When a number is just…a number

When I first started this journey at the end of January, I had no idea where it would lead me.  I started with a detox and then eventually to finally losing my baby weight.

It’s now been a little over three months and I figured it’s time for an update and who knows…maybe I’ll include a comparison picture? =)

I will admit that numbers-wise; I’m not seeing much of a difference.  The numbers on my scale fluctuate 1-2 pounds every time I step on it.  I am learning that the numbers are just numbers!  If I went by the number I saw on the scale every morning, I would feel really bad about myself. But I don’t!  Why?  Because I can actually feel and see a difference in my body!  My clothes are fitting differently and I feel different.  And the biggest bonus?  People are starting to notice!  So please hear me when I say that I understand the obsession with the number on the scale.  While I do think it’s important to keep track of it, I do not think we should spend so much time obsessing over it.  It has taken me a really long time to come to this conclusion.  It is a hard thought process to break.  But it’s better to be healthy than to be skinny.  Please remember that!!!!

A lot of people have asked me what I have been doing to lose weight/look healthier.
My answer usually shocks people because of its simplicity.

Here’s a list of what I have been doing:
~ eating healthier food including more vegetables and less starches (when looking for recipes, I try to find ones that have more fresh ingredients and less “cream of” and artificial)
~ exercising at least three times a week (more if I’m able to)
~ this includes taking the kids on a walk/jog in the jogging stroller for at least a mile
~ I am in the middle of a 30-day ab challenge as well (picture at bottom of post)
~ eating breakfast (seriously, it’s not called the most important meal of the day for nothing!)
~ drinking more water (you should be drinking at least half you body weight in ounces)

See?  Simple, right?  It is pretty much everything that “they” tell you to do anyway!  I am going to start using my videos again, but I haven’t joined a gym.  I do not have weights at our house right now.  We are not spending a ton of money (basically because we don’t have it!!!), but that is because that is not how it needs to be for me right now.  Am I saying that those other things are wrong or bad? Absolutely not!!!  If we had the money, I would be working my butt of every day in the gym with a personal trainer!  And if we were even more wealthy, I would totally have a personal chef =)  But I’m having to live within our means right now and (thankfully) it is paying off.

So, I write this as an encouragement to some of you.  Please know that there are easy ways to start changing your lifestyle and getting healthy.  Food is a major part of becoming healthier, but don’t forget the exercise!  It will just boost your metabolism even more

I have a beach trip coming up and am trying to find a swimsuit…ugh!  But hopefully, if I continue to work, I will feel a little more bikini ready by then.  More pictures then?  We will see…but for now…these will have to do! =)

After looking through pictures to use in the transformation collage, I realized that I didn’t have any pictures of myself (without a kid hiding most of me) from about August through October.  That says something about how I felt about myself…don’t you think!  But I did manage to find a few that show a couple things.
The smaller pictures show that:
~ my face is rounder
~ there’s pretty much “more to love” on every part of my body (especially the bottom half!)
~ my chin is seeing double
~ my stomach is just hangin out

The bigger pictures is only from a couple days ago so it is very recent!


Thank you everyone for your continued support and I hope to keep up my journey to better health!!!

~ Jess Elaine

PS: Here’s the ab challenge for anyone who is interested.  I found it floating around Facebook and Pinterest.


What I Didn’t Expect While Expecting: My 4-Year Journey To Losing The Baby Weight

Where were you four years ago?
March 2009

My husband and I were preparing ourselves for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe.

7 countries in 18 days

It was an amazing trip and we were fortunate to meet some awesome people during those two weeks.  We even stay in touch with a couple we met from Australia.

Hi Peter and Natalie!

It was something we had saved for… something we wanted to experience before we had kids.  We experienced cities like Amsterdam, Venice, Assisi, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Lugano, Lake Lucerne, and Paris…just to name a few.

Oh and did we eat!!!  I actually gained about 5-10 pounds while we were over there!  Whoops!  Not what I wanted to bring home with me…

The best souvenir we brought home though?


Yep, that’s right!
We found out in Paris that we were pregnant with our first child!
We were so excited!!!

Four years later and I have a beautiful daughter who has brought so much fun and joy into my life.
She has also brought the realization that I have a big task on my shoulders.
SHE is going to value HERSELF as much as she sees ME valuing MYSELF.
Let that one sink in!

Whether I like it or not, she watches me…

She watches what I do…
what I eat…
what I say…
how I talk about my body…

This is a HUGE deal people!!!!  I am teaching my daughter how to view her own body whether I like it or not.  This realization was one of the big factors in changing the way I view and take care of myself.

My lovely daughter is also responsible for another thing…the start of my adult weight gain problems.  I love her with everything, but carrying her for nine months did quite the toll on my body.  And for someone who was already struggling with weight issues, pregnancy was not friendly nor nice to me.  I carried my pregnancy weight all over my body…all 35/40 pounds of it.  I know that there are some of you out there who gained more, but an extra 40 pounds on my 5’3 frame was not easy!



I recently started looking back at pictures from that time and I cannot believe I was “ok” with where I was at!  Sure, I complained…blamed it on my daughter…said it was too hard to find time…said it was too expensive to join a gym…claimed I didn’t have anyone to watch my daughter so I could exercise…said I was too tired…Man, the list goes on and on!  So many excuses!!!!

Since 2009, I have also had another child (June 2012) and although I was a bit healthier, I still gained weight and he totally took over my body!!!


I know what you are thinking and yes…it was uncomfortable as it looks!!!!

Anyway, it’s been nine months since giving birth to my son and almost four years since getting pregnant with our daughter.  After those numbers were put out there, I no longer felt the “it’s just baby weight” excuse was useful or accurate anymore.  I know, right?  It’s the easiest excuse in the book!!!

It was time to wake up!!!!

So four years later, I am very excited to say that I have now lost ALL my baby weight!!!!

I still have a long road ahead of me.  There’s still at least another 10-15 pounds of unwanted weight on my body, but I choose to focus on the small victories.
And this is a huge small victory!!!

So what have I done?
I’m continuing to monitor what I eat…choosing healthier options even for snacking.  I also recently started working out.  I do not have a lot of time nor do I have the money to join a gym, so I put out a call on Facebook for any suggestions for at-home workout DVDs.  My good friend, Rachel, said I could borrow one of hers.  I am loving it!  It’s three different workouts plus a core stretch/yoga section.  You alternate what you are doing during the week.  And the best part?  Each segment is only 24 minutes long!  Y’all…I can exercise AND shower all while my youngest is napping!!!  I know you mommies out there understand how important getting both of those done during a week is!!!!!  Click HERE for the link if you would like to know more about the DVD.

Once I establish better workout habits, I plan on adding other things to the mix like Zumba and kickboxing!

Another good thing about doing something like this…my daughter is watching me work on my body and appreciating it.  She is doing them with me and it’s so much fun for us!  She asks every day when she and Mommy can exercise.  Isn’t that great?  What a thing to start teaching her early!

I do not have an after picture ready right now, but I’m hoping to in the next couple of weeks and don’t worry…I will TOTALLY share it with you when I get the chance!

Until then, thank you again for your never-ending support and I hope to continue my road to health all while being an example to my children.

~Jess Elaine

Healthy Doesn’t Have To Taste Bad

Hello again!

Over the past couple weeks, I have been asked by several people
for any recipes that I am using during this lifestyle transition.
I’m not going to lie.
It’s been a bit difficult.

But I have found several “go-to” recipes that I am loving right now!!!
And yes…I’m going to share them with you!

You need to remember that during this time, you are trying to cut out as much
starch, sugars, and pretty much anything artificial!
This means that, in some recipes, there may be a “short cut,” but you have to ask yourself…
are you willing to sacrifice a little more time for healthy choices?

Disclaimer: I am not a dietician and do not pretend to be.
These recipes are simply ones that I have enjoyed and are better for you!

And if you have easy healthy recipes,
send them my way!!!

Here we go!

Simple Baked Chicken Breast
3-4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts
olive oil
salt and pepper (optional)
rosemary or any spices you really enjoy using

* Spray pan with olive oil spray.
* Place chicken breasts in pan.
* Spray with olive oil spray or brush olive oil on with small brush.
* Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
You can add many different spices.  Most spices are good and healthy for you.
* Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Roasted Sweet Potato Circles
9×13 baking pan
sweet potatoes
olive oil

* Spray a shallow baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
*Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Prepare one small to medium size
potato for each person you plan to serve. Slice potatoes into circles/slices that
are 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
* Place circles on baking sheet. Spray with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with
salt and pepper to taste
* Bake approximately 10 minutes in oven set at 350 degrees. Remove
pan from oven, turn potatoes over. Spray with a little more olive oil over potatoes
if they look dry and sprinkle the potatoes with dried herbs of your choice.
Summer savory, thyme, or oregano are good choices.
* Return potatoes to the oven and cook approximately 10 additional minutes
or until potatoes are tender with slightly crispy edges.

Chicken Tortilla Soup—SLOW COOKER
2 skinned and boned raw chicken breasts, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 can black beans
2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
2 14 oz can s chicken broth
1 can (10 oz) tomato puree (can also use tomato sauce)
1 can Rotel tomatoes (mild or regular)
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper

* Combine first 13 ingredients in a slow cooker.
* Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.
* Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.
* You can also add some frozen corn if desired (½ cup or so)
I do not cube my chicken.  I just put the breasts on the bottom and let them cook for the 6ish hours.
Once they’re done, I use my tongs and shred them into the soup mixture.  I like it better that way, but
you can do it however you like!!!!
Now remember…although this would be tasty with tortilla chips,
they are not the healthiest for you!!!
Also, watch out with the sour cream!  Also fattening!!!
We eat it plain because it’s good enough that way!!!!

Southwest Easy-Oven Chicken
1-cup fat free chicken broth
2 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
¾ cup mild salsa
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
* In a 13 x 9 baking pan, combine the broth, beans, salsa and garlic. Add the
chicken and baste with some of the liquid.
* Bake, stirring once, until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid is reduced,
about 45 minutes.
Also remember about rice, tortilla chips, and sour cream for this recipe too.  Try a healthier
option if you need more.  Add some good vegetables!!!!

Pesto Ranch Crock Pot Chicken
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 ounce jar of pesto (or something close to 6 oz)
1 package Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix
1/2 cup chicken broth

* Turn crock pot to high setting. Place chicken thighs, pesto, ranch dressing and chicken broth into
crock pot. Stir gently to combine all seasonings. Close with lid and cook on high for 3-4 hours
or on low for 6-8 hours.
Although this would be marvelous with mashed potatoes, be careful with your vegetable choice!
Mashed potatoes are good, but only in small doses.  So, if you don’t think you can handle a small
dose, then make something else! =)

(Adapted from this recipe!)

I made this recipe for Valentine’s Day dinner this year.  It was a hit!!!  So good and so easy!  We will be having it again!

Pesto Ranch Chicken












Reminder: if you would like to leave me a comment, you can click the “horseshoe shape” with the number in it located in the top right-hand corner!

~ Jess Elaine

The Week After Detox

The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt
until they are too strong to be broken.
~Samuel Johnson

While on my detox, I lost eight pounds.  I was elated!!!!  I was seeing numbers I hadn’t seen in a very long time.  I was so encouraged!

But then it was time to go back to the real world.  It was time to see how I would navigate meals and snacks.  Needless to say, I was nervous.

My friend had sent me an email with several recipes, so I felt a little better, but it was things like breakfast, lunch, and snacks that worried me the most.  I realize that losing 30 pounds in nine weeks is a VERY lofty goal.  One that I realize will probably not happen, but I needed to aim high.

I need to aim high for myself.

As I said in my previous post, losing just 18 pounds would put me on the higher end of my healthy weight range.  After losing a good amount of weight the previous week, I was so nervous about gaining it all back!

I meal planned for the week, went shopping, and started the week.  Here went nothing!

Monday came and went.  I made dinner.  I had a healthy lunch and breakfast.  I felt fantastic!
That’s when it hit me…


For those of you that read my last post, I told you that my detox was more mental than physical and this week proved that more than anything!  I found myself resisting many temptations because of the weight I had lost the previous week.  It was so easy too!  Each morning, I would step on the scale to see the “damage” and each morning I would be excited to see that it was no more than your average +/- a pound (or less).

Now although I am excited to have maintained my weight loss throughout this week, I know that losing some would have been nice.  Now, let me say: I am not exercising right now and I know that will help.  I am adding exercise in next week and hope to see some sort of improvement!

I would also like to say that I was so inspired by all the encouragement I received last week.  I could not do this without encouragement and accountability!

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

I hope to continue this journey and change my habits so that my children can learn healthy habits to pass on to their children.

~ Jess Elaine

Reminder: if you would like to leave me a comment, you can click the “horseshoe shape” with the number in it located in the top right-hand corner!

30 by 30

Well, the time has come.  In approximate 9 1/2 weeks, I will be 30.
Yes, I realize that some of you don’t think this is a big deal,
but for me it is.

I’ve never cared about age before, but for some reason I have struggled with this one.
So, as I reflected on what I would like to accomplish by then, one thing really stood out to me…
my weight.

I’ve never been considered the “skinny girl.”  I had curves which was not always accepted.
I’m also Italian, so it kind of came with the territory.  As did eating things like pasta, bread, etc…
Of course, more recently my body has gone through two pregnancies
and that takes its own toll on the body.

Now hear me when I say that I’m JUST FINE with this!!!
I mean, sure, has it been hard?
But it’s not something that has controlled my life.

All that being said, I’ve decided to do something about it.
I’ve challenged myself to my very own “30 by 30” challenge.
Lose 30 pounds by the time I turn 30.

I realized that there are some of you out there who know me and you’re saying to yourself,
“You don’t need to lose 30 pounds!”
And to you, I say thank you.  I appreciate you thinking that, but the reality of the situation is…
yes I do.

In order to be in the “healthy range” for my height and build, I need to lose between 18-32 pounds.  I’ve chosen to go for the bigger goal.
Plus, I mean “18 by 30” just doesn’t sound as cool!

So how am I doing it?

About a month ago, I called a dear friend who, although not a registered dietician, is a very healthy and active woman who also raises five children.  So, I figured she could help me with figuring out how to balance diet and exercise with my busy life as a mom of two under three.  She and I talked about what I wanted to accomplish.  Not only did I want to lose the weight, but I also wanted to establish a more healthy lifestyle for my family.  If you’ve kept up with this blog at all, then you know I’m not much of a homemaker.  Therefore, learning to cook healthy food was important to me.  I needed to learn it for myself and my husband, but more importantly…
I needed to learn it for my children.

She presented me with an option called “Transition Lifestyle,” which I’ll refer to as TLS from now on.  It’s not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle change.  This is exactly what I had been thinking.  I’ve tried many diets in the past: Weight Watchers, South Beach, Atkins.  But none of them had worked.  Mostly because I didn’t have accountability and also because I didn’t understand what I was doing.  My friend and her husband had been a part of this program several years ago as part of his work,
so she still had all of her information.
It was going to be hard, but I was willing to try.

The first week of TLS is a detox.  There were only about 40 fruits and vegetables I was allowed to eat and I could really only drink water.  I was only allowed three servings of fruit a day.  The rest had to be vegetables.  I didn’t think this was going to be that difficult, but after the first day…

I wanted to eat everything!!!!

It was amazing how much my body was craving certain things.  After the longest week of my life, I realized that my detox was more mental than physical.  I had to reboot my mind into thinking about healthier options for things.  It was amazing how much my thoughts changed after this week.  I didn’t want to snack on my regular food and I was craving more healthy options.  I made it through the week because of the accountability with my friends doing the same thing.
Without them, I wouldn’t have survived.

I’m now in Phase One and am feeling great!  I have more energy than I’ve had in a long time and my family has been eating healthier than ever!  I still have a long way to go, but I’m confident that I’ll hit my goal.  Maybe it won’t be in nine weeks, but it will be by this summer.
I plan on rockin an awesome Mom-kini by summertime!

Oh, and in case  you’re wondering…
I started on January 21st and
I’ve only got 23 pounds to go!

~ Jess Elaine

PS: want to leave a comment?  Just click on the “horseshoe shape” (with a number in it) located at the top right corner of this blog!

How To Date Your Husband

Almost six months ago, we were blessed with our second child.  A beautiful baby boy!  What a joy he is and we have enjoyed it so much!  Our daughter, who is almost three, has been an amazing big sister as well. 


This also means that my husband and I haven’t been on a real date in at least six months. =)  While I realize that it may have been a lot longer for other couples, we were blessed to have friends and family around during the past couple years to watch our daughter so we could go out even if it was just to dinner.  Therefore, we were a little used to having some time to ourselves.  Once our son was born, we found it a bit harder to find someone to take care of both children.  Especially since one is still an infant. 

After several nights of “marital discussions,” we realized that we REALLY needed to find a way to spend more time alone together.  The problem came with how.  We went through our typical night.  Husband gets home at around 5:15.  Dinner is eaten and cleaned up.  He plays with the kids until bedtime ( which I find awesome since he hasn’t seen them all day).  Both kids down by 8:30-9.  I start getting tired around this time and am usually in bed by 10 which means that we only have an hour to an hour and a half of “alone” time.  And that’s if both kids stay asleep!!!!  And what do we normally do during that time?  We are on the iPad, computer, watching something on DVR, etc.  What we are NOT doing is being with each other.

This is where we had to figure something out.  We knew it wasn’t a lot of time each night, but we knew something could be done to spend some time together.  We talked about what we could do to change things…to be a couple again.  Here’s the solution we came up with:
One night a week, we would turn off all electronics (cell phones on vibrate and only answered if urgent) and have a game night.  We would include coffee (decaf for me of course!) and maybe some dessert.  We would choose a Pandora station and pick a game!  Last date night, we played Sequence.  If you haven’t tried this game, I highly suggest it!!!  So much fun!

You don’t have to necessarily play games, but you get the point.  We are solely focusing on each other and it is allowing us to TALK!  And not about the kids =)  We are able to focus on each other without distractions.  Of course, the last game night also included our children getting up several times, but we were still able to be with each other which is the more important part.

So, whether or not you have children, you have had children for a while or are expecting…please know that “dating” you spouse even after marriage is SUCH an important part of a relationship.  One thing my husband and I agree on is that…after our personal relationships with God… our relationship with each other is the next most important one because if our relationship is strong, then our relationships with our children will be equally as strong.  We also agree that once the children leave, we don’t want to be left looking at each other and asking, “Who are you?”

My husband and I may be in the “early” stages of our marriage and life as parents, but we are trying to make sure that we still remember why we fell in love with each other and decided to have our lives intertwine.  I must say…I’m enjoying it just as much as when we were first dating.

Here’s to continuing to strengthen marriages and families!  What would you choose to do for your next date night?  Let me know!  I love suggestions!
~ Jess Elaine

Photo courtesy of Candice Lynn Photography

Recipe Review: November 5-9

I have to admit…I had a lot of fun cooking this past week!  I feel so good when I have planned something in advance and it comes together.  Maybe it’s because I’m a little type A, but planning and organizing is fun to me =)  I’m going to include Monday through Friday even if I didn’t cook each day, so you can see what a typical week in our house looks like.  Everyone is different, but you can easily plan for your family if you try.  I’ve also started two new boards on Pinterest.  One for successes and one for things we will not be having again.  You can find those here and here.

So, what did we have last week?  Here’s a breakdown plus a few thoughts I had…
I had several cans of croissants in our refrigerator, so I tried to find things I could use them with.  I’m learning to “shop” my fridge and pantry first before meal planning and shopping so I don’t let something go to waste or spend unnecessarily.

Monday: Carmon’s Taco Croissant
I really like the blog where this recipe was found.  I saw this recipe a couple weeks ago and knew I wanted to make it.  This was a BIG hit in our house!  The taco seasonings plus the buttery croissant was really tasty.  I am becoming a fan of filling a croissant ring with whatever I want and just putting it in the oven for a bit.  It opens the door for so much experimentation!  I served it with On The Boarder tortillas chips (cause they’re the best!) and salsa.  An easy yummy meal!

Tuesday: We ended up going over to our friend’s house and having taco salad this night.

Wednesday: We usually go to church on Wednesday nights, so I try to keep dinner easy.  I opted to try a new crockpot recipe.  I had run across Crockpot Beer Chicken and thought I’d give it a try. It was an easy recipe to follow and didn’t require much prep, but that was about the only thing good about it.  It wasn’t that it tasted bad, but that it didn’t have much of a taste at all.  You would also expect that chicken cooked for about 7 hours in a crockpot would be moist.  The chicken fell apart easily, but it was actually very dry.  I served it with peas and rolls.  Just to make sure, I called my friend who made it the same day and the response was the same.  We both will not be making this again.

Thursday: I was able to go out with a dear friend for dinner this night, so the amazing hubby watched the kids.  I did have some leftovers warmed and ready for him when he got home though.

Friday: I usually don’t cook on Fridays because we are with our church small group.

I’ve now been doing this for a couple weeks and I’m feeling really good about it!  It’s like I can’t wait till I can plan for the next week and see what other yummy recipes I can find and make.  I hope this blog is encouraging to you.  I know we can all use a little encouragement now and then.  I hope I can provide some!

Happy cooking!
~Jess Elaine

Recipe Review: October 28 – November 2

As I stated in my last post, I am trying hard to plan our meals more in advance so that we don’t find ourselves without something to eat and having to resort to eating out.  Last week was my first test and I must say that I’m pretty darn proud of myself!  Let’s start from the beginning shall we?

Monday: I found this link on Pinterest for “The World’s Best Chicken.”  And since I love chicken, I couldn’t resist!  This recipe was so easy and also so delicious!!!!  My husband kept talking about how good it was and there was nothing left when we were done.  I modified it a little because there’s only two of us.  I only use 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (which did equal a pound) and I didn’t have any rosemary so that was cut out.  I baked it for about 45 minutes and I think I am going to do it closer to 40 next time.  I served it with steamed frozen peas and dinner rolls.  Fantastic meal!

Tuesday: It was supposed to be “slightly” warmer, so we made some hamburger patties and fired up the grill.  If you’re every worried about not being able to plan or cook, grilling hamburgers might be the easiest thing to fix.  I just threw a bunch of spices in with the meat (Lawry’s, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili powder).  We also butter the hamburger buns and toast them on the grill as well.  So good and easy!

Wednesday: I knew we were going to be busy this day because it was Halloween.  Every year, my husband’s company lets all the children come up to the building and trick or treat around the office.  We were also supposed to stop by my husband’s grandparents house on the way home.  Because I knew we’d be home late, I decided to put something in the crockpot.  Best decision ever!!!!  For some reason the traffic was horrible that night and we didn’t get home until 7 pm.  But it didn’t matter because dinner was warm and ready to go!  That, fellow domestically challenged friends, is why I’m trying to plan ahead!  So I can be prepared!  What did I have cooking?  Check out this easy recipe for “Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup.”  Now, I was awesome and forgot enchilada sauce at the store, so I used some taco seasoning I had in the pantry and it turned out great!!!!  Highly recommended.

Thursday: I was able to go out this night with some of my amazing girlfriends, so I had a frozen pizza all cooked and ready to go for the hubby before I left.

Friday: We usually meet with our church small group on these nights, so it’s easiest to grab something on the way there and eat.  Not the best plan, but we’re working on it! =)

All in all, I would chalk up last week to a success.  I have already planned this week and have gone shopping for the necessary items.  It’s costing us a little more in the beginning because I’m having to build up my staples.  But I think it’s going to help us spend less on “food” then we normally do in a month.  I hope this has helped some of you see that if I can do it…so can you!!!!

Until next week…
~ Jess Elaine

back in the high life again

It has been too long since I last posted.  But with some encouragement from my sweet husband, I’m going to try to start back up again.  I always feel like I have all these ideas for things I want to write about and just never do it.  I’m not exactly sure why.  I know that I could use the excuse of “I’ve got two kids now and have no time,” but if I really wanted to share my thoughts with you then I would find a way.  And that’s what I’ve decided to do.  Find a way.  Plus, I’m hoping to keep myself accountable through this blog.

For those who may not remember (because it’s been so long!), this blog’s intention was to help me with my “domestically challenged” lifestyle.  Now that I do have two kids, I’m finding that I really do need to learn how to become a little more domestic or our lives are going to take over and things will go into chaos!  One of the biggest helps to me has been Pinterest.  Although there are many posts tend to make me feel more like a failure as a wife and mother, I’m trying to use it for good and realize that not everyone out there is a supermom like Pinterest makes it look like and not everyone is that organized all the time!  At least that’s what I’m telling myself!

The other help has been my friend, Jessa. (You can find her blog here and her Facebook here)  She and I have decided that we will keep each other accountable with our weekly meal planning.  For some of you, meal planning may come easy, but for others (like me and Jessa)…we have to work on it.  We’ve now been doing it for two weeks and I know that it’s been helping me so much!  I’m thinking about using this blog to start something like a “What We’re Eating This Week” portion to also keep me accountable to my planning, but that may come later.  I’m always open to suggestion and recipes…easy recipes =)  It’s going to be interesting and fun, yet challenging since I’m not much of a cook/baker.  But I’m up for the challenge.

For those out there struggling with the same thing, I hope we can struggle and learn together.
Here’s to paving our own paths to becoming our versions Susie Homemakers and Betty Crocker!


~ Jess Elaine

It’s so hard to say goodbye…

I’ve struggled the last couple weeks wondering how to say goodbye to my best friend and her family.  They are moving about eight hours away and this will be the first time in about ten years that we have not lived in the same city.

For the first couple of weeks, I refused to acknowledge it.  It made it easier to cope with.  But the last couple days, I have been full of tears…maybe it is because I’m pregnant, but I also like to think it’s because we are so close. =)

So I’ve decided this is the way I will say goodbye and honor our friendship.  I find quotes can say things that I cannot normally express well, so here it goes…


How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.  ~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie


No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.  ~Robert Southey


You and I will meet again
When we’re least expecting it
One day in some far off place
I will recognize your face
I won’t say goodbye my friend
For you and I will meet again
~Tom Petty


Farewell, my sister, fare thee well.
The elements be kind to thee, and make
Thy spirits all of comfort: fare thee well.
~William Shakespeare


But fate ordains that dearest friends must part.  ~Edward Young


Sweet is the memory of distant friends!  Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.  ~Washington Irving


Missing someone gets easier every day because even though it’s one day further from the last time you saw each other, it’s one day closer to the next time you will.  ~Author Unknown


Of course, this is just a small portion of all of our adventures.  We’ve gone from college, to living on our own, to marriage, to babies and I wouldn’t have wanted to share it with anyone else.

I love you sister!