Turning One: [12 Months of Homegirl]

Friday, October 30, 2015

At Homegirl's party, I made a banner of her monthly pictures. I love to include this at first birthdays, as it's so fun to compare each month side-by-side and see just how much they've grown!!
Just as we did for T, each month, we took a picture of Homegirl on the glider in her room with a particular pillow.
Gosh dang, she is just TOO cute.

Of course this time around, we had an added 'element' - big brother. (Once we weren't taking them at naptime) I was sure to let him hop in on the monthly pictures, and it never did disappoint..!! Here are a few extras, #tysandharpsidebyside.
Oh, what a year it has been!!

Turning One: [Pumpkin Party]

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Last weekend we had a 'little pumpkin' party to celebrate Homegirl's first birthday. I gathered ideas on Pinterest and tried to keep it simple. Here are a few details from the day..

I like to have photo invitations, even if just sending to family/grandparents and a few friends. These generic pumpkin themed cards were cute, 40% off, ready in an hour, and worked just right!!
I made pumpkin cupcakes and a small cake just for Homegirl (mix between these two recipes 1//2). Her mini cake turned out pretty cute, I thought (I used this for inspiration).
Thanks to Grandpa who got the cute little banner up in time for the party!!
Free 'little pumpkin' printables
My favorite pumpkin-themed detail were the dipped-Oreos and OH! how dangerously delicious!! I saw them here then used this tutorial as well. I whipped them out during naptime the day before the party and am so glad I took the time to do so; they turned out so cute and were perfectly pumpkin!!
A few other details around the house included a plethora of mini pumpkins, an adorable fall printable (I can't find the link for at the moment..), and other festive treats.
My other favorite thing were Homegirl's monthly pictures in square prints, hung on our mantle. After cropping, I added her age on each image (via the app Over). It was so fun comparing them side-by-side and seeing just how much she's grown.
Distracted by her audience, she took a while to dive into her cake. With daddy's help, she finally got a few tastes and had a handful in no time.
 I tried my best to keep it simple and not go too over the top, yet make it a memorable and special day for Homegirl/me. :) It was a GREAT, bitter sweet celebration for 'our little pumpkin'.

Let's Eat Together: [Meal Planning]

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I'm excited to be back today with more from Kassi of Let's Eat Together.


*****

4:30 pm

The hour when worlds collide at our home. Baby’s witching hour. Time to start dinner. First grader is BOOOORRRREEED and needs my attention RIGHT NOW. And I have no plan for dinner.  After the blink of an eye, the clock reads 8:45pm and I feel like I’ve run a marathon.

Feel familiar to anyone out there?

The cycle would repeat nightly, followed by my “revelation” that I should try this tomorrow with the baby or line up this craft or browse Pinterest, because the answer is there, I’m sure of it.

What I really needed was a plan. A Meal Plan.
When it comes to cooking, my default is a loosey-goosey, recipe-based, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of approach influenced by what is in our house. We live 35 minutes from a grocery store, eliminating the option for a quick stop there, or fast food. And it never occurred to me this approach to dinnertime was a problem, until the baby was born. For my sanity alone, I had to start meal planning.

Sounds easy, yes? Not for me. It was hard for me to commit to a menu. What if our plans change and we eat out? What if the kids are sick? What if the Lockness Monster finally emerges from the pond behind our house, thus confirming my suspicions?

If you don’t currently meal plan, the key is starting small, focus on dinners for the upcoming week, Monday-Friday. Use the following weekend to review your success and plan for the upcoming week. Here are three steps in 30 minutes to make next week’s dinnertime less stressful.
Step #1 (5 Minutes)
List all the activities/engagements for the upcoming week, Monday thru Friday. Consult the significant other and kiddos, if needed, but make sure EVERYTHING is accounted for. Identify the two busiest days on the schedule. We’re going to make those two nights easy this week.

Step #2 (15 Minutes)
Find two crock-pot meals that your family would enjoy. Maybe you have some tried-and-true favorites. Maybe this is a good excuse to peruse Pinterest (in which case, you’ve invalidated my promise this process can be done under 30 minutes. Just sayin’). The key is to choose two, crock-pot recipes with minimal assembly into the crock pot and minimal assembly to the plate. I’d recommend choosing two recipes you’ve made before; making a new recipe always takes longer.

Step #3 (10 Minutes)
Write the entire list of ingredients for both recipes onto a sheet of paper, with quantities called for. Even down to the salt & pepper. Take it to the pantry and cross off  what you have on hand. (Actually do this, don’t just sit and think, oh, I have enough tomato paste, and really you have 10 cans of diced tomatoes and not a single one of tomato paste. This is meal planning tough love. I want you to succeed.) What you have left that isn’t crossed off, is your grocery list.

Do your grocery shopping before the week starts, at latest, at least a day before your first busy day. And do yourself a favor, don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach. Nothing good ever comes of that. Once home, wash the produce you’ll need for those two recipes before you store it.

See, I just saved you 5 minutes during crockpot assembly!

I’ve found it super convenient to keep my meal plan and grocery list right on the fridge using a clipboard and command hook. Just a glance at night will remind you to thaw meat or allow for a little extra time in the morning for crockpot assembly.

If you’re meal planning newbie, I hope this inspires you to start creating a meal planning system to make dinnertimes a breeze. Are you a meal planning whiz? Share your best tip below in the comment section!

*****

Inspiring for sure. I'm constantly trying to make meal planning more of a habit, as it makes a WORLD of difference in our weeknights. These simple steps are so helpful in breaking it down and making it less overwhelming, thanks Kassi!! For me, getting it on paper and making lists is most helpful; when I'm feeling extra-on-top of things, actually putting dishes together in advance (so all I have to do is toss it in the oven when we get home) is so incredibly helpful.

Be sure to hop on Instagram and follow Kassi at Let's Eat Together for more inspiration, ideas, and tips.

Waking up..

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

This week my baby Homegirl turns ONE.
I realized the other day I might not have many sleeping pictures of my baby, so inspired by Sara's precious pictures of her sweet girl, I quick grabbed my camera to try and get a few. We were pushing an extra long nap, so I knew the shutter would most likely wake her up which would be just fine. I was so happy to see her still sleeping in this very-baby position, bum up in the air, and as always, with her signature crossed ankles..
Just as expected, it was enough clicking to disturb my little light-sleeper and she was up and wondering, 'what the heck.'  Really truly, she wakes up like this.
 Needless to say the photos were cut short, she doesn't like left while momma's standing RIGHT THERE..!! So up she came as we snuggled to help wake up slowly.
This girl is something else. She's sweet and feisty, dramatic and so chill. This week she turns one and I'm still processing, planning, and deciding how I feel about it all. More than anything I am excited to celebrate and spoil (a little more than normal) our favorite Homegirl.

Smashing Pumpkins

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Literally.
Need a totally non-traditional thing to add to your 'fall bucket list'..?
Here you go!! Compliments of Grandma, of course.
All you need is a moldy pumpkin (that needs prepared for compost), hammer, and superman 3-year old enthusiasm.
 There's absolutely nothing Pinterest-worthy--or safe--about this activity, but it was fun, free entertainment (x2), and an energy burner; plus, when you're in the country/at Grandma & Grandpa's - anything goes!! Keep in mind, come a month or so when you have a few pumpkins past their prime..
Seen enough moldy, pumpkin guts..? I'll leave you with the cutest little cheering section - while Homegirl loves to be in the middle of everything, she is usually content observing the action too (for now), plus being held by Grandma = happy girl.
Never fear, we covered our basic bases with a trip to a local pumpkin patch - thanks May Farms for the afternoon outing!! 
 

Friday Introductions

Friday, October 9, 2015

I'm turning a little selfish and going to talk about myself today..
There are a few new followers here so I thought I'd do a little Friday introduction, or for some, re-introduction. ;)
I'm Laureen. I'm a wifey, momma bear, daughter, sister. I'm from a small, farming town (to which a neighbor replied something about 'really? you got some spice for being from a small town,' so take that for what it's worth..). I am rooted in my family and my Catholic faith. 
 
I met my husband in college where we were both athletes. At 5'10", I knew I wanted a tall husband so I thought the basketball team was a perfect place to start, and there I found my 6'6" dunk contest champ.
 
We have two adorable babes, 3 year old T and 11 month old Homegirl. Being a mother hasn't/doesn't come easy for me, but I'm pretty damn good at it.
I love working out, although I'm still trying to figure how to fit it into my daily schedule since having baby #2, yes still, almost a year later. I have a passion for photography, snapping my own and admiring others'. I have my moments of being a real #basicB, much to my enjoyment and the Mr.'s mockery. I'm quite shy and private, so it's still occasionally comical to me that I have a blog. I need appreciate a stiff drink and love watching documentaries with the Mr. I work full-time so I live for the weekends and time with family.
 
That's pretty much it, for now.. :)

Let's Eat Together: [A Series]

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

This summer I was fortunate to get some time in with my cousin, Kassi. She is new(ish) to the mom club, and has been an inspiration to me as she's taken on her new role with such grace; it has really appeared to be second nature and her passion is contagious--in particular, in the food arena. I quickly fell for following her food journey with adorable Nora, as I wasn't far behind with Homegirl and felt I forgot what to do.. 

Needless to say, I wanted to share what Kassi was doing because she's been helpful to me in more ways than one and I know dinnertime can occasionally be a stress for moms/wives/families.

I'm so excited for this!! So, enough from me, let's get to know Kassi.

*****

Hi, folks, I’m Kassi!
This summer, Laureen and I hatched a plan allowing me to start guest blogging for her here on Chateau Deveau. So, it only makes sense for me to take a moment to introduce myself. And that fantastic headshot? Photo courtesy of the Mr. and Laureen! Tired mommy eyes courtesy of my little. Yikes!

I’m a twenty-something who’s closer to thirty, married to a kind, handsome, and hard working cattle rancher, mama to a little bug currently 16 months old, stepmama to a first grader, recovering photographer, and lover of home-cooked meals.

When the baby started solid foods, I read a fantastic book, French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billion. A finicky eater, my stepson caused me daily frustration at the dinner table. I vowed to raise my daughter to be a “good eater.” The book was inspirational to me, to say the least, and ignited a passion in me for eating real foods together as a family.

A former photographer, I grabbed my iPhone and started taking photos of #WhatNoraAte and posting them to Instagram. And, amazingly, people actually liked it! Her journey through solids progressed and I connected with other moms about shared dinnertime struggles. Sharing my own recipes, tips and testing Pinterest recipes to share is so much fun for me, and (hopefully!) helpful to my followers.

And with that, I started Let’s Eat Together, a community focused on feeding the family real food with real flavors.

At our house I’ve tried to minimize the packaged/processed food in the cupboards. We aren’t perfect; I’m pretty sure there’s Pringles in the lazy susan and fudgesicles in the freezer at the current moment. We’re not on any specific diet. I usually don’t buy organic. We eat meat, gluten and dairy. I still bake with sugar, just not as much as I used to. My focus is cooking with whole foods and eating as a family together.

Currently, you can find me on Instagram (@letseat2gether). As the community grows, I hope you join us to give me your tips, share in my #momfail moments, and encourage our kids to be well-rounded, adventurous eaters. I hope to see you soon!   

*****

Thank you, Kassi!! 
I absolutely value a healthy, family meal and know the struggles of 'what's for dinner?!' and an all-of-a-sudden picky eater, as I'm sure many mommas out there do too. Be on the lookout for more fun with Kassi here; in the meantime, head over and start following Let's Eat Together!! Not only is it a beautiful account, it's simple, doable, encouraging, and relatable. 
 
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