Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Meal Prep "Party"

I will start this by saying that I am pretty hardcore about meal planning. I can't EVER imagine starting the week without a written plan of what we are having for dinner each night. The reason is  because I MUST go to the grocery store on Sunday while Calla is home with Coach. I would rather stab my foot than take her to the grocery store to grab something after school. When I've had no other choice... it always ends with me abandoning the buggy and running to catch her before she makes a run for it. No fun friends. No fun.

I'm also a 100% fan of the Wal-Mart click list. I have saved around $50-$100 EACH week on our grocery bill since I've started using it. I kinda think I like Wal-Mart click list more than Kroger. (Insert wide eye emoji) I know I know. Who would have ever thought that? I'm pretty sure Wal-Mart has way better prices on everything. I buy a ton of organic items and the prices are great. The quality has been awesome too. I even buy produce and meats from Wal-Mart and they have not let me down once. If you haven't tried it out of fear... trust me. It is the bomb. (If you're a real champ you can even train teach your husband how to pick up groceries and boom.... you're winning at life.)

Ok so the real reason for the post: The Meal Prep Party. 

I was just rolling through Facebook one evening and a friend posted, "Just spent two hours and I walked away with 20 dinners ready for the freezer. Best part: the meals are delicious!" This post was filled with all that I love. I needed more information. I was very curious. I am also the type of person to try anything once.

I was invited to a group and a meal prep party that the sweet friend was hosting. I was instructed to pick a meal plan that would best fit the taste of our family. There were about 6 different dinners to pick and each set had ten meals. I picked the Crock Pot dinner plan. Y'all know I LOVE my crock pot. I seriously use it at least 3 nights a week. Nothing makes my heart sing like a dinner already ready for me when I walk in the door. Well... actually nothing makes my heart sing like a dinner that cooks in the crockpot that doesn't require cream of anything. (Not that I don't use them... I do... just only once in a while.) So I purchased one meal plan and the cost was $78. You're paying for the plan, allllll the spices and marinades you'll need to make your meals delicious. (It's actually enough for 20 meals. I brought all the extras home with me.)

I picked my meal plan that then I got an email with a shopping list. It was not bad at all! I sat down on Saturday morning and added the needed items into my cart. The only canned items that I needed were canned tomatoes and chilies. Wal-Mart had organic on sale so they were actually cheaper. I bought everything BUT my meats. My total at Wal-Mart was $16.76. This was me buying some veggies already cut because I truly dislike cutting butternut squash.

I knew I wanted to hunt for deals and markdowns on meats. I decided to run to Kroger on the night before the party to hunt for the meats. I am really glad I did this. It's the #OffSeason so Coach was home. Kroger had just marked down so much good stuff! I bought all the meat I needed from my list and three other things that were just too good not to freeze for later. I spent $76.23 at Kroger on just meat. I also walked out feeling so Paleo. 

I got home and did all the mom things such as dinner/ bath/ book and bed for the two year old mini human. Around 7:45 I decided to get started in the prep work. Your instruction kit tells you what to put into each bag. Each bag is filled with a meat and veggies. Some called for items like salt and pepper.  I got all of my items ready, my bags were ready to go with numbers 1-10... and I set the timer.


Coach walked in and said, "You love this, don't you!?" YES! It was so fun. I had a Life Coach podcast going, veggies on the counter, and meats in the bags.

 It took me 50 minutes and 46 seconds from start to finish. This also included cleaning the kitchen and putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. (It's a sin in my house to go to bed with a dirty kitchen. #CoachRules) 

I put all 10 bags in the fridge to get ready for the party the next night.

It was party day! I was really too excited. 

At the party you are in a kitchen with a bunch of friends. All of your directions are there for you. You are told what spices/ seasons/ sauces to put in what bag and how much.

Then you label your bag with cooking instructions. You laugh, chat, have fun, and leave with 10 meals.

The part you really wanna know: 
Wild Tree's products are all organic and not filled with preservatives  or any other nasty things lots of packaged seasonings. In fact, last night I did some more research because #ReadAllTheThings and bought myself three new spices to replace some things in my pantry. 

I have already made TWO meals from my stack. Y'all. Game changer. The first meal was pork enchiladas. Delicious.
All I did was dump the bag in the crockpot that morning and then come home to dinner. I already had salad in the fridge.

 Calla was even enjoying it. Coach put his on a taco and I just made mine a salad. It was very good. There was even plenty for lunches for both of us the next day.

I was so pumped that I even cooked on Friday night. I may clean the kitchen each night.... but I do NOT cook on Fridays. Ever. But I was seriously so excited to try another meal.

It was amazing. I am kinda glad we didn't need leftovers. We ate it all.

The $78 for the party pack actually gave me enough spices for 20 meals. So I'm going to do it again over the break. I just wanted to try them to see which ones we loved.

We are 2 for 2 so far.

I'm pretty much hooked. I'll be inviting friends over for sure to do another prep party soon. I can't even begin to tell you how awesome it was to come home and know dinner was done and it was going to taste amazing. Is meal prep something you want to get better at? Is NOT worrying over what's for dinner each night something you want to work towards? 

Love love, 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"Not Another Gift" Guide

All of the opinions and reviews are my own. Sadly these attractions have not paid me for my opinion... however if they want to... I'd be down for that! 

I'm slightly obsessed with reading blogs. Any blog. All blogs. I don't really have any particular favorite "blog topic." I will say I love reading all about daily lives or normal mamas just trying to make a healthy meal here and there all while rocking a basic mom outfit. It's a total plus if this mama is a teacher too!

This time of year all of my go to blogs are posting their gift guides. I do find them somewhat helpful and will say that the three gifts from Santa this year all came from blog recommendations. BUT... toys are great. Gifts are awesome. However, this IS NOT another gift guide. Well... kinda not really.  I am here to post about my top three FAVORITE experiences you could give your kiddo this year.

ONE. Zoo Season Pass.

Want to know how many zoo visits the Cain fam made this year? Twenty. Six. (insert big eye emoji)

No seriously. We LOVE LOVE LOVE the zoo. We bought the pass one year ago this October. At first Calla just liked to go, see the elephants, tigers, giraffes, and otters and then she was good to go home. Now she is more into all of the animals and LOVES them all. She knows where we are when we hit the parking lot.

I'm located in Atlanta so Zoo Atlanta is my jam. The layout of the zoo is pure perfection. We made many summer trips and I never felt like I was going to melt. Sure it was hot, but lots of shade was available throughout the journey. The best best best part about this pass is that when you purchase the family pass, you get YOU/ one random adult (I mean... not really random but someone you know!)/ and 4 kiddos in free for the day! We often go for literally an hour then go home. This summer I met friends there daily while Coach was at workouts. I got my three mile walk in while Calla ran from the pandas to the otters. There is also a free splash pad, train, and petting zoo. We go for just an hour and don't get upset if we don't see one animal or do one activity. We just go back the next week to see something different. It probably took us four trips before we felt like we covered the entire zoo.
I'm telling you... GIVE THE GIFT OF A ZOO PASS!

TWO. Georgia Aquarium

At first I will admit: I was NOT 100% sold on this attraction. It is expensiveeeeeee to visit the Aquarium. It would be like $100 for our family to visit ONCE. Once!!! Have you ever been? It is usually PACKED OUT if you visit on a break or on a weekend day. It makes me super nervous when it is super packed. I feel like I am always in someone's way. Plus I freak that I am going to lose my very active kid.

So... the solution: A family membership.

Wait... what?! (Ugh.... 4th grade talk here.) If it is expensive and packed... why would I buy a membership? Well..... you see... when you get a membership you can be the first one in the building on a Saturday at 8am, stay one hour, then leave just as the crowd arrives.

Do that twice... and you've paid for your membership, see all you want to see, and have ZERO worry. Again, we visit for like an hour and see one room per visit. Our next visit we see something different. Again, the pass makes this totally worth it.

As for my 2 year old.... she stinking LOVES it! Seriously... she will sit at the Ocean Voyager and just sit. sit. SIT! Y'all... she will just SIT! and watch. I'm not going to lie... Coach and I will sit and watch too. It is pretty amazing.

Give yourself the gift of a trip to the Georgia Aquarium. Your kids may love it too!

Three. Children's Museum.

This place is an indoor playground. It is absolutely perfect for kids ages 1-7. There are hourly shows, craft classes, building classes, a painting wall, climbing walls, a farm, kitchen, grocery store, tree house, I mean... the list goes on. Calla is 100 mph from the minute we walk in the door to the minute I am putting her in the car kicking and screaming because we are leaving.

If you are visiting once it is kinda expensive. If you take one kid and one adult and you plan on visiting more than once in a year... the pass is worth it. I'm telling you... your child will LOVE this place! I kinda even love cooking a waffle in the WH kitchen!

You can cover this entire place in about an hour. We get there right when it opens and then leave just when the crowd arrives. We are home just in time for lunch and naps. Naps are usually super awesome on days we visit the museum!

Tickets to this place would be an awesome gift to give your kiddo!

Four. Stone Mountain.

Shhhh.... don't tell Coach  Calla... but this is our next adventure. I had a trip planned for a weekend in December to Callaway Garden to see the lights. Then I had several friends post about SM and I decided to change the trip into a family pass to Stone Mountain. I am super pumped about this one! I will be sure to share details on this one soon!

Plus, isn't Atlanta just like the most amazing place ever?! (side eye to Coach.)
Love love,

Monday, November 27, 2017

That Time Of Year

It's that time of year.
The time of the year that every #CoachsWife is terrified to see. It's the season you know comes every year, you just hope it comes later than last year. It's the season that each night around dinner/bath/story/and bed time you may say with a huff, "I'm ready for it to be over." and then instantly become eat up with guilt for even thinking it.  In 100% truth... you truly hate to see this season  come.

It's the off season.

What's the off season?

In our house it is the few short weeks after football ends just before baseball starts.

It's the season that my 2 year old can't sit still at the table because she is so crunk that Daddy is home next to her at the table while she eats her supper. 

It's also the season that I tiptoe around the fact that we aren't still playing.

So friends... here's to the next short six weeks!

You'll see me using the #OffSeason hashtag in many of my posts over the next few weeks. I do truly LOVE the time Coach is home with us for dinner at 6pm. I will enjoy the solo trips to the store while my very active mini is with her daddy. We will fill our weekends with trips to the zoo, aquarium, and museum. Time will fly and I'll be sad when it's over. However, I do LOVE this life we have built. I could post an entire book on what it means to be married to a coach. For now, I will just leave it with this.... I love the life. It's truly a great one. #CainLife

Monday, May 22, 2017

How My Dog and Daughter Became BFFs

I've been chatting with some fellow dog lovers recently and the majority of conversations end up with, "I can't believe how good Dub is with Calla!" It has been on my heart lately due to reading many posts about why people get rid of their family pet when a new baby comes. Not shaming anyone at all in this post! Hey... we all have our own battles to face. I just wanted to take a moment to shout out to my most favorite #DangGoodDog.

I must admit, I spent many many many prayers praying that Dub would adjust well when Baby Cain arrived. I really really really prayed when we were bringing a 4 pound baby home to our 70 pound... quite frankly.... out of control weimaraner. Prayer worked. It isn't always easy...  

I should take a moment to document the night we were sent to Augusta. See, we hadn't planned on being sent to Augusta which was two hours from home. We really thought we were just headed out for a quick doctor's appointment. That changed. Coach had to run home in an absolute panic to grab bags because I was already in the ambulance heading to Augusta. We had a super amazing friend that we knew Dub would let in the house to get him later. Well.... Dub was MAD! He was so mad he opened the fridge (Because yeah, he can so do that!) and ate literally everything in it! Shout out to the best friends that not only took care of our baby Dub but also cleaned the mess. 

but these two have become the two very best friends! (Plus, I really just wanted to share these precious moments between the two Cain kids!) 

For 5 years before Baby Cain joined the family... DogNamedDub was the baby! He was my favorite running partner, in every family picture, and always down for some naps! 

From time to time we did have to set some boundaries. We had to teach Dub to be gentle. I'll also admit I did let him kiss her. I mean... he's family! 
Eventually he learned that she was here to stay. He was fine as long as he was in the room with us. It helped he got a new chair out of the deal. 

Then this tiny baby started crawling, exploring, and becoming very fascinated with Dub! 

There were a few things I had to quickly and simply get over. Friends, get ready to be really upset with me... I am sure Dub and Calla have shared a few snacks in her life. No faster than I see her give the snack to him, she takes it back and takes a bite. Sorry. It is just a fact. It happens. I no longer worry about germs. We are family after all. 

Our neighborhood is now much safer with these two on watch. They both share the favorite spot in the house. Barking at cars and waiting on Daddy! 

Dub is always on watch when we are outside exploring. He never leaves her side. (Honest. It is insane how he is always near her!) 

He's part of the family. We simply wouldn't be the Cains without our DogNamedDub! 

He barks and it startles her. He runs and often knocks her down. He HATES when she grabs his paws.  She has gotten really really good at saying, "No! Dub!" when he is trying to steal her snacks. 
BUT.... the pup goes insane when he can't find her. They simply are Best Buds. 

I say all that to say this.... It isn't easy when you add a pup or a baby to the family. It does take work and lots and lots of patience. I promise... it is so worth it!  

This could be it's own post... 
If you are considering getting a Weimaraner, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do your research! They are absolutely beautiful dogs. They are precious puppies. THEY ARE CRAZY DOGS! Gah Dub has stressed me out to the MAX! He has to have exercise daily. Before we leave the house we have to "Duberize" (this is what our family calls putting anything and everything away before we leave). They could never be outside dogs. He rules the couch. He is happiest when he's in the middle of everyone. I have sleep trained my two year old that has never been in my bed ONCE.... however my Weim still gets up several times in the night and sleeps in the bed with us. I could go on for days, but bottom line.... he's pure perfection! 

PS: Why was it so hard to not post 7947 pictures in this post?! Crazy Dog Lady for sure! 

As always, 

Love love, 


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Children's Clothing

I don't think it's a secret that I am slightly obsessed with children's clothing. However, I am an even bigger fan of the traditional "little girl" look. I guess my style is to keep every little girl little for as long as possible. I simply adore a classic smock.

The only negative part of the smocked look: the cost. Sometimes I am blown away at the cost of children's clothing! I am constantly thinking I am in the wrong business. I am always looking for a good deal that doesn't break the bank, but I also want quality clothing.  Another thing that blows my mind is the amount of fraud out in our world today. If you're buying from online boutiques you really have to do your research and only buy from crystal clear businesses. I have a go to friend that I ask if they have ordered from there before I purchase.

So in hopes of helping another mama out, I bring you a 100% honest review! Let me introduce High Cotton Smocked.

I am a member of a Facebook group and saw a post of a precious outfit that I knew Calla needed for our many trips to the aquarium this summer. I messaged Kelly (to check this small business out) and she responded in a few minutes and was very friendly. Check check on my radar! I went ahead and ordered Calla's size. I received the most precious summer outfit in two days. (Check check check! I love some fast shipping!)

I messaged Kelly again and we started a small chat. Here is what she shared!

"We are just two Moms looking to get the cutest clothes for your little ones! Both of our names are Kelli/Kelly. We both have 4m old baby girls who are 7 days apart and both weighed 7lbs. Both of our husbands names are is scary. We only met a year ago when we bought houses next door. Oh and we all have Ole Miss in common. We have become best friends! We always want our customer service to be the priority!"

Y'all, how sweet is she?! I'm just instantly in love with this small business! Nothing beats good southern hospitality. As if it doesn't get any better... they now offer the most precious shoes and their prices cannot be beat!

We had a trip to the lake with family planned and I knew a little fish outfit was pure perfection.

I love the quality of this outfit. The price was amazing, and Calla seemed to be pleased!

The easy part was getting Calla dressed. The hard part was getting her to pose! 

The Cain family is slightly obsessed with The Georgia Aquarium. Some people are Disney pros. Some people are beach trip pros. Well, the Cains are well on our way to becoming Atlanta pros. (By Atlanta I mean Zoo Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium, and Atlanta Children's Museum.) 

This outfit is pure perfection for visiting our friend Trixie. 

I've already washed this outfit several times and the colors are still great and the cotton is not faded at all. Nothing drives me more crazy than wash and wear! 

You gotta be comfortable when doing all the shopping! 

Nothing better than an outfit comfortable enough to get your power walking on.... 
Make sure you like High Cotton Smocked on Facebook!  Tell them Calla sent you! 

As always... 

Love love, 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What I Want to Teach My Daughter

On my second Mother's Day I needed a minute to reflect... 

I recently read one of my favorite blogs and she really got me. She wrote about what she wants to achieve as a mom. She decided to write three big goals. On my daily drive I have really thought about what I wanted to set as a goal for me as a mom. What do I really want to teach Calla?

Today it hit me. 

Tonight I prayed that I am able to teach Calla to respect others and pour love into those around her. It is as simple as that. I hope Calla grows to love life. I want her to love smiling and share a positive outlook to others. I hope she is a good friend. I want her to achieve her goals all while standing up for what she believes in. Pretty simple, right?
Now, how do I do this?! 

This goal (and blog post) is a simple reminder to me. If I want Calla to grow to be something, shouldn't I model those traits daily? Are we as parents displaying what we want from our children? I know I can clean up my act for sure! I want all of this from Callahan, shouldn't I want that from myself too? Whew.....
Being a mom is tough!

But so absolutely worth it!  

Life Is Like....

Life is like... really good right now. We made it... May is here. Bring on the to do list that is 18 miles long.  Rather than the millio...