Scenes from the Beach

Might I add, in no particular order. 

It is very difficult to stand in water that you full well intend to be washed around like a seashell in. 

While Daddy was away in Brazil I went with my parents to Perdido Key, it was a really nice beach. We are honestly the least beachy people around. I haven't been (aside from a day trip to Biloxi) since 2010. We are more lake/creek/mountain people. 

One of the nights my mother booked a dolphin cruise, it was cut short due to the impending hurricane rolling towards the gulf. But not before seeing a bunch of dolphins jumping around and playing. The boys were enthralled.  Being on the boat made Harrison nervous. He was clutching the side or covering his ears, but it was a new experience and the caution made juggling him and the baby easier. 

If there is any lesson I'm having to learn it is that you can't make decisions for the 4 year old and you better double and triple check that his decision was exactly what he wanted. We went to an ice cream shop (after the disaster of going to one while camping) and after carrying him up and down the counter he picked a flavor I did not expect him to eat. Surprisingly he ate the entire thing and had the best attitude. I was impressed big time. 

It's just such a struggle to move to a place where you have to remember that they want to make decisions for themselves (within reason) and to allow that to happen instead of taking the "easy" route. Easy being totally subjective... because wasted expensive ice cream is never easy. 

You'll see a couple attempts at a photo of these two loons. 

This attempt was the "But I'd rather try to catch a fish than stand here." 

Want to keep Harrison still? Bury him. 

This was the calmest he was the entire time. Older couples were getting a kick out of him and giving me that "we've been there look" as they watched a little boy run like an escaped Lab puppy. 

Being trapped in a small space is great for leaning to play together well. This was towards the end of the week. 

A rare photo of Elliot. He was not here for it. The beach. The sand. The sun. 
He's his daddy's child and was left indoors accordingly. 

If you make it to the Perdido Key area, the kids park is a sight to behold. 

Joshua had a good time at the Naval Museum, Harrison not so much. I ended up leaving early and letting my parents wander around with my nephew. Harry spent the entire time with his fingers in his ears again and when he would look up he would fall to the floor in fear. Had I not already pack the car to the brim I would have benefited from the double stroller. This place was nerve wracking for the poor child. 

Notice he had to have his cousin holding his hand. 

 And that was it.

We headed home in an attempt to beat the storm and had zero fun driving back. The kids did great but mama is not made to drive alone in bad weather with small people.

Ole Slow Moving Barry

I hurried home early from our beach trip last week to beat what was supposed to be a tropical storm. My initial thinking was "No biggie, we've rode our tropical storms before."

What I didn't think about was that I was doing it without another adult in the house. You can pass a lot of time with adult conversation.

Things started out great, we got home late Thursday, Friday I ran to the store before the rain was supposed to hit. Lunch came and still no rain. Afternoon - no rain. This fun little storm was sucking all the moisture it could get and slowly (very slowly) turning into a Cat 1 Hurricane in the Gulf.

Cue all the eye rolls.

But whatever, we were good. The windows at this apartment surely wouldn't bust because there wasn't a huge chance for flying debris. Plus all our electrical cables are underground... just not the part that supplied us.

I spent the day watching the news online and seeing everything starting to build. Slowly people were reporting power outages.

Then out power began flickering.

Finally that evening it went out, right about the time the city had announced that no vehicles were allowed on the roads aside from emergency personnel.

What I should have done was scooped the kids up and went to a hotel in Lafayette, they really didn't get the wind we had.

Instead the sudden cut off from my Lafayette Mom friends that had been chatting all day in our group was suddenly cut off. My only response... I cried. I stood at the window and sobbed.

This was Sunday or Monday, Super 1 was passing out cases of water and ice to residents.
This part of town still didn't have electricity for traffic lights. 

Y'all we had zero damage, I live in a area that doesn't flood. But the prospect of toughing out the outage with a driving ban for who knows how long was just too much to bare after a week of my husband being out of the country.

About that time a friend called asking if we needed anything. In my absolute panic mode I couldn't cover my feelings as well as usual and I busted out crying to her.

Immediately she sent her father-in-law and husband out to rescue us and was so nice to let us stay with them until the power was restored to our area. That evening another friend asked how we were and offered to let the kids play at her house during the day, so we took her up on that offer.

Y'all I've never been more thankful for friends/church family. The heat in our house didn't get warmer than 74 degrees so we could have really toughed it out here fine. What I was really in need of was adult conversation and friendship and that's exactly what was delivered.

I'll say something else too, I had to learn to let go of many thing and allow myself to accept help. I was hard and I probably annoyed all of my hosts with my reluctance to be helped. My personality is to do for others, help, clean, organize. If you need something I'm there. What I don't do well is have other's do for me.

That was a big lesson God taught me. I had to let go and accept help. I couldn't do it myself.

I might have a huge bruise on my legs from fighting a window unit that weighed somewhere over 50lbs. I had to though, it was on top of the camping tubs and I needed the lanterns and flashlights that were stuck in there. I probably yelled at that unit for 15 minutes as I lifted it from above my head to right back in its place above me again. I should have asked for help but didn't.

I can be very pig headed and do it all myself. And to an extent the physical things I can do. It was when the emotional hit that I was done for. I hadn't sat in front of another adult in days and just needed someone else to talk to, so what was a small problem felt very huge.

I don't know how well this post followed a timeline but that was our weekend, a slow moving hurricane, a loss of power, realizing I had to accept help in my loneliness, and bruised knees because I'm too stubborn.

Thank the Lord that our power was restored in 24 hours and we really didn't lose much food. My smoothie bananas had seen better days but many people experience actual loss to property.

7 Cute and Clever Frugal Wedding Ideas to Keep the Big Day on Budget

Another great guest post today that's right up my alley with how we did wedding planning! #3 is definitely depending on your personal preferences - if you want to save even more money go the punch bowl route! 😉
Your wedding should be the best day of your life, not a source of insane financial stress. The average American wedding costs around $35,000. Which is not a small amount of money.
Every little thing adds up. And of course, most people don't want to "cheap out" on their big day. It only happens once (hopefully!), and you want to do it right. 

Lucky for you, we're here to help. Read on for 7 cute, creative, and clever frugal wedding ideas to keep the big day on a budget. 

1. The Holy Grail of Frugal Wedding Ideas: Be Flexible

Being flexible is the key to saving where it really counts: venue hire. Consider having your wedding right at the beginning or end of off-season.
This can save thousands of dollars in venue hire fees and you can still get the benefits of good weather. The day of the week matters a lot too. Saturdays are ideal for many reasons, but they are drastically more expensive than other days.
The Sunday before a holiday Monday can be a great option. Having some flexibility around the date can be the single thing that saves you thousands. 

2. Consider a Longer Engagement 

Venue prices spike the closer it gets to the time. Plus, most of the good venues get booked up at least two years in advance.
Take your time and enjoy your engagement. After all, you're planning to be together for your whole lives. What's the rush? 

3. BYOB 

This is one of the most repeated words of wisdom by wedding planners: find a venue that lets you bring in your own alcohol. And consider having a limited bar.
Offering beer and wine instead of a huge selection of spirits can save a lot of money (and reduces the risk of over-drinking). Buy in bulk from local breweries, and offer to display their logo. They might give you an advertiser's rate. 

4. DIY Where It Counts

Taking on too many DIY responsibilities can be stressful, but it can also be fun. And a huge cost-saver. Get your bridesmaids together to make centerpieces, bouquets, and invitations. And have fun with it! Who doesn't love a crafts and wine night? 
Stationary can be a surprisingly big cost. Check out these wedding invitations templates by Adobe and design and print your own. Hand deliver when possible, and consider e-invites for those who are out of town. 

5. Rent or Wear Second Hand

Wedding dresses and tuxedos are a huge cost. Especially for something, you're only going to wear once. Consider renting a dress or buying second hand. There are some beautiful gowns that have only been worn once. Who has to know?

6. Fake the Cake

If you're attached to the tradition of cutting the cake, it can save a lot of money to fake it. A lot of bakers will design a cardboard cake with a real top layer. You'll still get the photos. And you can serve a delicious alternative dessert to your guests.

7. Support Local for Dinner

Hiring a fancy caterer can be one of the biggest pieces of the budget. Instead, consider hiring a local mom & pop shop to provide the main meal. They'll give you a good deal and will appreciate the business much more than a big caterer. 

The Takeaway 

There are countless ways to cleverly save on your big day. In addition to these 7 key frugal wedding ideas, just remember one thing: simple is elegant.
Don't go overboard on things that don't really matter. Keep it minimal. Keep it classy. What matters most is celebrating your marriage with your loved ones, not breaking the bank.  
Please don't forget to bookmark our site to never miss any of our latest posts! 

Meal Planning Monday

We made it out of that wonky Hurricane Barry with our sanity half in tack.

I'll write more about that in a blog post Wednesday though! Until then, here's to having power and knowing I gotta have a gas stove again.

Monday | I'm celebrating power by hitting up Saigon Noodles in Lafayette and buying all the ice cream

Tuesday | Grilled Chicken with Sensation Salad and Roasted Artichokes

Wednesday | Chicken Pot Pie from the Misissippi Current Cookbook

Thursday | leftovers

Friday | Eating Out

Saturday | Eating Out

Sunday | Carne Asada Tacos

Breakfast | My favorite breastfeeding shake - but really it's a super healthy shake no matter what

Lunch | Polenta Bowls - Our friend who rescued us during the hurricane turned me onto them and it was amazing - Polenta topped with Roasted Kale, Cauliflower, and Red Onions & some Chicken & Apple Sausage

Piecing Your Life Together After A Surgery Gone Wrong

Today's guest post is all about the healing process after a difficult surgery. If you've had experience with this I'd love for you to comment below! 

When you have something wrong with your health and you prepare to go into surgery, there are high expectations. You never expect that the surgery will go wrong but sadly that can and does happen to plenty of patients who go under the knife.

What do you do after it’s all gone wrong? In this article, we look at various perspectives on how to piece your life together following a medical procedure gone wrong.

Get Compensated for Pain and Suffering

When surgery is not as was reasonably expected or the outcome was poor because of medical negligence on the part of the surgeon and their team, then it’s important to seek appropriate compensation for mistakes made. After all, they’ve just changed your life circumstances and not for the better.

The level of compensation will depend on what the mistake was, whether it can be rectified with a secondary operation or if you’re stuck with the problem for life. The seriousness of the outcome and how it will affect how you live is also a factor. You should seek proper legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in cases of this nature. One good source is the Medical Negligence Experts ( who’ll know what to do.

How Long is the Healing Process?

If you’ve had one operation and are not expected to go under the knife again to fix the mistake, then you’re then dealing with the healing process.

For instance, with incisions in the abdomen e.g. for a hernia operation, the healing time just for the abdominal incision is around two months. This assumes that you don’t overexert yourself before it’s sensible to do so. You should have been advised about appropriate activity levels in your post-op care too. Follow those carefully to avoid making matters any worse.

Re-Assessing Your Physical Capabilities

Depending on what has actually happened, you may have some physical restrictions on what you’re capable of doing once you’ve healed up completely.

It depends on the post-op advice as to what activity is sensible and those to be avoided. Using the Sleek Technique at this time is not advisable!

It’s important to get the feeling of putting your life back together. Part of this is the sense that you’ve slowly become more capable again, even if you need a little help here and there to achieve that. That’s all good too. Therefore, if you find that going shopping at Tesco and carrying the bags to the car (or bus stop) is too difficult now, make other plans. Shopping online to get food delivered to your door is a great solution. If you still have trouble carrying items to the fridge/freezer, then have a friend or neighbour come over to help you.

Go through a testing phase to see what you can and cannot do now. Then find alternative solutions for things that are challenging or you’re simply unable to do. There is usually always another way to get tasks accomplished if you search for them. Stay positive and focus on solutions, not frustrations. You’ll then feel more empowered and that your life is coming back together again.

Raising Moody Judy

For ages, my husband said that our oldest was a highly sensitive child. It all blew right past me until recently when a friend said she read the book The Highly Sensitive Child
As she talked, everything I had previously ignored my husband alluding to suddenly made sense. 

I recently shared my experience with having a highly sensitive child, over on the Lafayette Mom’s Blog. I’d so love for you to head over there and read all about my thoughts on the biggest struggles we have (and I'd love it if you left a comment).

Things I Bought & Liked | June

June was a good month for new products. Several hits and only one real bust.

Pond's Cleansing Balm | I have avoided the original Cold Cream for ages because it made me break out, but I can get behind this one. I've used coconut oil for a very long time to remove eye makeup and thought I'd give this a try. It touted to be a good dupe for a few products that are a touch pricier. All in all, it removes makeup well and is a good first step if you are double cleansing.

Tarte Set: Blush :: I'm sold on this, it's long wearing, as a good color pay off, and comes in very nice natural shades.

Clay Stick Foundation :: I don't wear a lot of foundation, I'm mainly a CC cream gal. This had been a great addition to my routine for the area around my mouth and lower face that shows a few more veins, it's just better coverage. I still use my It! Cosmetics CC everywhere else.

Maneater Mascara :: I love the mascara but I prefer a more traditional brush.

Eyeliner :: There's a solid chance I'll forgo my long standing relationship with the Bare Minerals eyeliner that is like this one and stick to Tarte. This stuff hold and does not smudge.

Lip Paint in Salty :: I loved the formula of this but I ordered the wrong color. I'll be trying out OG next.

Yeti Rambler 24oz :: Mama won Father's Day and then got jealous. I got this for Jeremy because I adore my 14oz and he has really enjoyed it.

Freshly Picked Olive Classic Crossbody | The Mother's Day present I forgot to post last month. I was in need of a new crossbody that looked nicer than my Kavu bags. This allows me to carry both my own stuff as well as a baby diaper if needed. I got it during their big sale in May and scored a really good price.

ANRABESS Women's Summer Tank Jumpsuit (jogger bottom) | If you are taller I suggest getting this jumpsuit. I'm a touch short so it isn't the best length for me, but it's super cute none the less.

ANRABESS Women's Jumpsuit (shorts) | This is the way to go if you are looking for easy breezy and are shorter. I wasn't disappointed with either of these finds.

Dove Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo | When it came time to go camping I couldn't warp my mind around using my beloved Dry Bar Dry Shampoo that week. Let's be honest my hair ends up in a bun the entire time. (actually it's more like that Target checkout meme because I always looks like death made over). I got this in place of using expensive products while tent living and sweating. Dove wasn't my favorite and it's the best. But! But, when I was washing my hair at night and just needed something for volume that would make me look more human this got the job done. I don't think it works well for second day hair but is perfectly fine for adding volume and texture on clean hair.

10 Things Every Ministers Wife Needs to Know | A pastor's wife I know posted about this book after the SBC Convention this summer. I have to say, as far as I've read it's full of advice you know but need to hear often. Reading 10 Things is very much like sitting down for coffee with a more experienced pastor's wife and gleaming all of her knowledge. This is definitely something I'll hold onto to reread over the years.

American Gospel: Christ Alone Movie | Let me preface this with this... we rented this on Amazon and then ordered the DVD. This 2 hours movie turned into more like 3 after we had paused it to discuss every step of the way. It's a great look at popularity Christianity in America and just how far we've gotten away from the truth in many instances. They're coming out with a second movie soon.

Meal Planning Monday

We survived our camping trip, and if you saw my IG post you'll know I have beef with the Hydroelectric plant situation there. I'm not bitter... I was just sleep deprived.

So here's your warning, Beaver's Bend in Ok is absolutely beautiful, has amazing tree coverage for for tent sites, lovely hiking, the best canoeing... but the tornado/flood siren will send you running for the hills.

Now for this week...

Monday | Hamburger Steak with Green Beans and Rolls

Tuesday | Grilled Chicken with Sensation Salad

Wednesday | leftovers

Thursday | Hanging out with friends on the 4th!

Friday | Breakfast (eggs, breakfast potatoes, biscuits, & sausage) -- I'll get my recipe together for these amazing potatoes!

Saturday | leftovers of some sort

Sunday | Mississippi Roast, Rice, & Broccoli

Breakfast | My favorite breastfeeding shake - but really it's a super healthy shake no matter what

Lunch | Scrambled Eggs with Greek Yogurt and Chives, Dave's Killer Bread with Kerry Gold Butter, and Sauteed Kale

Knowing Your Rights in the Workplace: A Guide

It wasn't until I was headed back to work breastfeeding that I ever thought about my rights at work. Today's guest post highlights what you need to know or at least what you need to be thinking about. 

Every employer has rights, but not all of them know what they are. It’s important that you educate yourself and know what you’re entitled to as an employee. This includes knowing what you can get in terms of pay, time off, and fair treatment. By knowing such things, you can have a greater sense of security as well as peace of mind. On that note, keep reading below to learn more about knowing your rights in the workplace.

Minimum Wage

A basic right of an employee is the right to minimum wage. In case you aren’t sure what the minimum wage is, it depends on both your age. If you’re an apprentice, you get £3.70, while anyone between 16-24 gets between £4.20 and £7.38. You can use a minimum wage calculator to ensure you get the right minimum wage. You should know that there’s a difference between the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage. The latter is higher at £8.21 and is for people that are 25 and older.

Time off Emergencies

When you have an emergency in your personal life, you the right to take time off of work. An emergency can be classified as someone passing away or a medical emergency. Another scenario in which you may need it is in the case of an accident at work. If this happens to you, contact The Compensation Experts and find out whether or not you’re entitled to compensation.

Protection Against Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace is something people experience on a daily basis. Know that it is against the law for you to be discriminated against based on age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion, or sex. More specifically, The Equality Act 2010 legally protects you from discrimination. If you ever feel as though they’re being discriminated against, contact a solicitor or get the right legal advice.

Special Types of Pay

There are different types of pay that you’re entitled to as an employee. Below, you’ll see a couple that you should be aware of.

Sick Pay: If you’re too ill to work, you should be able to get statutory sick pay. You can get up to £94.25 per week, and your employer can pay it for up to 28 weeks. However, to be entitled, you must be sick for at least four days in a row and earn at least £116 per week before tax and NI are deducted. You also have to have been earning that amount at least eight weeks ending with the last payday before you became ill.

Maternity Pay: For women who are looking to start a family, maternity pay is something you’re typically entitled to. You could also get maternity leave, paid time off for antenatal care, and extra help from the government. There are free tools online that can help you work out your maternity leave and pay but note that each case is unique. Also, note that your employment rights, such as pay rises, build up holiday, and return to work, are protected while you’re on maternity leave.

Shared Parental Leave: If you are having a baby or adopting a child, you and your partner could get shared parental leave (SPL). This enables you to share over 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between the both of you. Just check to make sure that you meet the requirements for eligibility before applying.

Dupois Colic Remedy, the St. Martinville Secret

When I was pregnant with my first child I started hearing about Dupois Colic Remedy
Girls I worked with in Delcambre swore by it. Neighbors swore by it. Literally everyone who had heard of it said I needed it. 
Essentially I should call it in the moment the baby was born. 
Honestly, how could anything be that amazing? 

I recently shared our favorite colic remedy that's made locally, over on the Lafayette Mom’s Blog. I’d so love for you to head over there and read all about my experience with giving it to both of our children (and I'd love it if you left a comment) .

Biscuits, Grits, & Slow Summer Days | Life Lately

Jeremy is officially off work for the summer, all the praise hands are in order for this! One of the perks of both of us working in the school system is that we all get a few weeks every year that everyone is at home. Even better than that is summer day dates when the kids can go to our beloved sitter and we get to have lunch alone. 

With Jeremy putting in application and starting to talk to churches about a ministry position it is not lost on me the time we have together. Once he is no longer a School Psychologist and reaping the benefits of a 10 month job and living the pastoral life that is full time -  year round - sometimes longer than 40 hours a week - these weeks of slow summers will vanish. We will suddenly be thrust into the world of what most of American lives in... actual vacation time. 

So with this being possibly our last summer like this, I'm soaking it all in. 

Elliot has been more than ready to eat table food, but I have been not the best at making 100% baby led weaning style meals all the time. Also... I'm just not as good as cooking earlier. With that, Elliot got Grits & Grillades Sunday night. (mostly butter grits with a touch of the grillades - gotta keep that salt at bay) Y'all, that baby cackled with every bite. 

He's passed southern test #1 as a child and adores grits. 

In other news Harrison gags every time he touches or watches this child eat. He has no room to complain, he was equally gross. 

For lunch this week I stole Harrison's RePlay plates to keep my food separated. Anyone with me on this? In case you're curious, Kodiak Pancakes with Almond Butter (put a dollop in the microwave with a splash of water and it actually turns more sauce like), frozen blueberries, and an 8 minute hard boiled egg.

The 8 minute boil is the best is you like a soft set center. Don't even ask me how many times I made boiled eggs to find my perfect boil time.

Where Harry was the baby I wore constantly, Elliot is in fact not that baby. He's steadly a pound or two ahead of Harrison... more like 2 or 3 really. That combined with what I'm assuming is less than strong core muscles means mama has a back ache when I baby-wear. So stroller baby it is. E doesn't mind though, he likes observing. 

No real rhyme or reason for this picture, except this child rarely falls asleep randomly and I had to document it. He must has been exhausted that day.

He's also had a go of the downfalls of chewing your fingernails. He's caused 2 ingrown nails that led to infection and him crying all night. The first was so awful we had to get an antibiotic that on day 7 like clockwork according to Dr. Google showed he was sensitive to sulfa drugs. The child broke out in a completely harmless rash that looked so bad mothers would run screaming.

I finally made a batch of Regina Charboneau's biscuits. I won't lie, I prefer her method and might be more of a biscuit maker now. It actually makes it easier and it makes for great layers. You can find it in all of her cookbooks or in [this New York Times article] from a few years ago. The only problem I ran into was salt. I forgot the salted butter and used unsalted, and you can't buy salted margarine here. I'll have to play with salt amounts and get back with you on it. 

Honestly though, if you're in Natchez spend the $25 for her biscuit class. I'd say 95% of this is getting her tips and method down. Method is EVERYTHING with these biscuits. 

Two things: 

1. A husband who will eat Chicken Salad Chick with you is worth more than rubies. Proverbs 31.5

Just kidding. 

2. I am by no mean a hipster coffee house customer. I can't stand that bitter mess for anything. Give me all the syrup and decaf. I don't even care that I'm not cool. 

Elliot is on the move lately. He's starting to attempt to get on his knees, but he can get awfully far with his big toes. Army crawler expert level. Don't leave your shoes in the floor though, he wants to chew on them... and he isn't above chewing on them while you wear them.

It's a constant battle.

All the Lafayette Moms ladies went to dinner the other night. It's fun to get out of the house even for a minute. I'm so glad I joined this crew two years ago. Women who you'd never think you could relate to or have such different stories than can become some of the biggest cheerleaders in your life and the biggest prayer warriors. Diversity and all. 

Last but not least: is it ever a Saturday morning without everyone piled on the couch?

Lessons in Motherhood from my 4 Year Old

I won’t lie, when I look at my now lanky 4 year old all, I can see is a chubby 2 year old. 
He still needs me to get things for him, put on his shoes, and he doesn’t say much. That chubby baby isn’t potty trained, surely won’t tell me he needs to potty, and doesn’t know his colors. 
But now, just like I’ve learned with taking away his pacifier, he is so much more capable than I’ve ever given him credit for. 

I recently shared a few lessons I've been learning lately from the kiddos, over on the Lafayette Mom’s Blog. I’d so love for you to head over there and read how I always expect the worst but everything always works out (and I'd love it if you left a comment) .

Meal Planning Monday

If you've watch the Weather Channel this weekend you've seen the stalling rain front... yeah, that pushed our camping trip back a week. I will say this though, Oklahoma and Texas have got to get on the Reserve America train. When I had this problem last year it was much easier to change my reservations at campgrounds through that system. Rather than calling in and begging for mercy.

Either way, we are rescheduled. Finger and toes crossed.

Monday | Garlic Butter Mushrooms, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Grilled Pork Chops

Tuesday | Cheeseburger Skillet with a salad

Wednesday | Sausage, Eggs, Breakfast Potatoes, and Regina's Biscuits

Thursday | Hawaiian Chicken Bowls

Friday | Grilled Wings & Fries

Saturday | Tamale Pie (I'll photograph it and post the recipe this time.)

Sunday | leftovers/eating out

Breakfast | My favorite breastfeeding shake - but really it's a super healthy shake no matter what

Lunch | Kodiak Pancakes with Almond Butter, Hard Boiled Eggs, Blueberries

cariPro Ultrasonic Electronic Toothbrush Review & Giveaway

Y'all know I love my Smile Brillant Whitening System, and from what I've heard from friends who've used it they did too! I've been on a touch of a whitening break with pregnancy and breastfeeding though.

Sadly I can manual brush myself to death with my favorite whitening toothpaste and it hasn't kept up with my coffee intake.


Instant Pot Mac & Cheese with Sarah from Instapot Life

I love an easy recipe, and we all really love mac & cheese! Today, Sarah Jackson from Instapot Life is sharing her family fav that comes together in no time at all!


Who doesn’t get hungry thinking about Mac and Cheese?

It’s always been a favorite in my household.  My boys love anything covered in cheese!

I’ve been playing around with a new twist on the all american dish that ups the flavor pallet to the savory classic with a kick of dijon.  What’s great about this recipe is that you can cook it in an Instapot Pot, the most popular pressure cooker in the country.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1.5 cups unsalted butter
½ cup yellow onion, diced
½ lb macaroni
2 cups chicken broth
⅓ cup half-and-half
⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded medium sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
.5 tablespoon ground pepper
.5 cup panko bread crumbs

The following recipe will cook 4 servings:
1. Melt the butter in your Instant Pot using the Saute setting.  After about 5 minutes, toss in the diced onions. Make sure to gently stir every minute or so and cook until the onions begin to brown.  Then add in the macaroni and broth.

2. Put on the Instant Pot lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing.  Hit Cancel to reset the cooking program, then press the Pressure Cook or Manual setting for 6 minutes at high pressure.  Keep in mind that your Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program starts.

3. After the cooking program is completed, move the Pressure Release to Venting.  Then open the lid and gradually stir in the three cheese, half-and-half, mustard, and pepper.  Give the mac and cheese for about 5 minutes to thicken.

4. Transfer to a oven-safe dish and top it off with a layer of panko bread crumbs and broil for a few minutes before it’s ready to serve.

About the Author: Sarah Jackson is a do-it-all mom who loves making easy, delicious meals for her family.  She fell in love with her Instant pot and started blogging on Instapot Life.

Get Out of Town: Stay the Night in Natchez, MS

Call me biased, but I adore my hometown. 
Not only does it have all the charm of any southern town you can put next to it, but Natchez holds the spot for the most plantation homes. Thanks mainly to the fact that they were handed over to the Union and not burned down during the Civil War. Why does this matter? Well it makes for a great visit during the cities annual pilgrimage. 

Recently we had the chance to get away for one night for our anniversary and decided to stay at our favorite Bed & Breakfast – Twin Oaks.

I recently shared about our anniversary getaway to my hometown (yes the place is that good!), over on the Lafayette Mom’s Blog. I’d so love for you to head over there and read all about our favorite B&B and taking a cooking class with the great Regina Charboneau (and I'd love it if you left a comment) .

Meal Planning Monday

We survived VBS last week and this week Harrison is doing Soccer Camp in the evenings... so another week of easy meals. Plus we are going camping the following week and I have no room for leftovers.

Monday | Baked Meatballs & Roasted Green Beans (premade turkey meatballs, a no sugar added pasta sauce, topped with a shredded Italian Cheese blend & baked)

Tuesday | Leftovers

Wednesday | Grilled Chicken, Fingerling Potatoes roasted with my homemade ranch seasoning (Pioneer Woman), and roasted broccoli

Thursday | Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken, Tortellini, and Vegetables

Friday | leftovers

Saturday | Garlic Butter Chicken & Brussel Sprouts

Sunday | Instant Pot Pineapple Chili Lime Chicken (I won't this in the IP because I have some Ready Rice, so it'll just be tossed together quick on the stove top.)

Things I Bought & Liked | May

It's been non stop since school let out, but here's last month's Amazon buys!

Eucerin Q10 Anti Wrinkle Face Cream | I've put off replacing my night cream and finally broke down and purchased one. This is not disappointing, it's everything I love about the dermatologist approved brands with all the anti wrinkle things I love. My skin looks much more hydrated in the morning after I use this.

Teddie Organics Rosehip Seed Face Oil | Oldie but goodie. I've been using this for 2 years and had to repurchase. This is one of the few beauty products that I always keep on hand. I started using it when we were trying to get pregnant with Elliot because I had to quit Retin-A. Rosehip oil has vitamin A in a form that isn't harmful to baby, plus it's incredibly moisturizing. Don't be afraid of face oils, I get breakouts from mineral oil containing products, not this.

English Tea Strainer | That stainless steal french press from a few months back isn't my favorite as far as keeping all the grounds out goes. So coffee meets tea strainer. If you're in the market for one, this fits across all of my mugs as well as my Yeti Rambler 14oz.

Vetinee Women's Overall Shorts | My mother said I looked like Junior High Emily, but these are legit. I did size up, this is that slightly stretchy jean material. I initially ordered the dark because the light wash wasn't in stock but this month I am ordering the light. They're just fun, and probably the only 90's trend I am going to get back on. For size reference (I wear a 00, just kidding, fashion blogger jab) I wear an 8-10 at Old Navy and mediums in everything else. I ordered a large in these for so it would be a touch roomy. No one wants a tight overall. 

Sansi Once Piece Rash Guard | Elliot needed a swimsuit since he is too chunky for Harrison's baby swimsuit. This is getting the job done. 

TSLA Active Shorts | My biggest issue breastfeeding is that it limits my clothing. My mama hips after two kids weren't getting along with my premama hip sized bike shorts, so I ordered a new pair. This is my way of wearing a dress and being able to pump or nurse without flashing my girl bits to all of America. If you're in the market, this brand is soft, compares well to other leggings I own, and had a pocket for snacks. Just kidding... it's not for snacks but I do put bobby pins in it.

The Teacher in Me Ends at 3

There’s something about teaching that has always struck me as weird. In complete disregard for the fact that we are paid a 9 month salary that’s divided over 12 months and for the hours of roughly 7:30-3:30 (depending on where you work), people think they have to stay late. 
There’s no extra pay for staying past clock out time. 
In reality, you’re losing something instead of gaining. You’re losing time.

I recently shared my views on being a teacher and mother, over on the Lafayette Mom’s Blog. I’d so love for you to head over there and read all about how I separate work from home (and I'd love it if you left a comment) .