Currently – March 2018

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Listening… I have recently discovered the This is Criminal podcast and have been listening to all the old episodes on my way to and from work every day. I love that the episodes are only about 20 to 30 minutes long, which means I can listen to an entire episode on my way to work in the morning. The stories are really interesting.

Eating… basically everything. I have really let my eating get out of control lately and I need to reign it back in. I’m planning a mini-Whole30 reset (and possibly a full Whole30, depending on how I feel after 9 days) starting in April.

Cooking… One of my favorite new recipes is this banana nut oatmeal, which is my favorite weekend breakfast. Lately, we’ve been eating out a lot, and I’m trying to cook at home a little more between now and the end of the month by keeping things simple and sticking to the basics like baked chicken, oven roasted veggies, and salads.

Wearing… whatever is clean and comfy. This maxi dress has been my go-to for anything that I need to look presentable for lately. I love that I can dress it up with heels and a statement necklace or make it casual with flats and a jacket or cardigan for work.

Watching… Jeff and I just finished the Netflix series Seven Seconds, which was really good. After that, we binged on the Netflix series Love, which I hated at first, but then ended up getting sucked in and loved. Both have some bad language, though, so definitely not for kids.

Reading… It has been so hard to me to actually finish a book since I had Jack. I don’t know why, but it seems like I just can’t concentrate long enough to finish a novel. I am still working on Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips. I am loving this book so far and I hope that I have time to sit down and finish it over the weekend. Does it count that I read 5 of 6 baby books almost every single day? I can quote Hop on Pop by heart. Just saying.

Planning… You guys, there are only NINE weeks of school left before I get out for two glorious months this summer. I can’t wait to get to be a stay-at-home mom during the summer and getting to spend every day with Jack.


Hello, March!

February felt like the longest and dreariest month ever, and I am so thankful today for fresh starts, a new page on the calendar, and sunshine!

Last month’s goals were mostly a bust. I did drink more water, but other than reaching that goal, I totally bombed everything else. It was constantly cold and rainy here, and I felt like my mood and motivation matched the weather.

Now, the days are starting to warm up and the sun is out, and it’s time to do spring cleaning and get to work on this month’s goals.

I took a step backwards in my weight loss journey in February, so I’m planning to get back on track with a Whole30 mini-reset starting on Monday. I’m also going to try to start working out consistently, which is always a very difficult thing for me.

At home, I’m going to be working on cleaning and organizing as much as I can. I’ll have a week off for Spring Break this month that I can dedicate to some house projects.

March is full of celebrations for us. My dad’s birthday is on the 3rd, Jeff and I celebrate our anniversary on the 12th, and I have Spring Break this month (woo-hoo!). We’ve already got some fun things planned that are leading up to Easter, so it should be a fun month!

Goals for March:

  • Finish at least one book (why is reading a book such a hard thing for me to do lately?)
  • Whole30 mini-reset
  • Make the bed every day (my goal from last month that didn’t happen)
  • Workout twice a week (baby steps, folks)
  • Spring cleaning
  • Get more comfortable using my Instant Pot
  • Attempt making baby food for Jack

Banana Nut Oatmeal

Happy Saturday!

Jack and I are having a kind of lazy day at home. I’m trying to do a little housework and he’s pulling out toys faster than I can put them up. He’s crawling now, and he’s into everything. Even though he can make a huge mess, this stage is so much fun. I love seeing him crawl around and start to become independent. He’s so determined when he wants something and he squeals and giggles when he finally reaches something that he crawled across the room for.

He played hard this morning and tired himself out around 11, so when he took his nap, I whipped up this bowl of hearty goodness for my brunch. If you love banana nut bread, this is the oatmeal for you. It tastes exactly like my favorite banana bread recipe, and it’s gluten and refined sugar free!


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)
  • 1/2 banana, mashed (slice the other half and reserve for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Handful of chopped walnuts
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon


  • Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Add the oats and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the mashed banana, maple syrup, and walnuts.
  • Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes until the oats reach your desired consistency.
  • Top oats with a sprinkle of cinnamon, 1/2 sliced banana, and a few more chopped walnut pieces.

Healthyish Turtle Brownies

Jeff and I both love sweets, and we were craving something sweet after dinner last night, so I made these turtle brownies. My mom runs a bakery and makes the best turtle brownies with caramel and pecans on top, and I wanted something similar to those, but a little healthier.

When I was little, my grandmother used to go to Weight Watchers meetings and I would go with her sometimes. I remembered one of the ladies at the meeting saying that she made brownies with a chocolate cake mix and a can of pumpkin to make them lower in calories, so I decided to try these using pureed pumpkin as a base. The only thing in these that is not Paleo is the syrup toppings, and that’s just because I used that I had in the fridge, which was Hershey’s ice cream syrup.

These turned out very fudgy. The pumpkin keeps them moist and the pecans and chocolate chips give them a good crunch. I like these best served cold, and suggest refrigerating them overnight before serving, but Jeff dove into them when they were warm last night and said they were good that way, too.


  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used the Enjoy Life brand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Caramel syrup (for topping)
  • Chocolate syrup (for topping)


  • Mix the first 8 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until combined well. The mixture will be thick.
  • Spread mixture into a sprayed 8×8 inch baking dish (or a 9-inch pie plate, like I used here).
  • Top with chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Drizzle caramel and chocolate syrup over the top.
  • These can be eaten warm, but they are best served cold. I recommend refrigerating overnight before serving.


Hamburger Steak with Grilled Onions


  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • Avocado oil


  • Mix the ground chuck and spices well and form into 4 large patties. Set aside.
  • Thinly slice 1/2 yellow onion.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a glug of avocado oil to the pan.
  • Saute the onions with salt and pepper until transparent. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Place the hamburger steak patties in the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes per side, then top with the onions and place the skillet in the oven at 350 degrees until the hamburger steaks are cooked through (about 10 to 15 minutes).
  • Serve with onions and baked sweet potato fries.

Currently… February 2018

January was a blur and February is already speeding by. I’m still trying to focus on my One Little Word and savor each moment, so I’m recording some of the little things that are filling our days. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately!

Listening… I finished up the S-Town podcast this morning. I listened to the first four episodes with Jeff almost a year ago while we were on a road trip, but then he finished the last episodes without me and I never went back and listened to the end. I decided to start back over with episode one and listened to all 7 episodes in just a few days. It was an interesting story that was also extremely frustrating at times. I found myself both loving and hating John B.

Eating… I just finished a round of Whole30 and now I’m trying really hard not to eat all the things. This weekend, I helped my mom, who owns a bakery, work on her Valentine’s Day orders and ate way too many cookies in the process.

Cooking… I’m planning to cook a pot roast tomorrow and will be making some kind of sweet treat for Jeff for Valentine’s Day. Steaks were on sale this weekend, so I bought some and will be cooking a fancy steak dinner for Valentine’s Day that I’ll be sharing later this week.

Wearing… This shirt from Old Navy is my favorite right now. I’m also loving these work pants that feel like yoga pants.

Watching… Jeff and I recently watched the new show Altered Carbon on Netflix. I’ve also been watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with Jack, Friends reruns, and this really great 30 for 30 on ESPN.

Reading… I’m in the middle of Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips right now and am really enjoying it. I am also reading Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig and Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Wanting… Jeff and I are wanting to sleep train Jack so that he moves from co-sleeping with us to sleeping in his own crib. It’s a bittersweet kind of thing. I love his little baby snuggles and I like him being so close to me at night – I can literally reach over and feel him breathing and hear every sound he makes. At the same time, he wiggles all night long, which keeps Jeff awake, and he usually ends up sleeping on the couch. I feel really guilty for basically kicking my husband out of the bed so that Jack and I can get a good night’s sleep. I found this really good blog post with tips for transitioning from co-sleeping to the crib and we are planning to start tonight.

Needing… Jeff and I need a quick little vacation. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get away for a few days to celebrate our anniversary next month.

Thinking… According to Steven Spielberg, “Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.” As a high school teacher, I see how detrimental technology can be to people’s ability to interact with others and think critically every day. My students can’t function for 10 minutes without their headphones in or their phones in front of their faces. I’m also noticing that Jack is constantly grabbing for my cell phone, which is making me question what I am teaching him with my daily actions. I don’t want him to just see his mom staring at a screen all the time. I’m thinking it’s time to evaluate how much time I spend on my phone. There’s an interesting article about how cell phones and technology are creating distances between parents and kids here.

Enjoying… I am 100% living for the weekends right now. I enjoy my time at home with Jack and Jeff so much, and it has become even more enjoyable since I decided to stop bringing work home. I am refusing to grade papers or answer emails once I leave the school in the afternoons and it has made my life so much happier. I am trying really hard to not bring home a bad attitude from work, but I haven’t been as successful with that goal yet. I’m trying to leave work and all its frustrations at the school and enjoy my time at home.

Growing… Jack is 29 weeks old this week! He is getting so big. He can almost sit up by himself and he’s trying so hard to crawl. He’s also jabbering all the time. So far, his favorite thing to say is “bababa,” which we think is code for “bottle.” He still loves music and giggles when we sing silly songs to him or tickle his belly.

Feeling… I wish I could tell you that everything is rainbows and flowers over here, but it most definitely is not. Right now, I feel like I’m barely getting by on most days. Work is stressful and frustrating. I feel defeated when I leave the school every day and I’m starting to really question my career choices. There is constantly something that I need to be doing or something that I forgot to do or didn’t have time to do correctly. I’m not doing a good job of eating well or working out and I’m failing at reaching even the simplest of goals (like my February goal of making the bed every day, which has only happened twice this month). I’m also feeling some major mom guilt every time I drop Jack off at daycare. At the same time, I’m so proud of Jeff for doing well and advancing at work, I’m filled with joy when I hear Jack giggle and see him smile, and I am hopeful that I can find a solution for work that lets me be home with him more often. Life is messy and busy and good, and I’m experiencing all the feelings that come with those things.

Wish Listing… This swimsuit is on my list for when I reach my next weight loss goal of losing 20 pounds.

Planning… I know that it’s early, but I have already started a board on Pinterest for Jack’s first birthday party. I’m thinking that we’ll do a Dr. Seuss theme and ask people for books instead of toys to try to build up his library.

Little Letters – February 2018

Kristen at Taz and Belly hosts this monthly linkup. Make sure to check out her post and say hi!


Dear Whole30, You have been really good for me and I have learned a lot about myself and my eating habits from you. I’m still struggling with finding a good balance with food and figuring out my Food Freedom, but I feel like I’m better equipped than ever to do that thanks to what I learned from following the program. I’m already planning nine-day mini-reset with you in March and might be joining in for another full 30 days sometime this summer.

Dear Jack, I love you so much and I absolutely adore snuggling with you, but I’m going to need you to start sleeping in your own crib at night. Mama needs some good sleep.

Dear Gym Membership, I don’t know why I thought you would be a good idea. I have not had the time or motivation to set foot in the gym since October, and I think it is time for us to break up. I really do want to find a workout plan that works for me, but I just don’t think I am a gym person.

Dear Dove Dark Chocolate and Almond Squares, I’ve never been a dark chocolate girl, but I’m trying to make better choices and apparently dark chocolate isn’t so bad. Thank you for being the one dark chocolate treat that I love. I’ll be keeping you in my desk drawer at all times from now on.

Dear Imagination Library, I am so stinking excited for Jack to get his first book from you soon! Thank you so much for providing books for kids and helping encourage literacy. As a mom and an English teacher, I can’t even begin to express how wonderful your organization it and how thankful I am that Jack gets to be a part of it!

Dear Missing TV Remote, I have searched everywhere for you and would really appreciate it if you would come out of hiding.

Dear Alabama Basketball, We have had the best time going to games this year! Thanks for showing out against Oklahoma a few weeks ago! It was a great game and definitely a fun way to spend our date night that week. Roll Tide!