Saturday, October 19, 2019

Three Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Breakfast in our house used to be so easy - Carter ALWAYs wanted a smoothie and Sophia ate mini glazed donuts. Unfortunately about a month ago Carter decided he wasn't a fan of having a smoothie for breakfast, and around the same time it started to become almost impossible to get Sophia's donuts - our local grocery store was either out of them or they were expired/about to expire. Thankfully it's fall, and that's the time when everyone wants pumpkin everything! When I say everyone there, I'm actually talking about the world at large, not inside my house.  My kids are two of the pickiest eaters - for Carter that mainly applies to breakfast foods, but for Sophia, it applies to all meals. They might not eat pumpkin everything, but they do eat these muffins, so they're pretty much a fall staple in our house (and might become a winter, spring, and summer staple - as long as they're eating them I'll be making them).

To make these muffins you literally only need three ingredients, and if you or your kids aren't into chocolate then you only need two.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yield: 24 muffins

Yellow Cake Mix
Pumpkin Pie Filling
Chocolate Chips (optional)


  • Mix the yellow cake mix and pumpkin pie filling together.

  • Fold in chocolate chips. I usually use about half a bag.

  • Scoop into muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (for me that's at 22 minutes). 

  • They turn out moist and delicious, and even with the chocolate chips are fairly low calorie. I'm kind of curious to try them using chocolate cake mix or a different kind of chips, but haven't branched out yet. If it's not broke, don't fix it. You know?

If you try them, drop a comment below and tell me what you think!
Thursday, October 17, 2019

18 of Me

I started this blog post for my 40th birthday last year, but I never published it because I couldn't think of anything past number 18. I guess I'm just not that interesting. Ha! Anyhow, I found this in my drafts folder and thought it'd be a fun way to get back into blogging. Tell me one interesting fact about you in the comments below!

1. I am one of those people who is extremely ticklish, but it doesn't just tickle, it HURTS! Luckily as I've gotten older there are less spots that are super sensitive, but still. Don't tickle me (and if you're tickling someone else and they say, "Stop," please do - I'm quite sensitive to this).

2. I attended six schools from Kindergarten to 6th grade, and during that time I attended one of the six schools for three and a half years. My dad was transferred from St. Paul, Minnesota to Overland Park, Kansas at the end of Kindergarten, so my parents enrolled me in Kinder at Tomahawk Elementary in KS for the last two weeks of school so I'd make friends. Unfortunately our house ended up being zoned to another school the following year, so it didn't do any good. For first grade through the middle of fourth grade I attended Walnut Grove Elementary. In fourth grade my dad was transferred back to Minnesota, so I finished out fourth grade at South Elementary in St. Cloud, MN. The following year they rezoned, so I ended up going to North Elementary and all of the friends I'd made at South stayed there. For my final year of elementary school (6th grade) they opened several new elementary schools, so I went to Oak Hill Elementary with some friends from South, but none from North. The funny thing is that South became a middle school, so I ended up going back there for 7th and 8th grade.

3. Michael and I didn't go to the same high school, but we did meet our senior year. We both got jobs at the new grocery store they were opening up near our houses: Tom Thumb. I was a checker and he was a sacker. He was actually my favorite sacker because he was one of the few that would sack groceries for me. Most of the other sackers knew that I didn't mind sacking, so they'd let me do it and then do the carry out so they could get tipped. Stinkers! Michael sacked for me, so I told him I loved him. I ended up inviting him to my 18th birthday party, but then my friend's mom (it was at her house) said boys weren't allowed so I had to uninvite him. Our first date ended up being the day after my birthday. We were supposed to go see a movie, but it was sold out, so we drove around and looked at Christmas lights and then went to a restaurant and shared a brownie. It was the perfect first date!

4. My big rebellion in college was getting my belly button pierced. My parents were not happy at first, and to this day my dad still doesn't want to talk about it. However, my mom decided that she thought it was really cute, so she paid for me to have it redone after the first one came out and I couldn't get it back in. Needless to say, my dad was even more unhappy the second time around, but at least my mom shared in the blame!

5. The first time I ever got drunk was when I was in college. We were at Side Street Bar in Austin and instead of getting my own drink, I just shared my friends' Long Island Iced Teas and Margaritas. It's never a good idea to mix a bunch of alcohols. The night ended with me getting sick at the bar and then Michael walking me to his car and me believing that I was hallucinating because I saw a cop on a horse (it wasn't a hallucination, they really have cops on horseback). Did I mention that I was underage? Michael was very anxious to get me away from the cops and home to my dorm.

6.  Toes freak me out. It's not the toes themselves, it's people who can spread apart and cross their toes that creep me out. Maybe it's because mine don't do that, I don't know. It's just yuck.

7. I don't like when my right side is exposed. What do I mean by exposed? I can't stand having open space to my right. When we go to restaurants all of my family and friends know that I can't be on the end with my right side open. As I'm sitting here typing this my right arm is beginning to feel weird.

8. Three weeks after Michael and I got married we moved to Stamford, CT, so he could do a rotation at the FASB. I ended up having to using a staffing agency to find a teaching job at a Catholic school in Stamford and had to pay them 7% of my $21,000 salary for getting me an interview. I taught PreK in the morning and 3rd and 4th grade Reading and Social Studies in the afternoon. It was an interesting job.

9. I do not do well around snot, vomit, or diarrhea. Luckily (knock on wood), Sophia and Carter haven't had tummy bugs that often, and when they have Michael has always been around to deal with it, because Mommy cannot handle it. That gag reflex is no joke y'all! 

10. I can't do a cartwheel or spin a hula hoop. Sophia amazes me because she taught herself how to do a cartwheel and is a rock star at the Hula Hoop competition on Field Day every year at school. Here's a video she made in 2015 to teach you how to do a cartwheel (sadly it hasn't helped me).

11. I love to play games! Card games, board games, you name it, I'll play it!

12. I'm allergic to platinum. Unfortunately it took 15 years for me to figure it out, but I am. After we got married and moved to CT I developed this weird red rash behind my legs and in the crooks of my elbows. I went to the doctor and they couldn't figure out what it was. They prescribed oral steroids and the rash cleared up. However, it continued to return off an on, just on a much smaller scale. When we moved back to Texas I went to see my doctor and described it to him (I wasn't having any issues when I saw him) and he thought it sounded like eczema. He prescribed a steroid cream and I used it whenever I had bumps show up. Fast forward to fall 2017 and I got a bad rash (closer to what I had the first time it happened in CT) right under my wedding ring. I stopped wearing my ring and put the steroid cream on and it slowly started to heal, but the minute I put my ring back on it flared back up. I did a little research and discovered that, while rare, you can have a platinum allergy. I went to my dermatologist and they taped those allergy test strips to my back. We eventually learned that I'm allergic to gold sodium thiosulfate and bacitracin (an ingredient in Neosporin). The doctor was also pretty certain I'm allergic to platinum (I guess there isn't a test for it?), so they advised I get a new wedding ring. Michael and I went to the jeweler right before Christmas and picked out the most beautiful rings to replace my originals. Merry Christmas to me! The new rings are white gold, and for some reason even though I have a gold sodium thiosulfate allergy these don't seem to bother me (knocking on wood again). I still have the original engagement ring and band in my jewelry box, so I can look at it whenever I want to, but I'm pretty glad I was "forced" to get an upgrade. 😍

13. One of my favorite snacks is a dill pickle wrapped in a cheese slice. Don't knock it until you've tried it! I also used to love mustard and cheese sandwiches...Sophia prefers mayo and cheese.

14. I can't stand black coffee. I do, however, love me a White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks, but given the kids zebra hot chocolate is called a White Mocha on the receipt, I'm guessing there isn't that much coffee in my "coffee" drink. I have recently started drinking Starbucks Cold Brew coffee thanks to @themacrobarista on Instagram. I order a grande with three pumps NF SF Vanilla, one pump of caramel, and light cream (half and half) ~ it's pretty good. Maybe my taste buds are changing as I'm getting older, or maybe my "coffee" drinks still aren't really coffee.

15. I've been to half of the states: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. I've actually probably driven through a few more, but these are the ones I actually remember visiting.

16. I've been to 5 countries (6 if you count the one I live in): Canada, England, France, Mexico, and the Netherlands.

17. I LOVE Christmas, but then, who doesn't?!

18. We got a puppy our first Christmas as a married couple. Ever since then I've had these crazy weird dreams where I "wake up" and am convinced that whatever I'm dreaming about is really happening. The first time it happened Michael tried to convince me it was just a dream, so I slapped his arm and told him, "Don't patronize me!" It used to involve Bailey, our puppy, but once Sophia and Carter came into the picture they took over the dreams.

I hope that you enjoyed getting to know me a little better. I want to start posting again more regularly, so if there is something you want to see, drop it in the comments along with an interesting fact about you!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Why I Stopped Blogging

I have always loved writing. When I was younger, I used to dream about becoming a published author. Does this blog count? ;) After I stopped teaching three years ago (I can't believe it's already been three years!) I decided to start this blog as a way to explore some of my other passions: decorating, cooking, fashion, travel, and of course, writing.

I enjoyed producing content, but always felt embarrassed and uncomfortable about sharing it with anyone. There are so many amazing influencers (blogs and on Instagram) that I follow, and they make it look so easy. It comes naturally to them. Not for me. I guess I lack the self-confidence it takes to be able to put myself out there and say, "Come follow me! Look at how awesome I am! If you buy this you'll be awesome too!" That's not to say that any of the influencers that I follow are doing that. Every one of them seems real, not like they're just putting on a show to get you to go out and spend money. However, with that being said, it's hard to be an influencer and make money (it is a job) without looking like you're telling people to "buy all the things." It's hard to follow someone's blog or Instagram and see them sharing cute new clothes or decor all the time and not start to think you need to buy the clothes or decor too. I have a closet full of clothes that I really didn't need because I was sucked into believing I needed "all the things." But again, that's not the influencer's fault, it's mine for feeling like I needed to spend money to be happy/better.

I never planned on making my blog a career. It's not. I've never made money off of this blog (if you clicked a link I shared I would get 5 cents put into an account, but you only ever get paid once you hit a certain level and I never got there), and I'm totally fine with that. I did receive those PopSugar Must Have boxes for free in exchange for a review (it didn't have to be on the blog, just social media). In all honesty, I loved the boxes that I received, and still use many of the items that were included, but I haven't ever purchased a box, so it was disingenuous of me to tell you to go out and buy one. With that being said, if I hadn't received so many boxes free I may have tried it just once for fun. I have tried Birchbox and Stitch Fix and it was always fun opening "happy mail," but the point is that you didn't need it, so it wasn't fair of me to show it to you and say "Here's this offer code. Go spend money!" I don't want to be that person that tells you that you need to completely revamp your wardrobe or decorate your house to be enough. You don't. You are beautiful and your house is a home. And that's enough.

I do want to continue writing, but I don't really know what to write about. That's one of the big reasons I stopped blogging - I didn't want to always be sharing new things for you to go buy, but I didn't know what to write about if it wasn't that. And again, I don't necessarily feel 100% comfortable putting myself out there. I definitely have some insecurities I need to work on, and I need to stop looking at other bloggers and Instagrammers and comparing myself to them. I am enough. I think I actually wrote a blog post awhile back with that title. I guess I should probably go back and read it and see if what I said then can finally sink in. Read it. Definitely need to take what I said to heart.

If there is something that you would like to see on this blog, please share! I've got plenty of time, so if you want book reviews, vacation itineraries (I'm currently researching and planning for our trip to Park City in March, but I'd be happy to do some research on your vacation for you - it's seriously #sofun to research and plan out a vacation - even if I'm not the one taking it ;), meals, closet staples, etc. I want to write, but I really don't know what to write, so if you want to hear from me, please share your ideas/requests! I don't know, maybe I'll just use this as a journal, though journals are usually meant to be private. I don't know. I'm still trying to find my purpose (my #oneword for the year).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Affordable Booties

I don't know about you, but I don't always want to spend a ton of money on shoes. Target is pretty much my favorite store to buy anything, and I have to say, when it comes to booties #targetdoesitagain! Here are some of my favorites.

2. Double Zipper Booties I got these last year in both the cognac and black (I did go up a half size). Even after wearing them all the time, they still look brand new! Highly recommend!

4. Leopard Booties - I had been eyeing a much more expensive pair of leopard booties on the Nordstrom website, but couldn't quite justify spending the money since I wasn't sure how much I'd actually wear them. I am so glad I held off because I absolutely LOVE these and the price was so much better! These fit TTS.

5. Burgundy Suede Booties - I wear a lot of neutral tones, but I love the idea of adding interest to my outfit with my shoes (hello leopard booties!), and this burgundy color is perfect for fall!

I have done way too much shopping lately so I'm trying NOT to buy anything for awhile, but I'm afraid the sock booties and the burgundy booties may be calling my name! LOL! Which are your favorite?


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What I'm Packing for Hawaii

I'm not usually into getting clothes to match my vacation destination, but it seems that most of the items I've purchased for the summer seem to match our destination: Hawaii!

Orange Dress As soon as I saw this dress, I knew it would be perfect for our trip! It just looks like Hawaii to me.

Flamingo Shorts I ordered these shorts on a whim, and I have to say that I love them! The pattern is so fun! I also got these and these. I love to pair a patterned bottom with a basic top. They'll look great with my favorite v-neck tees and tanks!

White Embroidered Blouse The embroidery on this blouse is so pretty, and I love that the material a little heavier weight (read: not sheer)!

Bikini (Top & Bottom) I love that this swimsuit brand comes in small, medium, and large, but also the cup sizes D and DD. I am always worried about not getting enough support from bikini tops, but this one is great!

Sandals (less than $30) I posted about these in this post, and am so glad that I ended up ordering them! They're so cute and fun!

Straw Purse I got this version for Mother's Day, but I love the orange - it would look great with the orange dress!

Earrings If there's ever a time to step out of my comfort zone and wear some fun tassel earrings, Hawaii is it!

Sleep Shorts I either sleep in these sleep shorts and a tank top, or this romper. Super comfortable and cool (as in not hot, I'm not commenting on how cool I am!).

Black Strapless Romper Maxi This was a last minute purchase. I love the combination of shorts and the maxi skirt!

Here are some other items I'm packing for the trip! Are you taking any trips this summer?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Travel Essentials

We have some fun trips planned for the summer, so I've been doing some travel research and planning to get ready. Today I thought I'd share some of my newfound travel/packing wisdom with you. :)

1. Packing Cubes I am what you would call an overpacker, so I'm all for anything that will help reduce the amount of luggage I need without reducing the amount of stuff I'm bringing. LOL! I've read really good things about packing cubes, so I decided to try them out. I ordered the six piece value set as well as a three pack of the medium bags. The first time I use them will be when we go to Hawaii in June, so I'll do a full review after that, but if you're looking for ways to organize your suitcase now, definitely check them out!

2. Woolite Travel Detergent Packets I am notorious for spilling on myself (if I can make it through a meal without getting food in my hair or on my clothes it's a miracle!), so while wearing something more than once on a trip sounds like a great idea, it's rarely ever worked out in the past. I discovered these Woolite Travel Packets on our trip to Europe a few years ago, and now I don't travel without them! They're perfect for throwing in your suitcase, and it's really quick and easy to handwash an item in your hotel room sink when needed.

3. Wet Beach Stuff Bag Oftentimes when traveling your return flight is after your checkout time, but it's hard to go to the pool because you don't want to pack a wet swimsuit in your suitcase. This wet stuff beach bag is the perfect solution to that problem - now you can spend your last morning relaxing by the pool or on the beach, and when you're ready to change out of your wet suit you can stick it in the bag before throwing it in your suitcase. Sounds heavenly (pool/beach time, not a wet bag in your suitcase - ha!).

4. SKITS Tech Case I mentioned this in my Holiday Gift Guide for Him and I have to say that this is probably one of Michael's favorite gifts from Christmas! It seems so silly that someone would be excited over cord organization, but when you think about how many chargers you need to take with you when you travel (phone charger, eReader charger, fitness watch charger, laptop/iPad charger, etc) it really comes in handy in terms of keeping cords organized and untangled.

5. Noise Canceling Headphones I've been going back and forth about whether or not I should order these before our Hawaii trip. We're flying first class, and the airline's website says they provide them, but what if they run out or just don't end up having them? They're pretty expensive to buy, and I'm not sure how often I'll use them other than when we're traveling, but at this point I don't have any headphones (I lost my earbuds when we were in Mexico last year) so I probably need to get something. If you travel a lot like Michael does, then you should probably invest in some good noise canceling headphones (Michael has these and loves them), but if you don't travel as much a good pair of earbuds is probably enough.

6. Kindle Paperwhite In the past I've always carried at least one book onto the plane with me and packed one in my suitcase, but they tend to take up space and add weight, so I'm excited to start traveling with my Kindle instead! When I first got it I wasn't sure I liked it, but it's so handy to have a book with me wherever I go, and it weighs less than 8 oz so it doesn't add much weight to my bag (truth be told, I don't feel much of a difference when it's in/out of my bag). It's also really nice because as long as I can connect to WiFi I can always download a new book, so I'm never without something to read!

7. Passport Holder If you're leaving the country, you need something to hold your passport that will stand out when you're digging for it in your bag, and it doesn't hurt if it's cute!

8. Large Tote When I travel I like to bring a book, a puzzle book, magazines, my wallet, a snack (essential on the plane to help prevent motion sickness), a cardigan, etc, and I don't want to get bogged down with an extra bag, so I carry my LV Neverfull and fill it to the brim. I usually keep all of our passports in my purse, so I keep them in the wristlet that came with my LV Neverfull. This reversible tote & wristlet (less than $50!) would work perfectly to hold your passports/travel documents and all of your other travel essentials! And it comes in so many fun colors (I especially love the blue/grey combo)!

Where are you traveling to this summer? What are your travel essentials?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Life Update

I wanted to pop in and let you know that my posts may be a bit light for the next month or so. I was offered a tutoring job at the elementary school where I used to teach (the school my kids go to) that I just couldn't pass up. Initially it was going to be half day, so I though I'd still have time to blog, work out, stick to the cleaning schedule that I started a few weeks ago, etc, but now it's full day, so it's going to be a balancing act. At the end of the month I'm either going to be filling out an application for a full-time teaching job next year or be exhausted and ready for a vacation (or both!). A few months ago I was sure that I'd be back to teaching full-time next year, but then I started to find my way, and now I'm kind of thinking I'm good the way things are. Of course, I'm two days into my tutoring job and spent half the night planning for the groups I'm working with, so teaching is definitely a passion. We shall see. If any of my PTA friends are reading this they're probably freaking out a bit right now - I signed up to be president-elect next year, and can't exactly do that if I'm teaching! Rest assured ladies, I'm happy where I am. I think?

Anyhow, I will update my blog when I can, and I'll do my best to keep up with my Facebook page. If you haven't liked my page yet, please do!

Talk to you soon!