Mother’s Day Weekend

Hello, and happy Monday! The sun is shining here, and our forecast calls for it to get back to the 80’s by Thursday. I’d settle for temperatures in the 70’s, but bring on the warmth again! Let’s get on to the weekend recap.

Friday

This was quite an epic bagel sandwich! I toasted a K Brew jalapeno cheddar bagel that I then layered with a soft cooked egg, avocado, wilted greens, and strawberry jam. Stellar combo of sweet, savory, and a little bit of spice! The raccoon on our calendar looked like he wanted a bite. Ha!

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We had leftover caprese pasta salad for lunch, and then for dinner we had rotisserie chicken with sauteed seasoned green beans, and I had mine with Aldi salt and vinegar quinoa chips dipped in salsa.

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Matt mixed his chicken with poppy seed dressing and had it with a Canyon Bakehouse English Muffin.

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Day-sert included yogurt, kiwi, mixed roasted nuts, and granola. Naturally I sipped on my lemon ginger tea with honey. Still a fav and going strong! I haven’t been in the mood to watch anything, so I relaxed with a word find.

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Saturday

Matt kindly got up and fed our sweeties, and then we slept in for a bit. It felt marvelous. I chose to have an oatmeal muffin with cottage cheese and Kodiak Cakes apricot syrup that they sent for free (!) plus half a banana with crunchy pb on the side.

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Matt has been cooking his eggs in our small saucepan, and it seems to make them extra fluffy. I’ll need to try it this week! He had them with melted cheddar and avocado on an English muffin.

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I completed a longer Unmeasured workout that felt very challenging in a great way. I took modifications and breaks as needed. Then I got showered and put on my comfy casual best. I live for joggers. They are the right level of casual while still being able to be worn out and about.

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Despite it being a little chilly on Saturday, I was craving a smoothie. I blended the rest of my banana, frozen cherries and mixed fruit, fresh frozen spinach (thanks to Simi’s tip!), vanilla yogurt, and vanilla cashew almond milk. I topped my bowl with tahini and shredded wheat.

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I went by K Brew for my last free coffee thanks to their offer then over to Kaci and Drew’s. They’ve started the process of moving some of their belongings into storage, so we took several loads and began to organize it. They are handling this so well, and I’m so proud of them!

I wanted to treat us to Adopo Pizza, and they’ve been offereing what they call a “trust fall”. They choose two pizzas, an appetizer, a bottle of wine, and gelato for a set price. I loved being surprised!

I placed the order online then went to sit in their pickup line. The sky was beautiful. I cannot wait to dine-in one day.

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I wore this mask just for when I unrolled the window to get our noms.

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This whole meal was said to serve two, but it was plenty filling. The appetizer included bread, housemade pickles, sweet salty olives, mozzarella, cured meat, and pesto.

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After one more trip to the storage unit and then to Target, we all enjoyed dinner together. Kaci made us deeelicious salads to start.

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The ‘za! They gave us a tomato and pesto variety as well as a pepperoni pesto. They also included stracciatella cheese to put on top of the tomato pesto, and peppers + honey for the pepperoni. Both were stellar! All we had to do was reheat at 400 degrees for five minutes. They have switched from their sourdough base to be able to still provide during this weird time. They explained more about the crust here.

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They included Cinnamon Toast Crunch gelato. YUM.

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We split it, and Kaci and I had a sugar cookie with it.

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Sunday // Mother’s Day

I got up and fed the babies, then we slept in again. I still like to get up by the nine o’clock hour so as not to sleep away the day, but even sleeping until then feels glorious. I had a simple bowl of cereal that mixed shredded wheat with Multigrain Cheerios, hemp hearts, crunchy pb, milk, and an apple on the side.

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This memory brightened my heart! I’m so grateful to be their mama.

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Rachel’s snuggles melt my heart.

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Sweet Jax decided to soak up those rays of warm sunshine.

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I miss my mom so much and wish more than anything she and I could have one girls’ day together. I was a baby (18) when she passed. I have so much to tell her and ask her, but I feel comfort knowing she lives on in my heart as well as Kaci’s. She was selfless, hardworking, strong, and loving.

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I’m also so grateful for Karin for being a mother to me for over half my life! She has helped me out of some dark times, and despite not being blood-related, I feel so very similar in many ways.

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Kaci decided to try Manime, but her sets didn’t fit her nails as well as they should. Thankfully, their customer service is great, and they are sending her another order for free. She gave these to me to try. I botched the application because I didn’t think to use nail clippers to trim the excess. I ordered a set of my own to try.

For lunch, I mixed roasted garlic and caramelized onion hummus varieties with mashed avocado and shredded parm from Adopo. I dipped carrots into it, and I had the last two slices of pizza. I also ate some more of my Cruze Farm coffee toffee churn that I had in the freezer. So good!

I took my car through the carwash, and despite her fair share of dings and wear and tear, she was sparkling.

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I went by Stanley’s Greenhouse and, along with half of Knoxville, chose some new plants for our front porch! I’m just hoping to keep them well. I certainly will put forth more effort to care for them.

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I hung out with Kaci and Drew, and we all made a quick trip to Home Depot together. I found the foaming wall cleaner we’ve wanted, but so far, it’s not doing much. I’ll keep trying because I want our place to be as nice as possible.

Matt was so kind and found a way to hang my plant! I love how the other one drapes down the garden cart. I also bought a hydrangea that I think is just so pretty. We need to touch up the chairs and clean the porch, but this makes me smile.

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I love hydrangeas! They almost look unreal with the colors they can take on from the pH of the soil.

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I completed an Unmeasured workout, and then Matt got home in time for us to make dinner together. I loved it! We made lasagna roll-ups using leftover roasted tomatoes, steamed artichoke hearts, sauteed yellow squash/onion/garlic, pesto, and mozzarella pearls. We also cooked mild Italian sausages that we cut into fourths and rolled inside. We added pesto to the top, but without a sauce, we realized we should’ve covered the dish in foil. The tops of the pasta were chewy, but we’ll nail it next time. They were still so delicious! We had a salad on the side.

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I had half a grapefruit with a sprinkle of muesli, granola, and nuts plus my tea. I was still hungry, so I had a baby mug of the remainder of the muesli with some granola, nuts, and cashew almond milk. It did the trick and satisfied me.

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Monday

Today marks nine years ago that I graduated from undergrad. So hard to believe!! Jackson hadn’t even been born yet. Mason and Rachel were and always will be our sweet cheerleaders!

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Have a wonderful day and week ahead! As always, please feel free to share any fun things you did or ate this weekend!

Unconventional Easter 2020

Hello, and happy Monday! I hope everyone, despite the circumstances, had a wonderful weekend. If you celebrate Easter, I hope you were able to still have an enjoyable holiday.

Friday

I started Friday with a delicious bowl of oatmeal topped with thawed cherry medley, raspberry fruit spread, and chunky pb.

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I played around with parting my bangs in the middle(ish) and enjoyed a slightly different look. 🙂

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I roasted a huge bag of green beans as well, a bunch of asparagus, a whole bulb of garlic, and one sweet potato. We planned to eat the sweet potato and some of the green beans for our early Easter lunch on Saturday, so I prepped it ahead of time.

Dinner was a really good grilled cheese dipped into our black bean salsa tomato mixture plus a lovely green salad.

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We watched Ozark, and I could only make it through one episode before I needed to go to bed. I was pooped!

Saturday

I slept oh so well and was grateful Matt chose to feed the babies in the morning. I toasted two of my Kodiak Cakes Strawberry Chocolate Chip waffles and had them with Fage vanilla yogurt, banana, pb, and cinnamon.

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After sipping my coffee, I completed a workout by Simi on Unmeasured then got ready for our beautiful day together.

We swung by Mahalo for me to get a half caf iced latte plus the extra coffee burlap bags Trevor was kind enough to give me. You better believe Kaci, Drew, Matt, and me will be trying a coffee/potato sack race together, ha!

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Liquid gold. Then it was off to our lake house to spend the day!

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A sight I will never grow tired of seeing.

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Sadly, there were a lot of trees down from the awful storms. We had a smaller one while our neighbors had some massive losses.

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Nailed it on the first try!

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Matt setup and took this photo. I love it!

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I brought my Polariod, and we had a lot of fun using it.

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Blooper, Polaroid style. Would’ve been cute I think, but we just accidentally chose the wrong setting. Oh well!

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We mashed the roasted garlic with salt, pepper, olive oil, and fresh rosemary then rubbed it on both sides of three lamb chops. We seared them in the iron skillet before finishing them in the oven. We had the green beans with Annie’s Lemon Chive dressing and split the sweet potato. I added cinnamon to it. It was such a great early Easter lunch!

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I don’t remember when we bought these. Perhaps when we tore up the carpet to have it replaced before our wedding, but it’s like we sensed Covid-19. It made me chuckle.

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Matt and I played several games of Kings in the Corner, walked around in the sunshine, checked on the house, and then packed up to head home. I don’t think I had ever been out there on Easter weekend, and it felt so very special.

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I couldn’t resist some Easter filters.

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Hahaha

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After we got home and settled, we made very tasty salads topped with Dr. Praeger’s chick’n tenders, Caesar dressing, and hummus with Red Hot Blues.

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Snackage during Ozark included thawed mango with pb powder, the last of my shredded wheat, sprinkle of muesli, and unsweetened vanilla almond cashew milk. This was such a good combo! We finished the last two episodes of season one.

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Easter Sunday

I fed the babies then came back to bed for another hour or so then got up and made us an aspragus frittata that I have to say was so easy to make and very delicious. Five eggs, two tablespoons of milk, half cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar, one bunch of asparagus roasted, salt and pepper. Butter a warmed skillet, add the warmed asparagus, pour the batter of top, then sprinkle with EBTB seasoning and smoked paprika. Cover with a lid, turn down the heat, and cook until the eggs set.

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We enjoyed ours with a white grapefruit that we split, and I sprinkled cinnamon on mine.

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Avocado toast to complete our Easter breakfast.

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Our babies have been so snuggly!

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Our friends again surprised us with two dozen eggs from their chickens, and we are so very grateful!!

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These came up on my memories and made me smile big time. Kaci and I had these taken in April 2011 to celebrate our upcoming graduation from college. I will always cherish these.

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After completing a workout by Simi, I showered and donned my Easter best. 😉

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For lunch, I made a Chocolate Cherry Green Smoothie thanks to Simi for sharing the inspiration! I added half a banana for extra creamy sweet flavor, and it was so good. I thawed a Kodiak Cakes Strawberry Chocolate Chip muffin and crumbled it over the top plus a spoonful of crunchy pb.

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I sipped on Matcha Mate Grapefruit tea with honey to warm up because the weather was dismal and chilly.

Our very own Easter basket!

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I finished a few word finds then snacked on carrots, hummus, and Red Hot Blues.

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Just as Kaci arrived, my Dyson was delivered!

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She bought a new lantern because this one won’t turn on anymore, sadly. But we added my twinkly string lights, and I just love it.

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Dinner was Cajun chicken breasts over white rice with roasted green beans and Brussels sprouts.

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I snacked on a mug of Multigrain Cheerios with the other half of my banana, pb powder, whole meal ground flaxseed, chocolate chips, and unsweetened vanilla almond cashew milk. We watched the first episode of Ozark season two then called it a night.

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I’ve seen my friends sharing their senior year photos in support of this year’s seniors, so I did the same. Class of 2006 from Oak Ridge High School. ❤

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Wishing you all a great day and week! Please feel free to share anything that you did and/or ate over the weekend that you enjoyed!

Favorite Posts of 2019

While I’ve only been blogging for about 4.5 years, it’s really crazy to look back on when I first started to the present. So much has changed in my life and in my little space on the world wide web. I wanted to do a round-up of some of my favorite posts and memories in 2019. These aren’t based on statistics related to views or anything. Just times I love to look back on that give me a big smile. I hope you enjoy this walk down ole memory lane with me!

(1) Under the Sea: Matt and I visited the Chattanooga Aquarium after dining at Naked Foods Chatt, and it was just a positively amazing weekend!

(2) We’re Off to See the Wizard: Kaci and I had the pleasure of seeing the Wizard of Oz on the big screen, and it truly gave me chills! It was shown in celebration of its 80th anniversary.

(3) Re-energized, Rejuvenated, Recharged: This was just a fun weekend from start to finish! Kaci and I took a succulent class at Stanley’s Greenhouse, and while sadly, they didn’t make it through the winter, I was very proud of my arrangement! We managed to include a lot of great food in this weekend too.

(4) Rain Showers, A Bridal Shower, & a Visit to Biltmore!: I got to attend my friend’s fun bridal shower, and Matt and I were very grateful for another one of my friends for giving us a free day pass to Biltmore. We had only visited the first time on our honeymoon, so it felt special to return!

(5) She Had Magic Legs: 2019 was the first year I participated in the Lucky Kidney Run, and it did feel great to participate in a worthy cause towards bringing awareness to kidney disease. It was a really tough run as I hadn’t been running but instead was doing Barre3. I still think that helped me tremendously.

(6) Amazing Friends, K Brew Expansion, & Barre3 Intuitive + Mindful Eating Workshop: I never imagined Kaci and I would be holding our own workshop at our favorite studio, but we felt so honored to share the message of Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating! Since then, I’ve had two or three attendees come up to me to tell them how helpful our class was and that they bought the book and began to incorporate the principles into their work with patients. ❤ So fulfilling.

(7) It Was a Treat Yo Self Kind of Weekend: Aside from poor Matt’s rash and sinus infection, this was a fun weekend! Kaci and I attended the Retropolitan Craft Fair, which they hold one in the spring and one during the holidays. Our visits get better each time! We love to support local and get out in our community.

(8) Taking Things to New Heights: After living here for our whole lives, Matt and I finally went up into the Knoxville Sunsphere for the first time!

(9) Thankful for the Brave Who Sacrificed for Our Freedom: This weekend was so epic and filled my heart! Time with one of our best friends and her sweet family at our lake house then a hike on Max Patch with the most gorgeous weather with Kase, D, and Axl.

(10) Here’s to Another Spectacular Year: Our 31st birthday weekend!

(11) Living It Up Nashville Style: For the second year in a row, Matt and I took a weekend trip together to celebrate my birthday, and this past year we visited Nashville. We had such an incredible time! Our AirBnB was awesome, and it turned out to be exactly the trip we needed.

(12) July 4th Weekend Part 1 and Part 2: This was the best July 4th I had enjoyed yet!

(13) Weekend Spent at the Track: Matt performed really well in his race, and we had a wonderful weekend! Well, except for me falling on the metal bleachers. Ha! Klutzy for life. Then we capped it off by getting to visit with one of my best friends and her sweet family as they had just moved to OH!

(14) ‘I Love Lucy’ on the Big Screen!: Another moment in which I watched my favorite show, in amazing color, on the big screen, and it truly gave me chills! I never thought I would get to experience this. I so loved dressing the part too to honor Lucille Ball and her amazing fashion.

(15) Early Third Wedding Anniversary Celebration: When Matt and I enjoyed the Ruby Falls Salad from Naked Foods, I said how I wanted to visit Ruby Falls one day. Well, we finally did! That and See Rock City, and despite it raining, I had such a good time. Then I put together a last-minute scarecrow Halloween costume for Cruze Farm’s Trunk-or-Treat, and what a super fun event! Yes, I’m in my 30’s, but I love getting dressed up and keeping my kid-at-heart mentality alive.

(16) FNCE 2019 Recap 1 and Recap 2: I had only attended FNCE once before in 2015 when I presented my thesis project, and it was in Nashville. This past year it was held in Philadelphia, and I didn’t know anyone personally, but I didn’t let that stop me. I met some incredible RD’s who I consider friends now, and I met several who I knew via social media but now I know in real life. Everyone was just as they are online, and I felt so fortunate to be in their presence!

Even though our holidays are worth mentioning again, I figured I would stop here since they were recent. Suffice it to say, 2019 treated me so well! Yes, there were some rough times, challenges, and not-so-pleasant experiences. But the good far outweighs the bad, and putting together this post further reinforced how much I have to be thankful for. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and first weekend of 2020!

 

New Year’s 2020

And just like that, we’re now in a new year and a new decade. It’s really hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this is true. I know I love a good reflection, and I, like many others, have been looking back on the last ten years. Certainly some of the best things in my life have happened – we brought Jackson into our family, I became an RD, I got married – but I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the difficult times. If you feel less than because you don’t have as many accomplishments to share, please know this does not mean you had any less of a worthy decade. We all have our own stories and journeys! These differences should be celebrated. I love the quote Karin, my step-mom, shared by Anne Frank: “what a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet.”

  Tuesday // New Year’s Eve

I ended the year with a delicious breakfast that included sweet and savory, my favorite! The last two baby gf buttermilk biscuits – one with honey and one with pb, two sunny side up eggs over wilted greens, and an apple.

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These photos of the babies were taken the night before, but I had to share. They’re so cute!

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Rachel is loving all of their new toys!

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This was taken New Year’s Eve morning. ❤ ❤

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I got ready and headed over to our Barre3 studio to take an amazing class, and the sky was so pretty as I left our place!

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I treated myself to a peppermint mocha from Mahalo using my gift card, and it is the best I’ve tasted. Sweet but not too much and so creamy!

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I went by my clinic and ended up working half a day, which was just fine. I got to work with one of my sweet friends and coworkers, and we knocked out some tasks together.

Once home, I enjoyed some of our leftover lasagna soup that hit the spot.

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I also had a mug of Blueberry Cheerios with RX almond butter, chia seeds, and almond milk.

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I wore my new Lil Bub sweater from Matt and adore it! So well-made, comfortable, and adorable.

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I dropped off a bag of donations at Goodwill, shopped at Kroger, then got back home to make our dinner. I sautéed half a large onion and the rest of our zucchini and cauliflower, added the last of our roasted purple cabbage and pulled pork that I thawed from the freezer, one can of organic chickpeas, and a carton of butternut squash soup. It turned out amazing! We had homemade buttermilk cornbread and sautéed kale on the side.

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I couldn’t help but take a trip down memory lane. This was New Year’s 2015. Our hair looked similar and a mirror image. Haha

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THIS MEMORY! New Year’s 2016. Mason so desperately wanted a taste that you can see his tongue going for it the last frame. So stinkin’ cute!!

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His last New Year’s with us going into 2018. </3

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Cozy baby girl.

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Our sweet Jax!

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I believe these were the first photos we three took together when Mason was a teeny baby. It was on or just before New Year’s Eve 2010. He grew into his ears, and he always had the biggest, most amazing green eyes!

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My heart melts when I look at these!! He loved his dad, his rescuer. Without Matt there to scoop him up into our hearts, I shudder to think what would’ve happened to our baby boy.

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I couldn’t help but want to get a photo with our baby. May seem silly, but it feels so weird to have entered the decade new purrarents to him and to leave it without his body physically with us. He always is though in our hearts and memories.

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We watched more of the Grand Tour, laughed so hard, enjoyed a snack – toasted strawberry swirl bread with pb, cinnamon, chocolate, and a banana – and then crawled into bed at 11:45. We basically made it. Ha

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Wednesday // New Year’s Day

We woke up to a gorgeous day and these snuggly babies.

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But Rachel wasn’t ready to take on the day just yet. Lol!

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I snacked on a banana with pb and cinnamon to tide me over for our brunch.

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We met with Kaci and Drew at The Dancing Bear Bistro, which Matt and I have enjoyed for dinner twice for our anniversary. But we’ve never been for brunch. It was epic! Such a variety of food was offered, and we all were incredibly pleased.

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The menu.

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But first, photos ❤ We all wore plaid, so we were the plaid family.

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2020 😉

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Cuties!

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I saved my muffin for later, but it was delicious. Basically a cake with powdered sugar, which was fine by me. 🙂

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First plate for Kaci.

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My noms.

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Matt’s second plate I think. He sometimes is all, “do you have to take a photo?” and then asked, “do you not want a photo of mine?” Hahaha

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My second plate. The grits were outstanding as were the greens and hoppin’ John dish.

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Final plate, which looks sad, but I wanted to taste as much as possible. The potato hash was excellent, the seafood stew was so flavorful, and I loved the crispy parmesan with the asparagus. A chocolate coconut bite for a sweet finish.

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Such a gorgeous restaurant and grounds!

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Then it was time for more photos! This is where they hold weddings, so we took advantage of the gorgeous set-up.

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Our signature twin pose. Peace out.

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So cute!

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Smooch

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It was very bright but so pretty!

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Kaci really got some great angles. 😉

 

I couldn’t resist some SnapChat fun.

Matt’s boss bought a new shop that will be much better for them. The only downside is it doubles his commute. But we drove over to look at it before heading home.

I got changed and met with Kaci, Drew, and Axl for a New Year’s Day hike. We covered about two miles or a smidge more, and it felt so good! Axl is our trusted trail guide pup. He looks so serious, and I love it!

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I enjoyed my muffin when we got back to the car then hung out for a bit longer before I headed home to make dinner. A simple salad for us both topped with an olive spread, Hilary’s veg burger, hummus, and chips. So tasty!

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I was still hungry, so I had Blueberry Cheerios, banana, and Betsy’s seed butter. We watched the final episode of the Grand Tour, which was emotional. The three hosts have been doing the show together – formerly known as Top Gear – for 17 years. Thankfully, they have a different series that they’ve created, so we get to see more of them!

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That concludes our celebration! I sure hope you all had an incredible holiday and woke up feeling ready for this day and year. If not, give yourself grace and patience. Speaking of which, ‘patience’ is my word for the year. My intention is to find more patience with others and life in general. I’ll be back tomorrow to share a round-up of some of my favorite posts and memories from 2019!

 

Christmas Eve + Christmas Day 2019

Hello, and happy Thursday! Like Dorothy states in the Wizard of Oz, “my! How quickly people come and go so quickly here!”, only replace “people” with “holidays”. On our drive home yesterday from Matt’s mom, Diane and step-dad, Tim’s house, I couldn’t believe Christmas was already over.  But writing this post is wonderful as I get to already relive it.

Tuesday // Christmas Eve

Matt and I started Christmas Eve with a delicious breakfast. Two warmed baby gf buttermilk biscuits, wilted greens, and seasoned sunny side up eggs. Plus I had some mango on the side.

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Later in the morning, I donned my Goodwill sweater one last time and joined my work crew for a fun holiday party!

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I enjoyed some of the food that was provided and went back for a few more bites of things. I had a wonderful time! Our manager surprised us with a White Elephant party, and I won a really pretty Vera Bradley cosmetic bag. We did our gift exchange as well, and then I went back home to start getting ready for our late lunch with Matt’s mom and step-dad.

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One of the sweet gifts I received from our gift exchange was this frame for Mason. Lindsey knows how much he means to us, and she wanted to contribute to his memorial. I was so grateful! The message is absolutely how we feel.

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❤ Our heart.

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She also got me another cat decorative item that I’ll be putting at my other clinic, a beautiful ear warmer, and this EOS set.

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Kaci and Axl came over for her to give her gifts to the babies. Axl is finally feeling better! But it was really upsetting to see him and hear about him feeling awful. Kaci was a sweetheart and got me TJ’s gingerbread candle and this exfoliating trio!

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Once Matt and I were ready, we joined his mom and step-dad at Sunspot. They were very kind and agreed to take our family photo for us. ❤

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Our meals were fantastic! Table shot.

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I had their Caesar side salad and their chili mac: Beyond Burger, black beans, green chile, plant based mac and cheese, and roasted tomato. It was outstanding!

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After we left, Matt and I went to Market Square to soak up some of the holiday vibes one last time. The day was so mild that it was really pleasant to walk around in the sunshine.

The artist changed the mural to a wintery scene, and red cardinals make me think of my grandmother. ❤

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This is on the back side of the ice skating rink.

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Matt nailed it and got “Knoxville” in the photo. 🙂

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Knoxville’s gorgeous Christmas tree!

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I love this shot!

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As well as this one. He’s talented at being able to angle it and move us far enough away to get the star. I ride the ole struggle bus. Where would I be without him. 😉 ❤

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We walked to Old City Java and then Awaken, but understandably, they were both closed. I loved the walk and seeing the window art!

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It turned out for the best anyway because I made a delicious beet cocoa latte at home with cinnamon, ginger, honey, and frothed almond milk. ‘Twas very enjoyable.

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I enjoyed the rest of my pasta from lunch with a salad for dinner.

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Sweet kitty snuggles for us both! Peep my cozy Christmas pj’s from Target a few years ago.

Then a banana with plenty o’ pb for a snack. We watched the Grand Tour and then got to bed so the big guy would come by the house!

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Wednesday // Christmas Day

We slept really well and slowly got out of bed. It was so needed! This day marked four years since Matt, with Mason’s help (!), asked me to be his wife. It will always warm my heart to think back to that morning.

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I made us each a gingerbread oat muffin topped with maple and yogurt + an apple with pb on the side. I used Ellie Krieger’s gingerbread oatmeal recipe as an inspiration. Tasted really festive and enjoyable!

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Then it was time to open presents.

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Matt spoiled me in a huge way! He surprised me with a Lil Bub sweater and coloring book, owl necklace that is absolutely adorable, Heidi Hull Barre3 necklace, and a gift from Mason. He got us a replacement blade for our single-serve blender tumbler, and since Mason was our smoothie-loving baby, it was from him.

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Isn’t this so pretty? He said the sideways heart looks like a B for Barre3, and that’s how I look at it too.

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He also surprised me by re-gifting this engraved photo album I gave him on our one year anniversary. It still has empty sleeves to be filled, and looking through it made me smile so big. It served as a beautiful reminder of just how far we’ve come and how much wonderful time we’ve been together.

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My mom snapped these. Check out the cool portable CD player. 😉 I had super long hair when we met, and Matt kept his longer due to not wanting to cut it as often. He’s cut his own hair since middle or high school. We’ve both gone shorter over the years. Haha

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I’ve never looked cuter.

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I’ve probably shared this before, but I just love it. Our first Christmas together in 2005.

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Christmas dinner at his mom’s then apartment. His brother Chris and Shannon (they married but decided it was best to go their separate ways), and Brian and Anne (Brian’s now ex-wife).

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We went to Zuma Fun Center one day and played arcade games and Putt Putt golf. His shaggy hair. He looks so cute! The bottom photo was our anniversary when I gave him this album.

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I *hated* my hair and complexion. The hair stylist royally botched my haircut, and my acne flared up off and on for a few years. I’m glad I didn’t choose to avoid the camera. It doesn’t bother me to look at now. So if you feel like your body isn’t good enough or worthy of photos, just know your relatives will love to have photos of you to cherish.

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Okay thank you for going down memory lane with me. Back to Christmas! The babies have toys galore now, but what did they want? Boxes and wrapping paper, of course!

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Rachel was determined to fit!

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Playing with her new catnip carrot from us.

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More presents. But Jackson just wanted more noms.

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Speaking of which, lunch was a Sweet Earth frozen vegan pasta over greens. It was just what I needed.

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All ready and most definitely wore my owl necklace!

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We picked up Matt’s dad and headed up to Diane and Tim’s. I called my dad and Karin and got to chat with them. I miss them so much and hope we can have Christmas together next year!

Diane had quite the lovely appetizer spread! Artichoke hearts, beets, olives, vegetables, hummus, crackers, deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, cheese, and later stuffed mushrooms.

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Let the photos begin! Matt wore one of the flannels I found for him on Amazon. The brand is actually Amazon Essentials, and they’re both really soft and nice! He looked so handsome.

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We were under the mistletoe, after all. 😉

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Group shot with Chris and his girlfriend, Kayla.

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Diane with two of her three boys. She looked so festive! I loved her blinking necklace.

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Also, she had a really pretty table setting.

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Love Christmas dishes!

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Dinner was wonderful! They made a juicy ham with pineapple, turkey breast, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, and we brought salad and roasted green beans/butternut squash/onion/Brussels sprouts. I roasted the green beans from fresh and bought a frozen bag of the other vegetables by Pictsweet. They’re frozen but are meant to be roasted. The salad was a kit in a bag and included kale and other greens, pepitas, dried cranberries, and poppy seed dressing. All of it was perfect. I went back for seconds of some things and felt pleasantly full.

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We opened presents before dinner, and Diane made me this teal scarf! It paired with my red sweater is reminiscent of our wedding colors. She spoiled us big time!

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I loved looking at her ornaments. I know white lights are the trend, but I love colorful lights on a tree. It’s what we did when I was a child.

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We think this poinsettia was just spray painted, but I love it!

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I made TJ’s boxed gf fudge chocolate quinoa loaf cake.

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It was rich but so good. We had fresh pineapple and whipped cream with it plus tea.

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Once we took Larry home, we got in and fed our sweeties, and then unloaded our gifts. So grateful! She knows me really well. Go Macro bars, Nuttzo nut butter packet, chocolate covered ginger, blueberry nut clusters, tahini bars, his and hers mugs (heart eyes); Pioneer Woman tea bag tray, stickers labels, and pinch bowls; magnetic bookmarks, etc.

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How cute is this? She saw my Instagram story of me rolling our coins to use for my “Mahalo fund”, so she gave me a roll of quarters for said fund. So perfect! Chris also gave me a gift card. I have already paid them a visit today.

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And this pink Himalayan sea salt lamp is so pretty! It changes to eight different colors and will be the best kitchen nightlight.

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She never forgets about the babies either, so they got a fun toy too!

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Thursday

I was in denial that I had to go to work today, but it’s been a good one. I threw together this outfit and had to wear my necklace and scarf.

I truly hope you all had a wonderful holiday! But if you didn’t, please know my heart if with you. Christmas doesn’t feel the same without my mom, grandparents, and Mason, but I know they’re watching over and celebrating with us. I’m thankful Matt’s family is one I call my own, and I’ve celebrated 15 Christmases with Matt. Here’s to many more!

 

Holiday Traditions

Hello, and happy Christmas Eve Eve! It’s hard to believe Christmas is almost here. I’m excited for it!

Friday

Here is a great example of how much Intuitive Eating has changed my life for the much better. This meal was meh. The overnight oats I purposefully left plain with milk, hemp hearts, and flax, but the Golden Delicious apple was not good in flavor. I added cinnamon and pb, but it was not much better. The good thing is my day wasn’t ruined. Not every eating occasion will be amazing, but I had fuel in my system, and for that I was grateful.

I am starting to make my office at my second clinic feel more personalized. I just need to print a photo of all three of our babies for the frame on the left!

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Fresh hairs. My hairstylist is the best. I had to grocery shop at Kroger, so I figured I’d continue my trend of store mirror selfies. Ha!

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Dinner was steamed beet spirals, pesto chicken, and Dr. Praeger’s carrot tots with ketchup. Very good!

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I made Erin (of Well Plated) Turkey Chili for us to enjoy with Kaci and Drew at the lake house on Saturday. I wanted the flavors to mingle because chili is one of those dishes that gets better with time.

Dessert was shredded wheat hidden by a banana with mixed nuts and milk. We watched an episode of The Grand Tour then called it a night.

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Saturday

We slept great and didn’t get up until after 9:00. I had simple shredded wheat and milk out of our pb jar with an apple on the side.

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Sweet snuggles with Jax while I sipped my coffee!

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I then got to work making Vegan PB Cup Cookies by Alexis. I used these pb bites on top.

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Before baking.

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After. They definitely got to know each other. Lolz. They aren’t magazine worthy, but there were tasty!

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Lunch was a simple salad of greens, carrots, ‘shrooms, cannellini beans, Italian dressing, and lime Siete chips. I ate a banana, then we loaded up to head out to the lake house!

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Matt built a wonderful fire.

I love being goofy together! Kase snapped these candid shots and goofy poses.

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I’m going to steal his Sherpa-lined plaid one day. It’s so cozy!

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Drew and Kaci are awesome and brought this tv to leave out there and downloaded The Grinch for us to watch! I love Jim Carey’s version. It never gets old! We watched it while we did a craft for Matt and Drew’s parents for Christmas.

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Group shot! It took several attempts, and in the last few, Axl was down for the count. Haha

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Love them!

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I can never have too many photos. I love to have them to look back on and smile. Thankful to have a camera at our fingertips. We definitely didn’t have nearly the same number of photos when we first began dating!

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The chili turned out amazing. We topped our bowls with Greek yogurt, pickled jalapenos, avocado, and cornbread dressing from Thanksgiving. Axl photo bombed me!

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The cookies look weird but taste heavenly. Mmm mmm. Highly recommend them.

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I forgot to snap a photo, but after Matt and I got home and settled, we sipped on tea and ate some cereal while we watched The Grand Tour. We were still hungry, so we honored said hunger no matter the time.

Sunday

I woke up with about seven hours of sleep and couldn’t fall back to Z-land, so I was up and at ’em. I made Shakshuka with leftover pasta sauce, and boy oh boy was it amazing! I enjoyed it over wilted greens with the last of our carrot tots. I noshed on an apple after as well.

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This time baby girl kept me company while I sipped my cuppa Joe. I could just eat her up.

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I baked cornbread to enjoy with our leftover chili and on Year’s Eve with dinner.

I did a calming Barre3 flow that felt so good for my mind and body.

I split a salad kit between us and added a cheese stick (which is glowing, ha), beet spirals, beans, and crackers.

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Then it was off to a super fun event at Norris Dam State Park in which Blinky the owl was brought out and the park ranger discussed facts all about owls! My owl-loving heart was so happy and fulfilled. She flew into a car some 17 years ago and broke her left wing, so she’s been kept safe in captivity.

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She was precious.

I was pumped! I wish I could’ve held her on my arm, but I respect that she’s a wild bird with fears for humans still. So I stayed a safe distance for her comfort.

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She is a barred owl, and she and barn owls are my absolute favorite. My owl tattoo is based on a barn owl. They are the ones with a heart shaped face.

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Once I was back home, I made a beet mint hot chocolate. I realized the key is to heat the almond milk gently on the stove because holy foam. My frother really worked!

Some shredded wheat with pb.

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Dinner included a simple salad, the rest of our chicken, and homemade gf biscuits.

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Here’s what they looked like before they did time in the oven.

I mistakenly made them too small, but they actually worked out and cooked through. They’re gf but taste classic! This will be our go-to recipe.

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Banana and Betsy’s seed butter in our yogurt tub for dessert.

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These memories of Mason warm my heart!

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Sweet Axl Rose had to go the the Animal ER (same one where Mason was diagnosed with cancer 💔) because he kept getting sick and could not eat. They said all looked well and that he may have eaten something or caught a stomach virus. They gave him IV fluids and said he was good to go home. So Kaci and Free are heading over to get him! I hate seeing any of our babies unwell.

I’ll be back with a recap of our Christmas. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and I wish you all well!

Gettin’ in the Festive Spirit!

Good Monday afternoon! I sure hope this post finds you very well. I have say that despite not being stoked about the weekend coming to an end, today has been wonderful! One of the best nephrologists that I have the pleasure of working with complimented me on my outfit as did one of my sweet patients, I received a lovely gift from our Lead RD, and I have felt happy. Thankful for days like this!

I absolutely have to share this video. It comes up on my memories every year, and I never ever grow tired of watching it! Mason was only about six to eight weeks old, and Rachel was barely two years old. Look how itty bitty Mason was!! He grew fast, though. I wish I could’ve protected my baby and kept him cancer free. I know that’s not how life works, but my heart remains incomplete. But am I forever grateful I was chosen to be one of his two mamas. Kaci and I love our babies more than anything.

Friday

For breakfast, I enjoyed a Quaker cranberry almond protein oatmeal cup made with oat milk and a banana + pb on the side.

I also brought out this cute mug for my coffee.

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Rachel was so sleepy! She didn’t care that the shower curtain was draped over her. Sweet princess needed more Zzzz.

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Went with a little bit of a Christmas-y look pairing my green argyle with dark rust-red cords. I’m now permanently covering two clinics, and I worked at my second one on Friday. The staff are all really sweet and helpful!

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I was so fortunate to be able to take a free yoga class at Thrive Functional Fitness. It felt amazing!

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Love their pretty décor.

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Once home, I made a quick but tasty meal for us: carrots and spinach cooked from frozen with the last of our taco bean mix over Thanksgiving cornbread dressing. The cornbread + taco meat tasted like a tamale. Definitely recommend this combo!

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Dessert was a mug o’ Greek yogurt, granola, pb, and a crisp apple. We had wanted to watch the newest season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but we decided to relax then get to bed.

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Saturday

Matt had enjoyed a pb and j for an evening snack, so it got me craving the combo. I decided to make my oatmeal with cinnamon and oat milk then topped my bowl with banana, pb, and strawberry rhubarb jam. It’s a bit runny, but it still tastes great.

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I just love these messages, and this one was especially eye-catching.

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I finished a short Barre3 flow at home then got our place straightened up before I got ready. I dressed in my Christmas best. 😉

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Down to my socks…

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And my stocking earrings!

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I grocery shopped at Kroger, put away our goods, then picked up Kaci for a fun day together! We attended Nostalgia’s Holiday Open House. They’re vintage and thrift booths have some of the best finds. I loved this table!

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All the holiday décor made us so happy and really got me in the festive spirit.

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Twinklet mirror two-fie!

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They have such cute owl artwork and figurines!

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I sipped on some hot cocoa and thoroughly enjoyed these cookies. I found one top that was very pretty, and I decided to get it for us to share.

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Is this retro tv-turned-aquarium not awesome?

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After we left, we swung by Whole Foods, and I grabbed a salad from their salad bar. I’ve been craving tofu for a while, so I chose it, guacamole, tahini dressing,, and other goodies. It was so fresh and lovely.

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After we ran a few more errands together, I dropped Kaci off at their home and went downtown to get me and Matt free Petro’s. Matt won a year’s worth of free Petro’s!! You may recall we visited Petro’s after they first opened, and we both entered their drawing. I was so excited when he told me!

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I forgot how busy downtown on a Saturday night during the holiday season would be. Parking was a bit of a chore, but I scored a great spot in the garage nearby. Let me tell you, some girls were dressed like it wasn’t a cold December night. I just don’t understand that. I’d rather be bundled up and comfortable.

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I decided to try their vegetarian Petro’s original with olives and jalapenos. It was so good! Matt had their Baja again, which is always a perfect choice.

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I enjoyed apple “nachos” with Fage TruBlend vanilla yogurt that I just discovered and Cheerios Cinnamon Oat Crunch. While I love to be out and about, I was thankful to be in my pj’s relaxing at home rather than downtown that night. Anyone else extroverts but enjoy quiet evenings at home most nights?

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Sunday

Cheerios Cinnamon Oat Crunch topped with thawed berries and mango, pb, and oat milk was a great choice for breakfast after sleeping in until close to 8:00.

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Matt was so sweet and took my car to change the oil and filter + rotate my tires. So I prepped dinner ahead of time, washed the dishes, did some laundry, cleaned a bit, and then enjoyed a quick lunch. Salad with two warmed Siete chia wraps filled with avocado and hummus.

A little while later, I had vanilla yogurt with walnuts, chocolate chips, and an apple.

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I showered and then made us clean-out-the-pantry chocolate bark thanks to the inspiration by Simi! It included chopped prunes, dried cranberries, granola, and mixed nuts. Here it is before I froze it and then broke it up into smaller pieces.

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I made matcha mate grapefruit tea with honey before downloading the FNCE session recordings that were just released. Excited to listen and earn more education credits!

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I love the filters that work with fur-babies! This kills me – Jax is so cute!

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Once Matt brought my car back to me, I swung by and picked up Kase for a quick trip to HomeGoods. We saw so many cute things that we had to resist! This was beautiful and so fun – full of TN landmarks.

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Another mirror photo of us. 😉 I feel like we look really twinny here too!

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I specifically went to HomeGoods for two frames. I chose to frame Paris’ downtown Knoxville drawing. Petro’s has these and crayons for kids to color, but I decided to frame it and add it to our TN wall mural. 🙂

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I also finally got a frame for my artwork by Morgan Harper Nichols!

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For dinner, we had pita toasted with Aldi sharp cheddar coated in coffee and lavender. It is amazing! Earlier I made a thick soup that included seasoned roasted Brussels sprouts, green beans, and celery + pulled pork and Aldi organic pumpkin soup. I stretched the soup out into more filling servings, which I was proud of. It doesn’t look pretty, but it was wonderful.

I had a banana with RX almond butter for a snack.

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Monday

Breakfast was so delicious! I bought beet powder at HomeGoods, so I made overnight oats with one packet of Bakery on Main Ancient Grains oatmeal, beet powder, Fage vanilla yogurt, oat milk, and pumpkin. I topped it with RX almond butter, and it was perfectly earthly, doughy, and sweet. Also, that color!

I will be back for a Friday Favorites post that I hope sparks some inspiration. Have the best week ahead!

Question: Do you like overnight oats? If so, what are your favorite combinations?

Thanksgiving Weekend Part 2

I’m back to pick up where we left off and share our Thanksgiving weekend part two!

Saturday

I made a killer bowl of savory oatmeal that included Aldi cheddar coated in hatch Chile seasoning, wilted spinach, spices, and a drippy over easy egg. SO. GOOD.

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I relaxed with my cuppa Joe, took care of house tasks (laundry, dishes, all the fun stuff), then I got ready for a fun day of exploring Maryville. First stop was Southern Grace Coffee Company. Is this old home-turned café not adorable?

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Had to wear my Eat Healthy Designs coffee shirt. 😉

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I found this quaint corner upstairs to thoroughly enjoy my blueberry muffin and decaf latte with oat milk.

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No restriction. Sweets, pastries, and savory baked goods are not only reserved for the holidays. Enjoy them whenever!

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Another room upstairs was decorated so cute! The whole place was so photogenic.

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They even roast in house on Sundays!

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I loved the tree, ornaments, and all of the holiday décor.

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I just drove around and discovered the Maryville Farmers’ Market, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon it!

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Red and teal/turquoise became our two primary wedding colors as determined by our little sand ceremony, so anytime I see the combo, it warms my heart. Also, this setup was adorable!

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Look how big, full, and pretty!

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I’m a sucker for artistic murals.

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This home store had the most lovely courtyard!

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Is this igloo made of branches not precious?

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I love this arrangement.

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I loved these! But I swear it said they cost $165 each. O_o Hopefully I was mistaken.

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After I left, I pulled over to snap this photo. Again, I love art of all kinds.

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Once home, I made a late lunch that consisted of greens, cuke, roasted tri-color peppers, hummus, and Caesar dressing.

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Plus a warmed Siete chia cassava wrap with pb and chocolate chippies.

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Matt and I sipped on tea while I colored, and I really have enjoyed this creative outlet.

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For dinner, I cooked edamame noodles I received at FNCE, and we topped them with warmed jarred pasta sauce with added garlic and cayenne pepper. We also had a plate of warmed Thanksgiving vegetable side dishes.

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Evening snackage included a berry/mango/banana smoothie that Matt made for us. I topped my mug with coconut Cheerios, Love Grown granola, and pb. YUM.

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Sunday

I slept well and woke up feeling rejuvenated. I got to work making shakshuka using Alexis’ recipe as a guide. I sauteed the remainder of our roasted tri-color peppers with a chopped onion in our iron skillet. Then I added the leftover pasta sauce and allowed it to thicken. I made little wells and cooked four eggs until the whites were set.

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We enjoyed it with leftover roasted potatoes and green beans with pesto plus buttered garlic toast. I cannot recommend this breakfast enough!!

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Sweet Jax found the ray of sunshine to bask in, and I just die over how adorable all of our babies are! His eye was just twinkling. He was living his best life.

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Rachie girl also came downstairs to join us while we ate. I could just eat her up even when she’s naughty. 😉

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I sometimes crave sweet at my next meal if I have savory and vice versa, so for lunch, I had a banana and Multigrain Cheerios out of our pb jar. I used oat milk, and it was fabulous.

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I got ready and went by the store then the carwash. My car desperately needed to be cleaned!

Afternoon snack included this Bobo’s oat bite and a crisp apple.

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Dinner was oh so perfect. I thawed one pound lean ground beef and sautéed it with onion and celery. I then drained the pan, added this taco seasoning mix minus the regular paprika because we don’t have it, and one can of drained black beans. After it simmered, we spooned it over wilted spinach and topped our bowls with Siete spicy vegan cashew queso, quick homemade guacamole, and freshly shredded cheddar. Also, peep my avocado socks. How appropriate, no?

img_5333-1Siete nacho cassava chips on the side.

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I think I enjoyed a snack, but I forgot to take a photo if so. Whoopsies. Well, y’all, that’s a wrap! I hope this sparked some inspiration in the kitchen and beyond. Please share any fun you had or a favorite food you ate!

 

Thanksgiving Weekend Part 1

I hope this post finds you all well today! I was busy yesterday for the first day back from the holiday, so my Thanksgiving weekend recap part one is coming a day late. I’ll cover from Wednesday to Friday, then I will pick up with Saturday and Sunday in part two. 🙂

Wednesday

I enjoyed a visit at Mahalo, and their pretty tree and Christmas decorations were so cute! I love the blue theme that matches their café.

I ordered a café au lait and a cheddar scone. I *love* savory pastries more than sweet. Any fellow savory/salty fans out there?

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This extra caffeine gave me a boost to make out Thanksgiving spread that evening. I made my grandmother’s cornbread dressing, homemade cranberry sauce, roasted green beans and potato medley with pesto, and Alexis’ Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussels and Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Pom. I used purple Brussels, and I just loved how colorful our sides were!

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Dinner was a delish salad with Dr. Praeger’s chick’n tenders dipped in CFA sauce. Quick and so satisfying.

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Thursday / Thanksgiving

I made pumpkin spiced oatmeal topped with pb and brown sugar to start my Thanksgiving.

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I felt like moving my body to Barre3 NOT to earn my food but to give thanks to my able body. I had to wear this tank from Body Over Mind Apparel! The flow was perfect.

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After getting showered, I enjoyed a Siete chia cassava wrap warmed and topped with wilted spinach, Dr. Praeger’s American burger, mashed avocado, and Caesar dressing. Perfect flavors!

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Matt roasted our turkey and did a really nice job.

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We picked up his dad and headed up to his mom and step-dad’s for the day. Kaci was very sweet and let me borrow her sweater from Val’s.

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Delicious appetizer plate.

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My plate. I accidentally came to the table slightly less hungry than I wanted, but no guilt. I ate what I wanted, and I knew that if I became overly full, no biggie! My body would just digest the food all the same.

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Matt and I went on a short walk and looked at some of the Christmas lights in their neighborhood. We later sipped on tea and enjoyed a lovely dessert plate. His mom made a wonderful crustless gf pumpkin pie as well as a gf pineapple cake, both included coconut flour. She also made a fruit salad. So perfect!

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She gifted me this cut potholder too!

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Friday

I completely forgot to take a photo of my breakfast. Doh. I enjoyed cereal and fruit out of my almond butter jar.

I made a turkey and cranberry sandwich with mayo and greens to take with me on a hike.

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After taking care of some tasks around the house, I thought I left in time but got lost trying to find the meet-up. Several other people could not find the trail guide or group either. They didn’t do a great job of providing the details. No worries, though because I met a really sweet girl who was enjoying the day with I believe her two young nieces. We created our own hike!

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The day and weather was really perfect. Not hot but not super cold.

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She pointed out to me to pay attention at the bottom of any waterfall – that there is a stack of rocks strangely enough. Anyone know of why people do this? What it signifies?

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I ran by Wal-Mart for a few things, and then I came home to shower and enjoy this snack plate.

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I did a little decorating, and it made me feel happy. I got this candle from TJ’s, and it smells like Christmas!

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Love this retro brush trees!

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Our baby tree, nutcrackers, and stockings.

I enjoyed a plate of leftovers for dinner. Matt spent the evening with a friend who was in town for the holiday.

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I watched some of my colorized ‘I Love Lucy’ episodes, sipped tea, and I finally got back to coloring in my coloring books.

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Banana with pb, spices, yogurt, and Cheerios.

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And that’s a wrap! Please share some highlights from your Thanksgiving!