Meal Planning Thursday

March 31, 2022

Another grocery pickup day. Another meal plan. 

Thursday | Southern Breakfast Bowls (from the Love, Welcome, Serve Cookbook) (It's fried eggs, grits, a potato hash, I'm adding bacon) 

Friday |   Confit Chicken Thighs and Dirty Rice from Issac Toups cookbook Chasing the Gator (here's a similar recipe for the chicken

Saturday | eating out 

Sunday | leftovers 

Monday | Poppyseed Chicken with Roasted Broccoli

Tuesday | leftover 

Wednesday | Sam's Chick-fil-a knock off nuggets and fries (the kids fav and my fav on single mom night) 

Lunch - Buffalo Chicken on a salad for Low Carb days and Sweet Potato on Regular Carb. 

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That Which Has Turned Into an Elliot Update

March 24, 2022

 This is quite an Elliot heavy post, but alas, that is who is around for photo taking these days. 

Harry poses, at times, but not as often. He also doesn't kiss his mama anymore. Somewhere in his head he determined that makes you married so I have to hold him down to kiss his cheeks.

Tuesday we were lucky ducks enough to get a weather day that ended in the weather skipping over us. We had some light flickering and a tough storm for a moment, but nothing that required we hunker down. 

The boys and I (let's be honest no one helped me) started the day making beds, playing with Mario toys, and living our best pretend "mama doesn't work" life. 

This past Sunday, while the boys were playing outside, we had a little outdoor snack dinner. While my allergies don't agree with this statement, Spring just makes for such nice weather. Especially the crisp days (and honestly I love the crisp Fall days just as much.) 

You're about to sense a theme here, but we've been outside a lot. 

Longer days. Nice weather. 

Little Louisiana children have to soak this up before the blistering heat of July - September take hold and run us back indoors. 

As you glance around our yard at the copious amounts of tropical vegetation - say a prayer for me. I can't stand a jungle because it attracts creatures. We've got tiny little snake creatures that need to be expelled from the earth. 

I'd like to get my garden going again, but much of this needs to be removed (for space) as well as for my sanity of not finding snakes in-between my carrots. 

Maybe I'll do a garden plans post soon. There's such a long to do list on this house so actual house items always take precedence over my "want to" projects. 

For instance, before gardening takes place the following need to be completed... shutters for the front windows, wrap the iron poles to make them look cedar, German smear the front steps. 

I'd also like to add a bunch of terra cotta pots to those steps and fill them with seasonal flowers I can cut and bring indoors. None of that will likely happen until much later, as I've missed this growing season for starting seeds out front. 

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A Travel Lovers Guide to the Best Locations for a Destination Wedding

March 23, 2022

Over two million Americans tie the knot every year, which shows we're passionate about taking our commitment to the next level.

Choosing your dream location is a life-changing decision, so take the time to research options that you both agree on. Although it feels overwhelming, once you know your must-haves and top locations, you'll be a step closer to the special event. Perhaps you're currently in this situation and you're not sure of the top wedding locations.

Sounds like you? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. Here are the best locations for a destination wedding. 

Joshua Tree, California 

You've covered the benefits of a destination wedding and you're both happy with California. A specific location that stands out is Joshua Tree as its distinctive scenery is a romantic's dream. Either way, invite your loved ones and book a venue that offers a sweeping view of the stunning desert.  

Montego Bay, Jamaica  

Montego Bay is one of the top locations for a destination wedding. Not only is renowned for its warm hospitality but you'll also be spoiled by the tropical beaches and incredible weather all year around. A bonus about Jamaica is it's affordable to wed or if you have the budget, you can find luxurious options too. 

Koh Samui, Thailand

Not sure where to have a destination wedding? Then, head to Koh Samui, an island in Thailand. 

You can tie the knot on a sandy beach and treat your loved ones to traditional Thai dishes for your special dinner. But don't book between June to September as it's the rainy season. 

Los Cabos, Mexico

One of the best destination wedding ideas is Los Cabos in Mexico. You're spoiled with 20 miles of glamorous hotels and white sand beaches to celebrate on. There's also a huge amount of inclusive beach clubs where you and your loved ones can enjoy their big day. 

Kauai, Hawaii

If you're planning a destination wedding, Hawaii should be near the top of your list. Kauai, in particular, is famous for being a lush, tropical landscape, a perfect spot to tie the knot. The beauty is life on Kauai moves at a slower pace, which is great for anyone with a smaller guest list. 

Capri, Italy

Capri is the go-to destination for beach-lovers and foodies. During the planning stage, visit the huge selection of historic churches or find a venue with an uninterrupted view of the sea. And, to make your life easier, hire destination wedding planning services so you can sit back while they do the heavy lifting.  

Best Locations for a Destination Wedding

Now you know the best locations for a destination wedding, it's time to plan your big day. 

There are hundreds of possibilities for your big day, whether you're holding the ceremony in the Caribbean or Capri. You should also check out destinations with dreamy landscapes like Joshua Tree or Kauai in Hawaii. Good luck!

Found this article helpful? Great! Then check out the rest of our blog for more tips and tricks.

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The Life & Times of Tyrone's Offspring

March 14, 2022

 Life has been interesting lately. Simultaneously a lot of time has passed and no time has passed at all. 

That's probably in part due to processing Dad's passing. Funny how good you can be and then suddenly thing "I'll never hear him say ____ again." 

The phrases and things he said. His mother was known for answering the phone by saying "It's your nickel." 

Dad, every time I asked him for anything with my hand out, would shake my hand and say "Hi, my name's Mike." 

Lest we not forget how he nicknamed me Tyrone and called me that for ages. I still don't know why. 

At the end of Mardi Gras break we took an afternoon to check out Moncus Park. My takeaways - it's busy, it's amazing, and I won't be returning with the dog and Elliot together without Jeremy with us. 

One you can handle alone, two you cannot handle. 

Oh toddlers. 

How do y'all like all of that clover? I think Elliot sums up how he felt... like he could use some allergy medicine. 

I adore clover though. Give me a yard of clover and no grass. 

It's soft. Full of flowers, and has a distinctive smell. 

It also reminds me of Dad. When he raised rabbits we would drive to the levee to pick as much as we could. The bunnies loved it. Sometimes we would take a box, with the baby bunnies with us, and let them play and snack in the clover while we picked it. 

The only thing I love more than winter is the beginning of clover season. 

During our break Harrison and I walked Dill to the park everyday. Harry loved it, Dill needed the exercise, and Dill also realized he didn't cope well with not being able to chase his child everywhere he wanted to. 

Poor little leashed cockapoo. 

Also, where did we get a 7 year old from. Just yesterday no one was sleeping and we were fighting colic. 

This skunk. 

I made biscuits the other day and he wanted to help. Anyone who ever eats at our house needs to thank me when I don't allow him to help for food being shared with others. 

He's busy, curious, and intelligent to spite me. 

He knows a few opposites... but uses them against me. For instance, I told him he needed to move fast because we were running late. He responded, "I don't want to go fast, I want to go slow." 

Hard headed. 

And in case you feel like Daylight Savings is getting you down, this is Elliot after church yesterday. Asleep in an empty popcorn bowl. 

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Bribery Brownies

March 11, 2022

 While looking for my recipe for an old Pinterest favorite from a decade ago I realized just how long I have been bribing children with what I called Happy Brownies

A name change is in order. After a literal decade of bribing children to do well on big district tests... they're now Bribery Brownies. 

And since it's been a decade (2011), I'll do a little blog update of the easiest child bribing brownie recipe on earth. 

Bribery Brownies: 


1 box of brownie mix (and what you need to make them) 

1 1/2 sleeves of cookie dough

1 container of Oreos


Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Press the cookie dough into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Using a piece of parchment or cling wrap will help to keep your fingers clean. Next layer the Oreos in a single layer. Finally mix up the brownie batter and smooth it over the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes. 

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Serve it up to whoever you need a favor from. 

Seriously, kids do flips for these. Use them to get what you want.

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Meal Planning Thursday

March 10, 2022

 Let's be honest, I need to change my graphic. I haven't weekend meal planned since the pandemic started. 

But here we go,  a cooking heavy week. A new dish from Sip and Feast that I've been wanting to try (and need to figure out how to get my hands on a cup of cheap brandy to cook with). And the restarting of bible study at our house so the cookies are coming back out... so I'll share that recipe with my tips and changes. 

Thursday | BBQ Soy Ginger Chicken Thighs with Rice & Brussel Sprouts 

Friday |   Mushroom Brandy Cream Sauce Spaghetti with Chicken Cutlets 

Saturday | leftovers 

Sunday | Balsamic Chuck Roast with Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

Monday | Berry & Goat Cheese Salad

Tuesday | leftover 

Wednesday | Sam's Chick-fil-a knock off nuggets and fries (the kids fav and my fav on single mom night) 

Lunch - Bag Chopped Salads with Chicken 

Now for The Cookies

My original recipe is linked. I've updated it 3 times and should probably do a 4th update. 

Here are my added suggestions:

1. It says mini chocolate chips. Use mini semi sweet chocolate chips. The way the mini disperses in the batter is key to getting that amazing gooey chocolate throughout. 

2. Make your cookie dough the day before. Let it sit and rest, ferment, meld together, whatever, for a minimum of 12 hours and anywhere for up to 72 hours. The longer it sits, the better they taste. 

3. Give them about 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet before you transfer to the wire rack. Don't let them cool on the sheet. They won't be as chewy and will continue to cook with the heat when left on the sheet. 

4. I also use a fairly small cookie scoop for this, one day I'll measure it out and update the recipe with that information too. 

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Hello Grief

March 7, 2022

 I've put it off long enough and took a minor blog break over the past two weeks. 

After 8 years of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck that quickly metastasized to his lungs, and bone cancer that was diagnosed in summer of 2021 after months of pain... Dad passed away. 

It does a number on your body having treatments every three weeks for 8 years, sometimes more frequently when radiation was added on. Plus the COPD. The last several months were not his friend, all the man wanted in life was to be piddling around outside and this winter he really lost the ability to get around easily. 

Then in January he was hospitalized with Covid and Pneumonia. Somehow he made it through (you can attribute that to the two vaccines and booster). 

It's strange to get to this point. 

For many years I've called Mom to see how Dad was doing and feeling, asked for treatment updates, and occasionally asked Dad how he felt. 

He wasn't one to always be honest about the cancer. Once he didn't tell anyone for a month that he tumors in his lungs has grown and moved around yet again. 

The last two month's I had to cease asking him how he was doing all together, I'd get some grumbly answer about how he was only able to watch TV since he couldn't get outside. So then I'd tell him stories about whatever Elliot was doing to make him laugh and we wouldn't address how awful he felt. 

If you've ever questioned human will to live, Dad is a good example of willing himself to stay alive. 

Several years ago he wanted to quit treatment but we talked him into continuing. But when treatment finally stopped in December, he didn't deteriorate as quickly as I anticipated. I mean seriously, hospice had been suggested and treatment had been stopped...and he came back home from the hospital after Covid. I feel like he went back and forth about what he wanted, and while he would threaten to stop treatment, he didn't really mean it at the time. He was just frustrated. 

I went to visit him the weekend of February 11th. (was summoned to visit is probably a better way to describe it) We had an actual discussion about how he had wanted to stay alive until the Super Bowl (he loves football). Since he had made it, I made sure he could access the game and Mom got him the snacks he wanted. I was given an earful about this and that and then I headed back home. Then the man who had barely been eating anything rallied to eat a bit of chips and dip. 

In the week that followed he continued to have these COPD induced breathing episodes where Mom and the hospice nurse would have to fuss around with his medicine to get him breathing comfortably again. It carried on here and there until the 20th when he told Mom he was tired of feeling that way. Either Wednesday or Thursday (I can't remember now, which is why I'm typing this out - so I can read it when I forget later) the worship pastor from my mother's church came by to visit. They had a long talk and Dad accepted Christ as his Savior. (I might write more about this later) 

I woke up early in the morning of the 21st (3:33am) with unexplained anxiety (turns out around 3 is when he started having trouble) and never could fall back asleep. At 5:30 Laura called Jeremy's phone and said we needed to get up there, the hospice nurse said he was going to pass very soon. Before we could get our bags packed another call came in, Dad has passed away at 6:06am. 

That was like him though, he didn't want the three of us (Jeremy, Laura, and I) hoovering over him. He wanted it to just be him and Mom, and that is what he had. A very peaceful death with Mom holding his hand. 

I'm not happy and even that okay with the idea of not having him around any more. His humorous presence and knowledge about gardening and raising birds will be missed. Dad was always very easy going. He enjoyed being with his family and doing things outdoors the most. 

However,  I will fault him for ruining the wild cockapoo Dill. He was left with Mom & Dad for two weeks in the fall he didn't know how to jump and stayed in his little puppy pen, no problem. Dad, the dog lover, taught that nut to jump on the bed to cuddle with him and his rotten dachshund Rudy. It doesn't take Dill long to learn, so he came home escaping the pen and having to be told to stay off the bed and couch... he still constantly tries to do it. Doesn't help that Dill acts helpless at their house and refuses to go outside without assistance because he's afraid of squirrels and the neighbor's dog. 

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March Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box || Tickled Pink

March 1, 2022

With my Lemon Thyme turning pink/mauve during the winter, it's only fitting that my essential oil box is also pink!  

I love that this month's box is bringing in Spring with all of the citrus oils. 

Cypress might not be citrus, but it is a very grounding smell to add to the light and airy grapefruit and mandarin in any diffuser blend. 

Plus this month's blend happens to be one that I've concocted in the past on my own, lavender and frankincense are two of my favorite oils when mixed together. (great in skin care) 

Let's jump into what is included in this month's box: 

Head Soothing Blend: Soothes (kids safe 2+, pregnancy, and dog safe)

Mandarin: Calms, cleans, skincare (kids safe 2+, pregnancy, and dog safe)

Cypress: Calms, deodorizes, skincare (kid safe 2+)

Grapefruit: Energizes, uplifts, skincare (kids safe 2+, pregnancy, and dog safe)

This month's recipes include: 

Eye and Cheek Tint
Citrus Joy Roll-On
Find a Rainbow Diffuser Blend
DIY Shave Butter
Unicorn Soap
Pink Tinted Lip Balm

The extras included are glycerin soap base, flower soap mold, and raspberry pink mica powder. 

As usual, when I get a new box the first thing I do is pull out the diffuser blend. Find a Rainbow Diffuser Blend has a sweet, crisp scent that is perfect for this month/season that is transitioning into spring. I love light and airy while I'm jumping into the spring cleaning I typically do over Mardi Gras break. 

After that I busted out the ingredients to make the Unicorn Soap. 

I'll let's know my final decision on how I like it tomorrow after it has hardened up. 

It was easy to make, granted I skipped a step. I should have layered the soap and added sprinkles to make it cute. However, I have a house of all boys, and all our sprinkles are eyeballs and halloween colors. 

A few things before I wrap this up - 

Next month's box will contain the Clean & Fresh, Tea Tree, Tangerine. Can y'all guess the theme? 

This month's 13% to end human trafficking is going to the organization The Daughter Project. For over 10 years they have been rescuing women and children from sex traffickers. The give survivors the holistic care they need on their healing journey. 

Also - - here are a few tips for what you can do with your box every month! 

1. Add items to your box to get free shipping. 
2. Exchange oils. 
3. Gift a month to a friend. 
4. Get 50% off your next box by sharing your unique voucher code with friends, they'll also get $10 off their first 5 months -  you'll get 50% off for every friend that subscribes! 

As always head over to Simply Earth to order your MARCH box and use the code LABRIDEFREE to get a $40 giftcard/credit towards your next order when you get your Bonus Box! 

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