Be Your Own Valentine: 5 Tips For A More Confident You!

We live in a world that constantly reminds us that we’re not good enough.  We’re not tall enough, thin enough, tan enough, happy enough, healthy enough….the list goes on and on.  It’s exhausting, honestly.  We are hit with a constant flow of information, via the internet, that tells us exactly how we should look, act and think.  Our senses are on overdrive trying to keep up with the latest workouts, trends and technology.  All we want to do is better ourselves, but what ends up happening is that we don’t love the skin we’re in.  We’re always searching for happiness and chasing contentment.  We always think “if just this one things happens, THEN I’ll be happy.”  Or “if I find this kind of man, THEN I’ll be happy.”  The truth is, you don’t find happiness, you make it.  If you can’t find peace where you are, then you never will.  I’m as guilty of this as anyone else.  While I agree that it’s always important to move forward, grow and better yourself, it’s most important to stop and smell the roses and LIVE.  To enjoy the present and love ourselves and those around us.  While truly loving ourselves on the inside is a little bit harder to achieve, here are five easy tips that will boost your outer self confidence.  When you look good, you feel good.  Outer self confidence will start to boost your inner self love!

1.  Go-To Jeans

There is literally nothing more important than having a favorite, go-to pair of good fitting jeans.  A cute pair of jeans can really boost any woman’s confidence.  Find a pair of jeans that can be dressed up or down.  While I’m normally chasing a good deal, jeans are one thing that I don’t skimp on – I’ll pay top dollar for a pair of good quality jeans.  My favorite jeans are American Eagle High Rise Jeggings.

 

2. Good Skin Care Routine

I am SO guilty on this one.  Luckily, I didn’t have skin problems during the teen years.  While that is a huge blessing, it’s a curse in it’s own way.  Because I never had to take care of my skin, I didn’t.  Last year, at 33, I finally got on board with a nightly skincare routine and I can definitely see the difference.  I keep my routine simple, but I still feel like it’s important.  Nothing makes a person more self conscious than to have a giant zit on their face that everyone is staring at (at least that’s how it feels!)  All skin types are different, but here’s what works for me (bonus: you can get this at the drug store for cheap!)

These Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes are literally the bomb.  They get everything off while still being gentle on the skin.  I even use them on my kids delicate skin after wearing dance competition makeup.

After thoroughly cleaning my face, I moisturize with Olay Firming Night Cream.  This stuff will literally make your face as soft as butter – and it smells good, too!

3.  Lipstick!

Even though I keep my lip color very “nude” most of the time, I make sure to incorporate a bold, fun lip color on date nights.  It’s also fun to wear a bold lip with minimal makeup – to switch things up a bit!  Here’s one of my favorite looks:

 

4. Pearly Whites!

This one ranks right up there with good skin care.  A healthy oral routine is very important to me.  No one feels very confident if their smile isn’t on point.  I’ve had teeth problems my whole life (lots of cavities – *eye roll*, ugh.)  As an adult, I try to take really good care of my teeth.  I brush two-to-three times daily and use this Listerine Whitening Mouth Rinse.  I’m not even kidding, I can totally tell a difference when I’m not using it.  A warm, happy smile goes a long way – share yours with others!

5. Head Swag!

I can not stress this one enough!  As women, we are constantly doing our hair.  If you’re anything like me, you probably dread doing your hair – it’s SUCH a process.  You might even plan your hair washing days around your social calendar (not that I would know anything about that!)  Here’s a tip that will help you out majorly.  Find several different styles of hats that you like.  Create a collection.  I have hats for most all occasions.  If you’re in a hurry, skip the hair wash.  Just throw your hair up in a messy side bun and throw on a cute hat.  You’ll look trendy and your husband will be happy that he didn’t have to sit around and wait on you!

While I enjoy slathering paints all over my face and jacking my hair to Jesus, it’s not because someone else made me feel like I need to do that.  It’s because I like it and that’s what makes me feel confident!  It’s not even because of my husband.  In fact, he would much prefer me in workout clothes, a ball cap and bare faced.  But I’ve come to realize what’s most important is making myself feel confident and beautiful.  That feeling is going to be different for every single person.  Your job is to figure out what makes you feel beautiful!

Whether you’re spending your Valentine’s Day with your lover, your Galentine or you’re flying solo, make sure that you remember to love yourself first!

Hugs & Hearts,

Jill

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Flipping Out Over Aerial Yoga – Bent And Twisted!

As our focus on health and wellness in the new year continues, we are also putting a lot of effort into stepping outside of our comfort zones and trying new adventures!  It’s so easy to get caught in a rut – doing the same things, every single day, simply because it’s comfortable.  One of our goals in 2018 is to get adventurous, take you all along with us as we step outside of our ‘bubble’ and really experience the world around us.  True growth only happens when you put fear aside and walk into a situation that makes you uncomfortable, facing it head on.  You’re forced to dig deep in your soul and trust that you CAN do hard things and that you ARE strong enough to conquer whatever lies ahead.  It’s also really important to have a good sense of humor.  Being able to laugh at your small failures makes every situation in life so.much.easier.

After conquering Acro Yoga a few weeks ago, we had a boost in confidence and decided that Aerial Yoga would be our next adventure.  Although our yoga instructors assured us that we could do it, there were still some nerves involved.  Aerial Yoga seemed easier in the sense that we didn’t have a partner that we could injure or fall on, but then it seemed harder because it fully 100% depended on our own strength and ability.

While we were driving to class, Lauren’s fear of the unknown started to take over.  She went into a full on panic attack.  I mean, we’re talking deep breathing, wanting to vomit, couldn’t eat breakfast, level 1 nervous breakdown.  Jill comforted Lauren the best way she knew how – by laughing until she cried and by ‘snap chatting’ Lauren’s Britney Spears 2007 style breakdown (*spoiler alert* no shaved heads).  It was honestly the best.thing.ever.  So that you can fully understand the hilarity of the situation, we’ve compiled a short video of our snaps to show what it was like inside that car on the way to class. This is the perfect sneak peak into our real lives; probably the best video we’ve ever posted – you’ll want to watch this one for sure!

 

Once we arrived at our destination, the nerves started to calm and it was time to man-up.  Just like acro yoga, before we knew it, we were knee-deep in the class; we were “flying” within minutes.  Here’s our breakdown on what to expect if you’re on the fence about aerial yoga.

A lot of you are probably thinking “I’m not sure I can do that.”  Actually, our first joke was “I wonder what the weight limit is on those straps?!?”  (You know you were thinking that too!)  Funny enough, one of the first things our instructor said was “there’s a 2,000 pound weight limit on the silks, so there’s literally nothing you can do to break them!”  (Shew!  Major fear calmed right there!)   There were all different body shapes and sizes in our class.  Some people were very physically fit, some people didn’t seem to be athletic at all and most of the class was just your average women.  The workout was adapted to all levels of fitness and you were able to opt out of any pose that you didn’t feel comfortable with (our backup plan was to chill in our hammocks if we got really scared.)  Luckily, we didn’t have to stoop to that level.  This class does require a certain amount of flexibility and upper body strength.  Because of that, I would suggest taking the class with a buddy; someone that can provide extra support getting into the tough poses.  As much fun as this was, DO expect to be *slightly* sore following the class.  Your body will be in positions that it may have never been in before (stretch really well before class if possible!).  The silks will definitely “hug” your legs (sometimes you’ll feel like your legs are getting squeezed in half – but, no worries, you’ll be just fine!)  Also, expect your hands to be tender after the class (you’ll be amazed how tightly you grip those silks!).  We had actually read that you could wear gloves to keep your hands from getting sore but we didn’t want to be those people….but, honestly, you should be that person – at least until you condition your hands to the workout.

 

 

 

This was super fun experience and we would totally recommend that you try it out with your group of friends. Yoga Power in Charleston was one of the most impressive studios we’ve visited! They have a coffee bar, retail area, tons of space to store your stuff and even a “foot cleansing” station! Be sure to check out yogapowerwv on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow them to get the latest on upcoming events and the aerial yoga schedule!

XOXO,

Jill & Lauren

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Flying High With Acro Yoga; We Thought We Were Going To Die!

 

How many times have you gotten into something that you weren’t really planning on doing, but your friend asked you go, so there you are?!  Well, that’s exactly what happened last week.  Lauren sent a text that said “OMG, Acro Yoga popped up on my Facebook feed, it would be hilarious, any chance you want to try it??”  In Jill’s adventurous nature, she replied with “let’s do it”.  Before we knew it, we were booking an Acro Yoga workshop class on the MindBody App (we had absolutely no idea what we were getting into – neither of us even practice yoga regularly) but the rest is history.

The next day we had the normal text conversations, you know, like “still on for tonight?” And, most importantly, “what are you going to wear?”  As if one of us was going to reply with a “sundress and wedges” (why do girls always do this?!?  I’m the worst for it.)  We made a plan and we were all set.  Lauren arrived at the yoga studio parking lot first and called Jill.  At this point, panic was setting in!  As Lauren was watching the yoga regulars walk in to class she started to feel as if we had made a HUGE mistake.  While we were on the phone Jill talked Lauren ‘off the ledge’ and arrived shortly after.  When we walked into the yoga studio, we both began to giggle nervously as we got ready for class.  The lights were down low, soothing music was playing in the background and the regulars were already warming up (mind you, we don’t even know how to properly warm up for acro yoga.)  Sooo….in true blogger fashion, what did we do?!?  We found a better lit room and began to take a few selfies (I’m not even kidding.)  About this time, Jill realized that she forgot to even bring a yoga mat (I mean, isn’t that like yoga 101?!?)  Luckily, the studio provided a mat but I’m pretty sure this was the first hint that we didn’t really know what we were doing.

 

After a few minutes of waiting anxiously in the foyer (and deep breathing), we finally worked up the courage to walk into the studio.  To our surprise, the instructors and other classmates were overwhelmingly warm and inviting.  We quickly ousted ourselves as newbies, but luckily, that didn’t really seem to matter.  The instructors were amazing; so very patient, kind and encouraging.  They talked us, and the rest of the class, through every movement.  They kept us safe, and most importantly, they provided a really fun learning environment.

 

Thoughts from Jill:

I’m not really sure what I expected going into the class.  I vaguely knew what acro yoga was but I wasn’t sure what all we would do at the workshop.  I did a quick google search of acro yoga poses (isn’t that how we learn everything these days?!?)  I was equally nervous and excited as I browsed through all the photos of acro yoga.  As I looked through the poses, some of them made me think “I can do that.”  But some of the more complicated poses gave me heart palpitations.  I quickly told Lauren that I would be the base (person on the bottom; the lifter.)  Strength has always been my thing but my flexibility is not what it was 10 years ago.  As it turns out, Lauren was a much better base.  At first, I felt like my legs were just too short to get the flyer (the person being lifted) properly in the air.  Towards the end of the workshop I finally figured the base thing out, but surprisingly, I liked being the flyer.  There is something very freeing about hanging upside down, in the air, suspended by a stranger’s feet and totally trusting that they won’t drop you!

The workshop was roughly 2.5 hours long.  Going into it, that seemed like a really long, overwhelming amount of time.  But we enjoyed it so much that time literally flew by.  Before we knew it, it was time to leave and we didn’t want it to end!  Overall, Acro Yoga was much more about trust and team building and very little about skill.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the teachers have A LOT of skill and they’ve obviously worked very hard at their craft.  They’re amazing.  But they were able to give us the quick-n-dirty on acro yoga and within the first thirty minutes I was flying upside down.  I never in my wildest dreams imagined that would happen.  I figured we would mostly watch them and maybe do something really simple.  In the pictures below, you’ll see the crazy positions they had us in.  I’m still kind of shocked, but I can’t wait to do it again!

Sidenote:  When I told my BFF’s that I was taking this class, they had every joke in the book – including information for the Orthopedics Department at the local emergency room.  I’m not even kidding – of course it was all in good fun.  But honestly, I think this would be a really cool girlfriends retreat experience.  Because we had no idea what we were doing, we laughed sooo hard (we didn’t really bring tranquility to the class, but we’ll work on that next time I swear.)  We also felt really great accomplishment when we landed a pose.  It was the most uplifting environment.  If you’re in good health, I would totally suggest giving this a try!

 

 

Thoughts from Lauren:

So, as you saw above, I was totally freaked out about this after I signed up and to be honest, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.  One of my facebook friends was “interested” in this class, and I thought it would be a fun, different kind of yoga class to try. I am not a full on yogi, but have taken my fair share of meditative/restorative/bikram/prenatal yoga classes. Once I started googling pics to see what I was in for, I totally lost it.  There was everything from 3 to 4 person pyramids to crazy bendy people in all kinds of unnatural positions. I immediately regretted my decision. For some unknown reason, I tried to get affirmation that I could do this from my husband and friends, but they immediately laughed me out of the room.

I was a basket case before I left the house; I was trying out poses with my 3 year old.  Soooo, just a little insight into me, I like my personal space…the thought of randos holding me up with their FEET and vice versa, had me basically needing a paper bag to breathe into (I really didn’t think this through did I?!?!).  Once Jill arrived and we made our way inside the yoga studio, everything was calm and serene. You know those times (like in school or church) where you aren’t supposed to laugh but you can’t control yourself?? Well, this was one of those times. It was laugh or cry – I was so out of my league.

As uncomfortable as I was going in, the instructors Angie and Nate, totally turned it around in the first five minutes. They were so knowledgeable and encouraging. It took an incredible amount of trust, focus and stability to take the first leap, but after that it was super fun. (My middle school cheerleading career didn’t hurt in helping me get up in some of these poses – I was definitely “pinching a penny”! Ha!) I hit my stride and the 2.5 hour workshop flew by. (I wasn’t even freaked out by the personal space issues!) I would totally recommend this class/workshop to anyone looking for something outside of the box. Here are some of the crazy/fun things we got into:

 

 

For more information on Acro Yoga check out Angie Edmunds at Yoga Power, LLC in Charleston, WV or her workshops at Studio 8 in Huntington, WV.

Namaste my friends.  Cheers to a peaceful, fun, uplifting week.

XOXO,

Jill & Lauren

 

 

 

 

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2017 Nearly Broke Me: Onward to 2018 And The Milestones Ahead

 

 

As many of you will remember {if you rack your brain really hard – because I’m sure my life isn’t your top priority} on New Years Day 2017, I posted about how my plan for the year was to spend more time on myself.  More workouts, more healthy living, more girls nights, more fun with friends and to really focus on positive energy.  For the first six months of 2017 I literally killed this goal.  Totally crushed it.   I felt so accomplished; I felt more like myself than I had in years.  Then life suddenly took me on a crazy adventure.  One I wasn’t planning for and one I really wish didn’t happen.  There were some really exciting moments, but then came the deepest pain I’ve ever felt.

In July, we quickly decided to make an offer on our dream home.  As crazy as it seems, they accepted our offer {Holy Crap!  Did we really just buy this huge Estate?!?  Are we even adulty enough for this purchase?!}  Before I knew it, we were suddenly doing approximately a bazillion things in preparation to buy and sell homes.  Two short months later and, voila, we were the owners of not one, but TWO homes.  Panic started to set in {Caleb had to practically force me to sign on the dotted line.  I felt like I needed to put my head between my knees and breathe into a paper bag}, but thank God, he watched over us and our old house sold in record time.

It seemed like all of the cards were falling into place and everything felt perfect….until my dad, who was my best friend in the world, was hospitalized.  As much as we had hoped that he would get better, deep in my gut, I knew he wasn’t coming home.  I cried in the hospital hallway the night he was admitted and told my husband that I was scared that he would never leave the hospital again.  Unfortunately, my worst nightmare came true.  Within a few short weeks, we were faced with the hardest decision I’ve ever made.  Saying goodbye to my hero and moving on without him has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever faced.  2017 nearly broke me.   It’s a feeling I can’t explain and it’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  But, here we are, moving forward and looking ahead, just as he would want us to do.  Dad was full of so much love, he would never want us to sit around and stop living.  So many times in the last few years my dad had given me the advice to “stay young, be active, live life to the fullest and always love your family.”  And that’s exactly what I’m focusing on in 2018.

This year is going to be FULL of milestones in our household.  Milestones that make me want to have an emotional breakdown.  In 2018 I will enroll a child in…gasp…MIDDLE SCHOOL!  How is that even possible?!  My tiny baby will go to preschool – like backpacks and lunchboxes and class work.  And I will turn 35.  I’ve never been one to worry about age; age has always just been a number.  But 35 is a real number, y’all.  35 sounds an awful lot like 40…and that can’t be possible!   Isn’t my mom forty?!?  I mean, it can’t be me staring down forty’s door!  Life is moving at such a rapid pace.  I feel like every time you have a child it just clicks the ‘fast forward’ button a couple more times.  Semesters in college used to seem soooooo long; like they were never ending.  {You know, back when we had no real responsibility but life seemed so hard. *eye roll*  When our biggest problems were what outfit we should wear to Thirsty Thursday and if that jerk of a guy was going to be there and maybe talk to us.}  It seems like now that we’ve hit the sweet spot in life, and we’ve finally found an ounce of real, true happiness, we just want time to stand still but as hard as we try, it just keeps going faster and faster.  So in 2018, while I still plan to focus on ME, I also want to spend every extra second that I can making memories with my family.  My babies are only going to be little for so long.  I want to soak in every second and make every memory that we can make.  I want to seize the day.  I want to say “NO” to outsiders so I can say “YES” to my family.  Time to make 2018 about my crew – and I’m totally ok with being selfish this time.  Just remember, you’re in charge of your time and how you spend it.  You only get one life, spend it well.

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Sneak Peak Inside Our Winter Wonderland; Tips For Creating A Spectactular Christmas Tree

Ok, Y’all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, we’re not taking a trip to Disney World…..but we are decorating our home for the Holidays.  There is nothing, literally nothing, that I love more than creating a cozy, warm, festive environment for my family during the Christmas season.  Some people, ok…my husband, would say that I go a little over the top.  And you know what, he’s probably right, I am a little on the extreme OCD side.  But I figure there are a lot worse things that I could obsess over.  Honestly, I get it from my momma…and her momma too.  It’s basically a family tradition to over decorate in anticipation of the arrival of Jolly Ole Saint Nick.  As annoying as it may be, my overall goal is to make my house feel like the North Pole.  Not only do I love it, but my kids love it too.  Watching their little faces light up makes every second of decorating and preparation worth it.

I realize decorating isn’t everybody’s thing.  I know some of you mommas are lucky to get one tree up and practically dread every minute of it.  And that’s ok too!  But i’m here today to share a few tips and tricks with you to hopefully make your decorating a little more enjoyable.  Here’s a sneak peak of my trees!

 

The North Pole Tree

This tree is my absolute FAVORITE!  It has all of our special family ornaments on it, which includes my kids homemade ornaments!  (Every year I sob when I get them out and all.the.memories come rushing back.  Whhhhy do my babies have to grow up?!)  We also refer to this tree as the “everything but the kitchen sink tree” because it has all the things on it.  It has more items ‘coming out of the tree’ than hanging on the tree.  It even has peacock feathers.  (Here’s a hint:  ANYTHING can go on a tree – and I mean anything!)

 

The Winter Wonderland Tree

This tree has evolved over the years.  It started out very simple and each year I add a few new things; it’s just taken on a life of it’s own.  It is “matchy-matchy” but it’s fun and it goes in our formal living room (well, as formal as it gets around here.  Let’s be honest; there’s still unfolded laundry on that couch 67% of the time.)

 

The Candy Land Tree

The Candy Land tree is a close second-favorite for me.  I created this tree for my girls because it screams all things feminine, fun and fantasy land.  This is a white tree with colored lights and looks like it walked right off the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Because this tree is less traditional, we usually keep it up much longer than a regular tree.  We always keep it up until Valentines Day and, one year, my kids convinced me to keep it up until Easter.  I should probably be embarrassed, but i’m not.

 

The Angel Tree

This tree is a new addition this year that I created for my momma.  As many of you know, my dad passed away in October.  The holidays are going to be very difficult without him this year.  In his memory, I created an Angel tree so he can be with us for Christmas.  (Keep us in your thoughts and prayers – it’s going to be hard; he was hero.)

 

Decorating Tips

  1. Organization really is key.  Make sure to store decorations, lights, etc away in a neat, organized fashion.  Also, be certain to label your totes so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for next year.
  2. There is nothing more frustrating than tangled Christmas lights – but, here’s a life hack.  Wrap the Christmas lights around a piece of cardboard.  When the lights have been wrapped firmly, plug the ends of the lights together to keep them snug on the cardboard.  This makes unwrapping the lights next year a breeze!
  3. When you take your tree down, make sure to place the items in the tote in the same order you take them off the tree.  By doing this, next year, the items that you need first will be on the top of the tote.
  4. Always keep crafting/floral wire handy.  I’m constantly wiring things in my tree if I can’t get them to stay with Christmas hooks.  You can buy green floral wire that’s the same exact color of the tree.  Total game changer.
  5. Before you start hanging ornaments, make sure your tree is level and sturdy.  If your tree is leaning to one side, you can place a small children’s book under one leg of the tree until you make it appear level.
  6. Another hack is wiring your tree to the wall.  I have two very small nails in my baseboards.  I wrap floral wire around the base of the tree and attach it to the nail in the wall.  This will hopefully keep the tree from being turned over by animals or small children.
  7. After building/fluffing the tree and applying the lights, my next step is to always put on the tree topper.  I use unorthodox tree toppers – never your normal tree toppers.  But I feel like it’s much easier to decorate the tree when the tree topper is already situated.  If you do the tree topper last you’ve always left too much room or not enough room.  This takes the guessing game out of things!
  8. To give the tree a three dimensional look, I love to have items sticking out of my tree.  I usually use glittery sticks, candy canes, snow balls, etc.  Basically anything that’s cute and I have on hand.  My favorite thing about building trees is to be creative and put unconventional items on the tree.  Don’t be scared to step outside the normal Christmas tree box.
  9. If you’re wanting to create a new tree theme, I suggest that you turn to Pinterest and find some tree inspiration.  Sketch out your ideas before you head to Hobby Lobby.  Once you get there, all of the options will be so overwhelming you’ll definitely want to have a plan up front.
  10. When starting a new tree theme, it can be really expensive (especially fancy ornaments.)  A cheap, yet pretty, way to take up some of that extra tree space is to use ribbon.  I like to use it in a fluffed, looped pattern all over the tree.  Make the pattern random for a more trendy look.

Cheers to a wonderful holiday season, my friends!  I hope your Christmas is filled with love and laughter.

 

XOXO,

Jill

 

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Super Simple, Yet Delicious, Chicken Casserole That Your Kids Will Actually Eat

 

If your kids are anything like mine, then meal time can be challenging.  As my kids have gotten older, their taste buds have definitely expanded, but this recipe has been one of their favorites since they were both tiny.   Best part is, it’s quick and easy to prepare.  Below are the items you’ll need:

 

  1. 1 Bag/package of frozen or thawed chicken breasts (I use the 3 lb or 5 lb frozen bags.)
  2. 1 Can of Cream of Celery Soup
  3. 1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
  4. 1 Box of Stove Top
  5. 4 Tablespoons of flour
  6. 1 cup of milk

 

  • To start out, I make my chicken in the crockpot.  I usually put the chicken in the crockpot before I leave for work.  I cook the chicken on low for 6-8 hours, so it’s completely cooked when I get home.  (You could also cook the chicken in an instant pot or pressure cooker for a quicker option.)
  • Once your chicken is cooked, in a saucepan, on the stove top, combine 1 cup of cream of chicken soup, 1 cup of cream of celery soup, 4 tablespoons of flour, and one cup of milk.  Stir gently and often (be careful not to let this burn – it heats up quickly.)  Warm this mixture over medium heat, and stir thoroughly, until all “clumps” have disappeared.
  • Shred your chicken, either by hand or with your KitchenAid Mixer, then spread the shredded chicken all over the bottom of a baking dish (or cake pan for a larger serving.)  Completely cover the bottom of the dish with shredded chicken.
  • Pour the warm soup mixture over top of the shredded chicken.  Completely cover the chicken with the soup mixture.
  • Pop the casserole baking dish in the oven.  Oven should be heated at 350 degrees.  Baking time should be roughly 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.  (Mixture will appear more firm when it’s done with a golden brown tent.)
  • Make Stove Top stuffing, per the Stove Top directions on the box.
  • Once stuffing is complete, pour the stuffing on top of the casserole.
  • Cool and serve.

 

I usually serve our chicken casserole with green beans and a salad.  (The kids prefer fruit over salad, because well….they’re kids.)  This meal is always a huge hit at our house!

For super picky kids, I suggest that you “mix up” the casserole on their plate, rather than leaving the stuffing on the top.  If you mix it all together, the soup takes over and makes it look more like creamy chicken rather than casserole.

Kid tested, Mother Approved.

 

 

XOXO

Jill

PS:  Also, if you notice, we broke out the fine china for this dinner.  (I should probably be embarrassed, but i’m not.  Didn’t have to do dishes that night – total mom win!)  And yes, my oldest was eating on the couch.  We keep things really classy ’round here.

 

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Rookie Soccer Mom Gets Schooled By Veteran Soccer Mom

 

As much as we hate it, summer is practically over.  The kids are back in school and soccer season is in full swing.  This year, Jill gets to introduce Lauren to the ‘cult’ of being a soccer mom (we’ll sign her up for her mini van any day now).  Lauren is over-the-moon excited for her pre-schooler to start his very first team sport.  While Jill, a seasoned team-sport momma, that runs on dry shampoo and caffeine, is here to give Lauren the low-down on what to actually expect this soccer season (sometimes expectations are much different than reality). We hope you enjoy Jill dropping some serious truth bombs on the “rookie mom” Lauren.

 

 

Postmortem from the “rookie mom”: I may or may not have PTSD after my first 3 year old soccer game experience. Did anyone else feel like their child was possessed during the game and then went back to their normal, happy selves after it was over?? I completely feel your pain when seeing your child FLIP OUT when another kid kicked the ball away from them, (how DARE they steal the ball). Also, just the amount of convincing it probably took for you to get your kid out on the field, for whatever amount of time, should earn you a gold medal. Whatever the case, you all deserve a Venti coffee with an extra shot of espresso, after all of your efforts on Saturday morning.

Whether you are a veteran or rookie soccer mom, we’re willing to bet that you all can relate to this one.  Grab a cup of joe, sit back, relax and laugh with us.

Happy Monday!

XOXO

Jill & Lauren

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Seven Types Of People You Will Encounter On Facebook

Facebook has evolved so much over the years.  I remember back in the day when a college email address was required to even sign up for Facebook.  Now literally everyone has Facebook, and let’s just admit it, some people can be so annoying.  Here are seven types of people you’ll encounter on Facebook, on the daily.

 

 

The Drama Queen:  This person is always extremely over dramatic, telling all of their most personal information online.  They treat Facebook like it’s their journal and love to stir the pot any chance they can.  This person will divulge every.single.detail regarding their marriage, personal life and any type of work drama.  They also love to constantly make references to their ex and past relationships.  If they know it, it’s going on Facebook!

 

The Political Debater:  This person feels like it’s their mission in life to constantly spew political tirades online.   Their posts are filled with hate and rage and they have zero ability to empathize with anyone who has a differing opinion.  These people are so totally consumed with politics that I’m pretty sure they’ve forgotten how to enjoy their own lives.

 

The Cliff Hanger Suspense: This one especially gets on my nerves.  These are the types of people that leave a very vague attention seeking status, leading you to believe something is terribly wrong.  Then when someone leaves a comment inquiring about the situation, the original poster responds with “personal message me for details please.”  Ummm….if this was a private matter, why did you just make it your public status?  Shut the front door!

 

Cougar With The Duck Lips:  Really, there’s no description necessary for this one; the title says it all.  We all know her, quite well, due to the obscene amount of duck-lipped selfies that she posts.  If she goes more than 15 hours without posting a selfie, we all begin to worry about her well being.

 

The Over Aggressive Direct Salesman:  We’ve all encountered this one.  Let’s just all agree that anytime someone personal messages you, when you haven’t talked to them in 10 years, and the message starts out with “Hey, Girl!”  It’s time to run because she’s selling something and she won’t take no for an answer.

 

Mamaw New To Social Media:  This is probably my favorite one.  I love to watch people my grandma’s age learn to navigate social media.  Watching them share and like their own statuses and comment on the Days Of Our Lives fan page is my absolute favorite.  Life goals right here, y’all!  {Sidenote: this one is very similar to me when I was learning how to use SnapChat.  I felt like a total geriatric, not even kidding!}

 

The Oversharing Momma:  Let’s just put a big ‘ole picture of me right here.  {Raises hand slowly and looks around.}  Just to be fair, I realize I’m just as annoying as everyone else in Facebook land.

 

I hope these brought a smile to your face and laugh to your heart on this Monday!  Cheers to a good week, my friends.

XOXO

Jill

 

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The Bully Teacher That Is Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare

 

Any time the word ‘teacher’ is mentioned in conversation, everyone in the room suddenly has very strong feelings.   In fact, people are as passionate about teachers as they are about politics.  Love ’em or hate ’em, everyone has an opinion; and more often than not, people are usually very vocal with their emotions.

Let me start by saying that we’ve had some INCREDIBLE teachers over the years.  We’ve experienced the best-of-the-best, but unfortunately we’ve also experienced the worst-of-the-worst.  There are people in this world that were literally put on this earth to teach.  They put their heart and soul into teaching and it shows every day in their students.  Those teachers are priceless.  Most of us couldn’t do what they do, day in and day out, and keep our zest for life.  Teachers are not just teachers, they wear so many hats.  They’re counselors, nurses, beauticians, managers, janitors, mediators, and pros at crowd control.  There’s no doubt about it, they have their hands full.  And I will never take a good teacher for granted, ever again.

But then there is the flip side: the side that most people want to ignore, or sugarcoat, and pretend like it isn’t an issue.  But i’m just going to come out and say it {or yell it from the mountaintop} there are A LOT of people who are teachers that should have never become a teacher.  There are teachers who abuse their powers.  There are teachers who are rude, bitter and childish.  There are teachers who are clinically, mentally ill.  And there are teachers who are BULLIES!  Teachers who live out a real live scene from ‘Mean Girls’, bullying innocent children on the daily.

Unfortunately, as a family, we’ve experienced these teachers over the years.  We experienced a teacher who just wouldn’t show up for work, for weeks at a time.  My husband would go to drop our daughter off for first grade and her teacher would be a no-show.  The door was locked, the room was dark, and the tiny naïve first graders would be lined up down the hall with nowhere to go.  They didn’t understand, and for a while we didn’t either, until we finally found out that our teacher was now a patient at a psychiatric facility.  The same teacher who was in charge of my precious baby was completely mentally unstable.  As time went on, we learned more and more from our girl.  We learned of the hurtful words and phrases that this teacher had spewed at the children.  We learned how this teacher had been so negative and so cruel that she had crushed my daughters self esteem.  We learned how this teacher would pull the blinds down on the door and turn the tv on all day, rather than teaching.   And most importantly, we eventually discovered that my daughter had learned virtually nothing during her 1st grade year: one of the most critical learning years in early education.

We’ve also experienced a teacher who was the worst bully that I’ve ever encountered in my lifetime.  She taught her daughter, who was also in the same elementary school, to rigorously pick on my child in a malicious way.  She coached her daughter to lie and fabricate stories.  This teacher and her daughter were constantly spreading false rumors about my child, all the while she was trying to sabotage my child’s relationship with other children at the school.  She constantly metaled in my child’s school life and she coerced and convinced other teachers to not like my child, because her and her daughter simply ‘had it out’ for my little girl.  The stories I could tell you are straight out of a lifetime movie, I’m not even kidding.  And, once again, this behavior was coming from a teacher who was supposed to be in charge of my child’s well being.

My biggest regret as a parent is that I set back and let these things happen to my child.  I made small complaints, but those weren’t enough.  Those calm, mild manner complaints were repeatedly overlooked and swept under the rug.  I look back on that time in our lives and I think “how did I let that happen?”  Why did I not march into that school and scream, throw fits, and turn shit over in the principals office until someone paid attention to me?!  Why was I so nice when those teachers were clearly liable of malpractice.  Why didn’t I do more?  Sometimes the guilt I feel is overwhelming.  I spent both of those years constantly trying to be the peace keeper, but I will never ever do that again.  If I have to fly my crazy flag I will do it proudly.  I’ll go down in a blaze of glory!

The moral of the story is, if you feel that your child is being mistreated at school, you are their only voice.  And you better use a megaphone to get your point across.  If something is seriously wrong, and you feel it in your gut, then don’t be calm like I was – calm doesn’t catch anyone’s attention.  Be bold, be brave and be your child’s advocate because no one else will be.

After all of the stress and drama that my daughter had encountered, we noticed that it was taking a toll on her physically and mentally.  We witnessed the joy drain from her eyes and we saw a sadness taking over her body.  She was mentally and phsycially exhausted.  Her confidence was nonexistent and she felt totally defeated.  It was at that moment that we said, “NO MORE!”  We moved to a new school district and it was THE BEST decision we’ve ever made in life.  Her 4th Grade teacher was absolutely amazing.  She totally reprogrammed my child to love school again.  She was an angel sent from God and i’m forever grateful.  I’m in no way trying to vilify teachers, that isn’t what this is about.  My point is, there are wonderful people and wonderful teachers in this world.  But, unfortunately, shitty people become teachers too.  Don’t always assume that just because someone is a teacher that they’re an amazing person.  Keep your momma senses on high alert at all times.

Just keepin’ it real.  Much love – XOXO-

Jill

 

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The Magnificent Maxi Dress That Every Woman Should Own

It’s summer and beach vibes are all around us.  If you’re anything like me, style is very important but comfort is too.  My go-to ‘mom uniform’, in the summer, is any dress that’s cute but also keeps me cool; versatility is a must as well.  I feel like it’s my job in life to let you all know that I’ve officially found the PERFECT maxi dress.  It’s stylish, comfy, SUPER flattering and made out of material that doesn’t wrinkle or cling (hallelujah!)   And the best part is, this dress is less than $35.  I wore this dress for a date night at the beach, but I also plan to throw on a kelly green cardigan and wear it to the office as well.  Another positive feature is that this dress has adjustable straps for short people like me!  (Yay!)  I paired my dress with cute brown leather slides, but you could totally rock wedges with it as well.  If you’re on the market for a fun maxi dress, give this one a try.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Dress fits true to size.

 

Sleeveless V-Neck Maxi Dress

Sidenote:  This pattern literally went unavailable today (hopefully they’ll restock), but there are still three other colors available that are all adorable.  The mustard yellow pattern is one of my favorites; I’ve tried it on in person and almost purchased it.

If you decide to purchase, make sure to share your photos with us!  We’d love to see you.

 

Happy shopping and much love,

Jill

 

(Affiliate links included.)

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