Thursday, June 22, 2017

Healthy Summer Snacking


Being a  mom of four boys, all nine and under with one of them still nursing, it seems like I am going non-stop. I mean NON-stop. We always have somewhere to be, something to do, someone to see, something to clean up or something to look forward to. Busyness is a constant in our lives and it's taken me a while but, I'm finally figuring out how to just go with it. Another perk (??) of being a  mom of four littles (and that I'm still nursing) is being hungry pretty much twenty-four/seven. With all of that rushing around, calories get burned and energy starts to be lacking. That's why I'm always on the lookout for quick, easy, healthy snack alternatives. Not just for my boys though, for me too! Because, if I'm being honest, my boys don't have a regular snack time. On days that we don't have a lot going on and they're just playing inside and being pretty low-key, they typically don't ask for a snack. They're usually so caught up in their imaginative play that they don't even realize how quickly the time passes and, before they know it, it's meal time again. Me, on the other hand, I have to eat every three to four hours. I'm talking, HAVE to. If I don't, scary things happen. LOL Seriously though, since becoming pregnant with my first baby and learning all about the benefits of drinking tons of water and eating small amounts of healthy food at regular intervals, I am allllllways thirsty and hungry. I need that extra boost of protein in the middle of my day (and morning and before bed at night) to keep me going, I just do. Add in a good, calorie blasting workout to my morning and I'm ravenous by lunch time. No, really, ask my kids..

With all of that being said, I thought I'd share a recipe I was recently introduced to by a friend via Pinterest and have not stopped making since. It's THAT good. And quick! It's called Peanut Butter Energy Bites and you can find the recipe from Chef Savvy here. They're made up of five easy ingredients you probably have in your pantry anyway and only take about thirty minutes from start to finish.

The first time I attempted these protein bites (late last week), I made one batch according to the recipe, substituting chai seeds for flax because that's what I had on hand. I actually ran the half cup of seeds through my food processor before adding them to the other ingredients thinking it would give them more of a "ground" consistency. Totally not the case and, turns out, completely unnecessary. None of my family minded the taste and crunchiness of the seeds one bit. So, the second time making them (ahem..this afternoon), I left them whole. And made a double batch because, yea, they're that good. The instructions also say that you get twelve protein bites out of one recipe. I got around 25 the first time I made them and closer to fifty this time around. I made the balls smaller when I rolled them and they turned out to be the perfect size to grab a couple at a time, for Glen and I, and give to the boys for a snack as well. I also discovered that I like the taste of them a smidge better after they've been refrigerated a bit. They're still sooooo good, don't get me wrong but, fresh out of the fridge? Yum.

These also make a great on-the-go breakfast or late night snack. I've actually had them in place of my nightly bowl of ice cream which is saying a LOT. If you know me at all, you know that mama likes her ice cream. And, I'm hard pressed to keep right along with that habit. Haha. But, I  have to admit, these fill that void nicely when I'm feeling the need to be a tad healthier some days. (Which isn't very often..ha) None the less, give them a try and you never know, you may love them! Also, can you tell the boys were excited for me to make them today?! ;)













I used natural peanut butter, organic honey we purchase locally and tried to consistently fill a large spoon when scooping them to roll. That way I could keep the size more uniform. I hope all of these tips help you make a yummy treat of your own and please, share any healthy snack/meal recipes you have with me in the comments! I'm also excited to try another recipe I found for a chocolate version and one to make your own chewy granola bars! Bring on summa!! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Must Haves



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When it comes to summer, I crave fresh prints and easy styles. Things you can throw on and go without putting much effort into but still end up looking amazing in. Old Navy has some really great sales going on right now with some pieces that fit that bill perfectly. All of the floral prints and flattering dresses have me starry eyed. And, don't get me started on their sandals. So. Cute.

I've been needing a new pair of pretty sandals for a while now and think I may just snatch a pair of these up to complete my outfits this summer and through our Myrtle beach vacation coming up in September. Also, this two piece swimsuit has me swooning.... I love the high neckline and the stripes on the top and the slimming black floral print of the bottoms is gorgeous! This is one two piece I wouldn't mind wearing everyyyywherrrre. 

Run on over and grab what you love of the sale as I'm sure things will be going quickly! And have a lovely week!!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Muted Tones + Summertime







Dress | made by me
Dusty Blue Heels | Target
Fringe Bag | Very Jane
Wire Wrap Bracelet | made by my mom


It's finally S U M M E R at the Smith house and we couldn't be more excited! I think we're all ready for endless amounts of play time, a little more mama time, freedom to be messier, a more relaxed schedule and more just plain carefree days. I really try not to make our days too stressed as it is but, there's something about summer that makes you want to take a deep breath in and just let it all go.

We started our break with a yummy breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes per the birthday boy's request (seriously, how do I have a NINE year old?!) and then a little piano practice before the boys delved into some very unstructured play and I began tackling some things I've been meaning to do for what seems like ages. Fun stuff, ya know. Like washing all of the bedding in the house, cleaning kitchen counters, making all of said beds and then some general tidying up that comes from weeks of jam packed days and full weekends. Then there was the usual, rotating loads of clothes through the washer and dryer so I can spend an hour an a half tomorrow folding and sorting it all, fitting in a workout (because I am SO VERY determined to make this my most fit summer ever), getting lunch done on time instead of the usual thirty to forty five minutes late because I've put it off and put it off and then lunchtime is upon us, trying my darndest not to indulge in the leftovers from yesterday's party and only failing just slightly, and all the other stuff that's running through my head but I just can't seem to stop my mind long enough to list it all.

Life is busy.

Glen and I also shot a wedding this past weekend. Possibly my last wedding EVER. And while that's a little sad because I so love documenting a couple's day and all of those amazing, once in a lifetime memories, trying to juggle a family and all of my daily duties along with scheduling six plus hours of childcare for four little ones can be pretty demanding and, in the end I sometimes find myself asking, "is it really worth it?". So, for now, I'm deciding to take a step back from the really big photography jobs and trying to focus more on the needs of my family. And, along with theirs, my own. It's so easy to say, "yes, yes, yes" to every open door and opportunity that, I feel like, to learn to say, "no" is something to be proud of. I recently turned down a wedding for the very first time since beginning my little business a few years ago and while I was immediately nervous and apprehensive about whether or not I made the right decision, I also felt this overwhelming sense of relief. I chose my family over a nice little paycheck and a day full of shooting. And that's a big step for me. But, I know I made the right choice.

Looking at our summer calendar right now, all I see are family trips, days in the sun, picnics in the backyard, hours driving the side by side, time soaking up these boys, and very few photo shoots. And I'm totally and completely okay with that. While I like the hustle and bustle of busy, bossgirl life, I love my family more and I'm going to be so intentional about giving them my best this summer. And for the rest of my life. Even if I fail, it will all be alright because I know through all the hard decisions and altered plans, my God is always. in. control.

I read somewhere, "What's the one thing you can give away that you'll never get back? You're time.". I want to remember how I spent my time this summer. When my boys are little enough that they still want me to do things with them and I'm young enough that I still have the energy to do it. Happy beginning of summer friends!! May your days be full of fun and silliness and may the memories abound!

Monday, May 29, 2017

| Mounting Blessings |















It's hard to be thankful when you live in a country as blessed as ours. That's a hard truth to admit but it's so very spot on. I often think of the people, families, mothers, fathers, children, infants that live in more impoverished places all around the world and struggle daily to merely survive. When here we are, in one of the most prosperous nations in the entire world and have so many blessings at our fingertips that we simply choose not to notice. I often see the hashtag #firstworldproblems and although I've used it myself on occasion, what a wake up call it can be. 

Today more than ever I want to be intentional about showing my gratefulness for all that I've been given. For the big things and the small. To be able to call this incredible country home, to have the freedoms and rights that we do, to be able to worship the Lord openly and without persecution and to be able to raise my children in a land with so many abundant opportunities. All of this is not lost on me and I pray that I'm living the example my boys need to see everyday.

So many have sacrificed their dreams of a future so that I could live this blessed life of mine and my goodness I could not be more thankful. To live in a day and age where we have so little worries is such an incredible blessing. Although life has different challenges than it did fifty years ago, and they'll surely change again in the coming years, I am so thankful to be raising my children in the here and now. This family of mine is really all that I have and, at the end of the day, the truth is they belong to the Lord. Daily I pray that He'll guide me to do the very best I possibly can to show them His love for them and that they really can make a difference in this ever changing world that we live in. 

Mothering can just be so hard some days. The days when the little, mundane things start to pile up and we begin to feel as if we're drowning. The weeks and months that we've been neglecting our own needs to fulfill those of our family and we are so close to our breaking point that it feels almost impossible to get back. Then there's the days that the blessings are just mounting and we can literally feel stress melting away. Those are the ones that make it all worth it. When someone notices the little corner of the house that you cleaned or that you took the time to wash your hair or compliments the not so fancy dress you decided to wear just to make yourself feel a little more human. That's when my mind begins to focus and the fog starts to fade and I truly feel the weight of this incredibly blessed life. 

Thank you Lord for all that you've given me and THANK YOU to the military men and women who have literally given. it. all. Happy Memorial Day. #allgavesomesomegaveall 

Pictures by : Mindy Lucas (such a sweet person, talented photographer and a wonderful friend)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mother's Day Gift Ideas


Though I try to make sure the Mothers in my life know how much they mean to me every day of the year, I won't turn down a day dedicated to making them feel extra special (especially when it includes me!). With Mother's Day fast approaching (hello, less than TWO WEEKS people), I decided to round up a few fun gift ideas the ladies you love most are sure to enjoy. 

I've noticed myself lately that I'm loving things that will work in our home. Sturdy baskets, primitive wall hangings, accent rugs, cozy throws, decorative pillows. Everything farmhouse style and shanty chic please. With that in mind, and the fact that it's finally acting like spring around here, pretty potted plants (or ones she can replant in the yard) and planters are a great gift idea. I love how they bring the freshness and beauty of outside into the home and can really brighten up a space, even if they're artificial. As long as you look them over good to be sure there's no obvious give aways, most likely no one will even notice they're not real. Here's a few I found that would be just perfect for arranging on a bookshelf or window sill. (visit planters in explore on amazon.com)

    

As far as home accents go, I love items that will bring in texture and color. Most of what I love is pretty neutral or white but, there are certain pops of color that I really love as well. Here's some ideas from amazon also. (again, click expore at the top then scroll over to home if the item is not linked)

   As for Me and My House We will Serve the Lord Sign Joshua 24:15 Wood Wall Art 3' x 1' Bible Verse Distressed Sign   Barn Wood Rustic Decorative Shutter Set of 2

Then there's the obvious things that you know she'll love. Whether she's been dropping a few subtle hints or you just know her well enough to pick something out confidently. Things like beauty products, a new dress or pair of shoes, that purse she's had her eye on. Let's face it, if we really stop and think for more than a sec, we can probably come up with something genuinely from our hearts that she will honestly love. (though we moms truly love ANYTHING that comes from the heart of those we care about, truly)

Mary Kay® Skinvigorate™ Cleansing Brush AsaVea Portable Electric Hair Straightening Brush 3.0, Red / Black     Image result for merona lulu wide width block heel sandal pumps 

Lastly, I wanted to share some printables and graphics I love from pinterest. If the ladies in your life are anything like me, they would love a pretty print to frame and hang in their home. You can get an instant update to a space and they're easy to change up as often as you like. Print them off and gift wrap them or upload them into photoshop and make a pretty diy card. Either way, they're sure to love them! Visit my Pinterest boards HERE and HERE for some more inspiring prints. 

"Everything I am" Quote Mother's Day Printable Cards from Bluemountain.com:  Mother's Day Card Card For Mom Chalkboard Art by LilyandVal:  This quote is perfect for a Mother's Day card. Click through for more printable quotes and sayings.:  Day Card stampabile libero della Mamma | ashandcrafts.com:  'Home is where your mom is' by PixelPlusPaper www.etsy.com/shop/PixelPlusPaper:  These touching quotes from writers at Think.Make.Share, a blog from the creative studios at Hallmark, share some of their best experiences that will give you all of the feels this Mother's Day. Send them along to friends or share them with your own loving mom!:  Happy Mother's Day! Proverbs 31:28 from Encouraging Wednesdays by French Press Mornings #bible #verse #typography:

I hope you found some inspiration on what to get your Mama's in this post. But, I know that as long as it's from your heart, she'll love it no matter what. Have a wonderful week (if you can get past all this raaiiiiin) and have fun prepping for Mother's Day! It'll be here before you know it!