee, and cook all the soup. 

I've got some disagreement about the "all the soup" portion, but in the course of 50 years I should get soup once in a blue moon... needless to say that moon is happening twice this week. 

Monday | Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet with a Caesar Salad

Tuesday | Keto Sausage Balls with Omelettes

Wednesday | Beef & Vegetable Soup

Thursday | Ordering a Pumpkin Pizza from Papa John's!

Friday | leftovers

Saturday | Chicken Scampi with Garlic Parmesan Rice

Sunday | Creamy Mushroom & Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Lunch this week is Buffalo Dill Chicken Salad with Mary's Gone Crackers. These crackers are seriously so yummy! I've wanted to try them for ages but our grocery didn't carry them, but they have them here. Breakfast (which isn't actually breakfast because I do intermittent fasting and I eat this in the afternoon is a Orgain Protein Shake. Just realized I could get them cheaper at Sam's Club... so there ya go.

Simply Earth | The Monthly Essential Oil Recipe Box

I recently got in my Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box as well as their Bonus Box that includes all the goodies I'd need to mix up any essential oil recipe they send. 

Needless to say it's been a gloomy week in Birmingham so excuse the photo quality. But with that said nothing makes me want to run my diffusers like overcast cold weather. They've really taken the place of candles in my home. 

Let's get to the bottom of the November Simply Earth Box - I received 4 essential oils, 3 of which I've never used before. Recipe cards. A linen bag for one of the recipes. Powdered milk. Lavender buds. And finally labels for any recipes I made.

My Bonus Box included beeswax, solid and liquid coconut oil, almond oil, as well as roller and blend bottles for any recipes I made.

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10 Wedding Invitation Ideas to Get People to Read the Whole Invitation

Today's guest post is all about wedding invitations. I can honestly say that was one of my favorite items to pick our for our wedding and still love getting them in the mail. Who doesn't love beautiful snail mail in any way, shape, or form? 

Did you know that around 10 percent of people who RSVP your wedding invitation probably won't even show up?
This can extremely expensive if you have already paid for everything for the guests who didn't attend.
Did you have any tough choices? You could have invited other people who you couldn't squeeze into your guest list.
If you want to ensure that your wedding guests read every detail about your wedding day, check out these wedding invitation ideas for help below.
1. Make Sure Everything's Easy to Read
Cursive fonts are beautiful and elegant. They are also extremely popular for wedding invitations. And yet, they're not always to easy to read. Is that the letter "F" or a "Y" at the end of the word?
You shouldn't give your guests so much work to do. Focus on ensuring that the text is simple and easy to read without any effort.
It's not only about the font. You need to consider how effectively the color of the text stands out against the background. Ensure that the background contrasts with the text so that it instantly grabs the reader's attention when they open up the wedding invite. 
2. Select Your Words Carefully
The words you use in your wedding invitation are extremely important. You don't want to confuse the reader with complicated sentences.
There is also a traditional format for the invite. Start with the name of the happy couple at the top of the invite. Include the relevant information, such as date, time, and venue of the wedding events.
You may also want to include an empty space to handwrite the name of the guests who you invite. There are also classic phrases, such as "request the honor of your presence" to make your guests feel important.
3. Proof Read Your Invites 
If you send out a bunch of wedding invitations with a typo or spelling mistake, it can look really bad for you. Definitely don't get your husband or wife's name wrong.
Nobody wants to spend time reading an invitation with numerous errors. You can ensure that you rule out any mistakes by double-checking everything.
You could even ask someone else to read through your invite to make sure there are no embarrassing errors in it.
4. Don't Add Too Much on the Card
If you want to ensure that your wedding invitation is actually read by the guest, you shouldn't clutter the page with too much information or decoration either.
Of course, there is important and relevant information. But, anything that doesn't need to be said should be removed from the invite.
People often wonder — should I include directions to the venue? Should I add potential accommodation options for guests?
You don't need to include everything on your wedding invite. You can encourage guests to visit your wedding website or give you a call for more info.
5. Send the Invitations Early 
If you send your wedding invitations at the last minute, you cannot expect the guest to RSVP in time for the event.
But, if you send the invitation too early, they may think it's too far in the future to read the info now. Even if they read it, they'll probably forget the details.
You need to send the invitation around eight months before the wedding. This gives them enough time to prepare for the big day.
6. Encourage RSVPs 
If you give your guests something to do, they're more likely to read everything on the invite. A call to action always works!
Tell your guests to RSVP within one month to make sure they read the invite from top to bottom. You want to get the number of guests counted early.
If you give your guests a few months to reply with an RSVP, then you can bet they'll take the extra time. 
This could cause you problems when you need to give the chef details about how many dishes they need to prepare in the kitchen on the day.
7. Make the RSVP Easy and Quick
If you include your own address on the wedding invitation, you can ensure that they reply quickly to your wedding invitation.
Your friends and family will be excited to tell you that they cannot wait to come to your wedding. Give them the chance to RSVP quickly with your address on the envelope.
8. Stick to Online Invitations
People quickly lose a piece of card. You need to ensure that your invitation is read and RSVP'd straight away.
If you produce online wedding invites, you can ensure that your guests are just a click away from giving you the go-ahead.
When they forget the date or the venue, they don't have to call you up to find out from you directly. They'll just be able to search their email for your invitation. 
9. Send Invites for Households
You can expect to invite many households. You probably don't just invite one person in the house, but the whole family.
So, you can keep your wedding invitations simple by only sending one invite per household. Address to the "Jones Family" not "Charlie, Racheal, and Seb."
This makes sure everything is included in a single card. But, if you're sending online invites, you need these to be sent per person. Unless your friends and family have shared emails. 
10. Always Order Extra Invites
If you're sending your guests invites with physical cards, you need to ensure that you always order extra. 
You'll find that you cannot order the same invitations more than once. This can extremely expensive when you run out.
When it doubt, just order 20-30 more invitations. If you realize that you have missed someone off your guest list, no worries.
Wedding Invitation Ideas
Getting your guests to absorb every detail on your wedding invitation is always a struggle for engaged couples.
You need to keep things as simple as possible to ensure that they have no excuse to skip the RSVP or forget where the wedding is held. Follow our wedding invitation ideas to make sure they catch everything.
If you want more wedding and post-wedding life advice, check out our blog for much more!

What's in My Rouse's Bag?

We headed home this past weekend to visit new babies and see some familiar faces since school was out for Columbus Day. 

While we were there I headed over to Rouse's, my beloved Thibadaux grocery staple that recently arrived in New Iberia, and grabbed what was running low in our house. Now this isn't your likely Cajun staples. I'm not a from scratch person on all dishes from South LA.

Here's what I got::

Tony Chachere's Cajun Brown Gravy Mix (I usually buy Louisiana Brand) - this is just a tastier brown gravy than any other packet you'll get and I am by no means a gravy maker. I didn't grow up on it and I just can't make it or really desire to fuss to make it at all. Jeremy is chief gravy maker during the holidays.

Cajun Red Head Seasoning: Love this! It has a much more Cajun taste than Tony's does. There are a few local varieties my friends like, this just happens to be the preference I have and where I landed on Cajun House Seasoning. It's definitely less sodium than your usual Cajun seasonings.

Jambalaya Girl Gumbo & Jambalaya: After spending 5 hours on Emeril's amazing gumbo recipe I swore I'd never make it from scratch again. I'm not a fan of the jar roux simply because it's so oily. As far as gumbo goes Jambalaya Girl is just a good roux base. You have to add your own meat and veggies. Her jambalaya... again no reason to make it myself. 1) I've never made it from scratch and until a legit Cajun hands me a recipe you won't find me making it. Google isn't your friend for Cajun recipes. Real Cajuns really don't share recipes that much.

Cajun Power Garlic Sauce: I've used this in the past for basically all the crawfish dip I could stomach. I also put it in chili and red beans and rice. I've heard it's good in spaghetti, I haven't tried that yet though. There's a recipe on the back for BBQ Shrimp and that is high on my list of things to try. I'm tempted to start using this in marinades in place of garlic, or in addition to it. We shall see. But for a boiled seafood dip... this mixed with a few other things is my jam.

Blue Runner Creole Cream Style Red Beans: This is 100% to make Every Day Cajun Queen's Working Woman's Red Beans and Rice. This is now my staple red beans and that is all folks.

Let it also be known I only drink Community Coffee Half Caf or Dark Roast but I've found both at Publix in Alabama. I did talk myself out of Monjuni's Spaghetti Sauce though... next time. 

Elliot | 11 Months

Elliot's Current Stats:

❊ Age – 11 months
❊ Weight & Height – Wearing size 4 diapers and 12-18 months clothing. I need to get Jeremy to weigh him. 

❊ Eat – Much like last month he will eat just about anything. Kinda makes me sad he won't go after a PB sammy like his brother would. Man that was an easy lunch. The boy loves anything grits and rice with some sauce. Cajun food being his favorite. Currently he is nursing AM/PM and taking a bottle at daycare. He also eats yogurt for breakfast, puffs for a snack, lunch at daycare, a baby food pouch for his next snack, and that bottle I mentioned before. He's got about a week left in frozen milk before that daytime bottle is long gone. 

Boo because that is some pretty golden breastmilk from back in the spring too. 
❊ Sleep – We did a touch of sleep training this month and he's sleeping through the night. I've gone in maybe twice and offered water. Otherwise he will wake up on occasion, find his paci and put himself back to sleep. He naps well, except for the weekends when he is in the same room as Harrison and they skip naps to have a party. 

❊ Recent Milestones – Elliot started pulling up and is starting to try and cruise. It's amazing what you can do when you want to take your brother's Legos or popcorn. 

I can't remember what was grossing him out but something caused that ick face. 

❊ Special Moments – I had to laugh this past week. I was putting up dishes to find he has been taking the letter magnets off of the fridge and putting them in a glass dish in the island behind him... it has cabinets and stores pans. 

❊ Mama’s Experience – We are getting somewhere y'all. I might sleep through the night again. He's still a touch clingy, but this month was easier. 

Comparison - Harrison at this point only had 4 teeth, Elliot has 7. Elliot is also more motivated to move and go than Harrison was simply because he wants to keep up with his brother. They still don't look alike, related, but not alike.