Friday, June 29, 2018

Instagrams I am Loving: June 2018

I love Instagram. Facebook is too full of weird recipes and videos and memes, but I can sit and watch Insta-stories and scroll Instagram all day if I let myself!

So here are some of my favorites...

1. @livingwithlandyn: I am not into the same stuff that Landyn is. But, her Insta-stories are fun and real...and there are a lot of them and Landyn lives in Nashville, so it is fun to see where she is shopping.

2. @southernatheart: Nikki is another local for me, but I love her because she is another genuine Instagrammer. She is positive and shares the real things she take her kids to school in legit pjs.

3. @msjennafischer: Jenna Fischer, aka Pam from the Office, uses her Insta-stories to complain about working out and then delight in deliveries she gets while she is working out. I totally relate and love that a celebrity hates working out like the rest of us.

What are your favorites? Share below!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Update: Flourish June 2018

June has not been a productive month...but I have moved along on my 18 for 2018 and 36 while I'm 36 lists.

Let's check in...

I am moving along on numbers 1 (write daily), 2 (learn German), 3 (Use a daily gratitude journal), 4 (use a daily one-sentence journal), 7 (daily devotional), 8 (read 60 books), 12 (send updates to friends and family), and 15 (work out 2-3 times per week).

I am blogging more regularly (5. Make a go of my blog).

I am making significant progress on #6 (become a travel agent) and #16 (remodel bathroom).

I have adjusted # 14 (Complete 2 Whole30s) to my 100 Days to Destin challenge.

I have completed #9 (Buy a shed) and #11 (Create my perfect planner).

I am making minimal progress on #10 (Adopt!) and #17 (New bedroom carpeting) and #18 (New kitchen flooring) are on hold until the bathroom is done...but we have the funds reserved for those.

#13 will happen in August...

So, my 18 for 2018 is going well!

As of the end of June 2018, I have completed #1 (Buy a New Purse), #6 (Have Septic Tank Serviced), #8 (Have Dryer Vent Cleaned), #9 (New Living Room Curtains), #15 (Update Dish Rags), #20 (New Mattresses), and #26 (Go to Dermatologist).

Items in Progress #5 (Purge and Organize Entire House), #7 (Meditate Daily), #12 (Take Chris to Visit Owen), #14 (Celebrate and Decorate for Small Holidays), #16 (Be Better at Sending Birthday Cards), #17 (File Monthly), #18 (Wash Car Monthly), #23 (Gallery Wall in Hallway), #24 (Mask Thursdays), #25 (Go to 4 Concerts/Plays and 2 Community Theater Plays), #28 (Text a Friend Every Day), #29 (Maintain Whole30 Lifestyle), #31 (Take More Baths), #32 (Weekly Power Hours), #33 (Organize Recipes), #34 (Digital Declutter) and #36 (Visit Florence 3 times).

It seems my 36 while I'm 36 is going better than I realized!!!

This year and these projects have given me a sense of direction that I have been lacking for a long is really amazing what a list of goals like this can do!

Have you tried 18 for 2018? Do you have a list of goals? Share some below!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Kitchen Tip Wednesday: Tidy Your Pantry Every Week

Do you ever organize a cabinet and forget about it?

Me too.

But recently, I have been setting aside 5-15 minutes every week to just tidy up my pantry and most used cabinets and it has helped so much!!!

It is so much easier to make grocery lists when I can glance in the pantry and see what we have. It is also so much easier to put away food storage containers when they are not all jumbled up and falling out of the cabinet when you open it.

Most of the time, it only takes me 5 minutes to tidy up the cabinets...and I know it saves me more than 5 minutes a week!

Try it!

Do you hate organizing cabinets? Have you tried maintaining the organization? Share below!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Going to the Beach: Dinner Planning and Meal Ideas

Our beach trip is approaching quickly and I am starting to get dinner ideas together for our group!

We like to do a mix of eating out for dinner and eating in. We have found that we can make amazing meals at our beach house for a fraction of the cost of eating out. Even if we spend more on groceries than we would typically spend, it is worth it.

Here is a sample Dinner Menu for our week long beach vacation....

Arrival Night: Taco Bar
We like to do this because it is quick and fun. We get ground beef for the tacos, seasonings, various taco shells, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, chips, queso and more!

Night Two: Surf 'n Turf, baked potatoes, roasted veggies, salad
This one is fun! We always pick up small steaks at the grocery store and then head over to the seafood market and look for something we either have never tried or something we love to pair with the steak.

Night Three: Visit a local restaurant
Who doesn't love a local restaurant! Check yelp for ratings.

Night Four: Shrimp Boil with peel and eat shrimp, potatoes, corn on the cob, salad and clams if they are available
This is the most fun! You dump a seasoning, like Old Bay, in boiling water and cook the corn and the potatoes. Then, when they are pretty much done, add in the shrimp and wait until they turn pink. Serve it up in a large bowl with some bowls for the peels scattered around the table and you have a party! Oh and lots of napkins!

Night Five: Visit a local restaurant

Night Six: Pizza Delivery and Leftovers
We usually have some leftovers, so we finish up the week with those leftovers and a couple of pizzas to round out the meal.

As we get closer, I will share the exact menus and grocery lists we will be using!

What are your favorite beach trip meals? Share below!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Housewife Life: June 2018 Update

What a month...

It has been a month full of ups and downs, which has left me with a lot of things up in the air. On a recent Happier in Hollywood podcast (episode 58), the hosts were discussing how one of them is a project person who likes to stay busy and I can definitely relate to that tendency.

However, I also feel like I am one complication away from being overwhelmed.

Two weeks ago, my 18 1/2 year old cat suddenly went blind, which led to the diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (she has lost 40% of her kidney function) and high blood pressure. That is in addition to her hyperthyroidism that was diagnosed two years ago.

Now, she gets a high blood pressure pill twice a day and a transdermal ear gel twice a day for her hyperthyroidism. She stays under the bed a lot and is not always using the litter box.

We know that our time with her is limited, so we are preparing ourselves to say goodbye.

The day after I rushed a suddenly blind Lexi to the vet, I rushed across town to take Chris to urgent care because he had been having spells of becoming lightheaded and the spell that day scared him. Urgent care assured us it was probably an inner ear situation and advised us to go to our primary care doctor.

We saw her last week and she gave us a course of action and if things don't improve in two weeks, we have to call her back.

Bathroom Remodel
We were moving...we had a contractor and a quote and then when Lexi went blind, we were hesitant to move forward. The bathroom is off of the bedroom where she feels most comfortable. We have put that off a few weeks, but its still lingering over my head.

Being a Housewife
I am doing well!!! But it takes a lot of willpower to keep up the cleaning routine.

I got a job!!!
I don't want to say much more than that right now, but I will be working from home as an independent contractor. I start training soon, as I just sent my paperwork back to the owner of the company.

Even though I have wanted this for a long time, I am still a bit anxious about how to work it into my life. You know how it is...any big life change can be a little anxiety producing.

100 Days to Destin
This has been an amazing challenge for myself. I need to work more on the food aspects of it, but I love walking or going to water aerobics every day.

Are you one complication away from being overwhelmed? Do you like to stay busy or do you need a more calm life? What is something good that happened to you this month? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Going to the Beach: Lunch Planning and Ideas

Our beach trip is 60something days away, and I am thinking about what we are going to eat for lunch.

Lunch should be as fuss free as possible. If we are out sightseeing, I like to take that as an opportunity to check out the local restaurant options. As a bonus, lunch menus tend to be a bit more budget friendly.

But when we are doing a full on beach day, I like to have a platter of sandwich ingredients ready so all I have to do is pull it out of the refrigerator and everyone can make their own custom sandwich.

Here is a sample lunch menu for our beach days...
Sandwiches (choice of ham, turkey or chicken) with cheese (choice of Swiss or cheddar) on bread or rolls.
Toppings: Lettuce, Tomatoes, Pickles, Mustard, Mayo

Another tip I love to use at the beach is to either buy and prep a bunch of fruit and veggies so it is ready for meals or snacks or I like to buy the produce that is cut in the store. Its a little pricier, but sometimes, its worth it.

For cookies, I usually bring homemade cookie dough already portioned or I like to buy childhood favorites at the grocery store.

Something new I want to do this year is add in a cold pasta salad and a cold broccoli salad instead of a chips for a quick side dish.

Here are some recipes I want to try.

Tropical Quinoa Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

The Best Broccoli Salad

To see what we are planning to eat, drink and do in Destin, follow me on Pinterest!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Motivational Monday: Sometimes you Need to Stop

Last week was rough. My cat lost her vision, my husband had to go to urgent care, I have been having almost non-stop headaches, and my cat was diagnosed with kidney failure.

With my cat, I have had to make a lot of changes to my life, all of which take a lot of extra time and worrying about my husband, along with my chronic headaches have flattened me energy wise.

I couldn't keep going at the pace I was trying to keep, so I had to stop. Friday, I took a nap and did just the bare minimum. Today, I am still feeling a bit run down, and I'm going to give it to myself. But tomorrow, we are back to business.

The moral of the story is that sometimes, even if you are motivated and feeling good, sometimes, you need to listen to your body and mind and give them what they need. If that is a nap or a run or a decadent meal, give yourself what you need.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kitchen Tip Wednesday: Prep Everything Early

Everyone always says to prep all your veggies when you bring them home because then you will be able to use them easily. And we all know that the easier it is to eat or use something, the more likely we are to reach for it.

Last week, I did this. I washed and chopped all of my veggies and fruits. And I used them!

Bonus tip: Use a salad spinner to dry washed fruit and veggies.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Motivational Monday (A Day Late) - I Think I Can

I have about 87 balls that I am juggling right now, so I feel like The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper is the perfect motivation for me this week.

The Little Engine was given a load too large for an engine his size, but with sheer determination, he chugged up the hill to the refrain "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can." And you know what...he made it.

If something is worth doing, with sheer determination, you can do it. Just find a mantra and keep on chugging.

Friday, June 8, 2018

June Grove Collaborative Haul

Here is my June Grove Collaborative haul!

I resisted the Grove Collaborative movement until I tried it, but I love the selection and quality of the products they offer.

Products I've tried before

Mrs. Meyer's Tub and Tile
This cleans my showers so well! I had it in the Lavender scent, but really did not like it, so I switched to the classic Lemon Verbena for this go around.

Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap
The Mrs. Meyer's dish soaps made the 5 months of hand washing dishes so much more enjoyable! I am trying out the Geranium scent this month, though I think the frequency of re-purchase will go down considerably since I finally got my new dishwasher.

Mrs. Meyers Multi-Purpose Spray
I had been using a homemade spray, but this makes cleaning so much more enjoyable. I am trying the Geranium in this product as well.

Method Daily Shower Spray Refill
Since I started using this product, I can get away with only cleaning the shower every other week if I need to skip a week and it is barely noticeable.

Method Daily Wood Cleaner
I love the smell of this one as well and my furniture looks so conditioned after I use this product. Also, the dust doesn't build up as quickly.

Method Anti Bac Spray
The only thing I don't like about this product is that you have to leave it sit for 10 minutes to get the full anti-bacterial experience.

New Products

Grove Collaborative Limited Edition Garden Rose Candle
I am almost done with my Bath and Body Works candle, so I needed a replacement and thought I would give this a try. I do like the smell of it!

Full Circle Sinksational Sink Strainer
I needed a new one, so I thought I would try this one. I wish I could get a gray one.

If you haven't tried Grove Collaborative yet, click my referral link to give them a try!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Pop Culture Review: Book Club movie

Over the weekend, my husband and I went to see the movie Book Club starring Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candace Bergen and Mary Steenburgen. I had been looking forward to this movie for a long time and finally took Chris to see it.



The plot is centered around four women who have been part of the same book club for 40 years. When we meet them, they are reading books that became movies and Vivian, played by Jane Fonda, introduces them to Fifty Shades of Grey.

As they begin to read the E.L. James book, they are all on the verge of major life changes.

Diane, played by Diane Keaton, has lost her husband and her children are encouraging her to move to Arizona where they are living, but she meets a man, played by Andy Garcia, with whom she begins a wild romance.

Vivian comes face to face with a man from her past.

Sharon, played by Candace Bergen, has been divorced for almost 20 years and is given the news that both her son and her ex-husband, played by Ed Begley, Jr., have gotten engaged.

Carol, played by Mary Steenburgen, hasn't had sex with her husband, played by Craig T. Nelson, in over six months.


I love all of these actresses (and the actors too), but I was not a fan of this movie. The concept was great! There were so many ways they could have written this, but I feel like they tried to cram too much plot into too short of a movie. That made the plot too thin and it did not do any of the characters the justice they deserved.

I thought I was going to see a movie about a book club while they were reading the 50 Shades of Grey series and I did see that, but I was hoping for more of the relationship between the women. I had a hard time believing that they had been friends for 5 years, let alone 40.

The actresses were stiff and the delivery of the jokes was awkward, which is hard for me to understand. All of these actors and actresses are famous for comedic roles, so it is baffling.


I was definitely disappointed in Book Club. If you want to see it, definitely wait until it is streaming for free somewhere.

Did you see Book Club? What did you think?

Follow me on Instagram @adventureswithjennie

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Kitchen Tip Wednesday: Make Crockpot Meals Even Easier

Weekends tend to be difficult for me. There is no routine, we go into many weekends without a plan. Since we don't have a plan, I leave my planner closed on a counter. Because my planner is closed, it usually occurs to me as we are pulling out of the driveway for Mass on Sundays that I was supposed to start a slow cooker dinner.

This week, while I was working in the kitchen, I had an epiphany. I should set out the slow cooker, non-perishable ingredients and recipe for my meal the next day!

Sunday, I did not forget to start the slow cooker! I was amazed!

I'm going to toss in a bit of a recipe review here too, because the meal was that good.

Slow Cooker Beef Tips over Rice
by Southern Bite

Saturday night, I set out my slow cooker, bullion cube, gravy mix, cream of mushroom soup and my recipe.

The next morning, I pulled out the stew meat, chopped green bell peppers and onions.

Then, I started assembling the meal.

Seven hours later, we returned home, made the rice and broccoli and dinner was done.

We loved this recipe and it is being added to our family favorites!

Let me know if you try it and how you like it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Going to the Beach: Breakfast Planning and Ideas

I don't know about you, but breakfast is my favorite meal of the day!

I love eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffles, hash browns, crepes, muffins and more!

My strategy for meal planning at the beach has changed drastically over the years. One year, we went to the grocery the day we got there and bought everything we needed for the entire week. Don't do that. Another year, we did two big grocery runs and while that was better, don't do that.

This year, we are going to go to the grocery every other day.

Here is my strategy:
1. Choose Three "family breakfast" meals and make a grocery list for each meal.
2. Make a grocery list of breakfast basics (cereal, fruit, eggs, etc).
3. Before our first grocery trip, decide what our breakfast for the next two days will be and pull the lists for those meals.
4. Repeat for each subsequent trip...but make sure to check the fridge before leaving!

Here are some of my favorite "family breakfast" menus!

1. Scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes and fruit
2. Blueberry Coconut Banana Bread, breakfast sausage, and fruit
3. Sausage Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole and fruit
4. Frittata, hash browns and fruit

How do you plan for breakfasts at the beach? What are your favorite breakfast foods?

Monday, June 4, 2018

Keep Cheerful - Motivational Monday

Being a homemaker can sometimes be so difficult! Working alone in the home can be draining. It can wear you down and make you feel lonely and alone. As a stay at home wife, it was difficult to find other women to spend time with and I fell into a huge rut. I was grumpy, negative, distant and "dismal".

As I have started to really find my tribe, it has been easier to "keep cheerful" as Louisa May Alcott's famous character, Marmee, said in Little Women. I started to go out more and see other women who were doing the stay at home grind. I also began watching YouTube moms/wives. Having a window into their lives and how they handle the housework has made me feel less alone.

When you, as a stay at home wife, can stay cheerful, your household feels lighter. Daily chores feel less like a burden and cheerfully doing housework actually makes it more fun.

Here are some strategies I use to keep my mood light...

1. I listen to podcasts and audiobooks I enjoy while I do my work. I have a small bluetooth speaker that I drag around the house with me while I do my work.

2. I have television shows I enjoy that I can watch while I fold laundry and iron.

3. I invested in some cleaners and cleaning tools that I enjoy. I have been exploring the Mrs. Meyers and Method brand cleaners in my kitchen, living room and bathrooms. I got some new toilet bowl brushes and a new mop.

4. When I feel unmotivated, I play games. No, not board games. I set a timer for 20 minutes and do a "Tidy 20", which was started on YouTube. Another strategy I use is the "Power Hour," which is great for doing things I have been procrastinating on doing. I also watch a YouTube "Clean with Me" video and it kind of feels like I have a buddy while I'm working.

What do you do to keep your mood light? Have you found a tribe?