Planner {LOVE} \\ a wish list

I feel like its that time again.. to showcase what I'm loving for my Erin Condren Life Planner! I LOVE my planner and I use it for EVERYTHING. Remember, I love it so much, I bought one for my business partner and BFF Nikki, too!

I love these cleaning stickers from Soda Pop Shop! I'm working on developing a daily routine to help keep my home clean and organized-- cleaning is NOT my strong suit and I've always hated it as long as I've lived. Ask my parents.

I am also SO in love with these fitness accountability stickers from TiendaTita! The colors are so pretty and remind me of beachy-bohemia, which is pretty spot on my personality most of the time. :) 

These are so pretty and inspirational! I'm joining a running clinic next month and I think these are perfect reminders to keep on keeping on! They're from Dixon Doll Creates and I just love them!

These are from DEKDdesigns4life and they're so cute! I'm not all about the pink but the gold on these just draws me in! I like the larger squares that add a big POP to the weekly layout, but are still writeable. 

So those are my favorites right now. Not a huge list but February is LOADED with bright pink and I'm just not that into it. My favorite stickers are silly and motivational. I really want to find some Bob's Burgers themed planner stickers! Maybe I will and then my next favorites list will be ALL BOB ALL THE TIME. hahaha! 

If you LOVE to plan (and love stickers... STICKERS!!) as much as I do, you should definitely grab your own Erin Condren Life Planner! She has wedding planners & teacher planners too! Use my referral code and get $10 off/in freebies! Happy planning!


Spaghetti Squash & Basil Salad

Grain free has been pretty fun so far. Except last night the kids had friends over, so we got pizzas, and I ate some. IT WAS SO TASTY. But immediately I felt bloated and sluggish. Interesting! I love seeing how the body reacts to different foods. Anyway, the pizza did taste great but I don't think its "omg so worth it" to feel so yucky after a meal.

Wednesday evening, I made a delicious meal from Primal Palate's Make It Paleo cookbook. Spaghetti squash with meat sauce, and a wonderful tomato & basil salad. I love, love, LOVE fresh basil and I'm not really sure why I don't make this salad like, daily. I make a similar dish very often, but without the olives & fresh basil. This was so much better. Definitely going on the menu rotation.

The sauce was so so good with fresh zucchini, mushrooms, onion, garlic, tomatoes.. sautéed in coconut oil and spaghetti squash baked with garlic. I did kind of miss garlic bread, but I think next time I make this meal I will make a small loaf of bread from almond flour or coconut flour. 


Yesterday, Sophia didn't have school so we went to the library. I wanted to check out the book "Against All Grain," but they didn't have it. They did have "Wheat Belly," and that is on my list of books to read, so not a total fail! I am trying to read one leisure book every 1-2 weeks and then one educational book each month this year. I love reading and I'm so excited that we got library cards! We had them when we lived at our old house a couple of years ago, or we applied for them, and then we never returned to the library to pick them up so they expired. Sophia loves the library! She got a book about cats and aspergers. Crazy weird pick, but its what she wanted! 

I haven't planned any of our meals for the rest of this week. Tonight will be leftover spaghetti squash. I have some chicken I need to bake but I don't think it will be anything exciting. I'm definitely going to re-make the basil tomato salad this weekend. I would like to try some grain free baking, and a friend of mine sent me a coffee cake recipe I may try! 

Until next time! xo


100 questions ((thanks, IbB!)

100 Questions

1. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received? That I'm strong. Not physically, but in life. I've been through a lot since I became an adult. Lately life has been pretty easy and for that I am so thankful.
2. What’s one thing you’re deeply proud of — but would never put on your résumé? Adaptation. I can make a life anywhere.
3. What’s the most out-of-character choice you’ve ever made? HA! There are plenty of these... Sometimes we have to make choices we don't like or give up something we dream of for the betterment of our greater good.  
4. If a mysterious benefactor wrote you a check for $5,000 and said, “Help me solve a problem — any problem!” … what would you do with him or her? I would help them discover a love or passion they have been suppressing. Seriously. I can dig deep.
5. What’s going to be carved on your (hypothetical) tombstone? If I had a tombstone (don't plan to, I don't want my kids or grandkids visiting and taking silly mothers day photos with a rock that has my name on it) it would probably say something like "excellence requires sacrifice." There are many things I am not excellent at but I do believe I am an excellent mother and I pray daily that my children see that I have given them and will continue to give them my best effort in life.
6. What are you FREAKISHLY good at? everything. besides running. nah, I am FREAKISHLY good at making friends/talking to people. 
7. What’s one dream that you’ve tucked away, for the moment? How come? Traveling. Moving. I love to travel and I love it when we move. I love new places. But my kids deserve a constant in life, they deserve roots... I had roots. So, here we are. 3 years and going strong (I'd move in a heartbeat though, not even joking). 
 8. What are you STARVING for? success. not by society's standard but by my own. There are a few things I have going on right now and I am working so hard on them, and waiting for the time to come where success happens in my mind.. excruciating. 
9. If you could have tea with one fictional character, who would it be? Dumbledore 
10. Do you have a morning ritual? Water, Coffee, more coffee
11. Do you believe in magic? When have you felt it? Yes! the divine. I feel it often, especially when I look at my husband and realize how incredibly lucky I am to love him.
12. Is there something that people consistently ask for your advice on? What is it? Not anymore-- I've let my niches fall to the wayside.
13. Have you ever fantasized about changing your first name? As a kid, I wanted to be Tiffany, or STAR. yes, STAR. Soooooo glad I'm not! ha 
14. When was the last time you astonished yourself? I'm not really sure...? Maybe Thanksgiving when I handled all the stress without a meltdown.
15. What’s your personal anthem or theme song? I'll have to think about that.
16. Do you ever yearn for your life, before Facebook? yes. I think about deleting my Facebook 100x a week. However I do run a business and right now, facbeook is a LOT of free advertising.
17. What’s your definition of an ideal houseguest? one that doesn't show up. haha kidding. my family. or anyone. We love entertaining and have guests quite often. 
18. If you had an extra $100 to spend on yourself every week, what would you do? I would save it. Usually. Or buy a LOT of stickers I don't need for my ECLP! ha!
19. If you could sit down with your 15-year old self, what would you tell him or her? College first. There ARE people that WILL pay you to promote their products. Communications IS your jam. Being a young mother isn't the worst thing but seriously... college first.
20. What are you BORED of? complacency. mediocrity. Funny, Brianna had the same answer. There is a lot more I could be doing, but at this time, my most valuable resource (time, babysitters time), is very scarce. 
21. What’s the best birthday cake you ever ate? Probably a friend's red velvet cheesecake that Rachel had flown in from NYC. OMG
22. How do you engage with panhandlers on the street? Depends. Are they kind? Is it cold? Are they aggressive? Once we had a man ask us for money for his [terrible] painting in the parking lot across from this mom and pop store. We said no and he swore at us, then told us he put a curse on us and the devil will love us. Dude was crazy. 
23. Do you think LOVE is chemical, intellectual, spiritual — or completely undefinable? A combination of the first 3 and 1000% undefinable. 
24. Have you ever dreamed about starting a business? I'm doing it. I've done it. I'm working on it. shop BARbelle here and follow us on instagram @shopBARbelle  
25. Are you afraid of flying in airplanes? (How come?) no. 
26. What’s your most urgent priority for the rest of the year? my walk with God, my marriage, my children, my store. Myself. Being the best and giving the best of me to those I love.
27. If you could master any instrument on earth, what would it be? piano
28. Have you ever been genuinely afraid for your physical safety? YES. Last winter, a man tried to come into our house at 2am. Andy was out of town. I had to hold the door closed while he tried to come in repeatedly while I was on the phone with 911, waiting for the police.
29. What are you an expert on? Is it because of training, lived experience, or both? I don't know that I'm an expert on anything. I'm more of a Jill of all trades, master of none. I'm working on that, though.
30. Has a teacher ever changed your life? How so? A college professor. Matt Critcher. He gave me the opportunity to see Europe for my first time.. my life's dream. Without his class, his planning, his budgeting and dealing, I would not have been able to go! I had no clue. Since he and Mrs. McCracken took care of all the details, it was very easy!
31. Are there any household chores you secretly enjoy? um... no. 
32. How do you reign in self-critical voices? Its hard to drown them out. I drown in them more often than not.
33. If you could custom blend a perfume or cologne, what would it include? cedar. 
34. What does FEAR feel like, in your body? shakes. immobility. 
35. Do you think you’re currently operating at 100% capacity? no. I'm restricted. 
36.What do you value most: free time, recognition, or money? Free time. and money to create FUN free time
37.  If you could save one endangered species from extinction, which would you choose? some type of sea creature. never pandas
38. Are there any laws or social rules that completely baffle you? I don't get the generation my daughter is growing up in AT ALL 
39. Would you like to write a book? (About what?) Yes. nutrition. oh, and a sarcastic comedy about my life. Only.. I would lose a lot of love (tolerance) over that one. Maybe when I'm old.
40.  If you could choose your own life obstacles, would you keep the ones you have? yes. compared to many, my life is a cakewalk, and the obstacle I have face and do face make me who I am.
41. Have you ever SCREAMED at someone? (What did they do?) yes... and unfortunately it was my kids so.. they probably cried
42.  Do you think there’s going to be an anti-technology whiplash, in our lifetime? doubtful. We have everything we want to know at our fingertips

43. Where + when do you get your BEST IDEAS? in the shower. where I can't write them down and then I forget them! I need bath crayons. 
44. Have you ever met one of your HEROES? I married him
45. What’s in your fridge, right this moment? leftover mashed potatoes, milk, tons of condiments, stuff to make spaghetti squash with zucchini sauce, and stuff for a basil tomato salad.
46. Can you tell when someone is LYING? sometimes.  
47. Can you tell when someone is telling the TRUTH? not always 
48.  Have you ever pushed your body further than you dreamed possible? yeah. then I stopped. working on that though
49. Are you living your LIFE PURPOSE — or still searching? For now, I'm living it. I'm a mother. I know I was created to do more, be more, though.
 50. Have you ever had to make a public apology? (How come?) No.
51. What’s the WORST piece of advice you’ve ever been given? I can't remember. 
52.  Do you think we’re designed for monogamy? (Why or why not?) Yes. Because the Bible says we are. Brianna I am leaving your answer. I will also add, Amen.
53. How do you CELEBRATE your victories? A gift, or special time spent with my husband 
54. Would you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert? Definitely an ambivert. I'm very extroverted when I'm in public.. but at home I dread leaving or being around people. I make plans when I'm with someone and then dread those plans until they happen
55. Do you ever hunt for answers or omens in dreams? constantly
56. Do you think everyone has the capacity to be a LEADER? In their own ways, yes. Do they have the capacity to be the leader that is needed in every situation? NO
57. Is WAR a necessary EVIL? Yes. Because if you don't believe it is, and you won't fight for what is yours, then someone that DOES believe war is necessary, WILL come and take what is yours. So unfortunately, until all mankind is peaceful, war is necessary. Otherwise all peace loving people would be indentured (or worse) by non peace loving people.
58. Are YOU a starter, a finisher, or an implementer? starter. I'm working hard to become a finisher. 
59.  Have you ever unplugged from the Internet for more than a week? no. I dream of it.
60. Do you think we should live like we’re dying? Yes. Fear holds me back. 
61. Do you have any habits or quirks you wish you could ERASE? yes. Picking at my skin around my nails and also, pulling out my eye lashes!! I don't even realize I'm doing it until I have a huge gap in them!

62. What was the most AGONIZING hour of your life? There have been many
63. Have you ever dramatically changed a habit, or gotten yourself out of a rut? How’d you do it? YES. I have incredible will power (sometimes)
64. Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot? Lonely genius. There are always friends within the pages of a book
65. How would YOU help someone in need. vitamin L O V E
66. What was your very first JOB? A waitress at hilltop drive in
67. What brings you SHEER DELIGHT? Olivia & Sophia's sweet laughter!! so cliche but so true. OMG. Being a mother is the best
68. Are you highly useful in a CRISIS? no, I panic. 
69. Do you like to be SAVED — or do the saving? Andy always saves me 
70. What’s one mistake you keep repeating (and repeating)? Putting myself down. 
71. If you were heading out on a ROAD TRIP right this minute, what would you pack? Andy, iPhone, charger, 5dmkii, lots of shoes, clothes... snacks
72. Do you have any irrational fears? anxiety keeps me scared
73. When you see peers + competitors getting things you want, how do you react? I am not in competition with anyone. I am happy when my peers unlock life achievements!
74. If you were to die three hours from now, what would you regret most? mediocrity. staying in one place too long. not prioritizing seeing the whole wide world. 
75. What’s something you’ve tried, that you’ll never, ever try again? I have a whole long list-- I'm picky
76. If you could enroll in a PhD program, with your tuition paid in full by a mysterious benefactor, what would you study — and why? communications
77. Have you ever had a complete + total nervous breakdown? (How did you recuperate?) yes, and I removed the cause from my life. It was hard, is hard, to be the product of a narcissist 
78. Have you ever set two friends up on a date? (How did it go?) Don't think so.
79. Have you ever questioned your FAITH — or lack thereof? I have questioned my faith. I went years thinking I didn't believe in God at all. But he brought me back to him and I know that he is All. I am so thankful for the comfort and grace he gives me every single day.
80. What’s your recipe for recuperating from extreme heartbreak? chocolate and good friends. 
81. Have you ever had a psychic reading? Did you believe it? Was it accurate? I've had my tarot cards done and my palm read. both were accurate! 
82. Have you ever (actually) kept a New Year’s Resolution? Yes!
83. Have you ever met someone who was genuinely EVIL? yes yes yes
84. Do you believe that everyone deserves redemption + forgiveness? YES
85. What was the BEST KISS of your entire life? Every single kiss since Andy. 
86. Do you secretly miss Polaroid cameras? nope
87. Do you have any physical features that you try to cloak or hide? How come? Nope!
88. What makes YOU so special, anyway? (No, really.) I am perfectly created in God's image. So are you :)
89. What’s in your pocket (or purse, or man-purse) right now? I don't even know. I bought a HUGE purse and I hardly ever carry it. 
90. Ever fantasize about being in a rock band? What would your group be called? no.. not at all.
91. What’s your guiltiest of guilty pleasures? desperate housewives reruns on hulu
92. Who’s on your panel of imaginary mentors? I don't have one. 
93. Have you ever stolen anything? (Money, candy, hearts, time?) probably in my youth
94. When was the last time you saw an animal in the wild? Last time I went to the country I guess?
95. What’s the hardest thing you ever had to write — and why? I don't even know. Some paper for a news class in college probably. By the time I (didn't finish), I was so burnt out I just kind of gave up
96. Who’s the last person that deeply disappointed you? (What happened?) I'll keep that inside. Sorry.
97. Have you ever won an award? What was it for? Yes. I won some awards for photography (nothing large scale). I'm over the camera pretty much. Sad right. 
98. Is there anything that you are currently really dreading? not particularly. 
99. Is there one trait the you notice first about someone you have an interest in? teeth. shoulders. eyes. 
100. What are you OBSESSED with currently? Fashion. Fitness fashion. Athleisure. 


Sweet Potato Fries [cajun style]

With the new year comes many resolutions. I made a few but one of mine that I'm going to stick with for sure is trying to cook healthier meals for my family.

I have been reading a lot about grain free, paleo, primal diets. I used to be bread/potato/pasta free and mostly dairy free for a long time to help with eczema, so it doesn't seem too bizarre to cook that way again.

I love Primal Palate and their cookbook Make It Paleo. I have several meals planned from MIP this week. Last night we had pulled pork (open faced sandwiches on whole grain bread for Andy & the kids and on a  salad for me). As a side I made Primal Palate's cajun sweet potato fries.

I don't like sweet potatoes, at all. So, when I was getting groceries in Aldi and the only option was to buy a bag of them, I decided we would skip the fries in favor of steamed broccoli or something else. Later I was in the health food store and they had purple japanese sweet potatoes, so I picked up 2 small ones. I mean, they were purple, and what better way to get my kids to try them? WRONG-- the peel is purple but the potatoes themselves are regular-potato-colored inside. Oh well. The kids probably wouldn't have eaten the purple fries anyway!!

Since I used two sweet potatoes and the recipe only called for one, I doubled the spices for the cajun mix. However, I halved the cayenne pepper because, well, kids. I'm so glad I did because WHEW these suckers were spicy, and I LOVE L O V E spicy food!

Making them was super easy. I was really hesitant as I prepared them because... sweet potatoes are gross.

They actually turned out super delicious. Hooray! The only thing is I will omit the cayenne pepper next time (the kids said, even with 1/2 tsp for 2 sweet potatoes, they were still too hot), and cut the paprika in half. Apparently, I'm not a huge fan. Perhaps overcoming my picky eating problems should be something I work on in 2016, too!

I made this honey-pepper dipping sauce to go with the fries. There's a pizza joint downtown that I LOVE- so I tried to copycat their dipping sauce. Super easy and super delicious. Honey, crushed red pepper, and sea salt to taste. I am DYING to make a grain free pizza to dip in this!! SO good. It was a bit too much pepper with the fries though.. they were already very spicy.

Since I'm going for a "grain free" esque style of eating, I don't want to give myself a "paleo" label. I love cheese so much!! I had this delicious salad and used some honey goat cheese crumbles for toppings. I also love beer. I'm not ashamed to say it! And while I'm cutting out breads, pastas, rices, etc., if my husband takes me out to our favorite pasta place for a date, or for sushi, I won't skip out! I am trying to teach myself that all things in moderation are ok. I don't have to abstain 100% and I don't have to go full speed ahead over stuffing myself either. The food isn't going anywhere. 

PS the pork was left over pork tenderloin we had for dinner a few nights ago with friends. Andy brined 4 tenderloins for 24 hours in light brown sugar, sea salt, and water. It was SO GOOD. Next time we're going to try coconut sugar in place of brown sugar.


Vino League [2016]

Last night was the first Vino League of 2016! It was a lot of fun. It was also the first Vino League that I haven't hosted that I've been able to attend (and only the 2nd one I have not hosted!).

In August of 2014, I started Vino League as a small groups connection at my church, St. John's Episcopal in downtown Fort Smith. It has grown so much since then. I have learned a lot about which wines I like and don't. I have also learned a lot about the people that come to this small group meeting, about their history, their present, their hearts. I have made so many friends that I cherish through this small group! I'm really proud of how it is evolving-- last night our hostess Suzy had a wine expert come in and talk to us about the wines she served. A couple of people that usually don't attend from church came, and that was also really nice! I love to see the group growing. There were also our regulars, smiling faces that I love so much and look forward to seeing each Sunday morning and each time we gather to taste wine.

Becky, one of our usuals, made these adorable wine charms! She owns Buck Snort Pottery, and she's so so good at creating unique pieces. Suzy gave me this one, and its appropriate! Though, not as much as I used to be, but always working on getting back to that place. 

We had such a great turn out- thank you so much Suzy & Mike at Beland Manor Inn for hosting. 

So much I could say here. NERDS partner. Best friend. Shoulder I cry on when I need to let it all out. Master name caller. Partner in crime. I'm way mushier than her so I guess its ok for me to write this... I would not love where I live, this city I call home, so much if it was not for Nikki (and Phil). Friends that become family are the best kinds. Andy and I are so thankful to have these people in our lives.

Wines we tried:

Marchesi Antinori Pian delle Vigne

Feudo Arancio Sicilia Dalila 2012

Marchesi Antinori Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2013
Feudo Arancio Sicilia Cantodoro 2012 (my favorite) 

And two rosé that I didn't get to scan into my Vivino app. I have asked Suzy for the names of them, hopefully she can remember!

Next time we have Vino League I'm not sure where it will be or who will be hosting. I am enjoying letting others take a turn to make VL their own.

Until next time... xoxo kp


Verde Chicken & Rice (Crockpot Recipe)

I don't know about y'all, but my resolutions for 2016 are probably a little bit different than mine for last year. And the year before, and the year before. I have a couple of family resolutions and they include "eat more vegetables," "get Sophia to eat anything besides pretzels," and "try more new things," -- all as a family.

Last night I knew I would make chicken (We have FORTY pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in our freezer, thanks to ZAYCON!), but I'm definitely bored with the usual baked chicken, side of veggies, sometimes rice or quinoa or couscous. I know my husband is too, and my kids hate everything I just mentioned. At least in that combo.

We had just visited my grandparents and of course that meant the best ever homemade tequitos, tacos, salsa, beans. OMG SO GOOD. I'm always in the mood for mexican food anyway.. its literally my favorite food genre EVER. Mondays are also our late night for the week because of ballet, so I knew I'd want something super easy (sometimes we get Eureka pizza.... $4.88 for a large one topping, can't beat it!). Crockpot to the rescue!! One bowl meals are the best.

This is not the most attractive looking meal, which is why there's not a picture... but... its delishhhhuuuusssssss. Delicious! :)

You will need:
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (get a zaycon account here)
2 cans of green enchilada sauce
1 can red kidney beans
1 can sweet corn
1 1/2 cups brown rice (uncooked)
1 cup water
1 orange bell pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
black pepper to taste

Chop the bell pepper into small bites. Add one can enchilada sauce to crock pot, lay chicken on top. Add the other can of enchilada sauce, the can of beans, the bell pepper, and spices. Cook on low 3-5 hours or until chicken falls apart easily when you touch it with a fork. One hour before you're ready to eat, add the rice and water. Just before serving, stir in the can of corn (drained).

This was an easy meal to make and my whole family enjoyed it.... even if Sophia whined the entire time, she ate it!

** Zaycon did not sponsor this post in any way shape or form. I just LOVE this company and the wonderful customer service I've experienced with them! As a business owner, I realize the importance of customer satisfaction and word of mouth. If you're local to me (Fort Smith), I really can't say enough about the great experience I've had at our drop off (CTK school).