My Favorite Healthy Recipes

Having children can make it hard to eat healthy meals regularly. Children tend to be picky eaters and finding healthy recipes that they actually like can be a challenge. Thankfully, I do not have picky kids (they even like tofu!) and it’s easier to find things they’ll eat that aren’t Happy Meals from McDonald’s.

Here are some of my favorite kid-approved recipes for healthy family meals:

Easy Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf

We love meatloaf in this house. I’ve made so many different kinds, including a barbecue chicken meatloaf (Recipe here: The Clean Eating Couple). Their favorite recipe, no matter how many I’ve tried, is this Easy Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf. They love it and so does the husband. It is juicy, full of flavor, and very filling. My kids like it so much that it has become a regular in our meal planning.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like stuffed peppers. They’re incredibly easy to make and they taste amazing! These peppers are even better. Prepped ahead of time, they can be frozen and pulled out when you’re looking for a meal that won’t result in you spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Simply pull them out of the freezer, put them in the slow cooker, and forget about them for a while! The result is a delicious, easy, and healthy dinner that your family will love!

Chicken Burrito Skillet

My children love Tex-Mex. I mean really love it. Tacos are a fairly frequent request for dinner in our house, but I like to mix it up and not always just make tacos. This Chicken Burrito Skillet is a great alternative. It’s super cheesy (which I love!) and absolutely delicious. I try make a lot of it because my kids always go back for more.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

This is another one that’s loaded with cheese. We love cheese in this house. If you keep prepared bacon on hand like I do, this casserole is even quicker to make. The best thing about it, though, is that it’s very versatile. As far as veggies go, you can use pretty much anything you have on hand. I’ve made it with broccoli, spinach, zucchini, summer squash, and so many other different things. Because it takes very little time to throw together, I make this one regularly. It pairs really well with fresh steamed green beans or riced cauliflower and fills you up quickly.

What are some of your favorite recipes for healthy family meals?

34 Looks Good!

Today is my 34th birthday. And I feel better than ever.

It’s cold today. Unseasonably so for early September. The temperature outside will barely rise to 50 degrees and it is expected to rain most of the day. An early Autumn is amazing birthday present. I really do not have much to complain about.

The house is warm. We actually had to turn on the heat as overnight temperatures reached the low 40s. I’m wearing comfy pajamas and cozy socks as I sit here sipping hot tea. I’ve come to love hot tea and quiet wee morning hours when everything is silent and still. As a stay-at-home mom teaching home-schooled children, the silence is appreciate. It’s peaceful.

Yes, 34 looks not just good, but amazing.

We moved into a new house over the summer. It’s beautiful. The windows are enormous, allowing for lots of natural light. The backyard is considerably sized as well, giving my children lots of space to grow. It is a massive step upward from where we were before. With all of the light that comes in, I decided I needed plants. I accumulate more by the week, telling my husband that I just “need” them. I do. They bring me happiness.

We put in a flower bed to wrap around the back porch where there was nothing but grass. The neighbors gave me a few discarded tires as they were moving out, along with an old wheelbarrow, and I turned those into planters as well. I’m not finished with them yet, but I’m getting there.

Turning 34 feels fantastic. I have a clear vision of where I want my life to go at this point; of what I intend to spend the next few years doing. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And that’s really saying something.

With that being said, here are 34 lessons and aspirations for my 34th birthday that I want to share with you:

34 Things I’ve Learned and Aspire to Do (Before my next birthday):

1. You absolutely have to be comfortable being alone.
2. Kindness is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.
3. Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.
4. Authenticity over anything else. People will love you for it and, if they don’t, they’re the wrong people.
5. No matter how many times you fall, get back up.
6. Forgive for yourself. Inner peace matters more than pride.
7. Speak up when people hurt you.
8. Do what you love.
9. What other people think of you is their business, not yours.
10. You’ll never know everything and there’s nothing wrong with that.
11. Real love will leave you feeling freer and more satisfied than you ever have.
12. Uplift your partner. Their success and happiness is just as important as your own.
13. Being happy is a choice.
14. Growth sometimes means leaving things and people behind, no matter how much you thought they’d always be there.
15. Keep your circle small. Friends are awesome, but they’re rarely authentic.
16. Self-confidence is powerful beyond words.
17. Hold onto the people who stand by you no matter how hard life gets.
18. Keep going, even if your progress is slow. Quitting won’t speed things up.
19. Action is the best possible way to destroy procrastination.
20. Sticks and stones hurt, but words can too.

21. Become a CNA.
22. Start school to become an LPN.
23. Write every chance I get.
24. Become the healthiest I’ve ever been.
25. Read at least one book per month.
26. Put at least $1,000 into an emergency fund and leave it alone.
27. Become my most confident self.
28. Be the best mom I can possibly be.
29. Be a strong partner in my marriage.
30. Love those around me as hard as I can.
31. Reach my highest spiritual self.
32. Let go of any negativity or self-doubt that is holding me back.
33. Improve my credit score by at least 75 points.
34. Accept life’s lessons and experiences and grow from them.

Have a wonderful day, love. I’m going to go celebrate my 34th with my precious family.

Small Victories!

Yesterday, I started working out for the first time in EIGHT YEARS!

My goodness, it was rough. By the third set of jumping jacks, I was ready to call it quits. But, I didn’t. I kept going, pushed through, and came out on the other side of that workout feeling pretty proud.

Today, despite being sore, I pushed myself to do it all over again. It’s only the second day, but I was able to get myself through it a bit easier than yesterday. I still had a hard time, but I got through it!

I don’t know if it’s just me. Maybe it is. I got to a point where I just didn’t care about my weight. Somehow, I was comfortable with being lumpy, with being out of shape, and with eating every time I became even a little bit stressed out. Sometimes, it wasn’t even about stress. Sometimes, I ate simply because I was bored.

My husband wasn’t concerned with my weight, so I told myself it was okay. Eating out of boredom was fine. Filling up on sweets was fine. Drinking several cans of Dr. Pepper a day was fine. I don’t know how I got there and I don’t know how I was so comfortable with it.

Last Sunday, I decided I was done with soda. Period. I was also done with sweets and other junk food. When I bought my little journal, I knew I didn’t want to ever have to write down four cans of Dr. Pepper in a day. Nor did I want to write down cakes or cookies or a whole bag of Doritos.

This weekend, I will be a full two weeks without pop or junk food. I drink several bottles of water everyday. I’ve even gotten to where I don’t mind drinking it at room temperature. That’s huge for me!

It’s not all about being comfortable with a different lifestyle, of course. A huge part of it is my kids. When Presley is old enough, I want to be able to go outside with her and run around the yard without feeling like I’m going to die. I want to have the stamina and energy to keep up with her. Ava, my oldest, wants me to go for jogs with her. And, most importantly, I want to teach my kids a healthier lifestyle. I don’t want to be tired and unhealthy, because I want to be there for as many of their big moments as possible. Longevity is key in all of that.

And, of course, I want to feel confident in myself. Putting on a pretty shirt only to pull it back off after noticing how it draws attention to your lumps and bumps isn’t a good feeling. At least not for me. I don’t enjoy sitting down and watching my tummy bulge out or seeing the dips in my hips with that awful little muffin top hanging out over the top of my jeans. For me at least, it’s a mood-killer. I look down, see my rolls, and immediately look for something to cover it with. It embarrasses me.

I want to feel happy and confident in my own skin.

So, here’s to workout number two and my journey to a healthier, stronger version of myself!

“You’re Too Old”

As of writing this, I am 33 years old.

I am a 33 year old who loves clothes. More specifically, I love skirts and dresses.

Then I heard that awful six-word phrase used in an attempt to admonish me against wearing such things.

“You’re too old to wear that.”

It hit me hard. Being in my 30s means I am suddenly too old to wear certain things. Those things are intended for early 20s and not early 30s. My reluctance to wear or purchase such things since that warning got me wondering. Is there really a magical point where you suddenly become too old to wear certain clothes? Is there an age limit on skirts and dresses?

My husband loves the way I dress. He is the same age as me and has never once made a negative remark about my choice of clothing. Most of my non-work clothes look like the above image. Skirts. Tights. Rompers. Dresses. Feminine blazers. They are an obsession. I love them. I feel happy, feminine, and very comfortable in them. He only ever has nice things to say about the way I dress.

I still worry, though. I’ve been sticking to pants and blouses ever since hearing that I am too old. It’s such an awful thing to hear. It’s right up there with negative comments regarding your physique. No one wants to hear that they’re too thin, too fat, or too old. Whether or not you believe it, those statements stick with them, eating away at them, making them question themselves constantly. It destroys how a person views themself.

Is it entirely impossible to just allow people to feel good about themselves? Having an opinion is fine, but is it really worth voicing if it tears someone’s self-esteem down even by the smallest measure? Am I really too old to continue wearing skirts and dresses? Is it best to stick with shirts and blouses at my age?

What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.

2019: A Year in Photos

I can honestly say that 2019 was the best year on record. At least for me. So much happened! We brought home a new puppy and a new kitten. I got a promotion at work and successfully survived my first inventory as a Department Manager. We celebrated some major life events. Throughout the year, there was no shortage of happy moments.

Here are my favorite moments from 2019!

January wasn’t a particularly eventful month, but we had some great weather which made for plenty of spontaneous trips to the park. During this particular trip, my daughter and I ended up wrestling in the grass. I swear she’s laughing.

In February, we celebrated this gorgeous girl’s 7th birthday. She shared cupcakes with her class at school on the sidewalk. The weather was perfect for a trip outdoor and being outdoors made for easy clean up and no messes in the classroom.

On March 16th, Tristin asked me to marry him. Obviously, I said yes! We also welcomed a new little nephew into the family and celebrated Jack’s 10th birthday.

A few wonderful things happened in April. We brought home a sweet little puppy and named her Elune. My daughter and I went on a field trip to Science Museum Oklahoma. Shortly after that, Jack and I went to the Cowboy Museum with his school. Both places were a ton of fun, but Science Museum Oklahoma is my most favorite place in Oklahoma. Towards the end of the month, we learned that our family would be growing!

My oldest daughter, Ava, spent the month of May taking lots of photographs. She decided she’d like to be a photographer. This is one of her many photos and certainly my favorite. For only being 12, she has so much talent. Aside from taking photographs, she also loves to bake. Her mini apple pies are amazing!

My kids always leave for summer at the end of May and it makes for a highly uneventful June. Most of June was spent working or going for long drives with Tristin. We turn up the radio, put the windows down, and just drive. In July, however, we brought home a new kitten. Meet Bella! I promise she’s not as sweet as she looks. She has a huge personality and she’s extremely mischievous.

August is such a great month every year. I go home to visit my family and my kids come home from a long summer break. This August, the drive home seemed to take forever. Being in a car for 18 hours while you’re super pregnant is not fun. Not at all. We stopped in the middle of the night at a little hotel in Tennessee. We were unable to see much of the area due to it being so dark but, the next morning, we were greeted with the most beautiful scenery. As we sat together eating breakfast in the hotel lobby, we watched the clouds roll over the mountains across the highway. It was gorgeous. During our short vacation back home, we had the privilege of spending a few days in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This photo was the view from the balcony of my dad’s suite at our hotel.

You’ll have to forgive the goofy Snapchat filter. My daughter insisted on it and she took the picture with her phone. The three of us spent our evening out at the Woodward County Event Center watching Darci Lynne perform. My daughter is a HUGE fan, so I surprised her with tickets. Also worth noting, I celebrated my 33rd birthday in September.

October is always an eventful month. From family birthdays to Halloween, there’s always something going on. My husband turned 34, my niece turned 16, and my sister-in-law threw me a baby shower. It was so much fun! My favorite part of October this year, however, was the unexpected snow day on October 24th. Look at all of that, y’all! It was breathtaking. I love snow. It makes the environment seem so blissfully quiet.

Oh, November! My second favorite month of the entire year. We celebrated several birthdays in November, including Ava’s 12th. Thanksgiving with Tristin’s family was just amazing. I’m already looking forward to doing it again. The best part, though, was marrying Tristin. November 5th, 2019. I chose the date to commemorate my grandfather. He passed away three years ago, but his birthday is November 5th. Choosing that date was about commemorating him and giving myself a new reason to celebrate that day. My makeup, of course, was done by me.

December started out a bit rough. Gestational diabetes and preeclampsia meant being put on maternity leave earlier than originally planned. One week from being placed on maternity leave, though, I was admitted to the hospital to be induced due to oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid). After 52 hours worth of being induced, our beautiful Presley was born. We spent six days in the hospital and then went home to celebrate her first Christmas. Her birth put my husband more in the Christmas spirit than I’ve ever seen him. When we walked into the house, there were Christmas lights everywhere. Around the ceiling in the living room. Strung across the room from one wall to another. The lights had snowflakes and ornaments hanging from them. It was incredible.

The year 2020 has some very large shoes to fill. I do not think it’s possible to top the excitement, happiness, and pure joy that came from 2019. It was definitely a year that I’ll never forget!