Early to Rise 

It wasn’t going well; the whole – wake up to the sound of my twins on the monitor then hit the ground running – thing. I’d been thinking about about waking up earlier for a while to sneak in some me-time/prep-time, but it’s not easy when you have twin toddlers and you just.want.your.sleeeeep. Right?!

Continue reading Early to Rise 

Happy Birthday, Henry & Emily!

Exactly one year ago today, Sean and I set our alarm clocks for a 4:30 a.m. wake up call. I was being induced for labor that day! I was 37.5 weeks along, officially “past due” (37 weeks is considered full term for twins), and the babies were both estimated to be healthy weights + facing head-down.

Continue reading Happy Birthday, Henry & Emily!

Review: LuLaRoe w/ Sarah Crook

Here’s my average morning: It’s 6 a.m. and one of my…..no wait…ahhh…now both of my babies are awake. I now have about 90 seconds to get myself together for the day before one of them starts crying.

While Sean gets ready for work I quickly brush my teeth, wash my face, throw my hair in a messy bun, and change into something. Daaahhh what do I wear? Has to be comfy enough for crawling on the floor + being crawled on by two 9½ month old twins, handling a double stroller + a yellow lab on a walk, and making a public appearance with the twins while running errands where at least 5 strangers will stop me for a conversation about twins. 😐

Especially for running errands, I usually look for an outfit that doesn’t scream: “Help me.” or “I haven’t showered in 2 days.” or “What day is it?” I’d at least like to give off an illusion of looking decent without having to put much effort in. Is that too much to ask?

Luckily, there’s always LuLaRoe in my closet. Actually, jk…it’s most likely in that gigantic pile of clean laundry that I haven’t folded in days. But regardless – it’s clean, adorable and comfy. It’s PERFECT!

I’m running out of time as Emily’s precious baby babble goes from cute to authoritative, so I grab my LuLaRoe leggings (chosen for me by the lovely LLR consultant, Sarah Crook) and matching LLR “Perfect T”.

It’s a new mama miracle. I suddenly feel ready for the day!

I was super excited to write this honest review because I look to my LLR clothes for just about everything. I’m stay at home mom of twins. I desperately need versatile clothes for any occasion. What has given me the most joy from these clothes has been how undeniably comfortable they are. It doesn’t hurt that I get to also support a friend’s business, and that I’m purchasing products that I know she personally admires. LLR has been a major breath of fresh air for ladies like me who want a trusted one-stop-shop for all things cute and comfy. And when you’ve given birth to a baby or two within the past year…trust me…you too want cute and comfy, and you want it immediately.

The consultant that I follow the most, and am reviewing in this post, is the fabulous Sarah Crook. She is an amazing consultant, y’all. Check her out.

Sarah Crook - LLR Review

https://www.facebook.com/groups/QueenCityLuLaRoewithSarah 

Her genuine enthusiasm and attention to detail in her role as a LLR consultant makes being her customer reassuring and totally exciting. The majority of her pieces are showcased through Facebook Live sales on her private group page where you can tune in, message her with questions, and choose from her constantly refreshed inventory. She’s quick to say “Hey!!” to you as you join the video so that you don’t feel silly tuning in live to watch someone you don’t know. She’s also good about re-caping the details on how each piece (shirts, dresses, leggings, etc.) will fit various sizes.

I love her LLR live sales because they often take place mid-week, they’re usually right after Sean and I have put the twins to sleep, and when I’m in the mood to shop I just pour a glass of wine and tune in with my feet up from a long day of babies being babies. It has truly become my new favorite way to shop. If I’m not feelin’ any outfits, no biggie! I just tune out whenever I want. But that rarely happens 😉 She also posts photos of adooooorable outfit pairings throughout the week and adds ideas on how she accessorizes each of them.

To give you a sample of some of my latest 4 LLR pieces that Sarah sent me, check out a little photo shoot of yours truly below. Be sure to look at each caption to see what style I’m wearing:

Perfect T + matching Leggings – Perfect for being crawled on & snuggled with.

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Perfect T + matching Leggings – On the move! Cute crawling twins not included.

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Amelia Dress – Super serious faces aside, this dress might just be my favorite:

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Amelia Dress – Just a different angle. Pockets! Wine and belt not included 😉

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Cassie Skirt – Oh hey, working world! When I start working again, I’m bringing THIS outfit with me. That cup of tea can come too.

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I love love looove them! Every single piece. Not pictured: lots of other LLR outfits that I own, but I can only wear so many outfits before a baby starts hollerin ;).

What’s your fav? I wear the Perfect T and leggings ALL.THE.TIME. But I’m kinda head over heals for the Amelia dress for a date night. And I adore that Cassie skirt for something fun mid-day this spring. Heheee!

When Sarah sent me my order, here’s how it came:

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Pretty darn adorable if you ask me! If you’re new to shopping LLR, you can rest easy knowing that she has a 14 day return policy for LLR credit. You can message her details on what you want differently and she’ll steer you in the right direction for other pieces to consider. She personalizes it which, in today’s automated world, is so refreshing.

To sum up: I’m a big fan 🙂

If you have questions, want to join her group, or want more deets, check our her page and connect with her here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/QueenCityLuLaRoewithSarah

Big hugs!

Katherine

Henry & Emily: 9 Months!

The past 9 months have been a crazy beautiful whirlwind…but especially the past month. This whole mobile baby thing? And two at once? Wooooaaah, y’all. These two are keeping me & Sean on our toes and they’re not even walking yet! We’re in for a wild ride, but we’re loving it. Every minute. Like…crazy IN LOVE with these two!

Continue reading Henry & Emily: 9 Months!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

 

Ohhhh I just adore you, chicken noodle soup! A few weeks ago I really wanted some homemade soup. I NEEDED homemade soup. Ya know that feeling? I really didn’t want to hear the awful “fffffflllooppp” sound as the goopy room temperature soup emptied out of its aluminum can and plopped into a sauce pan for re-heating.

No ma’am. Not this time. I wanted to hand cut the veggies, cook the chicken myself, personally choose the noodle type, and taste test the broth before bringing it all together. I figured that can’t be all that hard…right? A little time consuming, sure, but not awful.

Cooking anything “homemade” can be intimidating, but I channel my inner rock star of a mama and just do it. I know she’s in there somewhere! Sometimes she just needs coffee. I also just have strategize when’s the best time to prep and cook. Also, I buy the broth and noodles. I’m not gonna lie, one day I’d love to be that mother of twins who makes her own noodles and chicken broth AND soups. One day. But for now I think I’m doing just fine 😉

I also consulted one of my favorites to follow on All Recipes: Chef John. He has easy video tutorials, uncomplicated recipes, and a reassuring voice. I altered it just a bit, and below is how I bring to life this timeless classic.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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1 cupChopped Onion

1 cupChopped Carrots

1 cupChopped Celery

2 tablespoonsButter, salted

1 teaspoonSalt

1 teaspoonThyme

8½ cupsChicken Broth (Gold star if you make your own! Chef John’s got a recipe for that, too: Roasted Chicken Broth)

1 cupEgg or Dumpling Noodles 

1 pound (approx) – Boiled Chicken (I boil it at medium high heat in 2 cups chicken broth/stock, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, and 1/2 tsp salt)

Step 1

Coarsely chop your onions, carrots, and celery.

Step 2

In a large stock pot start by melting the butter at medium heat, then add your onions, carrots, and celery to sautee together. Also add the salt and thyme.

Step 3

Once the onions start to get translucent, add all 8 cups of your chicken stock and stir together.

Step 4

Add in your noodles and chicken, stir, and let simmer in the broth for about 5 minutes.

Step 5

Give it all a taste! More time? More….thyme? Haah! More salt? You be the judge. And the cook. And the rockstar who get’s a high five from me for cookin yourself some homemade soup.

You did it! So proud of you! Here’s mine:

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Oh I almost forgot! I love me some oyster crackers in my soup.

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Ahhhh yes. There it is. Homemade heaven in a bowl. It always makes me happy. Sean loves it too! One day, I imagine also serving this to Henry & Emily as they come barreling in from a fun day outside in the snow. One day 😉

Enjoy!

Big hugs,

Katherine

Thirty Three

 

For those of you who follow this blog from time to time, I’m a day late on this special list! Sorry ’bout that. I was just having too much fun on my birthday yesterday. I ate chocolate cake for breakfast. I snuggled with my family. I laughed a ton. I met The Pioneer Woman’s daughter, Paige. I met sweet strangers from all over Oklahoma who also came to visit “The Mercantile” in Pawhuska. I bought myself a pair of earrings, far too much coffee, and a t-shirt. I sipped wine and laughed at dinner with my sweet hubby, my favorite person, while devouring sushi at Akira Sushi here in Owasso. I was also left SO grateful from the love and well wishes that poured out from my sweet friends and family all day.

15056492_919316835009_5101247483257918126_nIt was a perfect birthday. My heart is so full.

Now, in full “Kath fashion”, I’m sharing a list of the beautiful and random things I adore. The rules are that the list matches my age, so 33 things. Order doesn’t matter. Just things that make me happy. It’s that simple. Things that make me smile just as I did in this happy picture to the right, the day my besties visited Tulsa (photo cred to my girl & fellow mama, Christine Joiner!). I just feel like this photo screams “It’s my BIRTHDAY!”

Here we go:

  1. Popcorn popped over the stove
  2. The first cup of coffee in the morning
  3. The comfort of family and friends
  4. A fire in the fire pit, blanket on my lap, glass of wine, and lots of laughter
  5. A slow drive through the countryside
  6. Sipping white wine outside in the summer watching the sunset
  7. Sipping red wine inside in the winter watching a movie…or reality t.v.
  8. Henry’s jovial spirit bursting from his wide open smile
  9. Emily’s gorgeous face, especially the way her eyes light up when she smiles
  10. Sean’s incredible love for our family
  11. Remembering that my happiness is my choice
  12. Cheese
  13. When Stella falls asleep on my lap
  14. Chamomile tea before bed
  15. Anything on HGTV
  16. Seeing my running pace drop each week
  17. How having “me time” makes me a better mama
  18. Prayer
  19. The relief of a changing season
  20. Date nights with my hubby (my favorite person)
  21. Making both Henry and Emily laugh at the same time
  22. How Henry loves to give hugs
  23. How Emily squeals with joy and smiles when I get right up in her face
  24. Steak. Medium rare.
  25. Bacon and coffee on a Saturday/Sunday morning
  26. Hearing anyone say, “It’s my birthday!”
  27. When you can tell that someone is 100% focused on your conversation
  28. Perseverance and hard work for something you really want
  29. The power of positive reflection
  30. Sushi
  31. A chocolate milkshake & fries tossed in Old Bay
  32. Old classics on vinyl playing on a rainy day
  33. Having time for a shower (fellow mamas will especially understand this one)

You’re up! What are your favorite things? Make a list! Feel free to share a few in the comments below. Consider it a belated bday present for me!

Big hugs,

Katherine

 

Yay for the Day

5:00 a.m. feeding then back to sleep for 2 more hours…and the same for mama :). Already felt I was winning and the day barely started! Henry woke up first (he usually does) at 7:20 a.m. Cute cute cuuuuute ‘lil sleepy smile as I peaked over the crib to say good morning. Took him over to Emily’s crib and we peaked over. I said “Your sissy’s sleepin!” He looked at her sleeping, then looked at me, then looked at her and smiled. Kept him on my hip as we went down to the kitchen for mama’s magical first cup of coffee. He loves to watch the Keurig do it’s thing. Switched him to my left hip cause he’s getting so heavy, which reminded me of how good it is to be starting fit camp from home on Monday! As the coffee poured into the cup, Henry stared with his classic open mouthed amazement. I put him into his walker while I got bottles ready. Laughed as I saw him smiling and giggling at Stella (our lab) chomping on her dog food.

Watched the monitor and listened as sweet Emmy slowly stirred, as did her “dadadadadagugugah” sounds. As I climbed the stairs to get her, I remembered wanting this moment for years. That moment when I walk in, my child beams with joy, and I get to welcome them to the greatest new day. My messy house, those years of waiting, my tired feet, or my sore muscles just melt away when I see her or her brother smile. Overwhelmed with gratitude as I held her close and smooched her squishy cheeks.

Bottles were guzzled down plus a pureed oatmeal + fruit mix started off their day. Coffee and their smiles kicked off mine 🙂

Sean woke up as we were playing on the floor in the living room and he crawled down to play with us. We all adored the hilarious voices he made imitating stuffed animals. Then he made bacon. High five, hubby. 😉

Opened up the windows to see what the ice storm had done. It looked so gorgeous. Lots of floor play time upstairs and downstairs. We all worked on saying “Hi!” while waving our hands and arms. Henry was more observant for that little lesson than ever before.

Watched HGTV while feeding Henry & Emily bottles and pureed butternut squash. Plantation style, partially renovated town home for the win! Worked out on our old stationary spinning bike for 20 min while they napped.

Tag-teamed baby duty with Sean for a bit in the afternoon. Browsed a few other blogs and read some articles. That bit of “me time” to clear my head was so helpful. Heard him playing songs on the ukulele for them. Made my heart happy. We both tried entertaining them in the last 20 min before their final bottle & bedtime. Decided to see how long it took for all four of us to look out every single window in the house…haha, it was cute. Sean took the last feeding. Bed time changes and snuggles.

Glass of red wine. Feet up. Blogged a bit while Sean watched a game on T.V.

Great day :).

 

 

 

 

 

Fit Camp! {from home}

Since Henry & Emily are gonna be crawling, walking, and running all over creation soon, keeping fitness a priority this year is so important to me. Mama Kath’s gotta keep up!

picmonkey-photoI go to StudiOne Tulsa once a week for their bootcamp class and I recently learned about their 12 week fit camp that I can sign up for and do from home. This is PERFECT for me! Having 3 home workouts a week sent to me from Coach Sprenkel (co-owner of StudiOne Tulsa) is exactly what I need. It fits right in line with my goals for 2017 (My 2017)!

Anyone wanna join meeee? I hope you will! I’d love to have more friends do this with me along the way. I plan on posting frequent updates on Instagram (@OK.Kath) and once a month on the blog to stay accountable. Here are the details:

What:

Fit Camp (remotely) through StudiOne Tulsa

How:

3 days of strength circuits are sent to participants each week. Circuits are less than 30 minutes and they can be broken up into 3 smaller circuits throughout the day. There’s even a Facebook community group that we get to join to help stay motivated!

$75 covers all 12 weeks. Otherwise, all you need are dumbbells/weights (I’m usin’ my babies!), a mat, and something to step on & off.

Where:

Wherever I want! Living room, nursery, backyard/park (weather-willing). If you’re thinking of doing it (yay!!!) you don’t have to be in the Tulsa area. Anyone can sign up. East coast, west coast, midwest friends: y’all should seriously do this with me!

When:

It starts on Monday, Jan 16 & lasts for 12 weeks. This is the best way to make sure my goals won’t be just a Jan/Feb thing. This sets the tone for the entire year, and by the time Spring running races roll around – I’ll be ready!

Who:

Register by emailing Coach Jessica Sprenkel at: fitness@studionetulsa.com

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Comment below or message me on IG/FB if you’re thinking about joining me. The more friends doing this with me the better!

I’m so pumped 🙂

Big hugs,

Katherine

 

Cheers, 2016!

It’s crazy that a brand new year is almost here. This has truly been the wildest year of my life. The most beautiful, mentally exhausting, physically demanding, emotionally draining year…but also, hands down the happiest year of my life.

Funny how that works. A year of challenges unlike any others you’ve faced…all to bring you to a place of happiness you’ve never known before.

I’ve re-learned how to trust, how much my mind and body are capable of, how unbelievably powerful faith is, how to remain patient, and how much good there is in the world.

I couldn’t be happier to celebrate 2016 and welcome 2017 at home with my hubby, our sleeping babies, a glass (or more…) of wine, chinese takeout, t.v. movies, and text updates from my family and my besties.

And yes…Sean is absolutely wearing Henry’s tuxedo bib in this picture. You’re welcome. 😉

To our sweet Henry & Emily who are sleeping away upstairs: we only hope that we make you as happy every day as you make us.

2017 – you’re up 😉

Big hugs,

Katherine

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas week, friends! I hope this post finds y’all pouring a glass (or 3) of something fun, putting your feet up, and finding a moment for some well deserved rest.
Meanwhile, here are our Christmas photos! Boy are we grateful for our two little miracles. Even amidst the “work” it takes to raise two tiny humans at once, there is no question that this has truly been the best year of our lives because of them. We have so much to be thankful for.
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This Christmas, I wish you and your family:

  • the kind of uncontrollable laughter that makes your abs burn and tears well up.
  • yummy food that makes you care less about calories and more about how it brought you all together.
  • a walk or run outside in the fresh air on Christmas day.
  • a strong sense of home, no matter where you spend the day.
  • a much needed life-chat that makes you say to 2017 “Bring. It. ON.”
  • a happy heart. One that’s contagious 🙂

Big hugs,

Katherine

Easy Shepard’s Pie

I was having one of those evenings where the babies were see-sawing between mildly entertained and fussy, but I also really wanted to cook something yummy. I had ground beef and carrots in the fridge, onions and seasonings in the pantry. I didn’t feel like pasta, especially because my homemade Alfredo sauce the night before was an epic fail. But suddenly, I looked in one of my cabinets and spotted this handsome devil to the right.

Now, before you get all judgy, I’ll have you know that instant mashed potatoes are freakin delicious. They give you that whipped texture without all the added work. For a mom of twins who doesn’t have very much free time for cooking – that’s everything.

I took a glance at a few recipe combinations before making it my own. I knew that Shepard’s Pie with ground beef would be pretty straight forward, but the gravy-like mixture needed to be good. Rachel Ray has a great base for this (Rachel Ray’s Shepard’s Pie), but I made lots of changes and ultimately created…THIS:

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound (ish) – Ground Beef
  • 1 – medium/large Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 – medium Carrots, diced
  • 1 cup – Frozen Peas
  • ½ teaspoon – Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 cloves – Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons – Butter
  • “a pinch” – Celery Salt
  • “to taste” – Regular Salt
  • 2 tablespoons – All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup – Beef Broth
  • 2 ½ teaspoons – Worcestershire Sauce

…and for the Mashed Potatoes :

  • one 8 oz “Family Size” package – Instant Mashed Potatoes (quick & easy for the win! I ADORE the garlic kind)
    • OR two of the normal sized 4 oz packages will do just fine
  • 4 cups of water

Step 1

Brown the ground beef in a pan. Drain the excess fat, then return it to the pan.

Step 2

Add in your chopped onions, diced carrots, peas, red pepper flakes, pinch of celery salt, regular salt (to taste) and minced garlic to the cooked ground beef and stir together. Cover and let it all heat together at medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3

Meanwhile…gotta get yo gravy goin’! In a separate pan, whisk together the beef broth, flour,Worcestershire sauce and butter over medium high heat. Bring just to a boil while stirring continuously, then remove it from the heat and add the gravy to your ground beef mixture. Let this sit without heat while you jump into step 4. Also – now’s a good time to turn on your oven’s broiler to low heat.

Step 4

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then remove it from the heat. Add the 8 oz package (or the two 4 oz packages) of powdered mashed potatoes and quickly stir it all together until it’s smooth. Within seconds you have gorgeous delicious garlicky mashed potatoes. Sooooooo easyyyy!

Step 5

In a casserole dish, layer the ground beef mixture first, then top it off with the mashed potatoes. Be sure to cover the ground beef completely with the mashed potatoes so that the ground beef mixture won’t bubble over and ruin the pristine potatoey topping. Pop that dish in the oven and broil it on low until it’s juuuust golden brown on the top. Let it cool a bit before serving, garnish with a little parsley on top, then serve it up!

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This dish is a total hit since the first night I made it. Some nights I made it without carrots, sometimes without peas. It’s super adjustable depending on what you have in stock. Hope y’all enjoy a slice, or 3, on an upcoming cold winter night! Be sure to comment/share if you give it a try. I’d love to see pics of your “pie”!

Big hugs,

Katherine

 

 

Henry & Emily: 6 months

Six months?! It feels like just a few days ago we were bringing them home from the hospital. Then – they were too tiny to hold up their preciously fragile heads and still reeling from their wild new surroundings. Now – they’re babbling, giggling, wiggling, smiling, verge-of mobile little people!

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Sean and I are truly amazed by their growth, development, and contagious joy. This morning I took them to their 6 month pediatrician check up and they’re growing beautifully!

Henry (right) is at the 90th percentile for his height! He’s now rockin 28 inches tall and 18 pounds. Our super tall “little man” is SO STRONG, y’all. He’s also quick as lightning in his walker, and desperate to finally figure out how to crawl, walk, and let’s be real…he wants to RUN RUN RUN as soon as he can! He has his daddy’s engineer brain for sure. Give him a toy and he’ll study it for ever. His joy is everything; all I need to get through a day, a week, a year. I am completely in awe of how genuinely joyful Henry is. One head turn and a wide-open, toothless grin from him and your day will be made. Guaranteed.

Emily (left) rings in right on cue at the 40th percentile for her height. She’s 26 inches tall and 16 pounds. Way to go, little angel! This beautiful girl was super underweight for her very first week-old check up but has completely soared since that day. She is the cutest ‘lil chatty-mac-chatterson these days. “Emmy” loves to study our faces as we talk to her, then babble on her own…then squeal to the highest heavens. She loves a good toy, but she’s her mama’s daughter for sure when it comes to being more interested in people; a true people watcher. She’s more careful when she shows off her smile (which I kinda love about her too), but when you do make her smile….wooooo your heart will melt!

This has been the fastest, most joyful 6 months of my life. As we enter the “mobile babies” phase in the 2nd half of the year, I’m gonna hold on tight and get ready for that wild ride!

Big hugs,

Katherine

Stay thankful.

After a long day of nonstop newness, Henry & Emily had just drifted off to sleep in their roll-able hotel room cribs. I finally crawled onto the bed knowing that our traveling escapades from Oklahoma to Washington, D.C. were over. It felt like our little family of 4 had just completed a herculean task.

Sean ordered drinks and dinner to go from the restaurant downstairs. We were starving. A glass of white wine, a burger, and garlic fries for me! I sat in bed, took a sip of my wine, looked at our babies and then my sweet hubby, and we both sighed with relief. The journey was done.

It would be easy to feel defeated and even entitled to negativity after 2 tiring flights with our infant twins and over packed luggage. Henry’s wailing cries in the dark rental car garage mixed with that seemingly endless airport shuffle was all enough to drive a new parent mad. But suddenly there they were, sleeping peacefully as I sipped my wine and remembered that I am one very lucky lady. I also saw pure joy spread across Sean’s face as he took in the precious sight of his son & daughter. It was enough gratitude to bring a new mama to tears.

We made it.

In so many ways, we made it.

The hours and days that followed were everything that we had wished for. We were reunited with both of our families and close friends. We watched as they met, snuggled, and adored Henry & Emily for the first time. We got to see their own beautiful kiddos, catch up on life, and most importantly – laugh :).

10 days flew by. Suddenly it was time to return home to Oklahoma. Just two more flights.

On our way home our double stroller had to be checked at the gate and bypass our connecting flight, but our carriers were accidentally packed and checked too…

…awesome.

Luckily many kind strangers, one taxi ride through the Dallas airport, and two resilient babies later…we made it! If ever there was a time to trust humanity, it’s when you desperately need another pair of arms to hold your child. We were so thankful for the sweet strangers who offered to hold our bags and even our babies while we desperately tried to do it all. We let them!

Family, friends, strangers, and most of all – sweet Henry & Emily…

…thank you a million times.

We truly could not be more thankful for all that we have in our lives. After all, the journey (not the destination) is what keeps us thankful, isn’t it?

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, friends. Stay thankful, always.

Big hugs,

Katherine

Slow Cooker Chili + Cheesy Grits

The weather here in Oklahoma is finally getting chilly! I’m so excited to be slow-cookin my way into cooler weather these days. As my patience for reading through recipes gets slimmer (’cause……twins!) I find myself throwing ingredients together in a mad dash between entertaining and feeding two babies. Sometimes my ‘lil on-the-spot meal creations fail. But every once in awhile……they WIN!

I’ve got a winner for ya.

I’ve noticed that most people don’t put a base of some sort underneath their chili when it’s served. Well, my sweet southern belle of a mama raised me differently. Mom would typically cook up some white rice and use that as a base for the chili and it was deeee-lish! But recently I got the inspiration to use cheesy grits as a heavenly little platform instead.

Y’all.

Oh my gosh.

It was pure heaven.

I made this on Sunday afternoon, stored it in the fridge (where it only continued to grow more and more delicious), then by Monday afternoon I was ready for a hearty lunch. I came home from taking the twins with me to Target and they were still asleep in their car seats. WIN! I whipped up some grits, added freshly grated cheese, topped the dish with chili, then more cheese for the garnish, and then…The Hallelujah Chorus broke into song. It was delicious, hearty, and good for my tired mama soul. Do you have a tired soul these days? I highly recommend trying this recipe. Your soul and stomach will thank you.

Here’s the lineup:

For the chili…

  • 1 pound (or so) – Ground Beef
  • 1 – Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 13 cup – beer (whatever you have, but a full bodied beer is best!)
  • 2 cups – Marinara Sauce
  • 1 can – Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can – Kidney Beans, drained
  • 1 can – Pinto Beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons – Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon – Cumin
  • 2 tablespoons – Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoons – Italian Seasoning Mix
  • 2 teaspoons – Salt
  • 1teaspoon – Cayenne Pepper

6o9c9738For the grits…

  • 1cup – Quick Grits
  • 1 cup – Water
  • 1 tablespoon – Butter
  • 1cup – Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (mostly for the grits, the rest for the garnish)
  • Salt – to taste

Step 1

Combine all of the dry seasonings (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, italian seasoning mix, salt, and cayenne pepper) into a small dish, then set aside until Step 3.

Step 2

Cook the ground beef in a skillet so that it’s just browned. Drain the excess fat, then return the ground beef to the stove.

Step 3

Add dry seasonings to skillet, coating the browned ground beef. Be sure to turn the heat to low.

Step 4

Pour the seasoned ground beef into the slow cooker. Add the following: raw coarsely chopped yellow onions (I don’t recommend cooking the onions with the ground beef in step 2 because it gives a slight crunch to the chili – loved it!), drained pinto and kidney beans, diced tomatoes, beer, and marinara sauce. Stir well to combine all that gloriousness.

Step 5

Set it and forget it, y’all! Set it on high, and stir occasionally if you have time. 2 to 3 hours later your home will smell heavenly.

Step 6

Once the chili is ready you can get the instant grits going in a saucepan. First, boiling your 1 cup of water, then add the grits, salt (to your taste), and butter. Be sure to stir this well to avoid clumps. Then…the cheese! Stir the shredded cheese into your grits. Add enough cheese until it tastes just right for you.

Step 7

Layer the cheesy grits first, then the chili, then some more shredded cheese for garnish.

Enjoyyyy!

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Henry & Emily: 5 months

Oh my gosh. How did they do it? How did they turn 5 months in the blink of an eye?! Sean and I are so in love with these two angels and thank God every day for them.

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Henry Update

Henry is an eternally happy little man. I forget, often, that he’s a baby because he really does look like a little man! He has this joyful, wide open, toothless smile that reminds us of all the good in the world.

He is very strong and is in the 90th percentile for his height! We’re convinced he would take off and run if he just knew how. This boy adores standing (with our help of course), gets a kick out of kicking for long periods of time, and has one heck of a grasp. Even when he is getting into mischief (e.g. pulling the mesh bumper off in his crib), he flashes me a smile so wide, and so proud, that my heart nearly explodes. Love that little man.

Emily Update

Emily is our sweet natured little doll face. At just 5 months old, she has this way of letting us know that she loves us right back. She is very observant. She adores books, especially “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” and barely blinks when she is read to; sweet girl just soaks it all in!

As she grows, so does her ability to learn new vocal ranges and squeals. She often loves to look at her brother and strike up conversation. When we hold her she is very still; simply grateful for the snuggle. Love our little princess.

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Both Henry and Emily are now sleeping 9-12 hour stretches at night, so you can imagine how happy the entire Mason household is these days ;). We’ve started them both on solids which they adore! Along with their bottles, they enjoy a bit of oatmeal cereal in the morning, and this week they’re on pureed green beans before bedtime.

They’re champs. Best friends. We’re eternally grateful to be their parents.

Happy 5 months to Henry & Emily!

Big hugs,

Katherine