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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Move over Martha

Oh you know, just picking out flowers with the perfect lipstick on, my hair casually thrown in a ponytail and a photographer taking pictures of me doing it.  haha.  


NO - but in all actuality I literally jumped out of bed with the kiddos at 7:45am, decided I wanted to go out to breakfast so threw this on without giving it a second thought or showering.


Later in the day my girlfriend Lindsey and I stopped by this amazing nursery to check out the flowers and snap some pics of her who really is fashion blog worthy and she insisted I looked cute enough to snap a few pics of mwah.


Saw whaaat! Me?  I'm pretty sure nothing screams "I'm a MOM" more than a white collard button down shirt on a Sunday. Not exactly a fashion icon.


But ya know what, anyone that knows me knows this is ME!!  If I'm not in my corporate 9 to 5 wear (which I won't be for long thanks to R+F)  then you can usually find me in skinny jeans and a popped collar!


Move over Martha Stewart...I'm owning this outfit!





Sunday, April 3, 2016

Two for Two

I made a second recipe out of Kristin Cavallari's new book "Balancing in Heels" and it was just as delicious as the first so I wanted to share.  Kristin if you reading this I'm voting next book is a cook book!

Almond Butter Sugar Cookies

1 stick butter (she recommends grass-fed butter, softened)

1 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup almond butter

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups oat flour (I had to buy this on amazon did find it in our regular grocery store)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

2. Using a handheld or stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and almond butter until fluffy. Add the egg and mix to combine

3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt with a spoon.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Spoon tablespoon-size balls onto the prepared baking sheets, keeping a little distance between each ball.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown. The cookies are thin, so keep a close eye on them so they don't burn.

Hope you enjoy!! xo

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

If you give a girl a book

I sort of laugh with the title of this post because that's how it happened.  Here my husband Hunter was browsing amazon and he came across Kristin Cavallari's new book "Balancing in Heels"  It got good reviews, and it had a little bit of everything in it from recipes, to wardrobe tips, to her work he thought I would like it so he ordered it for me.


Well the first few pages in the book talks about how when Kristin got pregnant she became very aware of what she was putting in her body and changed to eating only good quality food "real" food.  But she goes on to talk about avoiding GMO's, the worst chemicals in foods that you will NEVER find in her home and gives ideas on what to swap out white flour and other processed ingredients for.  It struck me.

Now, I've always had an interest in controversial ingredients and how they could possibly lead to cancer.  I mean, when Hunter was born I was BPA paranoid and used glass bottles.  Then I couldn't find a nipple that he would take to with the glass bottles so that was that.  But I kept seeing BPA free on everything plastic which made me feel better.  Then I was a working mom with one kid, and then two kids, and well eating healthy for the past few years has just meant eating your vegetables.   Side Note:  In chatting with a girlfriend about my new found interest she informed me that some reports have shown that sure plastics are mostly BPA free now but they are doing tests because there's likely a chance that what they replaced BPA with is just as bad!!! Geez la weez.

Back to the book.  So Kristin's book really opened my eyes again and led me to do a little internet research myself.  I started googling things like synthetic dyes, sodium nitrates.  I had known to avoid high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners but HELLO...where was I with the synthetic dyes one.  I regret to inform ya'll that for probably a year now my child has had a popsicle after dinner every night and yes it has blue, green, and yellow artificial colors (insert sad face emoji).

Okay I'll cut to the chase.  I'm not about to throw away everything in our pantry and reality stays that I'm a working mom who doesn't have time to make her child a quality "real" food meal every morning and night...the freezer is my friend people.  BUT.... I found this website www.fooducate.com and its allowing me to make more informed decisions.  Just search for a food and it will give you rating A to D- and tell you WHY it has that rating.  It's states what ingredients are in the food that are controversial and will give you better alternatives.  For example, my kids LOVE Eggos. They eat waffles and pancakes two or three times a week.  Well if you look up Eggos on fooducate.com it will tell you that its rated a C because it contains controversial artificial colors, controversial additive TBHQ and is highly processed.  I love that most that it tells you WHY these things are controversial like below:


Once upon a time, there were no food colorings.

Then folks figured out that food looks better and sells more when it can be enlivened through dyes. For most of food history, the dyes were from natural sources – beet juice for red, turmeric for yellow,etc…

However, in the quest to increase color intensity and lower manufacturing costs, cheap artificial dyes were introduced to market.

Unfortunately they pose a risk for hyperactivity in children, cancer, and allergic reactions.

Then over to the right it show's some better alternatives like the Van's brand of frozen waffles.  Or how easy is it to just whip up a batch on Sunday for the week, freeze them then pop them in the toaster like so.  That still takes time on Sunday, that is sometimes not there, so I will always have a need for already prepared convenience.  And just like the better alternatives for Eggos there are actually popsicles that don't have synthetic dyes too... I just didn't KNOW.

Needless to say I have done a search on every food that is a regular in our home and made sure it is a B or higher rating and has none of the major controversial ingredients.  I'm not ready to go all no processed foods yet...maybe i'll get there, maybe i won't but I feel much better just being educated and aware about the ingredients going into my kids body.


Now, back to the book... again.  Here's where the if you give a girl a book comes into play :) If you give a girl a book, she'll read about healthy food, reading about healthy food will make her want to only buy healthy food.  Only buying healthy food will make her bank account go lower and make her husband wish he didn't buy her the book.   Hehe..Hunter regretting his purchase a little.  No really he is pretty on board with this and secretly likes that I'm keeping our kids healthy but not so secretly reminds me that I am not married to Jay Cutler like Kristin Cavallari is and that he does not make 15million dollars a year.  (pretty sure I knew that).

Here are the things I have purchased and am trying to swap out at Kristin's recommendations:

White flour - instead use spelt flour, brown rice flour or oat flower (I found the spelt flour at Harris Teeter pretty easily. I had to order the oat flour on amazon although I'm sure they have it at whole foods)

White sugar - use coconut sugar instead.  (apparently i'm late to the party on this one because when i purchased coconut sugar the other day it was the last bag on the shelf.  plenty of white sugar...no coconut sugar left)

White table salt - pink himalayan salt or celtic sea salt ( i got the pink salt - duh) :)

Canola oil instead use coconut oil or olive oils (most have jumped on this band wagon i feel like. We've been using coconut oil for a while now and really love it.  My favorite brand is actually from wild tree.  www.wildtree.com 

I've also purchased flax seeds, chia seeds, cacoa powder, spirlina powder, maca powder, and cacoa nibs.  Mostly to try out her smoothie recipes but also for her recipe for oat balls and overnight chia-oat cups.  I tried her green banana muffin recipe today and to say I'm hooked is an understatement.  They have 4 cups of spinach in them and are the most delicious healthy muffin I've ever had.  You'll likely have to make a grocery store run before you make them for spelt flour, spinach, and flax seed to name a few but it will be well worth it, James ate 3!!


GREEN BANANA MUFFINS

2 cups spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 bag (6 ounces baby spinach) about 4 cups - remember its part of dirty dozen so buy organic!
3/4 cup REAL maple syrup
1/2 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
1 flax egg*  (vegan recipe bonus!)
1/4 cup applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (3 small or 2 large)

1. Preheat the oven 350F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a food processor or blender, combine spinach, maple syrup, almond milk, flax egg, applesauce, and vanilla and process until completely pureed.  Add the wet ingredients and the banana to the dry ingredients and stir until well combine.

3. Fill each muffin cup about three- quarters full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes.

*A flax egg is 1 tablespoon flaxseed plus 3 tablespoons water.  Let set 15minutes until it becomes a gooey consistency.




Sunday, March 20, 2016

James Penn's Hot Dog Party

Hey ya'll!!! Long time no post ;)  A few weeks ago we threw James Penn a "Hot Dog" themed 2nd birthday party so just wanted to share its adorableness for you to steal some ideas from and for our families purpose of documenting some memories!  

A little background on the theme.  Like most two years olds James Penn LOVES Mickey Mouse. However, he calls it "hot dog" because of the hot dog dance at the end AND he also happens to love hot dogs the food.  So instead of doing a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party I thought we would do "Hot Dog" themed party with just touches of Mickey Mouse in there.  

Of course every party starts with an invite and usually I use the invite to build a theme for the rest of the event.  My go to is always Minted!  I love that all of our friends and families addresses are saved in my Minted account so not only can I order invites but I can have them pre-addressed as well.  All i have to do is stamp and send them once they arrive.  


Next I always enlist the help of my super talented girlfriend Nicola to help build upon my theme with original cake toppers and decor.  All I told her a Hot Dog themed party with touches of Mickey Mouse, sent her the invite I purchased and she came up with this!!  Seriously...she's amazing!! How adorable is this sign! 




And the cake toppers she created!!! So much attention to detail. I personally would much rather pay 20 bucks for a cake from target and make it match my theme paper toppers like this than pay 200 dollars for themed fondant cake.  

I especially loved this party theme because the food couldn't get any more simple!! A hot dog bar!!  We did build your own chicago dogs, southern dogs, BLT dogs or Classic dogs.  And for the kiddos also had pigs in a blanket and corn dogs on a stick.   


Put out some chips (sweet potato chips for the kids) and a broccoli salad and call it a day! 






Appetizers were super easy too. You can buy Mickey Mouse shaped cheese at Walmart. Cheese and crackers done.   (found the Mickey Mouse paper balls below at party city!)


Then I put the hubby to work cutting out Mickey Mouse shaped pineapples and skewering grapes. 


And for fun...life size Mickey Mouse's and a Mickey Mouse bounce house in the driveway....













Picture of the boy's faces as they were blowing up the bounce house :) 








We didn't get your typical adorable 2 year old blowing out his birthday candles picture. We got something WAY better in my opinion. REAL LIFE haha.   Big Brother Hunter in the back ground was having a hard time dealing with the fact that this was not HIS birthday so right before we started singing happy birthday he gave little brother a good whack.  That combined with the overwhelming atmosphere of 30 people singing to you, the birthday boy wasn't too happy :(  

Wasn't anything a little birthday cupcake couldn't fix!!! 

Happy 2nd Birthday James Penn!! We love you ALWAYS and FOREVER! 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Five on Friday

No small talk...getting right down to it!

1.  I received this ring from Pandora as a christmas gift from my mother in law and I'm LOVING it.  I've never owned anything from Pandora before nor have I ever wore a middle finger ring.  Look at me now getting all crazy.  Would make a pretty darn good valentines day gift! xo


2.  So we've subscribing to the Hello Fresh meal delivery.  We've liked it so far but THIS MEAL ya'll by far has been the best one we have ever had.  It was incredibly simple, you could buy the 7 ingredients it takes to make it from the grocery store for probably like $10 bucks and it literally cooked in 30 Mintues!  I put fish sticks in the oven for the boys and by the time their dinner was ready this was ready for us. I was shocked! Needless to say we've made it twice in the past two weeks! Go make it!




3.  I know we're all tired of buying winter clothes at this point but ya'll some of the sales are unreal.  I wore this poncho yesterday and a girl asked where i got so I looked it up... you can get it for $27 dollars right now!!  And they have size xs/s left! 


4.  Who's ready for the super bowl!! Here in Charlotte you can feel the excitement everywhere you go!  Yesterday while walking uptown to get lunch there was a guy on the street selling these lego Panther football players.  Aren't they adorable!!  Let's just say I have one VERY HAPPY 4 year old when i came home with these.  If your uptown in the next week look for the guy on trade and tyron he had some good Super Bowl goodies!
5.  We've starting weening James of his Paci this week.  Just during the day. He doesn't have it at "school" all day and we make him keep it in his bed when he wakes up.  So what has he taken to?? Sucking his thumb. YES!! Every time I look at him from the time I pick him up from daycare to the time he goes to bed he is full out sucking his thumb.  We can't have that ...I'd rather him have his paci til he's five then start the thumb sucking thing...right? Help!  Kid is a hot mess I'l leave you with these! Lol! #modeljames








Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SNOMG2016

I've left the house once since thursday (5 days, 1 time).  Surprisingly, not really feeling all that much cabin fever, its kind of been a nice relaxing break but I have to think back what the heck have we been doing for the past 5 days.  

Thursday with the rest of Charlotte we went out to dinner, grab a few necessities from the grocery store and hunkered down in the house waiting for the snow and friday morning when we woke up it DID NOT disappoint.

This was our driveway...a sheet of ice.


The rest was totally instagram worthy


It's amazing how much changes in a year.  Last year when Hunter was 3 he had no interest in playing in the snow.  Everytime we went out to see it he said he it was too cold and he wanted to go inside.  This year was complete opposite.  The excitement on his face when he saw all the snow Monday morning was one of those mom moments i'll keep in my head and heart forever. 


And even though I've seen snow a million times (growing up in NY), his excitement was contagious, I was like a kid in a candy store right there with him.  




So Friday was just snow day bliss.  We dressed in our long johns and slippers...



made blueberry pancakes


which led to apple muffins thanks to the recipe on the pancake mix



read books with friends



cleaned up the house

played nice as brothers

and didn't play nice as brothers

But while James was down for his long winter nap Hunter and I went out and played.  Snowballs, sledding he would have stayed out there all day if I let him! 


And guess what...Saturday we woke up and did it again.  Except instead of pancakes we had oatmeal - which led to me seeing the oatmeal cooking recipe on the tub - i see a trend here. hmmm



By Saturday at 10am we were all 4 out playing in the snow again. As expected James lasted about two minutes and whined to go inside.  Snow playing, lunch, naps, and little of this for Mom and Dad was really blissful.  It's not often we get to look out our back porch and stare at snow.  There's just something so beautiful about snow. (2 inches of snow that is).


Saturday night our friends (who are neighbors) came over with their kiddos.  We turned the fireplace on in the basement, the glow off the snow came in through the windows down there. It sort of felt like we were away in the mountains minus the hot tub in the snow that we were really wishing we had.


6 adults, 5 kids, pizza, cocktails, popcorn, movies, and dance parties...It was the most fun evening and I'm really mad at myself for not saving off any of my videos or pics from snapchat.  Maybe you caught it live on my snapchat ID -  lunsfordkm?  

Sunday we paid the price of keeping the kids up past their bedtime with a sick 4  year old.  Hunter V woke up with a 104 fever and here we are today on Tuesday with the same fever.


It seems to be going down a little bit so hoping this is the end. If not, off to the Dr. we go tomorrow.  

Hope ya'll out there are surviving your snow and school outages.  My parents up in Virginia got 40 inches!! Insane! xoxo
 
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