Due to the Quarantine...

Aww quarantine.

A time to continue to be bored, busy, and yet ready to banish the children outside permanently all at the same time.

It was high time I updated chalk and letter boards around this house.

Exhibit A: 


I don't know what has taken me so long, but I finally got to try Poke no pregnant. This isn't something to eat fully cooked folks. 

I got the something or another bowl, who can remember, with Spicy Tuna and it was heaven in a bowl with enough rice to feed half of the country. Amazing! 

Poke car dates for the can't inside an actual restaurant win. But let's all be honest, Elliot is not at my favorite age for taking children out to restaurants. This is working in our favor.


Speaking of Elliot. 

Harrison and I made Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake from her first cookbook. It's to die for people. It's also on her website. 

Elliot appreciated it so much he tried to lick bowls in the sink. 




I've been talking a lot about getting a bike and a pull behind, especially for when we are camping.

I finally did it.

Turns out I need to start lifting weights again because a year out of having this kid and my muscles aren't what they were before.

There has been a lot of huffing and puffing and these Alabama hills aren't helping.


Please note, this isn't Bama red. It's Ragin' Cajun red. It might as well be crawfish red, because I've been going backwards down those hills. 


In the land of workouts. 

I've been a die-hard at Pure Barre Ondemand this year. I managed to snag it at a super low price during Black Friday and couldn't be happier. 

However. 

I think I need more weights on top of the barre workouts that I love. 

So I started following some Whitney Simmons workouts off of Youtube. I've beens sore, she lifts how I did back in my pre-kid gym rat days. The only difference is people just don't wear as much clothing as I feel they should. 

Guess that's why my Instagram model career tanked (just kidding folks). No one wants to see a mama belly in her husband's shirts with leggings instructing your workouts. 


Thought I'd try a new biscuit recipe. 

Don't do that, when you find a holy grail recipe don't ever follow the crowd and make other biscuits people. 

I tried the Joana Gain's biscuits when I made Boudin Biscuits last night and I wasn't disappointed, but they weren't Regina's Biscuits. 

By the way if you want a killer Boudin Biscuit a la Shawn's Meat Market in Delcambre but can't get there >>> get your Mama to keep you stocked up in Cajun Specialty (Vidalia, LA) Boudin, make some homemade biscuits (preferably Regina's), patty up that boudin (you'll have to add egg and flour to get it to patty), toss it on a biscuit and drizzle a healthy amount of Steen's Cane Syrup on top and you'll be happier than you've ever been. 

Except if you've also had Shawn's Poor Man's Cracklin and then I can't recreate that. 

Now!

We can't leave this post without a quaran-meme... so...





Saying "I Do" Without Going Into Debt: How to Have a Cheap Wedding

You love your soon-to-be spouse. And the feeling is mutual.
Another thing that's mutual? Your desire NOT to go into debt while professing your love for each other in front of family and friends.
The good news is that you don't have to enter your marriage in the red just to tie the knot. Here's a rundown on how to have a cheap wedding this year.
Let's jump in!


How to Have a Cheap Wedding? Look for Complimentary Decorations

If you are interested in having a religious wedding at a church, you may want to have the celebration near one of the major holidays on the calendar. For instance, consider scheduling your ceremony near Christmas or Easter.
Why? Because the church you choose will likely already be fully decorated. And this can save you a lot on decorations, like flowers.
For any wedding date that is not near a holiday, consider having a beautiful candlelit ceremony. This type of wedding can be inexpensive yet romantic and gorgeous.

Programs

Yet another way to save during your upcoming wedding ceremony is to make your own free wedding program
Instead of paying a printing firm or a professional graphic designer to create a program for you, you can use a user-friendly program template to effortlessly create a program that reflects your style.

Party Favors and Other Touches

Looking for yet another way to save during wedding planning? You could throw a party where your friends would help you to assemble favors and other inexpensive touches.
For instance, your friends could help you to create homemade centerpieces and even invitations.
During your party, make sure that you play inspiring songs and make delectable snacks available. This will make your helpers feel appreciated and make the experience more enjoyable for all parties involved.

Food

Finally, if you're serious about saving money, explain this to your caterer.
You may want to ask the caterer what their least costly seated-dinner entrees are. Also, find out if having a buffet would be a less expensive option for you.
In addition, if you can have a dry ceremony -- meaning that you serve no alcohol -- this can save you a lot of money. However, if you want to serve alcohol, see if the caterer will allow you to bring your own.
If you can't bring your own, you could save money by serving just beer and wine, rather than an entire bar. And if you do have an open bar, consider keeping it open only during the cocktail hour. You can then serve less expensive wine at dinnertime.

How We Can Help You

In addition to showing you how to have a cheap wedding this year, I offer a wide range of tips and advice for throwing the perfect wedding for you and your significant other.
For instance, you can learn how to create a beautiful hairstyle to match your personality for the big day. You can also learn how to take stunning bridal shoot photos.
Explore my blog to find out more about how to celebrate your marriage in a unique, memorable, and frugal way in the coming months.

Is Your Job Impacting Your Marriage? Here's What You Need to Do

It's funny how work life impacts your other relationships. Today's guest post shares tips for getting out of a job related relationship funk. 
.............................................................
Are you workaholic and take on all the overtime you can get? Or perhaps you're coming home every night miserable and complaining about your boss or colleagues. Whatever the reason, jobs can put our relationships on the line and, in radical cases, can leave a marriage in jeopardy.
It's easy to fall into the trap of a negative mindset because of work; after all, our jobs consume a great deal of our time. However, this anguish can start to seep into your personal life and cause you to constantly pour out your feelings to your spouse, who is unable to fix the situation.
If you fear that your job is starting to impact your marriage, here's what you need to do.
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash


Prioritize your relationship
First and foremost, you need to prove to your spouse that you're in this marriage for the long-haul. You may have recognized that you have been neglecting them but haven't put any strategies in place to prove you appreciate them. Even if you come home tired after a hard day's work, taking a few minutes when you get home to have a conversation shows you care. Work can be one of the biggest stresses in life, but there's no excuse for putting your spouse at the bottom of the pile. These short conversations will keep positive communication flowing and prevent problems escalating.
Save energy for socializing
If your mind is constantly distant and thinking of other things, your spouse has undoubtedly spotted it. With the hectic demands and stresses of work, you may find that you're left with very little energy to enjoy time with your spouse at the weekend. This is sure to cause issues, as special times should be shared by both of you. Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial, and if you're unable to accomplish this in your current job, it may be time you seek other opportunities.

Change career paths
It may not be the workplace that's causing you misery, but the job role itself. If this is the case, perhaps you could consider switching careers. This isn't always easy when you don't have the necessary qualifications and experience to work in a different industry, so you'll likely need to endure additional training or studying to expand your horizons. You can conduct a college search online to find institutions that are in your local area. By making this break and focusing on a career path that you're interested in, you should feel much happier in yourself and have time to focus on what matters most in life.
Make sacrifices
If you're unable to cut down your hours at work, it may mean that you have to make sacrifices to maintain a healthy marriage. You could get up a little earlier in the mornings or give up one of your hobbies to spend one weeknight with your spouse. While you shouldn't be forfeiting everything you enjoy, it's important to be reasonable so that your spouse feels appreciated.

Looks Are Deceiving, Go Clean Co., & Attempting to Figure out What Day It Is

In an attempt to finally bake some bread, I slowly realized that I murdered my started. 

Not a full on death to the starter situation. 

It foams. 

It just makes really - dense - bread. 


I thought those pretzels turned out okay, they were dense, but they're also pretzels and I've never made them before. 

But then I made a loaf I've made many a time. 

It never rose. 

It baked into what could be described as a slightly airy brick. 

Looks like I'll be actively feeding that sucker until it comes back to life. 


A friend posted about the Go Clean Co account on Instagram. I'm hooked. 

Like I clean. Things look clean. But I didn't know what I didn't know and now I know and everything in my life has completely changed. 

Not really. 

But my cleaning game just got A) easier B) ya don't need all them crazy products and C) holy grail cleaning stuff people. 

I'm tempted (TEMPTED) to get after our washer. But that washer was purchased the year after we were married. 

It's 10. 

It's never been cleaned because I didn't know I needed to do what she told me I need to do. 

It's also a throwback top loader that isn't hip by any means. There is no detergent loading tray. I'm sure there's a hose filter situation... somewhere. Heck if I know where. 

I'm having to ask myself "Am I about to clean a granny washer that might not make it that much longer anyway?" 

Then I answer myself (because we are in a quarantine people) "Yes, clean that nasty granny washer and while you're at it, buy the stuff to strip your laundry, you live in a nasty house of boys." 


I also had a bright idea this week. 

Meant entirely in the actual bright idea sense as well as the ironic sense. 

I shaving creamed the coffee table so Harry could practice his letters. 

This had a few layers. Number 1 - I could workout with minimal complaints. Number 2 - He would practice his letters that he dearly hates. Number 3 - making a mess (that also cleans the counter) is fun and it is motor skill practice. 

What I didn't anticipate halfway through my Pure Barre class was looking back to see someone with one foot on the table smearing it around, covered in shaving cream, the floor and couch covered in shaving cream. 

But he was having the time of his life and I managed to get a workout in. 

We will also check this off the list as "cleaning". 


Let's be honest... am I still here? 

I don't know. What day is it? What time is it? Why are there children here? Oh yeah, that's right, I had children. Does anyone want them? Is it possible to eat cake daily and not gain weight? No? Ice cream? Also no? Whatever. I quit. 

I was begging for a quarantine folks, since at least November, heck August, and had no idea it could actually happen. I just needed a sabbatical. But I needed one that involved infinite cash flow, activities, a nanny, travel, maybe a European vacation. 

This isn't the quarantine I signed up for. 

But dad-gum answered prayers are a funny thing (just kidding, don't come at me with pitch forks). 

I'll be back Monday, if I realize that Monday is actually Monday at some point on Monday.

Easter, More Quaran-memes, & Answering the Important Questions...

Important questions being "Can you sage a baby?"

Possibly. 

I sure as heck am diffusing Clary Sage & the Tranquility blend from Simply Earth, because at this point I'll try anything. Elliot's side hobby seems to be yelling, screaming, pulling on my clothing, and demanding I pick him up. 

I'm here to inform you... you might see him on the corner with a sale sign on his neck if he keeps this up. 


I do in-fact feed this child yogurt every afternoon this way. 

You just wouldn't know that because A) there's no photographic evidence and B) he takes photos like a cop doing mug shots anyway. 

I love him. Really I do. 

But I'd have to hire a professional photog if I ever wanted to be included or look decent in photos. 


Last week out children's pastor came by all the kids houses and had a mini surprise egg hunt since the church's annual Easter event was cancelled.

Here's a few of the kids in the yard. I'm. happy to report that when we hunted eggs Saturday as per the Easter requirements when a big fat storm is on the horizon... Elliot finally figured out how to hunt.




Stealing eggs. 

A series of emotional reactions. 








This Easter I learned an important lessons. 

One can not boil, like legit boil, shrimp in the house. 

Yes, I've done a quick boil to make Shrimp Salad. But a full on boil to get New Iberia Jane's Restaurant quality shrimp... I nearly killed the entire family. 

I nearly tear-gassed the entire family. 

But they tasted great. 


I also made a Chantilly Cake, or Gentilly, whatever you prefer. My main issue was that this oven is trying to ruin my reputation and chose to continue heating on this particular day (it doesn't do it every day but when it does you are going to look like you can't cook) and instead of sitting at 350 chose to jump up to 400. 

I'll be remaking this very soon in an attempt to redeem myself. It tastes fine, but it isn't up to standards. 


I finally got my week on Jeremy's youth ministry video. I think y'all will get a kick out of it if you watch tonight. 


If ever you wonder where some bump or bruise came from on Elliot, just know that he never stops climbing. 

It's all rightfully earned. 


I finally got around to reorganizing the kid clothing bins. This happens about once a year when there is a big shift in sizes.  Which has led me to ask on Instagram... 

Did you save all your kids clothing "just in case" or were you a tosser? 

Personally... as one can clearly see... I'm a saver. Elliot is burning through Harrison's bins and in the event we decide to not have a 3rd or maybe have one that child will get these. If it were to be a girl those bins would be donated to another family. 

Several friends have given us hand-me-downs over the years and I'd love to be able to help someone out by dropping off several years worth of clothing and gear. Eventually. 


Want more honesty than you signed up for today? 

Lord's Supper Service online the other day really highlighted just how much I am not liking church at home with two kids alone. 

Yup I said it, I'm not a fan. 

I need to get out and see people, in person. Talk to adults. 

This whole being at home with the two littles while Daddy is at church is for the birds. I keep seeing families post their pics of everyone on the couch joyfully doing church together. 

For those of us with little kids (and I've spoken to a friend or two) or who don't have families who attend church with them... this mess is less than thrilling. 

It's impossible to focus when everyone is having a meltdown or yelling because they're mad that the tv isn't on the channel they want. 

And most of all, it is lonely being the only person (because toddlers don't count as people) in a home during an online service. 

Now for something funny, because it's a lifeline some days. 

Quaran-memes



Yeah, I'm good without Shreveport. 



Do yourself a favor and search "new iberia haircut" on Youtube. It's the dumbest thing you've ever see. And sadly extremely accurate. 




I missed saying it at the beginning, but I was late to the blog party this week mainly because we were without power from 9:30 pm Sunday to about 5pm Monday. 

Was I panicking about losing food? Yes. 

A friend arranged for another friend to come over with a generator and let me tell y'all... the second we were hooked up and about to power up the lights came on! I've never been so thankful to see electricity outside of a hurricane in my life. 

We will be buying a generator when we buy a house, you can bet your bottom dollar on that. 

Tuesday... I didn't blog... because I went to work. 

We somehow got 7 weeks worth of packets made, stuffed, and set out in a few hours. I nearly lost a finger or two to paper cuts yesterday. 

That was 800 packets made folks. 

Until Friday... 

Tips On How To Efficiently Budget For Your Wedding

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive, and if you don’t budget carefully then you might find that you easily overspend. This can mean that you run out of money for the things you really want and will have to do without, or you will be starting married life with financial issues that could have been avoided if you had created a budget from the start.

Knowing how much you have to spend and what you want to spend your money on is crucial if you want a stress-free wedding. Here are some tips on how to budget for your wedding to help you enjoy the process.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

How Much Can You Spend?

Before you can even think about looking at venues and booking wedding dress fittings, you need to know how much you have to spend overall. Once you have that figure, you can then determine how much you can spend on each separate element - from the dress, to the cake, to the reception drinks, to having a stunning and unusual butterfly release wedding ceremony and much more.

To begin with, look at your savings. This will probably form the bulk of your wedding fund. Next, take a look at your monthly income. What is left after you have paid out for all the essentials each month? If that doesn’t already go into your savings, it should do now that you’re budgeting for a wedding. Finally, look at any contributions you might be receiving.

Although this shouldn’t be relied upon, friends and family may ask if they can add to the wedding fund – always say yes, but make sure they know you’re not expecting a gift as well.

Track Your Spending

Now you know how much you’re going to have to spend for your wedding, you can start breaking that amount down. One of the biggest costs is the venue, followed by the dress and the photographer. However, refrain from allocating too much for these items as you will still need a cake, wedding rings, transport, and food at the very least.

Make a spreadsheet for your wedding spending so that you know exactly what you have left to buy and how much you’ve spent. If you’re spreading the cost, don’t forget to take that into account.

Have A Contingency Fund

Part of your budget should always include a contingency fund, so that should you be hit by any surprise costs or issues, you’ll have enough money to fix the problem.

As well as this, however, make sure you read the fine print on any contract you sign. You might find that there are additional costs that you haven’t been made aware of, but that you will be liable for later down the line. These can include set up or take down fees, additional mileage for transportation, or even digital access to your photographs. Be aware of every dollar you’re spending and you’ll be able to keep your wedding in budget easily.

Chasing Frogs

It's not often I drag out my DSLR camera anymore, iPhones have really caught up. Granted the only difference is how my nifty fifty lens really captures moments. 

Nothing beats the depth of focus of that nifty fifty. 


Jeremy was working in the yard/the kids were playing outside yesterday evening.

Elliot really is a happier person outside. Thank goodness though! We couldn't get a child that would hate camping. Maybe that's what 2 camping trips in your first year of life will do for a person, three if you count our Arkansas trip when I was pregnant.

Speaking of which, I never want to try and hike pregnant every again.


It so hard to capture kids at this age, especially for a non photographer.

I prefer taking photos of food for the blog, granted it's been about a year since I put out any recipes. But living in apartments will do that to a person. It's hard to be motivated in a less than motivating kitchen.

Oh dearest Cherry Palm house oven, how I miss you so much.



This picture has me thinking, if you're looking for good kid shoes, get some Keens when they are on sale. I got both the boys a pair of their sandals (because they can endure it all) and have loved them.

They aren't the pretty little boy sandals I prefer, but they are durable, conform to their feet well, and do not come off. I repeat. THESE. SANDALS. DO. NOT. COME. OFF. LITTLE. FEET.

I also have a pair of Keens, the short tennis shoe style, but hiking shoe. Who knows. One day I want the higher top ones. They were given to me when I was a writer for Lafayette Mom, Keens was a sponsor, and I love them for hiking. They feel much more secure than regular sneakers when you are out hiking around a campground. They're built for that... but still. they're worth the price and legit.



How do y'all like that dirty little butt that scooted down the hill below?


That is all for today, until I bring out my camera again. Granted if quarantine doesn't end soon it will be a blog of little boys in the yard. Maybe we will get creative and take picture in front of the neighbors horses and cows to change it up a bit for y'all. 

Maybe We're a Two Kid Family || & More QuaranMemes

It's. Been. A. Week. 

Hence the fact that I wasn't here Wednesday or Friday. 

First off, we finally got guidance for what to do work wise. I need a plan. Hello Enneagram 1 here! So two weeks sans any sort of plan had me quite irritated. 

Now that we've got a plan I'm good. 

Monday night my grade level had a Zoom meeting about what we were going to do. So Tuesday morning when Elliot woke up chipper (for Elliot standards) I got to planning in the play room. Mainly because someone's tree fell and knocked the power out and I firmly believe that family owes the entire street tacos for the inconvenience. 

Who the heck allows for a power outage in the midst of the biggest sickness since Spanish Flu? 


In more Elliot related news. 

Don't check out mamas, not even for 5 seconds because the sounds of children is grating on your nerves. 

One minute on Facebook and my glasses were dead to the world. We couldn't find any super glue, so until (14-21 days) that online optical place delivers I'm sporting glasses held together with prayers, epoxy, and a touch of duck tape that keeps sticking to my face. 


This photo was taken at a moment Elliot wasn't screaming for some ridiculous reason.

Don't look at it for too long, I don't want you believing the moment lasted longer than it did in reality.


As if Covid wasn't out to get us, the pollen took up the slack. 

Momming alone with sickness is a flat joke. If these kids were 5 years older I would have locked them outside by now and shown them where the water hose is. 

Look now, we survived it, don't judge me. 


One perk, fueled by antihistamines, is that the weather has been cool in the morning and we have a nice fenced in porch. With rocking chairs. So the boys have spent a ton of time outside, where boys belong. 

I always threatened to get to get rocking chairs at our Cherry Palm house and I'll definitely get getting some when we buy a house in the fall. 

Also... notice the throat coat tea with lemon. It's a miracle worker. I drink it every day before teaching (you know, back in the day when we actually saw children in person.) 


Random activities bring up old memories. 

We picked up Chinese takeout last night and it was reminiscent of Pop bringing home takeout from South China in Natchez. We got together with my grandparents every weekend when I was a kid and the cardboard boxes that takeout was put in at South China are a fond memory. 


Elliot's saving grace this weekend is that it seems he will be my Rocky Joe rider. 

My parents got this rocking horse, and this is his original paint color, when I was about his age. Joshua and Harrison didn't care for it much. But this wild child appears to like the rocking horse. 

Fun fact: I name this sucker Rocky Joe and chose the blue color. My mother wanted one of the pretty natural wood stained horses. 

He's held up well for a 33 year old horse. 


QuaranMemes


I don't drink, but this is sounding like a great idea at this point in the lockdown. 

I seriously have laughed every time I've read this one. Especially the "follow me for more recipes" at the bottom! 


Considering we ended our zoom call trying to change our backgrounds... I had to send this out to my coworkers.


Memes sent to Mike because he doesn't listen. 


Tuscaloosa's got jokes. 

But for real, if I wear an LSU shirt to any teacher trainings I have a heck of a time finding a partner for activities. 


Don't be donating your gremlins right now folks, we don't have time for that. 


Now, I must go. I accidentally left the pantry unlocked and Elliot is eating a honey bun that Harrison opened for him. (and yes I have baby locks on the pantry because Elliot tears this joint up spreading things all over creation if I don't)

This second child y'all! I was fairly strict Paleo with Harrison (because that's all I cooked anyway) and now kid number two is breaking every rule ever set in place in the house. World's more YOLO baby ever.