Meal Planning Monday || Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

November 22, 2021

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The Old House On Oak || Recent Updates

November 12, 2021

The interesting thing about buying an older home, after owning newer homes, is that your desire to makes changes in greater. 

You want paint to be updated colors. 

Amenities are necessary to your way of life.  

And every time you stick your hands into something else you're quickly reminded that 80 years ago people didn't have the same wants and needs that we do now. 

So far we've painted the exterior and the guest room. Sherman Williams Morning Fog as the exterior, and the interior room we painted is in Sea Salt. The lighter shade of green on the dresser is Privilege Green, while the front door is Fresh Balsam, all SW. 

This past week we updated the fridge (we drink too much water to not have water and ice in the door) and found our there was no water line... so a line was run. 

In true "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" fashion, it didn't end there. 

Hot water has been an issue from day one. After the plumber looked at it yesterday he said what we've got is a 30 gallon tank from 1999 that was not even new at this house, it was previously in a motor home and was made for a motor home... not something on the cusp of 2,000 square feet. Add on top of that the galvanized pipes of old City Park and it's likely 1/3 full of sediment. 

Hence, we never have enough water. 

So, and this is a big so that is half exciting and half terrifying... after much more discussion the entire water system is being replaced. All new pipes and we are going tankless. 

But we won't be able to live in the house for an entire week. 

The projects don't end there, but at the moment everything is else is on the "when we have a free weekend" timer and those are few and far between at the moment. So the next free weekend will include: 

1. German Smear to the front steps (to white it out)

2. Building shutters, and painting them black

3. Wrapping the iron supports in the front of the house to make them look like wood. 

4. Saving up for new living room furniture and eventually getting on the decorating train. 

5. Way down the line... painting our bed and bath. 

And probably painting all the spots around the house were any damage to the new paint is done while the pipes are being changed out. 

Anyone else having heart palpitations? Just me. 

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Meal Planning... Tuesday

November 9, 2021

 Am I organized lately... nope. 

I'm crossing my fingers that now that we've closed on our house my brain will free up space to function properly. 

Thursday | Breaking my one a week rule - eating out

Friday |   Blackened Fish with Rice and Salad (again, memory problems, I don't know what fish I bought) 

Saturday | Eat Out 

Sunday | Mongolian Beef and Sesame Noodles  (with gluten free pasta) 

Monday | Spiced Pork Butt in the Instant Pot with Coleslaw

Tuesday | leftover 

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

Lunch - Taco Salad with shredded chicken (It's day two and I'm already sick of eating it this week) 

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Elliot Turned 3!

November 7, 2021

Our little blonde wild toddler turned 3 last week!

He was on my case for an entire month about having a Halloween Sprinkle Cake, so I delivered (except that I let the ganache cool too much before pouring it over so it didn't drip well) 

Would y'all believe me if I told you he never ate a bite of this cake? He was really just here to have people sing to him. 

I'll post more about the cake in a later post and share what ganache recipe I used, but I might be retiring this for our official birthday cake. Having baked in three different ovens since I originally made this, I just can't get same cake texture I did the first several times. Maybe I need to make it again and work on the oven time. 


For his birthday we replaced their little Power Wheels that had died with one that was made well for driving on grass. He was a tad beside himself with the crazy. His partner in crime was down for the adventure. He cracks me up with how he interacts with our friend's daughter. They don't play at all together and then when we are leaving they are madly in love and talk about each other when we've left. 

Just last night he hugged her and said "Come here Mia! I love you!" 

After cake we headed out to the worst Halloween parade in human history. Walking there with all the kids was fun, but it started an house late, moved insanely slow, and was majority dance lines. 

I heard that there was a medical emergency, so I get that, but it was rough with small people who were sick of the police sirens and lack of candy. 

To show you just how wore out they were, and we left the parade early... this is how they rode home. 

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A Ghost, a Cockapoo, and Spiderman Go Trick-R-Treating

November 6, 2021

Notice the photo bomber in the door? 

Dill fully believes he has to be with the boys at all times. 


Harrison changed masks, I can't exactly blame him. The Spiderman costume had one of those that were tight around your head instead of a mask. 

Also, if this shows you have not together I am since the move (things are slowly coming together)... my pumpkin buckets seem to have vanished. So next best thing, Easter buckets. 

And that wraps another year of Halloween. Which, by the way, I'm considering a huge success because Elliot wore a costume. 
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How to Start Your Family Life Off Well

November 2, 2021

Family life can be difficult, and the transition between your life as a couple and your life with children is often overwhelming. However, there are many steps that you can take to ensure that your family life can start off well and that you have ample time to spend with your family and watch it grow without feeling like you’re missing out. So then, here are some of the best ways that you can make sure that your family life runs smoothly within its first couple of years. 

Photo by Jimmy Dean on Unsplash

Go Self-Employed

One of the reasons that many parents struggle to maintain jobs that have a lot of responsibility attached to them because they need to juggle both their work and their kids. Then, you should consider going self-employed once you decide to go back to work. Self-employment will give you the flexibility you want and deserve and ensure that you only need to take on the jobs you believe you have time for. For instance, the delivery driver jobs that can be found on load boards like Shiply allow you to bid for certain tasks, and, by doing this, you will be able to opt only for the jobs that you want to do, around other commitments like your children. 

Find Childcare 

Whatever you do, it is impossible to be with your children 24/7, and this is not always the best option for them, anyway. So then, you should try to find an excellent childminder as soon as you possibly can. This will allow you to relax in the knowledge that your child will be cared for and looked after if you want to go on a night out or simply enjoy a little bit of time away from your child. To find excellent childcare options, you should ask for recommendations from other parents or ask your family and friends whether they would be up for looking after your baby for you. 

Move to a Great Area

However, to start off your family life well, you need to make sure that you will be bringing your child up in a safe and happy environment. This might mean that you wish to move to an area with a low crime rate with many great schools and nurseries in the area when your child needs them. By moving, you will be able to ensure that you are setting your kids up for life and that they can feel comfortable when they are at home and at school. 


It can be difficult to avoid the inevitable stress that parenting brings. However, it is possible to enjoy the first few months of parenthood calmly. Then, you should try to de-stress by taking the time to care for yourself, even if this is simply running yourself a bubble bath or moisturizing your face. You should also make sure that you seek the support that you need, whether this is in the form of a doctor or just a friend.

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Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box || November 2021

November 1, 2021

 The theme of this month's Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box is right in line with what we are all preparing for - Gift Giving. 

In the box you'll find some oldie but goodie blends along with the items you need to make adorable natural gifts for your family and friends. 

Let's dig into the box. 

This month's oils: 

Winter Spice (blend) - soothes, seasonal aroma - Pregnancy and Kid Safe for 2+

Cassia (single) - supports immunity, calms - Kid Safe 10+

Candy Cane (blend) - holiday aroma - Kid Safe 2+ and Pregnancy Safe

Lime (single) - energizes, cleans - Kid Safe 2+ and Pregnancy Safe

I loved using Winter Spice last year, and have continued to use Candy Cane throughout the entire year just because it has such a clean peppermint scent. 

Cassia is the oil I am most intrigued by this month. I've never use it before now, and it has the best buttery cinnamon roll smell. If you want the smell of cooking an amazing batch of cinnamon rolls without the work, then diffuse cassia. 


Paperboard Lip Balm Tubes

Lavender Buds 

Test Tubes

The recipes are all really great gift ideas this year. 

You'll get a Candy Lip Balm, Forever Thankful Roll-on, Oatmeal Cookie Sugar Scrub, Winter Joy Bath Salts, Air Dry Clay Diffuser Ornament, and Diffuser Blend that comes with directions for one diffuser how to make a master blend to give away. 

I think my favorite for giving away ware definitely the roll-on, sugar scrub, and bath salts. 

The test tubes would make great teacher gifts, and the sugar scrub and bath salts could easily be doubled and put in cute jars. 

Don't forget that recipe box subscribers get access to the Essential Oil Hero Course where you can learn how to use essential oils with confidence and clarity. I know that for myself I didn't put much thought into what was kid or dog safe before subscribing to Simply Earth. It's change how, what, and why I use essential oils in our home. 

As always, Simply Earth donates 13% to end Human Trafficking. This month 13% of profits are going to the organization Jericho Ministries in Honduras. This ministry has a children's school, children's home, and women's workshop. Their focus is to serve those who have been exploited through prostitution and sex trafficking as well as the children of those individuals. 

Head over to Simply Earth to order your JULY box and use the code LABRIDEFREE to get a $40 giftcard towards your next order when you get your Bonus Box! 

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Pumpkin in the Patch 2021

October 27, 2021

You know, like most other women, I love a good pumpkin patch. 

I actually think I love the photos with the kids in them more than Christmas photos. It's the colors, I adore fall colors. 

Elliot is increasingly harder to take photos of, he's hit that "on the move" age that isn't good for someone who doesn't shoot a moving object well.

Our friends and their little girl came with us this year, I loved trying to get shots of her. She just didn't love me trying to get shots lol! I got a lot of "what on earth are you doing" looks. 

But she's the only reason Elliot ever sat still, he wanted to take a picture with his "Mina" because he loves her so much. 

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Meal Planning Monday

October 25, 2021

Thursday | Chili Lime Shrimp Skillet  - serve over rice with salsa and avocado (and cheese if dairy doesn't bother you) 

Friday | Chicken and Dumplings 

Saturday | Eat Out 

Sunday | Mongolian Beef and Sesame Noodles  (with gluten free pasta) 

Monday | Chicken Piccata and Keto Spaghetti Squash Alfredo 

Tuesday | leftover 

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

Lunch - Taco Salad (low carb) and over Rice for (regular macro) 

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Talk Turkey to Me

October 23, 2021

 I know y'all have gotten your Amazon gift catalog in the mail at this point. 

Elliot keeps asking us to read him a book and hands us that Amazon catalog.

While the weather was great last weekend we headed to the zoo like half of Acadiana. 

Elliot started having a big fit and the turkeys became interested. Next thing I knew they were standing in front of him in what appeared to be having a little chat about his fit. Like taking turns squawking at him! 

Also, Jet Coffee is by far the best in town. 

Dill has been about as toddler behaving as Elliot is. He also figured out how to get on furniture, so that's a whole new battle. 

Someone also explain the conundrum to me of him wanting to be all in the kids business but wanting the kids to not be in his. They've got a love/hate relationship depending on which of the three isn't behaving. 

Last but not least - the house was painted last weekened! Shermin Williams Morning Fog is the color, now more yellow. Whoop! 

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Sharing is Caring

October 14, 2021

We've hit that time of year, sometimes you can go out and it's beautiful. Other's you'd swear we were all in mid August in such thick humidity that we are all doomed to a life of sweating constantly. 

Glistening might be a pretty word for it. 

But this far south... nothing glistens. It pours. 

Don't look too closely at the rosemary in the corner of the photo above... two straight weeks of rain nearly murdered the poor dear. Hopefully a cool snap (anything below 90) and a few dry days will do her some good. 

Now for the boys that are going to be the reason I have white hair by 40. 

In the photo they were sitting outside nicely, eating popsicles... at first glance. But as I opened the door to snap a pic of their sweet demeanor Harrison announced "Elliot is being so nice, he's sharing with our puppy!" 

Aww sweet, that dog really needed a Rocket Pop. And Elliot really needed some dog spit. 

I wish I had a photo or video of their antics last night, but Halloween really gets them going. Harrison was stomping around growling, pretending to be a werewolf while I was trying to dress them for bed. Elliot was happily causing mischief as usual and suddenly Harrison bit Elliot. (not hard, but it made his point playing) 

Elliot stood up from the floor, faces the window, and starts howling at the moon. 

You know, because his brother turned him into a werewolf and all. It's real. Seriously, it's just that no one believes Harrison (except Elliot, who really believes Harrison). 

In the name of Halloween/birthday decorating I broke down and ordered the wall bats that everyone has loved since last Halloween.

This weekend I need to finish up my d├ęcor and start filling balloons for his arch and take out (find) the birthday banner. 

My plan for this year was to really decorate for each holiday, but now that we are right back in the moving/selling phase for a hot second that is being postponed to next year. Rumor has it we are finally closing this month. 

The other thing keeping me back from holiday decorating is that I want to decorate the house. Painting begins this weekend, and hopefully we will also start to tackle the guest room painting as well. 

The current to list is a touch steep: 
a new fridge and microwave (ours was lost in the first buyer's contract and they fell through, leaving our microwave in Alabama) 
couch and chairs for the living room (still using the "we sold everything we own stand in furniture from the apartment that has been through too much) 
eventually painting and decorating our bedroom

But living room furniture is high on the list, that Facebook Marketplace couch went through two moves in the rain and is the strangest shade of tan yellow anyway. Then there's the chair I intended to recover and have lost the will to recover it. It is just going to go. 

Homecoming was last week. 

We were rolled.... 7 times. 


Jeremy tried to give them out pandemic toilet paper that is clearly regenerating in the closet, but they refused. They used the good stuff. 

I am never getting rid of these last few rolls of Scott. Note to self... never buy thin paper when you're desperate. Just buy a bidet. 
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Meal Planning Monday

October 11, 2021

It's been a minute since I shared meals.

Let's look at what we have been eating on this meal planning week. 

Thursday | Ate out (school fundraiser dinner) 

Friday | Rainbow Veggie Bowl (Lillie Eats and Tells Bulk Chicken, Grilled Veggies, Wild Rice Blue Cheese, Grape Tomatoes, Lime) 

Saturday | Gumbo Cook-Off 

Sunday | Half Baked Harvest Pineapple Chicken 

Monday | Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps 

Tuesday | Shrimp and Sausage Sheet Pan with Veggies 

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

Lunch - Egg Roll in a Bowl (Mon-Tues) and Bulk Chicken Recipe with Broccoli and Rice  (Wed-Sat) Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps 

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Faster Way to Fat Loss Update

October 7, 2021

 I thought I'd do an update of where I'm at with Faster Way, it's been a minute. 

I'm still in the program, I don't know if I've lost more weight or inches... I have weighed or measured. Honestly, that's the freedom I've found in this program, I don't feel the need to see a number. 

Not on a scale. 

Not on a tape measure. 

All I care about is that my clothing fits. 

And everything is fitting really well. I recently ordered some new jeans (if you follow me on IG you'll see me joking about what Old Navy deems as jeans these days) and actually went down a size totally expecting them to not come past my thighs... y'all they fit. 

So fine, I'm doing the program and working out to a T right? You might be thinking that. 

Actually, I give myself some flexibility and grace. For starters I love food, cooking, trying new places. I can't live my life in the restricted bubble I was once in during my Paleo days. I need to eat a donut with the kids, try a new ice cream place, or just order what looks fun on a menu. 

One meal won't kill me. 

I generally avoid gluten, I say that having made a big pan of lasagna this weekend and some Pioneer Woman bread. (I need to post that lasagna recipe soon) Most of my meals don't involve gluten, the weekend gets gluten... and chicken nugget Wednesday. 

We've had a long standing Chicken Nugget French Fry Wednesday and I diligently work it into my macros. The kids would be so disappointed if it went away, so I make it work. No it's not some pretty veggie filled meal, but it's a tradition that the kids look forward to. 

Now for dairy... I don't cut it. 

Having done Whole30 in the past and years in Paleo, I know what bothers me. Certain types of dairy bother and and I limit those. But to X dairy totally... it would never fly. Dairy is right next to peanut butter in our house, if you have an allergy to it we might accidently kill you. There's that much hanging around. 

I don't do a ton of supplements. I put collagen peptides in my coffee every morning, half for the collagen benefits and half for the protein. In your mid 30s and on you need to do whatever you can to get as much collagen and protein as you can. I also keep a tub of protein powder around for when I need to make my favorite protein macro bar or if I am just really struggling with protein that day. 

I also take a multivitamin and zinc daily. But that's it. I really love ashwagandha but haven't taken it in awhile. 

If you're now thinking, okay, so you can be a touch flexible with food and keep it in your macors... let me tell you something else. This summer has been a doosie, getting back to our "adult hometown" has been a doosie, and worst of all my allerigies are back in full swing and that doesn't encourage me either. I've missed a few workouts here and there... but the beauty of Faster Way is that I can jump right back in, and having kept up my macros I don't have far to go to be back to normal. 

All missing a workout here or there, or a week if I'm sick, has done to me is caused some sore muscles. Let me assure you, those Faster Way ladies will whoop your butt in 30 minute in the best way possible. 

One more aside before I log off, this company is essentially the Chick-Fil-A of the workout industry. How you say? Well the founder Amanda Tress is a Christian (that's not why I joined) and they're even helping fund a church plant in Tampa. On top of that the company frequently donates to St. Jude and our yearly 5K is for St. Jude as well. Both of which are so refreshing to me, a fitness company that isn't just wanting you're cold hard cash, they are so community driven it just makes me giddy. 

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October Simply Earth Recipe Box || Immunity Support

October 1, 2021

 Considering the stomach bug that seems to be ravaging kids across the parish... this box is well timed. 

The theme for the October Simply Earth Recipe Box is Immunity Support. 

Don't forget how much value you get in this box! You pay $39 for a box of essential oils and accoutrement worth $126.32. If you bought these products elsewhere you'd be paying big bucks. 

I seriously look forward to the recipes every month, it gives me something creative and fun that is just for me. (but it often benefits the entire family) 

You also get access to the Essential Oil Hero course when you purchase, it teaches you how to use the oils in different ways with confidence and clarity. 

Oils Included:: 

Digest (Blend) - supports digestion + its Kid Safe for ages 10 and up

Cajeput - supports respiration + it is also Kid Safe for ages 10 and up

Fir Needle - calms and soothes + this is Kid Safe for ages 2 and up

Eucalyptus - stimulates and energizes + it is Pregnancy Safe and Kid Safe for ages 10 and up

Extras Included:: 

Menthol Crystals - derived from the peppermint plant

Serum Bottle

Cleaning Tablet

Can I just take a second to point out how adorable the serum bottle is?! It's so stinking pretty. 

Now for the recipes::

There were a few new-to-me oils this month, and some ingredients. I was shocked at how amazing the Digest Blend smelled, I really expected something more medical spelling. Cajeput is another totoally new to me blend, it has a very camphor smell. Which is great for the cold season. 

The recipes included this month are: 

Stomach Soother Roll-On

Clear the Air Diffuser Blend

Cooling Massage Oil

Menthol Shower Steamers

Menthol Chest Rub

Multipurpose Cleaning Spray

How pretty are the colors of the stickers this month?

This month's box has changed how I use essential oils by introducing me to new and hard to find ingredients. Seriously, who has heard of cajuput or every purchased menthol crystals! That's why I honestly love Simply Earth, it's a monthly education and some snail mail with wonderful products to try. 

As always, Simply Earth donates 13% to end Human Trafficking. This month 13% of profits are going to the organization Dton Naam Ministries, located in Thailand. This ministry focuses on helping boys and men leave prostitution and rebuild their lives through education, counseling, skills training, and healthcare. 

Head over to Simply Earth to order your JULY box and use the code LABRIDEFREE to get a $40 giftcard towards your next order when you get your Bonus Box! 

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Escape Goats and Toddlers

September 24, 2021

 I definitely haven't been the best at life updates lately. Life is in somewhat of a pattern after school, but until a few more loose ends are tied I think my brain won't agree that we are in a routine. 

We are on our 4th house buyer. 4th! Two we had to cancel, one never paid earnest money, and now we have a 4th. This is why I look stressed and crazy. 

Now, in no particular order, because Blogger can't upload in order to save it's life... what we've been up to the last few weeks. 

At the zoo today a couple of the goats had escaped, to the boy's delight. Elliot help telling the little black one "sit dog!" as if he were speaking with Dill. 

Who is he kidding? Dill ignores him too. 

While wandering Walmart after we returned to the Deep Cajun South something occurred to me, this bread is evidence that we are back in Acadiana. 

Low and behold my library card hadn't expired. We added a library trip to our usual Friday ice cream date and the boys have loved being back in a library now that Covid has allowed it. 

This week we grabbed a level reader and I really have to make sure we do it more often. Harry felt so proud of himself reading a book on his level again. 

The reading program they use at school sends home phonics homework, where we were getting more level books in Hoover. That little level book at least encouraged him, reading is hard when you've got speech mountains to climb. 

But he's made so much growth the past two years. So. Much. Growth. 

We've had some backyard swimming fun. 

After 8ish years I finally painted this old brown dresser. It's Sherman Williams Privilege Green, and y'all it looks good in person! 

Yes, I know half my photos are edited and half aren't... but that's what it is. 

As I went to get in bed the other night I found the kids giraffe, who wears underwear, tucked into my side of the bed and wearing my sleep mask. 

Who else has jumped on the seasonal drink train? 

After the heck of a week I had last week, Saturday morning called for loud Emo music and Starbucks. 

This ding dong did something dumb and landed his little self with meds for two weeks, this is our daily morning routine of me forcing it in his mouth with peanut butter.

He ain't here for it. 

Elliot and his crib transition should be its own post. 

In short, he's been plotting an escape for clearly years and was going to live his best life. Harrison isn't happy about this new found freedom. Jeremy didn't want him to break something so he left the side down again. 

We went to get them out one morning and found Elliot had rearranged furniture. That bed doesn't go there. 

And while this photo should be with the first two, we had our little monthly donut date while Jeremy got his hair cut. The kids always love to wander over to Sunrise Donuts in Broussard while we are waiting on Dad to get his hair done. The weather has been perfect this weekend for outdoor donut dining. 

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