Family

Meal Planning Resource // Seasonal Meal Planner

August 8, 2018

For those of you following along the last month, you’re well aware that we are on a journey to be more intentional with our meal planning and prepping this fall in hopes of creating a more intentional and less stressful meal time each day. Other benefits include having healthier options on hand for the whole family and saving money at the grocery store. So! When my friend Natasha reached out asking if I would be interested in giving her Seasonal Meal Planner a little test drive and sharing it with you, I said YES.

I’ve been jotting down grocery lists and meal plans on scraps of paper for the last, well, as long as I can remember. My grocery lists can be found on scraps of paper and envelopes and whatever is around at the time, notebooks scribbled with meal plans, etc. Basically our entire meal planning process was a little frazzled.

When Natasha sent me an early-access download of her Fall Seasonal Meal Planner (which launches TODAY for everyone!) I was immediately hooked. The planner houses everything in one place. There is a page each week to jot down dinners and a spot at the bottom of each day for noting any recipes you might use. There is another page for breakfast and lunch plans for the week and, what I find most helpful, a page that encourages you to take inventory of what you already have in your pantry as well as what commitments you have on that week’s calendar. It’s so smartly designed for meal planning – as formal or as relaxed as you want to be with the whole process. I have plans in the coming weeks to 3-hole-punch all the pages for an entire season’s worth of meal planning and put it in a binder to store in our kitchen so it looks as pretty as Natasha’s does! Isn’t it cute?

Natasha also has free crash courses on planning meals that you can sign up for HERE. Over the last couple weeks I’ve found her meal planner to be an incredible compliment to the semi-casual way that I like to plan my meals throughout the week and a great resource as I’ve tried to utilize what is in-season and in my pantry when planning meals throughout the week. Seriously, for $29 you get a lot of bang for your buck. Pair that with signing up for my weekly meal planning newsletter and you should be set with everything you need to get on the meal-planning and prepping bandwagon for the fall.

Madison

Fashion

My Simple Makeup Routine for Put Together Days

August 7, 2018

I’m the first to say that I’m no makeup expert. Most days I have a really minimal routine that includes a little tinted moisturizer, concealer if necessary, blush and mascara. But there are occasions when I crave looking a little more put-together. If you’re like me, it helps to have a little bit of a step-by-step guide for putting yourself together. Enter the Flawless in Five. I’ll admit that I haven’t shared this routine nearly enough, but for those of you who want a one-stop-shop for a full, fresh face of makeup this set has you covered.

My Flawless in Five // 
1. Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation in Linen (Porcelain in the dead of winter)
2. Touchup Skin Concealer Pen in Fair
3. Brow Pencil in Medium
4. Volumizing Mascara 
5. Satin Powder Blush in Melon (Nectar and Sorbet are also favorites)
6. Lip Gloss in Blush Shimmer

One tip I feel must be shared: I find I get MUCH better and more even coverage (almost an air-brushed look) using the Retractable Complexion Coverage Brush with the Tint Skin. It makes applying the foundation so much easier and the coverage is so smooth and even.

Family

Easy Homemade Meatballs

August 5, 2018


This week I shared our weekly meal plan for everyone signed up to receive my weekly newsletter. If you’re interested in getting our meal plan in your inbox each week you can sign up HERE. A part of the plan? These meatballs! Truth be told, I usually just wing my meatball recipe each time I make meatballs, but I took the time to measure and jot down amounts this week so you could create something similar at home.

These meatballs are easy to make, taste delicious re-heated and are always a big hit with my family. They’re ultra tender and assuming you select gluten-free quick-cooking oats, they are gluten-free, too. I’m using them this week served over veggie pasta with steamed broccoli and marinara for Joe’s lunches. I’ve also saved a few extra for the girls to eat for their lunches this week since they are such a hit with Ainsley and Collins!

Easy Homemade Meatballs
Author: 
Serves: 16 meatballs
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup quick-cooking oats
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, milk, Parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt. Stir until well-combined.
  3. Add in the ground beef and work together with a spatula or your hands until evenly combined. Gently form mixture into 16 round balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until cooked through and no pink remains.
  5. Serve over pasta with marinara, if desired.

 

Family

Breathing Room

August 2, 2018


Two weeks ago we put the finishing touches on our backyard patio. Our back yard has been, for lack of a better word, a hot hot mess for the last three years. The highlight was last summer when our already gross and muggy backyard got in-ground wasps that prevented us from going outside for a couple weeks. Yes, I said hot mess didn’t I? We dug it all up and put in a huge backyard patio this summer. Now that our girls are getting a bit more independent and our backyard is put back together, this has been the first season we have really been able to enjoy large chunks of time outside the way I’ve always imagined we would when we first purchased our house.

I snapped a picture of myself, sitting on our outdoor couch and READING A BOOK while my girls played in the playhouse because I wanted – no needed – to document that this day had come. I’ve waited 15 months for our girls to be able to truly play together like this and it’s finally happening. Sure, I’m breaking up fights and squabbles and re-distributing toys every five minutes but there are true, uninterrupted pockets of time that the girls are enjoying the benefit of a sibling relationship and I can catch a minute or two for myself in the course of the day.

The last couple months I fee as if we have finally entered into a new, easier, more enjoyable stage with the girls. Prior to that, I felt like we were in a really difficult stage because Collins wasn’t walking well yet, but was into all the things, crawling everywhere, frustrated she couldn’t walk like Ainsley. I felt as if we continued to try doing fun things only to leave the park or the zoo or the outing totally frustrated by the fact that in theory we were supposed to be having fun but I was feeling frustrated more than anything. And, as with every stage with kids, I reminded myself that if you’re feeling stuck in a not particularly fun stage, just hang around long enough and that, too, will change in the blink of an eye.

The last 15 months have been absolutely crazy with two girls, a rapidly growing business, social and personal commitments and more. I’ll be the first to admit that I probably pushed myself too hard this last year. Thinking back to those days with a two-week-old baby in the Rock and Play next to me while I worked in my office? Well, I don’t regret that one bit, but I also look back and can practically remember how TIRED I felt for months on end. About six months into life with two kids we started to find a rhythm that was more enjoyable and manageable than it had been before; we started to see the sun shining a little more with the flexibility and adaptability that a slightly older baby and older toddler provide.

But it wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that I really felt my body take a big sigh of relief, letting go of tension and exhaustion that I didn’t even know I was carrying with me. As I watched my girls play and giggle in that playhouse, as I let the sun shine on my face and relax while they played, I realized how very tiring the first year with two was for me and how much happier I am to be in this stage right now with these two little girls.

Now that Collins is 15 months old I’ve gotten a good handful of questions about whether/if we plan to have more kids. And I always give the same answer: We hope to some day, but for now I’m just enjoying this stage, this phase, where life feels easier, and more manageable and I have a little bit more breathing room to soak up this stage we are in.

Madison

Family, Fashion

Espresso and Cream Behind the Scenes // The Newsletter!

July 25, 2018

At the beginning of the year I had a LONG bucket list of items that I wanted to complete. Half way (over half way) through the year I’m afraid to say that I have a lot of work left to do in order to check those items off said list, but I’m working on it. One of the things that is LONG overdue for the blog is creating an e-newsletter to share behind-the-scenes content for you all. Basically, if you’re a reader of E&C and like the content that goes up on the site, then you’ll find the newsletter to be even better.

I’ve been trying to do a better job of meal planning and prepping each week, and, spoiler alert, it’s been SAVING my life over the last month. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but it’s true. The dinnertime hour had become SO stressful for our family (okay, for me) and doing a little weekly meal plan, some simple prep for the week on Sundays, and the amount of stress it’s saved me at dinnertime has been unreal.

Let me be clear, I am NOT cooking from a recipe each night of the week. In fact, I’m hardly ever cooking from a recipe. I’ve just been sketching out general plans with easy-to-make proteins, vegetables and some sort of whole grain/carb to round out the meal. While our meals aren’t fancy on any given week, it’s been so great to have a healthy and balanced meal planned out and shopped for, with a few things prepared in advance to toss on the plate.

I’m hoping to share more of our meal planning and prepping process along the way. I can’t promise it will be polished and pretty, but it will be useful, honest and hopefully make your life easier like it’s made mine! I’ll be share some beauty tips and tricks, recipes, and other behind-the-scenes content along the way as well.

You can sign up HERE.

Madison