Favorite Summer Moment

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Today I’m doing something new and linking up with Erika and Andrea. This month  it’s “Favorite Summer Moment”.

There are so many great summer moments, that I’m having a hard time deciding which one was my favorite. Past tense. Because summer is over, in case any of you needed a good hard reality-check slap in the face after the first week of school. Not me, nope I’m fully aware. I’ve had enough action this past week to last me for the rest of the year. 5 am wake ups, running around half dressed trying to pack the lunch you know darn well you should’ve packed the night before, making bottles and oh wait did you pack the (insert one of the 100 random baby necessities here)???  And dare I admit, I contemplated packing up my sweet precious daughter in her pajamas a couple days last week because well, it is what it is, and there are some things I just don’t have the energy to care about when the going gets tough. Yawn. But back to my blissful summer moment…

This one…This one quite possibly takes the cake. Colorado. Serenity. Summer. Mountains. Cool Weather. I love everything about it. It’s a very simple moment, actually. It was MP’s first real trip, her first flight and it was Josh’s first Father’s Day. She was 6 months and we’d just entered a super fun/happy/playful stage. I have to say that 6 months and up have been nothing but pure joy. MP has always been a happy baby, but we had a really rough go the last month I was in school with her getting sick constantly and then ME getting sick as well. Thankfully we made it through the hot mess express and haven’t looked back.

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Care to share your favorite summer moment? Link up with us and share away!

Starting this Friday I’ll be sharing my “Friday Favorites”.

Here’s a peak at something I snagged while I was in L.A. If you don’t have a go-to denim shirt, I love this one. I have a few denim button downs because seriously you cannot have too many. They go with EVERYTHING.

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TOP: Rails – Carter Dark Vintage Denim

And finally, is there anything cuter than a ruffle bottom, baby rolls, and gold mocs. The answer is NO. Love her to pieces.

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Bloomers: Rufflebutts; Gold Moccassins: Old Navy; Heart T-Shirt: Peek

Have a great week!

xo – jv

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Twas the Night Before Kindergarten

Twas the night before kindergarten and as they prepared,
kids were excited and a little bit scared.
They tossed and they turned about in their beds,
while visions of school supplies danced in their heads.
Erasers and crayons and pencils galore
were stuffed in their backpacks and set by the door.
Outfits were hung in closets with care,
knowing that kindergarten soon would be there.
In the morning it came, school starts today!
Would the teacher be nice? Would they still get to play?
Faces were washed, and teeth were brushed white;
Kids posed for pictures with eyes sparkling bright.

Parents packed snacks and kids hopped in cars
As if they were boarding a spaceship to Mars.
Some kids brought blankets or their favorite stuffed bear;
in hopes they could nap like they did in day care.
Their parents exclaimed: “You’re big kids. WOW!
Let us hold your bears and blankies for now.”
The parents were worried their children would cry
if they left them at school with just a good-bye.
So they told their darlings, “If you want, we can stay
and make sure that everything will be A-okay.”

The teacher then greeted each one with a smile,
and invited the students to stay for a while.
The room was all filled with toys, books, and maps,
but where were the beds for midmorning naps?
They colored and painted and played Simon Says,
then tumbled and skipped and stood on their heads.
They sang silly songs from beginning to end.
Within just a minute, each kid had a friend.
The children were happy. They loved Miss Clare
It was she who would show them a great deal of care.

When what to her wondering eyes should appear
but sad moms and dads who were holding back tears!
Their noses so sniffly! Their eyes red and wet!
This was the saddest good-bye Miss Clare had seen yet!
She gathered the grown-ups on the magical rug,
then sent them away after one final hug.
The children all waved from the door of the school.
“Don’t cry Mom and Dad; kindergarten is cool!”

Today is the first day of school for the 2015-2016 year. This is my TENTH year, which means I have taught approximately 210+ students and worked at 4 different schools (but hey who’s really counting). Praying that this is the best year yet and that each of those babies come in with a sense of peace, belonging, and excitement knowing that they are going to do BIG things..because well, that’s what we do in kindergarten people. We.make.it.happen. Can I get an Amen! The first few days may slightly resemble the herding of cats down a hallway but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. We’ll get there though, you better believe it we will.

Cheers, hugs ,and kleenexes to all of you precious parents out there sending your little ones into school today. They will do great, they will come home tired with new friends, funny stories,  and dirty clothes…and they will be SO excited to see you at the end of the day. And with any luck, they’ll be super excited to do it all over again tomorrow.

Sweet bliss.

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On another note, JV is a world away right now. He’s in SWEDEN for work. He made it safely and is loving the adventure. We miss him, LOTS.

And finally, this seemed fitting for a post all about kids…Jen Hatmaker, author of “Out of the Spin Cycle” poses the question, “Want to be the mom of your kids’ dreams?” Love your husband. Love him so much it’s ridiculously embarrassing. Tell your kids how much he means to you and how he is a hero. Be his biggest fan.

“The best gift for your kids is parents who are crazy for each other.”IMG_6376

“Love each other well, and your house will stand…”

xo – jv

This Week’s Meal Plan – Wheat Belly

Since my traveling days are numbered now that I’m back to work, my upcoming posts will be a bag of tricks…a surprise every time! Ah, yes I can feel your excitement.

Today’s post…cooking. Gasp! After a long day at work (or home!) I am just tickled pink with excitement to fire something up on the stove and cook a fancy dinner. SAID NO ONE EVER!!! I do enjoy cooking during my time at home during the summer, but once August hits I have to get serious about meal planning because if I don’t I’ll be knee deep in meal-time panic come Monday morning. As much as I enjoy loathe playing chicken with 20 million other carts in Central Market on a Sunday afternoon, I’ll regret it if I don’t go.

I’m always looking for new meal ideas, so I thought I’d post our family fav go-to’s below. Most of our meals come from the Wheat Belly cookbook. If you haven’t heard of Wheat Belly, I highly recommend it. It’s not a diet, but more of a lifestyle. We don’t live and die by it (especially on the weekends), but during the week I try to stick to it as much as possible and I truly do FEEL better.  I actually read the whole book and it was incredibly eye opening. After I had Mila, I had a tough time getting to the gym as much as I’d like. (Duh, you have a baby and NEWSFLASH nothing-is-easy-anymore!!)  So, in the meantime I tried my best to make healthy choices and can honestly say that was what helped the weight come off.

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So here’s a few things we’ll be having this week…Check ’em out!

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1 – Turkey Burgers: I use extra lean ground beef mixed with diced red onion, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, a dash of cumin, pinch of sea salt and   pepper. Add some Worcester and Cholula ( depending on how spicy you like it). Where I used to use the standard SEASON-ALL on the seasoning aisle, I’ve made the healthy switch to only use the real deal spices. For a side, I typically bake sweet potato fries to go with it, similar to the ones below.

sweet potato friesThinly slice potato, drizzle EV olive oil and sea salt. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, flipping potatoes half way thru. For crispy potatoes, turn on BROIL for 2 minutes. Don’t leave it any longer or you’ll have blackened potatoes! No bueno.

lettuce wrap2 – Taco Lettuce Wraps – Extra Lean Ground Turkey, season to taste using (cumin, cayenne pepper, red chili powder, garlic powder) 1 cup salsa, 8 large lettuce leaves (such as Bibb) Taco toppings: chopped avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, chopped tomatoes and sour cream (I don’t use, but you could). Cook the meat and seasoning mix, reduce heat to medium and stir in the salsa and cook for 3 more minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

spaghetti squash3 – Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce – Cut the Squash in half long ways and put in the microwave for about 12 minutes. I use extra lean ground turkey. Cook the meat and mix in your favorite marinara sauce. I love an Arrabiata sauce because it has a little kick to it. Back to the squash – Use a fork to peel it out. It will come out looking exactly like spaghetti. Ta-Da! Sprinkle a little bit of parmesan cheese on top and you have yourself a delicious little meal!

And Voila, there you have it! This morning I’ll be attempting a 5 am workout (update: I made it!) and then happily skipping into work. More details on that later. Send a few prayers our way today as we transition out of summer and into a great school year. There are lots of amazing teacher Momma’s dropping their sweet babies off at the sitter today.We got this ladies.

Lord gimme strength…and a whole lotta coffee!

“Of all the things my hands have held, the best by far is you.” IMG_7536

xo – jenny

STYLE MINI – BABY GIRL FALL FASHION 2015

Happy Friday! I happened to run into Old Navy this week to grab something for MP and stumbled upon all of their Fall Cuteness! Help.me.now. Who knew having a little girl could be so much fun?! The best part (and sad all at the same time) is that we’ve moved into the toddler clothes, 12-18 months so things are starting to get a lot more FUN. Here are the pieces I loved the most.

And…Best of all, if you shop online today, everything is 20% off. Cheers to THAT!
Slide11) Denim vest 2) Buffalo Check Leggings 3)Meow Top (Out of stock) 4)Leopard Leggings 5) Double-Breasted Cardigan 6) Gold Moccasins 7) Scallop Trim Bodysuit 8) Quilted Vest (Similar one here)

And then there’s these…cuter than cute Rufflebutts. Checking the mail to find these  babies made my giddy with excitement! Rufflebutts are my favorite! Easy to slip on and off and keeps baby cool during these 100 degree days! Grab a pair here.FullSizeRender

And finally, my baby turned 9 months this week. Here she is reading the words “snail” and “bird”. Okay, not really, but this kinder-loving teachers heart is full of bliss watching her so contently flipping the pages. IMG_7549 IMG_7577Hoping everyone has the best weekend. I’ll be spending it trying to squeeze every last milli-second out of summer.

Come Monday it’ll be game on…2015-2016 school year I’m coming for ya!

xo – jv

C A L I F O R N I A 2015

Another year, another Cali trip in the books. Somehow, some way, we made it happen (thanks Mom and Dad!). Truth is, if you take a year off, you probably won’t pick it back up next year.

Night 1 we dined at BESTIA, in downtown LA. Lamb Meatballs, Farro Salad, Burrata Pizza. Yum-o-licious. 
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God love him, aside from Josh’s bottled water obsession, my husband is a coffee snob, loud and proud. He’ll fully admit to it. And well I must admit he’s turned me into one as well. Blush. Our go-to local perk is Starbucks of course, but thanks to Cory we branched out and tried Stumptown. My NF Vanilla Latte was a foaming good time!
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Strands Beach, Dana Point.IMG_9892

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Downtown Laguna. Beach Bum Top, Planet Blue. IMG_9830

Dinner at Harpoon’s in San Juan Capistrano. Lovely.IMG_9831

Picturesque view from the house in San Juan. It’s hard to see, but the ocean is in the background. And yes, that’s a lemon tree. Stop it.
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Our last night there, we got to help celebrate Abby’s birthday. Her Mom is the ultimate host and left no detail undone. PrimeRib and cupcakes for days. Glorious!

And well…the dress….You can find it here. It’s Billabong and I got it at a surf store in Laguna, but you can snag it with the click of a mouse. I’m wearing a small.IMG_7515


And what did Little Miss Baby do while we were away? Here is one of many pics of her adventures in the country, ha! My Mom dressed her in our old overalls from when we were little. Goodness gracious is there ANYTHING cuter?!IMG_7488

I was SO excited about our trip, but I also knew that once it was over that meant work and school would be banging at my doorstep. Where the HECK did summer go?! I can’t even believe we’ve managed to blow thru the last 2 months in a matter of what feels like 30 seconds. Slow.Down.Time. I haven’t touched my classroom and am hoping I’ll find the motivation to get there later this week. I do secretly love the beginning of school with all it’s chaos and craziness, so I know once I get there I’ll be fine. Time to rip off the bandaid!

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And then there’s the dreaded day one of having to drop MP off at the sitter. I know she’s in good hands, we adore her sitter, and I’m so fortunate to have such a sweet little set-up. I’m also at ease knowing that once we get into a routine (plus a little sleep and a whole lotta coffee), things become much easier. If you’re a working Mama you know exactly where I’m coming from, especially those of you working outside the house year round. Three months off doesn’t give me the liberty to complain. So with that I’ll say to myself, chin up!  Day one will be tough, but I also know from experience that day two and three will come and with the good Lord’s help we’ll all be just fine. ‘Tis life and I’m so thankful for the one I’ve been given.

Now…If anyone has an answer for the question below, help a sister out!

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xo-jv