Life Lately

Hey hey…happy Monday – and welcome to our Life Lately post wherein we give you guys a little update on as to what has been going on in our lives!

Ashley –

Gosh, Life Lately eh? It’s summer and I’ve been trying to cram as much fun and activities into the time that I have off from work with the kids. We keep it pretty low key throughout work days. We just usually have so few hours each afternoon between when I get them and bed time that we need to recharge and focus on stuff at home.

However, some of the fun things we’ve gotten to do?

Our local movie theater in D’Iberville does kid days on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. They show just one particular (not new release) movie each week, but they show it in several different theaters. The show time is at 10 am, and you can get a ticket that includes a kid drink and popcorn for only four dollars! Even MY ticket was four dollars. So, I figured that was a deal I couldn’t pass up to let them have their first movie theater experience and just really to gauge how they would act. We had a blast. Cooper really enjoyed it and would have sat and watched from start to finish with no interruption if it hadn’t been for Sophie. She’s only 2.5 and well – obviously she got a little antsy after about 45 minutes of sitting. She wasn’t obnoxious though, and really with a theater full of littles there was someone talking or crying or moving around at almost every point throughout the movie. It was fun and we will definitely be going back!

The Saturday after our movie theater trip, we decided to hop in the car and head to Gulf Shores, AL to check out their beach and just really to have an adventure and make some memories. It was a solid two hour trip there and back, but the kids were real troopers. Cooper declared that Alabama had “the best waves ever!” He wasn’t a fan of the long drive and it may take some convincing and an in car iPad movie to get him to do that again, but it was so much fun and I know they really enjoyed themselves.

Sunday after our Gulf Shores trip, we did a little meandering around our own coast. I took the kids to the Big Play Family Fun Center in Biloxi, MS. They have bowling, a huge arcade, and even a little bar area for nightlife fun. The kids liked it, but it was extremely loud and busy which is not really an environment that Cooper can relax and have fun in. We’ve gone to the arcade area at Margaritaville in Biloxi and it is definitely a more chill and spaced out area that Cooper for sure enjoyed more. It was also a lot of work for me to make sure I had eyes on the kids at all times amidst the everything going on around us. After Big Play we went for a ride on the beach and stopped by Sharkheads Souvenir City in Biloxi. It’s definitely an iconic building on Biloxi Beach – one that I remember from my childhood and I hadn’t been back to it since they rebuilt after Katrina hit in 2015. The kids had a blast walking around looking everything and pushing their mini shopping carts around as they tried to pick out just one toy to bring home. The last stop of our adventure that day was to go by the Biloxi National Cemetery to see my Pawpaw and Mawmaw’s gravesite.  I knew that the permanent headstone had finally been put in place and I wanted to visit them. I wrote more in depth about that visit here.

And of course, there were lots of visits to local parks and checking out different splash pads. We always fit in time with Grammy and Ppop – some dress up playtime – and we even threw in a library visit. 😉 We had a really sweet Father’s Day as well. Cooper  spent a majority of the day with Grammy, Ppop, and Uncle Bud. Sophie and I were with Shaun and his family celebrating. 🙂

So far, summer has really been a blast! What about you Rhonda? How’s your summer going so far?

Rhonda –

Summer means some different things for us, since I stay at home with the kids AND they are homeschooled.  We took off a LOT of time from school in the spring, so we are schooling throughout summer, taking breaks as needed.

We have also been doing a lot of family stuff lately, which is pretty much Stuart’s favorite thing to do.  He works a lot, so getting away out to do something fun is really important to him.  The kids having experiences in life is a huge priority for him.  We even drove out 2 hours West to go look at the stars through real astronomers’ telescopes.  We were only there 20 minutes because the bugs were eating us alive, but it was worth it just to hear Quentin squeal with delight when he saw Jupiter and its moons.

Stuart and I took a child-free night, thanks to our neighbors, to go see Maroon 5.  It was a total spontaneous splurge.  We got suite seats, and holy shit, how do you ever go back from that?  It’s like flying first class.  Once you do it, you can’t ever go back to coach.  Anyway, those kind of nights take me back to the beginning of our relationship, when I flew out here to visit and we would pack the weekend with so much fun and adventure.

Now, you didn’t think we went 2 weeks without boozing in our backyard paradise, did you?  Of course not.  We’ve been doing the pool on the weekends and enjoying it all.  It’s been super hot and I can’t even be mad about it.  I am so thankful for where we live and that I don’t have to trudge through the snow all winter.

We hope that you all have been having some great summer fun!  Tell us, what have you been doing?

 

Inadvertently Dad

When Stuart and I made the bold decision to move in together with moving day being the day the kids met him, we didn’t know what would happen. Would they warm up to him in time?  Would it be a grand disaster?  We definitely didn’t expect to quickly fall into a place where we were all a family.

Not only did we all mesh together beautifully, but some circumstances changed and forced Stuart into the role of the primary father figure, one he effortlessly rolled into.

I am beyond thankful for the way he stepped up and the way that he and the kids love each other fiercely.

This Father’s Day weekend, I am crazy thankful.

Thank you Stuart for…

Helping the kids through projects I don’t want to do with them.

Being a source of reason when I just can’t Mom.

Giving our friends’ kids love and and patience when they need it most.

Demonstrating to my daughter what unconditional love looks like from a romantic perspective.

Respectfully and appropriately allowing my daughter to love on you.

Loving my daughter through sleepless nights, potty issues, and bratty behavior.

Ensuring that we all get out of the house from time to time.

Instituting Mandatory Fun.

Never making my kids feel dumb or out of place for calling you Dad sometimes.

Recognizing that I need a break – a LOT.

Keeping us fed and full of freshly grilled foods.

Understanding and accepting that the house will never again be spotless as you’re accustomed to.

Modeling Good Man Behavior to my boys, ensuring that they will someday make upstanding members of society.

Recognizing – and reminding me – that all the annoying “flaws” in my children are just part of them growing up.

Working your ass off so that my children can have a parent at home at all times in this difficult season of change.

Providing us with a beautiful home in a safe neighborhood, where we can grow and thrive together.

For being the absolute backbone of this family.

You are loved….deeply and earnestly.

Eat Happy: Pistachio Crusted Coriander Salmon

Hi there.  Welcome back! We’re doing a weekly series that publishes every Thursday wherein we are cooking through one of our FAVE cookbooks : Eat Happy! If you missed the intro post you can click on over here to read that.

We are starting with the very first recipe and working our way all the way through to the end. We will not be sharing with you the actual recipes that we cook. We WILL be sharing our experience during the whole process and our opinion of the outcome. So thanks for stopping by…and let’s dive in to this week’s recipe shall we?

I was, to put it mildly, not excited about making this meal.  I am super intimidated by cooking fish and I just don’t eat a lot of seafood in general.  In addition to that, I abhor pistachios.  Cool.

My stores that I frequent most often are Target and Walmart – solely because they are behind my neighborhood.  It’s quick, easy, affordable, and I know where everything is in the store.  They don’t have fresh seafood departments though.  To be honest, I am not sure I would have gone through with heading over to Kroger to get salmon if not for the fact that I was wanting to try their store brand seltzer water.  Motivated by my favorite Tito’s mixers, I headed on over.  I got the salmon and the goddamn pistachios, along with the (expensive-ish) spices that I didn’t have at home.

At home, I had to talk myself into jumping in.  The absolute worst part of the entire process was the beginning – shelling the pistachios.  I put on a training video I was wanting to watch and got after it.

There was some gagging over the fact that I was going to eat pistachios and that there was fucking skin involved in the fish.

Let me just tell you though – when the fish started baking, it smelled absolutely amazing.  The kids kept asking me what the great smell was.  They still had no interest in eating it, mind you.

Well… turns out it tasted just as amazing as it smelled.  Once again, the anticipation was much worse than the actual process and result.

That being said, I’ll substitute with another nut next time, because fuck pistachios.

 

 

Out of the Box Father’s Day Gift Guide

So, it’s the Tuesday before Father’s Day – and maybe you planned ahead and have that whole gift idea on lock down. OR maybe you haven’t quite nailed down exactly what you want to gift. We know that gift idea posts are a big thing for most blogs, and we personally love looking at them. We’ve actually done quite a few ourselves! However, we thought instead of doing the traditional gift idea post wherein we link to something you can click to and buy – we’d share with you some homemade/DIY and experience gift ideas to share with the fathers in your lives.

We’re sharing two different types of gifts that you can give. First we’re talking about gifts that are an experience, and the second category are Homemade/DIY gifts that you can make for the father figure in your life!

The first time that I’d really heard someone talking about giving an experience as a gift was while reading one of my fave blogs, Whimsical September. I think it’s really a fantastic idea and can’t believe I haven’t been doing this! The truth is that ten years from now – your loved one is more likely to remember and value an experience that you gave them than a pair or earrings or a golf club that you bought them.

  1. For the Sports Lover: Treat them to a game of golf, surprise them with a trip to the local batting cages. Are they more of the kind of sports lover who likes to watch instead of participate in the game? Well, that’s easy! Buy tickets to a local sports team game. Even if they aren’t particular fans for that specific team – it’s’ about the thought, consideration, and experience that the two of you are going to have while doing it!
  2. One on one meal: If we’re talking about you’re a grown adult, I’m betting that you don’t have lots of one on one meals with your dad and/or father figure in your life anymore. Especially if you are now a mom or dad yourself. Surprise your father and sneak him away for a few hours to sit down and have a quiet and quality meal together.
  3. Spend the day doing things for them that they normally do for you: Does the grass really need to be cut that weekend? Does your dad/baby daddy/whatever you call him normally do that? Well, get your booty out there early one morning and cut the grass for him! Does your dad/baby daddy/father figure in your life usually cook all the meals? Tell him to sit his booty in the recliner while you whip up a yummy lunch. Just ease their burden for the day. Lighten their load. I know as moms we are always screaming for this luxury to be gifted to us! It makes sense that the fathers in our lives would want that too.
  4. Dad Days: Give kids the opportunity for a one-on-one date with Dad, with the activity chosen by the child.  Rhonda did this with her kids years ago and the kids and their father both remember it fondly. Once you have several children, nurturing those individual relationships is both more difficult AND more important.  Ideas for dates (because you may need to offer suggestions to younger children) may include a round of putt-putt, the latest Star Wars movie, or a trip to the local frozen yogurt spot.

 

 

We know, we know…homemade gifts have such a bad wrap. The thing is, they are for sure underrated. And they don’t have to be something elaborate. You know what else? Any of these would make a great companion to that impersonal gift card you grabbed at the checkout line to stick in your father figure’s card. 😉

    1. Reasons why you’re a great Dad Book: Rhonda did a different version of this for Stuart’s last birthday. He turned 43 and she came up with 43 reasons why she loves him. All the reasons were designed in a simple editing app then printed at WalMart and put into an album.
    2. ‘All about Dad’ Printable: This is such a cute and easy idea and a fantastic way to get your little kids involved in making their dad’s day special. I found these from the blog Thirty Handmade Days…or you can always make your own. You just take a few minutes to get the kid’s answers and either write them in yourself or let them write it if they are old enough. The printables I linked to also have a place for your child to draw a picture of them with dad which is always cute to see their perspective of how things look. 🙂
    3. Print out a picture of your kids/their kids/you and your father figure and frame it: That may seem like such a silly thing to point at that you can do, but the truth is these days most people rarely actually print out the pictures they take. We are all walking around with thousands of pictures on our phones and backed up to our home computers, but we rarely print those out and put them on display! So take the time to pick out some nice frames and give the father figure in your life a picture of the ones that made him a father!
    4. Make a video about Dad: Whether as an adult doing this for your own father or a mother recording interviews of kids, this makes a thoughtful gift that can even be shared with friends and family on Facebook.  You can take one of the dad printables Ashley and ask those questions on video and keep it simple, or you can try your hand at video editing for extra pizzazz. As an adult, Rhonda made pictures of herself, her brother, and her child (this was before there were multiples) into a slideshow with background music on a DVD for Mother’s Day.  The whole family still loves to watch it.

 

As always thanks so much for stopping by, and let us know: what do you guys plan on gifting to the men in your life who are fathers??

My Healthy Kitchen: Top 5 Essentials

Happy Friday!  As it has been mentioned before, I eat in a way that is low carb.  To perfectly define it, it’s No Sugar No Grains (NSNG as coined by celebrity trainer and fitness guru Vinnie Tortorich).  There are so many tools and foods that I keep on hand at all times.  Today I am sharing with you my top 5 essentials.

Bacon

You either love bacon or you’re wrong.  We eat a ton in our household.  Here’s the thing – bacon makes everything better so it’s the ultimate source for fat and protein, which are extremely important in my lifestyle.  Wrap anything in bacon, eat it solo, or use it as a dipper.  It’s a must.  We buy these gigantic packages at Sam’s Club.

Heavy Whipping Cream

Another way to get in some fat and calories is adding a splash of this to my coffee in the morning.  If I am on the go and unable to eat all day, another cup of coffee with this helps me make it through.  Not only that, but it makes a great thickener for sauces and is an essential for a cheese dip.  A little goes a long way and I’m a fan!

Cold Brew

I like to start my day with a cup of hot coffee, but afternoons if I have coffee, I love a good cold brew.  It’s SO easy to make at home that I highly recommend you grabbing a cold brewer.  I have this one.  It’s super hipster looking, but it’s easy to use.

Salt

My preference is Himalayan Pink Salt, freshly ground over my food.  however, I also take a few whole salt crystals sometimes, washed down like pills.  When you are a low carb eater, you need to supplement with salt.  It’s honestly like a vitamin or medication for me.  Without it, I’m miserable.

Unsweetened Sparkling Waters

Whether the brand is LaCroix, Ozarka, Bubly, Polar, Aquafina, Dasani, or any other…. I drink several a day and always have an assortment of flavors.  A few go into the fridge for drinking straight and the others go into the pantry for mixing with distilled liquors.  I love that they pair well with any liquor.  They are also amazing for settling my stomach when I am hungover or when I had a stomach virus.

There you have it, the five things that I absolutely can NOT live without in my kitchen.  What are yours?

 

 

 

What We Wore Wednesday

Hey you guys! How is it Wednesday again? I swear I was JUST typing this intro for last week’s WWW! But anyway, it is indeed Wednesday again which means we are here showing you some of the things we wore this past week. We do this for us so that we have a little bit of accountability when it comes to choosing outfits, and we also do this for you guys to maybe introduce you to some pieces or styles you might like to try. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget that Wednesday also means we do our weekly Wine Wednesday Live Broadcast over on our Facebook page at 9pm!

Rhonda –

Tee: Not sure – I won it.  Shorts: Mixtape. Shoes: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Top: Mixtape. Shorts: Target, not available. Boots: Coconuts by Matisse. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Top: Mixtape. Shorts: Mixtape. Shoes: Target. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Ashley –

I’ve just got two for ya this week, and one outfit has no linkable items. Oops. That’s life though. 🙂

Button up: Old Target from clearance sometime this past winter Earrings: N&S Gray Mosaic [not available]

Shirt: Ash top from Mixtape Boutique Earrings: N&S Black

Life Lately

Hey hey…happy Monday – and welcome to our Life Lately post wherein we give you guys a little update on as to what has been going on in our lives!

Ashley –

We usually space these posts out in two week increments, but last Monday was a holiday – so here we are with three weeks of things to share with you! What have WE been up to? Well, last Monday was Memorial Day, so the family came over to our house for some grilling and chilling. I had plans to attempt using the charcoal grill all by myself… BUT thankfully my Dad swooped in and saved the day to be the grill master. 😉

We have been to the Library a couple times since Coop got out of school. I want them to participate in the Summer Reading Program that happens every Wednesday, and we also just go to get them excited about reading. 🙂 So far, we’ve really been enjoying it. Except for when we get in trouble for jumping on a bean bag in an attempt to make the perfect boomarang for Instagram. oops

Cooper finished school a little over a week ago, and he’s been enjoying having a break from that. It has been nice not having to worry about taking him and picking him up from a place different than Sophie. Having the past couple of Wednesdays not be dictated by what time school drop off and pick up is – was really nice and freeing. Sophie and I went to the Hattiesburg Zoo which was fun…and tiring. I’ve been working with Coop everyday doing learning activities to keep his mind active and ready for Kindergarten. Obviously, there has been some shopping mixed in with all of that. Old Navy recently opened in D’Iberville – sooo I’ve been there several times. This past weekend they were having amazing sales that I talked about on our IG Stories (@rageagainstthemomachine).

Anddd – honestly that’s about all that comes to mind. LOL What about you Rhonda? What’s been going on in Texas?

Rhonda –

I feel like we have been so busy, but like…. doing what exactly?  Hmm.

My hairstylist flew in for a couple of days, to do my hair and that of some of my girlfriends.  I got a fiery new ‘do and the kids got some flair too.

The kids and I have enjoyed the backyard a lot, with me getting super crazy tan!  Stuart has of course grilled a lot.  Over Memorial Day weekend, we enjoyed the pool and grilling for 3 straight days.  It was amazing and indulgent.

We went to another baseball game and that was fun as always.  We are kind of obsessed with them.

We had a wave of stomach bug sweep through our house and that was obviously a blast.  It caused us to have to push back Harper’s birthday party.  I was fine with that since it meant more time to prepare (or procrastinate).  We had a nice time with our closest friends.

I was pleased to discover a couple days ago that I had reached one of my goals in weight loss.  While I am still not at the point where I want to be, I am in a dress I wasn’t able to button in February.  I can’t be mad about that!

My other best friend, Nicole, came to visit.  We have been really enjoying our time together and it’s only half over!  We went to a concert, stayed the night in a schmancy hotel, and spent the the day after drinking by a rooftop pool.  Doesn’t get much better than that!

What have y’all been up to?

Eat Happy: Cauliflower Pizza Crust

 

Hi there.  Welcome back! We’re doing a weekly series (that was publishing every Tuesday and has moved to Thursdays) wherein we are cooking through one of our FAVE cookbooks : Eat Happy! If you missed the intro post you can click on over here to read that.

We started with the very first recipe and are working our way all the way through to the end. We will not be sharing with you the actual recipes that we cook. We WILL be sharing our experience during the whole process and our opinion of the outcome. So thanks for stopping by…and let’s dive in to this week’s recipe shall we?

 

When I ended up being assigned the Cauliflower Pizza Crust, I admit I was not excited.  Making my own crust has never been appealing to me in the first place, which is why I either skip pizza or buy a ready-made Mikey’s crust.  However, this entire series is about trying new things, so I dove in…and by dove in, I mean whined and agonized over the fact that I needed to buy and food-process cauliflower and squeeze out all the moisture.

I don’t own a food processor and my Ninja blender typically does just fine.  however, it didn’t quite get the cauliflower to the texture it called for.  I forged ahead anyway.

My favorite part of the process was sipping Tito’s as the kids and I gagged over the putrid smell of cauliflower cooking.  ACK.  This is the point where I said it smelled like ass, rotten ass, and Quentin stated, “and rotten ass is the worst ass.”

I knew I didn’t get enough of the moisture out when it just wouldn’t really bind together.  As I was mixing the dough with my hands, I could fell water squishing.  Oops.

I had forgotten to buy traditional pizza toppings, which I prefer to use when I am trying a new crust.  However, I went ahead and used leftover roast and some BBQ sauce.

I gotta say, the texture was all wrong, as in it fell the fuck apart and was chunky (yay for not pulsing enough and having too much water), but it didn’t taste bad.  It did taste like cauliflower because, you know, that’s like 80% of the content.  I won’t make it again (unless manufacturers start making cauliflower dust in the freezer section), but I can almost see why people eat it.

 

What We Wore Wednesday

Welcome back to another week of what we’ve been wearing.  Life has been so crazy lately with family occasions, the end of the school year, and the holiday.  Come join us on our Facebook page at 9pm tonight for our weekly Wine Wednesday broadcast where we chat it up unfiltered.

Rhonda-

Look, I’ve spent most of the week in the bikini and decided y’all probably don’t want to see that.  So you get 2 outfits.

Jersey and Hat: Texas Rangers Pro Shop at Globe Life Park. Shorts: Mixtape. Sandals: Old Navy, not available. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Tank: Mixtape. Shorts: Mixtape. Earrings: Nickel & Suede.

Ashley-

I broke my streak of having just two outfits…i have FOUR today! Woot! I mean. They are nothing out of the ordinary. Black/gray/white…you know the drill around here. 😉

Shirt: From some online boutique that I honestly can’t remember the name of now…it’s been a while Jeans: Stitchfix Earrings: N&S Gray Mosaic [not available]

Tshirt: Old Navy Jeans: Denizen Jeggings Earrings:N&S Gray Mosaic [not available]

Shirt: Nothing Nowhere Merch Shop Shorts: Denizen High Rise Earrings: N&S Leopard 

Tshirt: Mixtape Boutique Shorts: Denizen High Rise Earrings: N&S Black

What We Wore Wednesday

Hey hey! It’s Wednesday and we are showing you guys some of the outfits we chose to wore over the past week. Thanks for stopping by! This helps give us a little accountability when it comes to stepping up our wardrobe game and we hope it inspires you to add some new pieces or try some new combinations with your own wardrobes. 🙂

Rhonda-

The last week or so was completely crazy for me, so I rarely got dressed and when I did, definitely didn’t take a second to snap a decent picture.

Tee: Twisted Buffalo. Shorts: Mixtape. Sandals: Old navy, no longer available.

Ashley-

I need to clean my mirror. And I have no excuses for only two outfit pictures other than I forgot to take some. Or I wore the same old thing over and over. 😉 In other clothing related news…an Old Navy just opened in D’Iberville which is where I normally shop and is in the same shopping center as Target. SOOO this basic girl is super excited. 🙂 I just accidentally spent $80 there this morning.

Shirt: Light Up the Moon Merch Shop Shorts: Denizen  High Rise Earrings: N&S Pink [not available]

Shirt: Target Harry Potter House signs Pants: Denizen Black Jeggings Earrings: N&S Blank Canvas