happy (almost) halloween!

October 22nd, 2015

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I love holidays — pretty much any holiday. 

This comes as a surprise to exactly no one, because my favorite things in the world are parties, great food, and spending time with friends and family.  So holidays?  On the list of things that I love, they fall somewhere between Bear and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is to say: very high on that list.

But there’s a special spot in my heart for Halloween.  When I was a kid, I really believed that there was something magical about the night of Halloween.  I’d pretend to go to bed and then stay up in my room, in the dark, until it was finally midnight, waiting for ghosts or trying my hand at magic spells. 

Bear was too little to go trick-or-treating last year, but we might give it a try next week!  Either way, I couldn’t let the moment go by without some snaps of his Halloween costume.  Last year, he was a baby dinosaur, and this year he’s a panda bear!  I know that pretty soon he’ll be telling me what he wants to be for Halloween, so I’m enjoying my last chance to pick out his costume myself. 

And, if I do say so: that is one cute Panda!

Photo credit: Rachel Sutherland

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healthy snacks for busy families!

October 5th, 2015

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More often than not, I beat Chad home from work. Because I’m always starving the minute I walk in the door, I’ve come up with the following snacks that enable me to wait to eat until a normal, non-toddler dinner-time. They’re light enough that they don’t kill my appetite but take the edge off enough that I don’t kill my husband. (Hanger is real!)

Try Balanced Carbs!
Bread gets a bad “wrap” (yes, I went there!) but whole-grain bread is a terrific option for healthy snacking. I love to buy fresh bread from the grocery store and toast it, then spread some Alouette Le Petite Fromage on it, and top with a sliced cucumber. (Le Petite Fromage cheese come in four different flavors but I like the Cucumber & Dill version for this. All spreads are just 40 calories per serving!)

Portable and Nutrient-Packed
When I’m craving gummy bears in the afternoon, dried fruit can often get me my fix. Dried mango or apricots, for example, are equally sweet and chewy but without the sugar. (Assuming you buy the right brands – always check the label!) Fellow Texans, HEB’s in-house dried mango is my favorite!

Homemade Veggie Trays
Veggie trays in the pre-made food section always look good — but most of the time, they’re not as healthy as they appear! Ranch dip is totally delicious, but there are healthy swaps that taste just as good — I love adding hummus or a spreadable cheese! Instead of a pre-made tray, I pick up some baby carrots, bell peppers, or even celery. I love to pair cut veggies with Le Petite From

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the best piece of wedding advice i received

September 30th, 2015

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Yes, yes, I know, there’s a lot of wedding advice on the internet.  From favors to registries to dress and decor, the internet is chock full of ideas for making your wedding day incredible.

But the best piece of advice I received had nothing to do with my dress or the ceremony.  It wasn’t about the prettiest invitations or the perfect Pinterest-worthy shots for our photographer to capture.

It was this.

The day of our wedding, one of my best girlfriends told me to focus on remembering the day.  To take in the experience, the way that it feels as you live it. 

It sounds really silly, but six years after our wedding, sometimes it’s hard to separate my actual memories from the photographs.  The photographs are mementos that I look through every few months: I could tell you every shot, from the one above (my favorite) to me walking down the aisle with my dad, to the wide-angle scene of our brightly lit tent against the night sky.  The photographs are easy to recall anytime I want; they are permanent.

My memories, though.  Those I worked to capture. 

Everyone always says that your wedding day goes by in a blur, but I worked hard to slow down that blur.  To focus on the moment I was in, instead of getting wrapped up in the excitement of trying to experience everything at once.

Do you know what my favorite memory of our wedding is?

For our first dance, Chad and I picked a slow, romantic song.  We planned to dance by ourselves to that song, and then invite everyone up for the next (faster) song, to get the party going. 

But somehow there was a miscommunication between us and the band, and midway through our slow song, the band inv

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