Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween... Was It Happy?

One of the most reliable things in parenting that never ever fails is that things WILL NOT go as planned! That has been one of my biggest struggles since my little one was born. This is especially true of holidays. I buy lots of supplies for baked goods and activities in the weeks leading up to any given holiday.  I pin all year in preparation for all the things I want to get accomplished. Now Halloween has rolled around and with 50 minutes left, I have used almost none of what I bought and done almost none of what I pinned!

There was a time when this really would have stressed me out. What a waste of time and money I would have thought! I have to save all these things for a whole year before I can use them again! But right now I feel like Halloween has been thoroughly celebrated. And I am content with the fact that we enjoyed the things we were able to do, and I will not let myself stress about the things that did not get done.

If you're too busy doing THINGS, you aren't enjoying the holidays and making MEMORIES. I've come to realize so many things are really more about quality than quantity. My little Rapunzel has a smile on her face and candy in her belly, and she just informed me that this was the best Halloween ever! She's not going to remember the things we didn't do. She's going to remember that Mommy took her to visit our friends at a campground and go trick or treating. She has memories of a special Mommy and Reagan trip to our permanent site at another campground, where we read Halloween stories, had a special night together, and then went out for a Halloween themed breakfast, just the two of us. She's also going to remember Halloween night itself, when we spent time with friends and family, went to a bounce house, and she was the most adorable little Rapunzel ever. 

With the holiday season coming up I feel like it's more important than ever to remember that we don't have to be superheroes and get everything done and do every little project that we would like to. Be realistic about it, and most importantly, have fun making memories with your babies!! 

My last little bit of advice is, don't save everything for a special occasion. Life is a special occasion! Some of these unfinished Halloween projects are going to be done in the next week or two in this house, and that's okay! Life is for the living and the celebrating. Also, some of the Halloween things I bought are perishable and won't last a whole year :) let's be for real y'all!

Did you get everything accomplished in time for Halloween that you had planned? Were you still happy with how your holiday turned out? Let me know!



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Free Julep Polish

For those of you who don't know, I'm a Chloe + Isabel Merchandiser, and if you shop my boutique now through midnight on Halloween (EST), any order of $100+ gets you FREE shipping, FREE Julep polish, and amazing jewelry with a lifetime guarantee! Shop my boutique today for some guilt free #candi and treat yourself before this offer ends at

Chloe and Isabel Holiday Launch

I can barely contain my excitement for the holiday collection to be announced! Shop my boutique any time at Lifetime guarantee on all pieces!

Crockpot Lasagna Soup

I made my very favorite soup today! Even my picky three year old ate it and LOVED it, and everyone else had two or more bowls, so it was a hit! I originally got the recipe here, but I made a few changes and switch it up to make it a crock pot recipe. There's something wonderful about being able to throw ingredients in a pot and walk away while dinner cooks itself!!

The original recipe calls for Italian sausage, but I couldn't find any so I used sage instead. I also accidentally only bought one package of it, so I only used 1 lb instead of 1 1/2. Oops! It was still so yummy and full of sausage, but I do think I'll use the extra 1/2 lb next time. I also used Italian herb tomato paste instead of regular, and a whole can instead of only 2 tablespoons. We're Italian, so more tomatoes and herbs are good, right??

So, here's the recipe! Enjoy it and let it warm your homes and your tummies this fall and winter!

Crock Pot Lasagna Soup:

- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 lb sage sausage
- 3 cups chopped onion
- 4 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 can Italian herb tomato paste
- 2 14.5 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 box bow tie pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes. Break the sausage up into small pieces as it cooks. Next, add the onion and cook until it becomes translucent. Let me just say I found the coolest tool for food prep! (Please excuse the clutter, we're remodelling the pantry!) This is what I used to chop my onions: 

It took all of about 10 seconds to chop these onions y'all!! I usually hate food prep, so this is a big deal for me. :) You can get one of these super awesome gadgets right here. Now after you cook down the onions, add the garlic, oregano, and tomato paste. Mix these thoroughly and move them into your handy dandy crockpot! Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, basil, and chicken stock to the crockpot as well and cook for 4 hours on high. 

Your house is going to smell AMAZING!!

When you're just about ready to serve your soup, cook your noodles on the stove, drain, and add them to your soup. 

Now for the most important part! The writer of the recipe I'm adapting from called this the "cheesy yum" and they were SO RIGHT! Mix the ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses together in a separate bowl. Mine looked like this:

It's all ready for serving! Put a nice bit of the cheesy yum in your bowl and spoon the soup over it. The cheese gets all gooey and melty and delicious, and brings a wonderful creaminess to the soup. This is quite possibly the best soup ever and easily feeds 8 people, give or take a bit. Enjoy this warm and hearty treat!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


As I sit here studying for Medical Terminology, Statistics, and Child Health and Nutrition, thinking about how very stressed I am during my "year off" from nursing school, I can't help but wonder if I am making the right decision. Do we put too much on ourselves for a reward in the future? Does this keep us from enjoying life here and now and enjoying our children while they are little?

I recently finished my first year of nursing school. This past July actually. My daughter is now 3, and I am a single mother. Giving her the devotion she deserves and the attention I so desperately want to give her has been nearly impossible. In fact, without the huge involvement from my family, it would have been impossible. I love nursing. I leave stressful clinicals feeling like even though they were hard and they pushed me to the limit, I did an amount of good for someone else and that is where I am supposed to be. The medical profession has always really pulled me in for as long as I can remember.

Right now though, I find myself wondering if it is worth it. I'm taking BSN classes this year so that I can spend more time with Reagan before she starts preschool. The idea being that while she's in school 5 days a week it will be much easier for me to be away from home for classes and clinicals. I know it is worth it in the long run, but my goodness I would love at this moment to go back to cosmetology school and finish and be done with school forever a year from now.

So my question to other parents is, do you feel like your education or job or any other major stressors take away too much time from your children? When you have 489339 other things tugging for your attention, how do you live intentionally with your little ones and let them know they are a priority too? How do you keep your sanity??

Maybe this isn't the norm, but I would much rather stay home every day and be with my sweet little (sometimes frustrating) princess than be at school or work or anywhere else. I know this too shall pass, but some days I want to take off all my other hats and just be a parent and be present. They're only little once, right?