Fall Picture Outtakes

October 30, 2019

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.
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Meal Planning Tuesday

October 29, 2019

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.
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Simply Earth | The Monthly Essential Oil Recipe Box

October 28, 2019

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

October 22, 2019

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!

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What's in My Rouse's Bag?

October 16, 2019

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. 

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Elliot | 11 Months

October 15, 2019

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. 

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Keeping Up With Your Dental Health While Breastfeeding

October 9, 2019

Dr. Amanda Tavoularis - dentably.com

Breastfeeding is an important activity for many new mothers, and is proven to be a great way to bond with their new child. It’s also essential to providing the nutrients your baby needs and to help them grow. Many women choose to breastfeed their child, but will understandably be a bit cautious during this period to not pass anything harmful to their child. One area that has some big misconceptions for breastfeeding mothers is their dental health. This takes the form of both how to keep up with your dental health during these busy months, as well as what sorts of procedures are safe to undergo. As a dentist with 20 years of experience, I’ve worked with a multitude of nursing women to help them answer these exact questions. Today, we’ll look at steps to preserve your dental health while you are nursing.

Keep Up With Your at Home Care

The most important thing to do is simply to keep up with your normal dental routines. Preventative measures are the first and best line of defense against unwanted oral issues. This is an easy way to protect your teeth and prevent long term issues, and only takes a few minutes a day working into even the busiest new mom’s schedule.

A good dental routine involves brushing twice a day, flossing once per day, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash once per day. It’s also important to make sure you’re doing all these correctly as many people brush and floss but do a poor job at it.

At home care is so important, and plays a huge role in your overall oral health. Stay consistent here and you’ll stop the majority of dental issues before they become a problem.

Watch Your Diet

While you’re breastfeeding, having a good diet is essential. It will not only help you replenish lost calories, but will also impact your dental health. Food plays a big role in bacterial growth in your mouth, so it’s important to watch what you eat. It’s also important to make sure you're eating enough as many of the calories you take in will pass onto your child.

The key here is to avoid empty calories like foods that are high in sugars. Things like candies, pop, and some fruit juices can be loaded with sugar and lacking in key nutrients. Sugar is also damaging to your teeth as it’s used by bacteria to grow.

You’ll want to focus on nutrient rich foods like whole grains, lean proteins, and veggies. These provide the nutrients your body needs without a lot of the harmful sugars. A good diet will also help you get rid of any of that extra pregnancy weight you might want to shed.

If you’re finding it difficult to keep a good diet, a smart move is to prep meals in your downtime. Things like hard boiled eggs or salads are good for you, and keep well over a few days. This is a great way to avoid grabbing an unhealthy snack simply because you don’t have time to prepare something better.

Listen To Your Dentist

Last, it’s important to listen to your dentist, and follow all their recommendations for care. This includes getting the procedures recommended and taking any prescribed medications.

Many women are a bit nervous doing these things while breastfeeding, as it’s well known what the mother takes in is passed to the child. In these cases though, the risk of adverse effects is very low, and there are many safe medications and prescriptions that won’t affect the child.

For procedures, many of the anesthetics used are perfectly safe for breastfeeding mothers. The medications used in them are typically out of your system quickly, before the next time you need to breastfeed. Also there are many medications that are safe to take while breastfeeding, and won’t cause harm to your baby. That said, always bring any concerns to your dentist, and let them know you’re breastfeeding. They’ll then be able to make better decisions on what is and what is not safe for you and your baby.

Keeping up with your dental health is important to keeping your overall body healthy. With a new baby, it may seem like you just don’t have enough hours in the day, but make sure you don’t neglect your dental health. Keep up with the tips above, and you’ll lead a healthier life for both you and your baby.

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