Menu Monday

I haven’t blogged in a while (since my last Menu Monday) but I’m hoping to get better about being a little more consistent here! We just got back from a week at Disney World where we basically ate junk/heavy food and I’ve never been more ready to get back into the groove of eating clean. I feel really bloated but it was worth it because those dole whips…HEAVEN! So without further ado…here’s my menu for this week! Everything is basically Clean Simple Eats (shocker!) fall plan unless otherwise specified. Which (by the way) you have until 10/4 to use code JEN for $15 off!

(Photo credit Clean Simple Eats)

Monday

  • b: protein bite (before workout)
  • s: pumpkin cream pancakes
  • l: pb overnight oats (spring)
  • S: peanut butter toast/eggs
  • d: chicken corn chowder

Tuesday

  • b: pumpkin protein waffles
  • S: caramel apple peanut butter dip (spring)
  • L: leftover chicken corn chowder
  • s: apple muffin/protein shake
  • d: turkey pot pie

Wednesday:

  • b: cinnaberry square/egg white
  • s: almond coconut bites
  • l: leftover turkey pot pie
  • s: cookie crumb granola/milk
  • d: bbq chicken avocado wrap

Thursday

  • b: apple cinnamon pancakes
  • s: apple muffin/protein shake
  • l: leftover bbq chicken wrap
  • s: chocolate power dip
  • d: sloppy sweet potato (2 servings. Eggs/toast for kids.)

Friday

  • b: leftover apple pancakes
  • s: vanilla blueberry parfait (summer)
  • l: leftovers
  • s: peanut butter caramel milkshake (winter)
  • d: bbq chicken pizza (spring)

Saturday

  • b: protein bite before workout
  • s: caramel apple dip (spring)
  • l: leftover bbq chicken pizza
  • s: hummus/wheat thins
  • d: TREAT (not cheat!) meal

Sunday

  • breakfast for dinner!

Menu Monday

I’ve been trying to decide how I wanted to share my meal plan for the week with you guys and then it dawned on me — DUH, you have a blog! I forget it’s there sometimes but I think this will be the easiest place to keep everything. I actually used to do Menu Mondays years ago so I’m glad to be bringing it back!

As far as meal planning goes for me, I try to be as thorough as I can. I plan a breakfast (b), snack (s), lunch (l), snack, (s), and dinner (d). Most of the recipes below will be from Clean Simple Eats Fall plan and you guys can get $15 off any meal plan (digital or hard copy) with code JEN. All of her meal books have been amazing but I think the fall one is my favorite so far and I haven’t even tried that many recipes! Gimme all the pumpkin flavored everything!

Clean Simple Eats actually does all of this for you in her meal plan but personally, I like to choose everything. It’s definitely more work and if you haven’t meal planned in the past, it might be best to either just go with what she has chosen or you are welcome to use what I’ve chosen! If you are following her plan, just make sure to figure out how many calories you’re supposed to be eating and make any necessary adjustments. And if you ever wondered if I actually use CSE recipes as much as I say I do, see below. I’ve been using her recipes solidly for almost a year and am always blown away by them.

As I’m choosing what I’ll be cooking, I’m also compiling my grocery list for the week. If I’m not sure that I have something, I still write it down with a question mark next to it so I know to check if we already have it. After I’m done menu planning, I put my order in online and pick up my groceries the next morning curbside! If you haven’t tried curbside pickup yet, DO IT!

Monday:
  • b: almond joy shake (fall)
  • s: apple crumb muffin (fall)
  • l: pumpkin French toast (fall and TO DIE FOR)
  • s: caramel peanut butter dip (spring)
  • d: eggs & toast
Tuesday:
  • b: pumpkin pie overnight oats (fall)
  • s: chocolate power dip (fall)
  • l: pepperoni pinwheels (fall)
  • s: apple crumb muffin (fall)
  • d: chicken fettuccine Alfredo (fall — update: this recipe was more work than most of hers. I actually didn’t think it would be very good but I was wrong!)
Wednesday:
  • b: fall cookie dough bites (fall. Go ahead and double these — delicious!)
  • s: pumpkin cream pancakes (fall)
  • l: leftover chicken Alfredo
  • s: milk & cookies (fall)
  • d: salsa chicken pileup (fall)
Thursday:
  • b: pumpkin pie overnight oats (fall)
  • s: fall cookie dough bites (fall)
  • l: leftover salsa chicken (fall)
  • s: pumpkin pie spiced white hot chocolate (fall)
  • d: taco soup (fall. So good and just as good leftover! Doubling this recipe.)
Friday:
  • b: pumpkin pie overnight oats (I really hope these are good hah! Update: these were not my favorite but I also don’t love pumpkin pie. If you do, I think you’ll like it.)
  • s: caramel peanut butter dip (spring)
  • l: leftover taco soup (fall)
  • s: spiced banana almond shake (fall)
  • d: beef & broccoli stir fry (fall)
Saturday:
  • b: protein bite from freezer
  • s: wheat thins & hummus (1 serving wheat thins with a personal size Kirkland hummus)
  • l: leftover taco soup
  • s: yasso ice cream bar (mint chocolate chip!)
  • d: out to eat

I am not crazy strict on sticking exactly to this. This is a GUIDELINE for me. I like planning out even my snacks because it gives me ideas when I’m hungry instead of not being able to think of anything and grabbing for chips instead. 90% of the battle with eating healthy is prep work. CSE maps literally everything out for you, even how to meal prep basically all in one day. I still cook dinner every night because I like having some fresh meals but whatever works best for your family. If cooking a bunch in one day helps you to eat healthy then do that! My kryptonite is easy kids lunches so if I don’t have something planned or leftovers to grab from the fridge, you can bet I’ll be sharing whatever Sawyer’s lunch is for the day.

If you aren’t a huge planner or eating healthy is hard for you, take it slow. You’ll notice a difference in how you look and how you feel and that will make you want to do it more. Let me know if you have any questions!

-LWPH

A few notes:

  • I’m freezing most of the apple crumb muffins I made and will just pull one or two out of the freezer in the morning. Muffins freeze so well!
  • Protein bites can be kept in the fridge or the freezer. I always choose the freezer because they last longer and they thaw quickly.

Siena, Italy

It was a fairly quick train ride from Rome to Siena. We arrived, took a bus to our Air BNB and met with the owner. We got SO lucky with this place! The view was spectacular, right on the square. Our windows looked right out onto the clock tower. I really wish I would’ve taken more photos of the place for you because it was maybe the most charming place we stayed. They had done such a wonderful job keeping the history alive.

I so wish we would’ve had more time in Siena! The pace was such a welcome change from Rome’s go-go-go. I would use the word charming to describe Siena. It had a quiet beauty that we all fell in love with immediately. We had one of our best dinners of the whole trip in Siena (even though my dish wasn’t as warm as I would’ve liked). The restaurant a friend had recommended happened to be just downstairs on the square where we were staying. Shops and gelaterias lined the streets (and most closed quite early).

We went to the Duomo in Siena during our short stay and we were all blown away when we walked in. We hadn’t seen anything quite like it on our trip. The black and white stripes were unexpected and stunning. The detail on the floors was unreal. We were lucky to have gone during a time where the floors were mostly uncovered. During parts of the  year they cover quite a bit of it so I’m glad we were able to see them.

I loved the stars on the ceiling with the stain glass in the  background. I don’t know if you can tell in these pictures but they also had each pope’s head carved out of stone lining the ceiling.

My sweet Courtney of Tnee’s Tpees eating a banana 🙂

This was our view just outside of our Air BNB. This square is actually where the hold a very famous horse race once per year. Each district has a horse that they cheer on and people are stacked like sardines in the middle while the horses race around the outside of the square. I think it would be fun to see but the amount of people they have in the square gave me serious anxiety! I think I prefer the low key Siena we got to experience.

Gelato all day every day. This was our most expensive gelato we got the whole trip! Not the best, not the worst. I found myself getting similar flavors in most shops. Mint chocolate chip, hazelnut, and stratiacella.

This statue was carved by Michaelangelo!

If we have a chance to go back to Italy in the future I would like to stay in Siena for a couple of days! It was a beautiful 18 hours or so! And I’m sorry but I can’t seem to get a link to our Air BNB for Siena! The title of it is “Prestigious Apartment in Piazzo del Campo” so I hope that helps!

-LWPH

ROME

We had a whirlwind of a start to our European adventure a couple of weeks ago. We all said goodbye to our babies, grabbed our backpacks and headed for the airport. As soon as we walked in, a man in plain clothes asked us if we were flying to Rome tonight with Condor…because if we were the flight had been CANCELLED. At first I thought he was messing with us because how can they just cancel our flight?! I guess it happens way more than you’d think. It was a mess and we spent hours getting re routed and a hotel to stay in for the night. We ended up having to meet back at the airport early the next morning to be bussed to Houston where we would take our new flight to Rome. We were so bummed because we already had such a tight trip and we were going to miss a whole day. To make it worse, we had purchased non-refundable tickets for the Vatican museum and Sistine Chapel months before and we were going to miss it.

We made the best of it though and did what we had to because nothing was ruining this once in a lifetime trip for me! We made it to Rome, took a taxi to our Air BNB and set off to explore. Our Air BNB was in the best location and so cheap! I think it was 90 euros per night for six people! We were pretty much within walking distance of everything and the best gelato EVER was just downstairs. Speaking of gelato, I’m pretty sure I ate the most out of anyone in our crew that trip. There was a gelato shop on every corner and we were only in Italy for a few days so how could I not get it after (or before) every meal?!

We hit the ground running on Saturday since we missed our tickets to the Vatican that morning and we had tickets to the Colosseum that afternoon. If you are going to Rome and can purchase tickets early, definitely do that to avoid lines! You get a scheduled time that you can get in and the lines are insane. We saw the Colosseum and the Forum Saturday afternoon/evening, ate dinner (and gelato!) and went to bed.

Sunday we woke up and went to church. It was a fun experience going in a different country! After church we did our own little walking tour. We saw the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps during the day. It was so fun to just kind of get lost in the city because everywhere you turned was something beautiful and unique. I think you can google The Heart of Rome walking tour and we did something similar to that during the day and actually went back to most of them in the evening to see them all lit up. The Trevi Fountain was SO busy but it’s worth the crowds. We ate our best dinner in Rome just downstairs from our Air BNB (seriously, best location!) and just wandered. It’s so different to see the city at night!

We woke up early Monday morning to see St. Peter’s Basilica which opens at 7. It was the perfect time to go because it was pretty much empty! Seeing La Pieta in person was  something I can’t put into words and the view from the top was definitely worth the extra charge. On Saturday I had emailed everyone I could find on the Vatican Museum’s website telling them what happened and to my surprise they sent over new tickets for Monday morning! And thank goodness because guys, the line was 4-5 hours long when we got there at 9AM! Unreal. We had to leave Monday to head to Siena so we basically rushed through the museum as fast as we could and spent the majority of our time in the Sistine Chapel. I had seen it once before and loved it so I wondered if it would hold up to the beauty I remembered seeing 16 years ago and it definitely did. I could’ve spent all morning in there looking at every detail.

As we were walking back to our place, Allan realized he had left the (200 year old) key at the Vatican’s security point! He had the biggest pit in his stomach as we ran back. They took us inside and they HAD IT! Thank goodness because you can’t really replace a 200 year old key! We grabbed our bags and jumped on a train to Siena but I’ll leave that for another post. I can’t wait to share more of our crazy trip with you guys! We ended up seeing 10 cities in 10 days!

-LWPH

Adjusting My Diet

I want to preface this whole series with the disclaimer that I’m just a regular ole mom of three who wasn’t super comfortable in her own skin after growing and birthing and nursing said three humans. I’m not a professional, I’ve had no training in this. In fact, I’ve never worked out consistently in my WHOLE LIFE until August 2017. But with that, I hope it encourages you because if I can do this, you can do it too.

PSA: YOU CAN STILL GET $15 OFF ANY CLEAN SIMPLE EATS MEAL PLANS (DIGITAL OR HARDCOPY) WITH CODE JEN! JUST A FRIENDLY REMINDER! I use this for about 90-95% of my daily meals!

Sorry guys, I’ve seriously been meaning to write this post for weeks but you know how it goes with three kids! And let’s just be honest, by the time they’re in bed all I want to do is watch tv. So just like my workout post I want to say that this is what has worked for me. Take little bits from different plans, take what works for you + your lifestyle from different people and adjust to fit what YOU need. I’m so grateful for those of you that are cheering me on with these posts + progress shots on instagram. I can’t tell you how much it helps in continuing!

It’s funny because when I first started working out I was totally like, “I workout so I can eat whatever I want. I will NEVER be a person who counts calories or knows how many calories are in different foods. Nope, that’ll never be me.” And just like all of the ways I said I’d parent before I had kids, I’m eating my words on this one too. I was SO frustrated though working out for months and not seeing very much progress. It’s not like I was going to the gym as much or as consistently as I do now but still, I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere!

I had looked into healthy meal planning and it was overwhelming and the food just didn’t look that great. Grilled chicken and spinach/sweet potatoes/asparagus for lunch multiple times a week was not something I could maintain. I love food. I love good tasting food. I found Clean Simple Eats (CSE) at the end of December and drooled over her pictures for a week before ordering her Winter Meal Plan. I knew this was something I could do. The first month I definitely calculated how many calories to eat incorrectly. I was NOT eating enough. I knew I was hungry but I thought it was mental! In February I started eating a little more intuitively and in March I recalculated my calories and figured out the right number. Thank goodness I adjusted pretty quickly because you have to fuel your body! In the front of each CSE meal plan she has all of the calculations to figure out how many calories to eat per day to align with your goals. It’s so helpful!

Do my kids eat CSE recipes? For the most part YES! Sometimes I’ll adjust things a little because I know their preferences (i.e. they don’t like BBQ sauce so if something calls for BBQ sauce I’ll take a portion of chicken out before I add it). They don’t love bell peppers and onions so on a kabob recipe, I’ll leave those off and do just chicken then steam a bag of a veggie I know they do like. If I know they’re really not going to be feeling a recipe I’ll do eggs & toast for them but that’s really pretty rare.

I’m pretty type A so calorie counting does help me. I try to eat about 1900 calories a day so I’m in a little bit of a calorie defecit. I also like treats so counting calories helps me know when I have extra calories to spare. This is not for everyone but it does help me. I use My Fitness Pal and just FYI…all CSE recipes are preloaded on the app! I was manually entering them for a few months before I found that out. Do I still treat myself? YES! Friday night I had a burger, fries, and a milkshake. Saturday I had two donuts. If I’m really craving something, I eat it. It’s all about balance and it’s good for your mental well-being to not fully deprive yourself.

CSE meal plans have literally every meal and every snack planned out for you. Grocery lists and everything. If you want to just follow that, it’s super easy. I sit down every Sunday and pick recipes we love or want to try, write them down and write out my own grocery list. It’s a little bit more work but it’s what works for us! I also want to say that meal planning and saving leftover CSE meals has been a life saver when it comes to lunches! Anyone else there just eat leftover mac and cheese/quesadilla/whatever your toddler didn’t eat for lunch? That was me! Having healthy (and actually tasty) meals that I can grab and heat up in two minutes has saved me from eating 1/2 a box of kraft mac and cheese too many times to count. Sometimes I’ll double recipes if I know I really like them to save some for lunches. I linked to my favorite meal prep containers below and they are dishwasher and microwave safe!

Other adjustments I made:

  • I used to drink A LOT of whole milk. Like maybe a gallon a week? Maybe not that much but a lot. I’ve mostly cut out drinking milk and go for water instead.
  • I swap out for healthy choices when possible. For example, I make regular spaghetti noodles for the rest of my family and I’ll spiralize a couple of zucchinis for me! Not a ton of extra work but saves a ton of calories.
  • I found Halo Top ice cream! Not all flavors have been winners for me but my favorites so far are chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies and cream, and waffles & syrup. When I want something sweet I’ll grab that a lot of the time.
  • I cut out soda for the most part. I have a little here and there but I used to drink a lot of coke.
  • If I’m itching for a cookie or something I’ll try to grab a protein ball to see if that curbs the craving (CSE’s recipes are so good! The almond joy ones are my current favs).

Favorite products to help with meal planning:

I hope this helps and answers any questions you may have! Feel free to ask questions in the comments or leave comments on my instagram (@littlewifepowerhouse)!

-LWPH

This post contains affiliate links but only to things I use and love!

My Workout Routine

I want to preface this whole series with the disclaimer that I’m just a regular ole mom of three who wasn’t super comfortable in her own skin after growing and birthing and nursing said three humans. I’m not a professional, I’ve had no training in this. In fact, I’ve never worked out consistently in my WHOLE LIFE until August 2017. But with that, I hope it encourages you because if I can do this, you can do it too.

I also want to note that there is not ONE exercise path you have to take. Just because this works for me doesn’t necessarily mean it will be what works for you. Everybody is different and every BODY is different so I encourage you to not be afraid to try new things! Try classes you never thought you would. Try workout videos you never thought you would. One day I couldn’t get to the gym so I did a hip hop Tabata video and it ended up being really fun and an awesome workout! You never know what you’ll respond to until you try!

THE BEGINNING

As I’ve said before, this has been a slow + steady sort of a “journey.” The first time I went to the gym was August 21, 2017 and I hated every.single.minute of the BBG workout we did. I’m not kidding, I hated it. I decided to try some group fitness classes because it was easier to blend in and I needed someone telling me what to do and pushing me. I started with a step class and quickly grew to love it! It challenged me (but not too much) and was fun. I continued to go to the gym about once a week, maybe twice on a good week. I didn’t try very many other classes until December.

THE CHANGE

The gym was putting on a “12 days” kind of a challenge in December. I hadn’t hardly been to the gym 12 times in months let alone in 4 weeks but I decided I wanted to see if I could do it. Sometimes my competitive, driven side isn’t so bad ;). I worked out through the Christmas break and even went with my sister-in-law a few times and guess what…I DID IT! It felt so good to reach a goal I had set for myself and even better to reach a goal that was so out of my comfort zone. The whole month of December my friends could see how dedicated I was to going and I kept saying, “Oh trust me. This won’t stick! It’s such a commitment. Once December is over I’ll go back to going once or twice a week, I promise.” Well guess what? I have stuck with going to the gym 4-6x a week every single week (except spring break) since mid-December because I just felt better! I wanted to keep it going. I had more energy, was more productive, was proud of myself. I wanted to keep reaching goals and keep challenging myself.

MAINTAINING

Now I will still stick by the fact that this sort of a schedule is a commitment. On days I’m feeling like I’m not going to want to go to the gym the next morning, I sleep in my workout clothes. Might seem a little excessive but the decision is already made for me in my head if I wake up in them. I go even when I’m not 100% feeling it because I know how much better I’ll feel after. I’ve had friends call me “crazy” or “addicted” but I just smile and flip those negative words to a positive “committed” in my head. Because I started out being a total newbie to the gym and working out in general, I really think if I had started out going this much I would have burned out so quickly. I needed to develop a love for it to maintain. I truly believe that everyone should go at their own pace and listen to their bodies. Don’t compare your progress to someone else’s…that usually only ends up in one place and it’s hardly ever a positive one!

CHILD CARE

A lot of you guys wanted to know what I do for child care but first I want to start out by saying there is a season for everything. For the last eight years, I’ve been pregnant, in a newborn haze, or nursing almost the entire time. I know lots and lots of mamas who work out right after they have babies but that was never me. It wasn’t a priority and honestly, I wasn’t a priority to myself. I was so wrapped up in taking care of my babies I couldn’t hardly carve out the time to shower. Now that Sawyer (our youngest) is almost 2.5, I feel like I can breathe and focus on myself a little more. Our older two are in school full day and Sawyer just tags along to the gym with me and plays in the daycare. He didn’t start out loving the daycare but we kept going and now he LOOOVES it! He begs to go and I happily oblige. With all of that being said, I do wish I had taken time for myself sooner because I really believe it makes me a better mom. Finding time to work out when you have little kids is hard but you can do it! Even if it’s a 30 minute walk in the evening, just get moving!

MY FAVORITE CLASSES

— I started out loving step and it was a good launching point but I now prefer other cardio classes (that are a little more challenging) or a HIIT class that includes weights
— Tabata is great! Hard but feels so good when you’re done. Cardio + weights.
— Vinyasa yoga is one of my favorite classes. It’s so relaxing, you get a good stretch, but still feels like a workout for sure. Get ready to sweat!
— High Fitness. I just recently discovered High Fitness! It’s cardio turned up to 100 but like all group fitness, it can be as hard or as easy as you want. Just go at your own pace. There are always modifications! Don’t be intimidated going to classes and feeling like you’re not keeping up. Those people probably work out a lot and you’ll be there soon (if you want to be!)
—TCX + FIT are great, harder classes. They include weights but guys, DON’T BE SCARED OF WEIGHTS! They have been SO important in my goal of getting strong and not just losing fat. I started with 5 pound weights and now alternate between 8 and 10 for classes. One day I’ll be brave and learn how to use the equipment at the gym. See! There are always more goals to accomplish.
-I also do a few of Kristin Andrus’ workout videos when I just want to do my own thing. After taking lots of classes I feel much more confident doing things on my own! She has videos for all levels!

MY GYM ROUTINE

I go to the gym right after school drop off so I’m there by 8. Most of the classes I go to don’t start until 8:45 but I love having that time to stretch and warm up on the treadmill. I usually drop Sawyer off, stretch and use the roller for about 15 minutes, walk 1-1.5 miles then go to my class. One of my new goals is to hold a two minute plank every day so lately I’ve been stopping back off at the stretch area to do that before I leave. Working out in the morning is absolutely what works best for me. I like to get it done then have so much more energy and motivation for the day. I’ve worked out in the evenings when I’ve had to (sick kids I can’t take to daycare) and I always am feeling kind of blah because my stomach is so full of food from the day. One might work better for your schedule though so just do what you gotta do!

This is turning out to be a lot longer than I expected so I’m going to end here. I hope I answered everyone’s questions you sent in on instagram and if I didn’t, please feel free to drop a comment here or a DM on instagram! I’ve loved getting messages from you guys about where you are in your fitness goals so please keep sending them! Next up will be all about my diet!

-LWPH

Why did I start?

I want to preface this whole series with the disclaimer that I’m just a regular ole mom of three who wasn’t super comfortable in her own skin after growing and birthing and nursing said three humans. I’m not a professional, I’ve had no training in this. In fact, I’ve never worked out consistently in my WHOLE LIFE until August 2017. But with that, I hope it encourages you because if I can do this, you can do it too.

Now the first thing I want to write about in this series is the WHY. What was my motivation to get started and what was I hoping to get out of it? Well, to say I wasn’t confident I would even continue working out is the understatement of the year. In fact, I called my husband wondering if we should do a contract or month-to-month at the gym and we both laughed and said MONTH-TO-MONTH. If you would have asked me even last summer to work out with you, I would have very quickly declined because “that’s just not my thing.” I was actually pretty anti-working out. I’m the type of person who typically only likes to do things if I know I’ll be successful and I just couldn’t picture myself being successful at being fit or eating healthy.

Fast forward to August 2017 and my friend Courtney of Tnees Tpees had moved to Texas. She joined Lifetime (the gym we still go to) a few weeks before and she even came with me to sign up. I definitely have her to thank for starting all of this for me. I wouldn’t have signed up for a gym if I didn’t have someone to go with. I was intimidated by them. I wanted to do something though because after having three kids, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I was constantly sucking in, trying to tuck my “mom pooch” into my jeans to hide it from popping out when I sat down. I wasn’t crazy hard on myself but I knew I didn’t love how I felt inside or looked on the outside.

My number one goal was to feel confident in a swim suit. I figured if I could get to where I felt confident and comfortable in a swim suit, I would absolutely feel comfortable wearing jeans and a t-shirt. My second goal was to get strong and not skinny. I’ve always been on the thin side but never in shape. I wanted to get in shape for my kids, too. I didn’t want to be the mom who sat on the bench at the park anymore…I wanted to chase them and play with them and not be tired after three minutes! That has been one of the best benefits of this whole thing — having the energy to keep up with my kids. I feel like (and they probably do as well) they have a new mom — Mom 2.0 — and it feels so good.

My goals have shifted a little. I feel like I could totally wear a swim suit now and not be self-conscious or trying to get in the water as fast as humanly possible. I feel like I am strong. Could I be stronger? Absolutely. I’ll continue to work on that one but now I’m at the point where I’d like to target certain areas. My triceps (back of my arms) are one and my booty is another. It’s not about having the perfect body for me. I’m all about progress over perfection and even if the progress is only on the inside at times, that’s amazing and is so important. This whole thing has helped me to be a better version of myself and not just because I’ve lost weight. It has given me confidence, pride, energy, happiness, better sleep, better diet, and the knowledge that I can do hard things.

I can’t wait to share more of this process with you guys. Next up will be all about my exercise routine so I hope you guys will stick around!

-LWPH

2018 Dream Travel List

Like most of you, I get the planning bug big time come the start of the year. My husband and I both decided traveling was going to be something we focused on (as much as you can with 3 little kids) over buying things. We bought a new house last year and that came with a lot of expenses so we are just over buying things. We’ve both talked about our dream destinations so I wanted to list a few of them. I’m a firm believer in writing down your goals and dreams — you’re so much more likely to make it happen!

1. Iceland has been on our list for a while. Especially my husband’s. He tried to convince me to go there for our ten year anniversary trip but we ultimately decided somewhere tropical might be a little more romantic. There is so much to see and do in Iceland! I’m really looking forward to going there one day hopefully soon!
2. Bora Bora! I’ve mentioned on my instagram a few times but we ARE going for our ten year anniversary and I can’t wait! We have been saving up credit card point for years to make this trip happen.
3. Sundance. We are headed to Utah for Spring Break and we got a cute little cabin up in Sundance! We both have been to Utah lots and have stayed in Park City a few times and we just wanted to try something new. Neither of us ski but we are looking forward to playing in the snow with our VERY excited seven-year-old!
4. Greece. I mean, I’m 99% sure this won’t happen in 2018 but I’m still putting it on here because this is my dream list. I’ve been really wanting to go for the last few years and I think it would be a fun destination with kids. Or maybe not “fun” but not awful? Hah. I feel like it could be a similar trip to Ireland, as far as us being able to have a fairly loose schedule. Ireland was the best trip I’ve ever taken and we had three kids (6, 4, and 1) with us so that’s saying a lot.

Our goal is to take one family trip per year and one solo trip. This year it will likely be Sundance and Bora Bora and I’m feeling pretty lucky with that. If we find cheap tickets anywhere else that will just be a bonus! We normally have to spend a couple thousand a year coming back home to Texas to see family but since we’ve moved back, it’s given us a little flexibility with our travel budget and I’m excited about that for sure. Can’t wait to see what 2018 brings us!

-LWPH

Master Bedroom Progress

Oy, guys. Moving is a killer! We were even lucky enough to have my husband’s company do the packing and physical moving of all of home and it was still so much hard work. I went through basically our whole house before we moved to trash/donate anything we didn’t want to take with us then unpacking here has been a challenge with three little helpers hanging around. I’d say we are 90% of the way there but there are just things that I’m not sure where I want them to go! So they lay on our floor or shoved in a closet. I need to get the last 10% organized then I’ll feel a lot more zen. But seriously guys, I just kept telling myself how friggin lucky we were to have his company move us because I know that’s not the case for most. Trust me, I was definitely counting our blessings!

Today I’m mostly going to share pictures of our bed/nightstand set up becauuuuse let’s be honest, it’s about the most put together part of our bedroom. Our room in California literally only fit this furniture (and BARELY that) so we are struggling with the best way to fill the space. I don’t like buying a bunch of junk just to fill a space so I want it to be useful and add purpose, not just look pretty. I’m trying to decide if we should put art above our bed. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear!  I’m thinking maybe we should do a couple of framed family photos but I’m not married to the idea.

The only thing we’ve gotten so far for this room that we didn’t already own is this amazing rug from Well Woven. The quality is SO good. Way better than I was even anticipating! It lays beautifully and is so soft. I think a good rug can add a lot to a room that is full of plain ole carpet and I’m loving how this one looks with our furniture. Well Woven offered my readers a unique 30% off code and I hope you guys will give them a try because not only is the quality great but the prices are super reasonable too! Just enter powerhouse30 at checkout to get your discount.

We started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to our oldest guy (he turned 7 in July) and I’m surprised at how much he’s loving it! My husband kind of took over because a) his voices are WAY better than mine and b) I take the younger two and read more kiddie books to them which I love. If you’re thinking about reading it to your kiddos, I recommend this illustrated version, it’s super cute and gives them something to focus on while you read.

This is one of my absolute favorite pieces of art by Caitlin Connolly. She is SO talented. There is so much beauty and meaning behind each piece she creates so I highly recommend checking her out.

I’ll go ahead and link to everything I can below but if I miss anything, just leave it in the comments and I’ll get back to you!

  • Bed (upgraded version here), nighstands (no longer sell exact but most similar here), bedding & euro shams: West Elm
  • Lamps: The Land of Nod
  • Harry Potter book: Amazon
  • Rug:  c/o Well Woven (use powerhouse30 for 30% off!)
  • Set of three off white pillows: handmade my me!
  • Long pillow: Target a while back

Phew, I hope that helps! I’m looking forward to giving you guys more of a detailed tour as we get it together! I’m trying to put a deadline on myself but ya know, life is happening. Like 2/3 of my kids throwing up the first week of school. L-I-F-E. Anyway, leave any questions in the comments and I’ll get back to you!

-LWPH

this post does include affiliate links but all thoughts and words are strictly my own. 

The best cinnamon rolls. EVER.

Hi guys! It’s been a minute since I blogged! This summer has just been such a transitional time. We stayed at my mom’s for 5 weeks while our house was being finished then moved…unpacked (still working on that one)…prepping for back to school…it’s just been crazy busy. We feel pretty settled at this point so I can get back to normal life which feels really good.

I’ve been craving homemade cinnamon rolls. I don’t get many cravings that I can’t distract myself from so when I got the itch to make (the best) cinnamon rolls ever three days in a row, I was making those cinnamon rolls. Even if they weren’t going to be ready to eat until 8pm. Whatever guys, cinnamon rolls are an anytime food in my opinion!

So I’ve shared this recipe before like a million years ago. It’s the recipe my dad always used growing up and I’m pretty sure it was passed down from someone in his family but I made a little tweak to the filling that takes them to the next level so I wanted to share again.

RECIPE:

Heat the following over medium:
2 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 tsp salt
When butter has melted, take off of heat and add 2 eggs that are lightly beaten. I temper the eggs (add a little of the hot butter mixture to the eggs before mixing them all in so they don’t cook).
Let mixture cool to 110 degrees (use a candy thermometer).
Add 2 TBSP yeast, let the yeast mixture sit for 10-15 minutes. Yeast will bubble.
Put yeast mixture in mixing bowl and add 4 cups of flour (use kneading attachment on mixer).
Then add another 4-4 1/2 cups of flour. Knead for 8 minutes until dough is stainy sheen.
Allow dough to rise for two hours or until doubled in a lightly oil bowl, covered.
Roll out dough to desired thickness (I did about 1/4 inch), brush with melted butter, sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mix. Roll dough up and cut into rolls with floss or thread. Let rolls rise an additional one hour.
Bake at 400 for 12 minutes. All ovens are different. Our old one took 17 minutes, our new one takes 10 minutes so start at 10 minutes and you can always add more time.

FILLING:
About 8oz brown sugar (brown sugar is a game changer!)
1 TBS ground cinnamon
1 1/2 TBS melted butter (spread on the dough before you start sprinkling the filling)

FROSTING:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
4-5 tsp. milk

I’ve tried freezing these before the second rising before and honestly, they just never are as good. Which is so unfortunate because they take so long I’ll never have them in the morning so I am going to work on that so try to eat these fresh if you can! We always make them on Christmas Day and we love the tradition. Feel free to pin the recipe and let me know if you have any questions in the comments!

-LWPH

1 2 3 4 15