Fresh Lunches {Healthy Taco Bowl}

Between the hours of 11:30am and 12:30pm, you can usually find me running around the kitchen trying to get a creative lunch together for Kolbe, sometimes while nursing Annabelle, and eventually eating lunch myself after the littles are fed and happy. 

Even though my early afternoons are busy, I still strive to nourish myself the best way I can so that I can have enough energy to take on the rest of the day. There's a great many things that I skimp on in life, however, a meal is not one of them. I have never been and probably will never be one of those people that "forgets" to eat no matter how busy I am. Food is just too good to me to pass up and I enjoy planning out my meals the night before so that I'm not caught in a pinch when I'm distracted or in a hurry. 

With that said, here is one of my more recent lunches. I've been craving Mexican food lately, so I took it upon myself to make a healthy lunch with a Mexican flare. It is very delicious and not to mention quite filling! 

This is not so much a recipe, but rather a method. Just pile all of the ingredients on a bed of butter lettuce (my favorite!) and add whatever else you might fancy. 

Healthy Taco Bowl

Serves 1

  • Handful of butter lettuce (or lettuce of choice)
  • Ground beef (preferably Grassfed) browned with spices of your choice. I used fresh lime juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Grated Colbly Jack cheese
  • Fresh Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream or Plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • Sliced black olives

Pile ingredients on lettuce and enjoy! 




Annabelle's Baptism

I'm only two months late in blogging about this but better late than never right? Sweet Annabelle was baptized on the feast of Saint Lucy, which is one of her patron saints. It comes with a cool story actually. Way back in the summer when we were solidifying our name choices, I was still on the fence about Lucy for a middle name but Matt was already 100% sold that Lucy would be it. I finally hesitantly gave in -- its not that I don't like Lucy (I love it), its just that I wasn't quite ready to write it on paper and make it official -- so I wrote Annabelle Lucy on her baptismal papers. December 13th was the date we picked based on everyone's schedules and I decided to go look at the Catholic calendar to see if it fell on any cool Saints feast days and, lo and behold, its the feast of Saint Lucy! What a great confirmation right?  Of course Matt took that very clear sign and ran with it so it became set in stone that her name would be Annabelle Lucy from that day on. It looks like I'll get to name our next kid ;)

Sadly that was the best picture I got of her all day because I completely forgot to take my camera out, but I have vowed to take better Baptismal pictures of the rest of our kids because I'm so sad that this is all we have. 

The beauty of the sacrament thankfully still resonates in my memory. Our dear friends Steve and Beth are Annabelle's godparents and she is one lucky lady for having them. We were also privileged to have our family friend, Father Kyle, come and do the baptism. I loved that he had us start the Baptismal ceremony in the back of the church and make our way towards the Baptismal font while touching upon each symbolic element that would ensue. 

One of my favorite parts of the Rite of Baptism is when the priest chants the Litany of Saints and the congregation responds with "Pray for us." Its such a simple yet beautiful display of the power of asking the saints in heaven for their intercession.  Father Kyle included some of our family's favorite Saints in the litany: St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. John Bosco, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Maria Goretti, St. Gianna, St. Joseph, and of course, Saints Anne and Lucy. 

Our parish was lucky enough to have a relic of Our Lady of Guadalupe installed right behind the baptismal font that week. A true blessing indeed.

Also, the lighting in the church is horrible. I cringe just looking at the terrible shadows in these pictures! 

After the Baptism, we did what every Catholic does after a Sacrament, we partied =) 

Our friend and go to cake master, Ms. Julie, made a delicious spice cake for the occasion. We decorated with a simple banner and flowers and kept the party small with just a few family and friends to celebrate. 

Annabelle with her fan club =)

I will never forget the day that our sweet Annabelle Lucy entered the Church. Praise God for the Sacraments!


Annabelle {3 Months Old}

This little lady is three months old today!

I don't even remember life without her. It feels like she's always been part of our family. Our lives changed so drastically when Kolbe was born that I often had to remind myself that we weren't giving him back to anyone (ha!), but with Annabelle, it was like she just smoothly assimilated to the lives we were already living. Her presence has been so freeing and good for my soul.

You see, I had a rather hard time when Kolbe was a tiny newborn and still in the fourth trimester. He had reflux, so he never ever (i.e: woke up every 30-90 minutes through the night), my hormones caused an emotional roller coaster like no other that had me crying all the time, not to mention Kolbe's struggles with learning how to latch, and never taking a pacifier (which made ME his pacifier 24/7). Matt and I were zombies for the first 6 months of Kolbe's life and it seemed like we were doing everything wrong. He was by no means an "easy baby," yet very much still a good baby as all babies are a gift. Like everything does, the hard times passed and we (slowwwwly) made it out of the newborn fog not unscathed but alive. Now I look back on that time (that I mostly blocked out of my memory haha) and thank God for allowing Matt and I to experience those struggles. That time was like the dark night of my soul and I am a much better person because of it.  God stretched me and took me to a level of self sacrifice that I never knew existed. Truly the meaning of "this is my body and I give it up for you." 

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Now I tell you all this because right before sweet Annabelle was born, I was literally dreading the first three months of her life (or as some call it, the fourth trimester) because of how hard Kolbe's first three months were. I had resigned myself to "just getting through it" and then I could enjoy her once we got past the roughness. Just typing that out seems so ridiculous now! God in His infinite goodness was very aware of the desires of my heart because Annabelle's first three months have been blissfully sweet and good to us. All of my fears melted away as the weeks after her birth went by and she remained as sweet as pie. She is what some would consider an "easy baby" and my heart feels so free. I feel like I'm swimming with the tide rather than swimming against it and desperately trying to come up for air. Maybe its the fact that I'm a second time mom and a little more confident, maybe its her easy going ways, or the fact that I now know what things we want to do differently with her vs. what we did with Kolbe (sorry dude), or maybe its a combination of all three. Regardless, thank you Jesus for the gift. 

In honor of her 3 months of life, here are 10 things about Annabelle that bring a smile to my face every day:

1) She wakes up happy every single time. Its so endearing. Wether she's been sleeping for 20 minutes or a few hours, as soon as I go get her she gives the biggest smile. 

2) Speaking of smiles, hers are bashful and ever so cute. She smiles and turns her head as if she's blushing.

3). I've never had so much fun dressing another person in my life!

4) She sleeps. A lot. As in I was more tired and sleep deprived when I was pregnant with her than with her on this side of the womb. I'm 100% aware of how amazing this is and also that it could change any minute. But for now, we roll with it.

5) Cute baby mohawk alert =)

6) I love when Kolbe makes her smile and delights in her.

7) She had been a champ nurser from day 1, which was like a balm to my soul.

8) We love how she stares at us with such curiosity. 

9) She makes a little squeak noise out of protest as soon as she is left alone (and awake) in a room. Maybe she's going to be a little extroverted baby?

10) On the other hand, she is quite laid back and goes with the flow so seamlessly. Matt is rooting for a fellow phlegmatic temperament to emerge from her since Kolbe and I are the exact opposite (K is melancholic, I'm choleric). If you're not familiar with temperaments, read about them here! -- I'm a little obsessed.

Annabelle at 1 week and at 3 months:

I spent the day today reflecting on how happy my two littles make me. My heart is full =)

Christmas & Some New Finds


I hope the holidays were good to you and brought you much joy and peace. I can't believe its already mid January and that the Christmas season is over. We took down all of our decorations on the day after King's Day and I was a little sad to see them go. The season was so festive this year, especially having Kolbe and Annabelle to enjoy it with. We continued our tradition of going to Christmas Eve mass, followed by celebrations with my family and then celebrations with Matt's family on Christmas day. Kolbe go some sweet toys that will surely keep him busy for the next few months and its a plus that both Matt and I also enjoy playing with them! Annabelle has given us the gift of sleep and that's all I'm going to say about that =)

The Three Wise Men came on January 6th bearing some surprises after they made the trek from our fireplace mantle to the Nativity scene on the coffee table. Kolbe sure got a kick out of that! And with that, the Christmas seasons came to an end. 

During these past few holiday weeks, I was gifted/discovered a few things that I've really been loving lately. They have made my life a little easier in some ways and put a smile on my face and I wanted to share the love =)

1) FARM GIRL COFFE When I was visiting my friend Chantel in Lafayette last Fall, she brought me to her favorite coffee shop called The Lab. It had an awesome hipster and modern vibe that was so welcoming. The best part is that they feature only two coffees each day for all of their drinks. The day we went, I had a latte made with Farm Girl Coffee and to date, it was the best coffee I've had! I never wanted it to end because it was just that good. So I made it my mission to find this Farm Girl Coffee and I did! Now it is safely tucked away in my coffee cabinet and I can enjoy it every day. Although my mediocre coffee-making skills will never top those of the talented baristas at The Lab, its still so so good and it only serves to fuel my coffee addiction that I have no intention of ever overcoming.

2) BURT'S BEES TINTED LIP BALM My friend Emily actually introduced me to this last Summer, but I wanted to include it anyway because I still use it all the time. I've never ever been a fan of lipstick or lip gloss because I don't like how it makes my lips feel so I always just resorted to Carmex to hydrate and add a little shine simultaneously. I love that this lip balm does the same but it adds a little color too, so the best of both worlds! 

3) MINNETONKA KILTY SUEDE MOCCASSINS I discovered these because my friend Beth (are you noticing a trend here?) always wears them and raves about how comfortable they are so I decided to give them a try and put them on my Christmas wish list. She was right; they are so comfortable AND stylish and I love that they go with almost everything I wear on a daily basis. I've pretty much worn them everyday since I received them from my mom for Christmas. If you do get these, order a half size down because they run big =)

4) NATURE BOX I've seen a ton of bloggers that I follow recommend this product and I'm excited to try it! As a family, we are making an extra effort in the new year to pack as many nutrients into meals and snacks as we can and I think we can make it happen with the help of Nature Box. It is a customized snack box that arrives at your door step and I like this company mainly because all of their snacks are non-GMO, and don't contain artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup, or trans fats. That's definitely high standard in my book since those are the same standards that we try to live by in our pantry and fridge =)

5) AQUA BLUE LADIES TUNIC After my friend Penny had her sweet baby back in August, I noticed her wearing these really comfortable looking shirts all the time. I finally took the plunge and now I have it in four different colors (thanks to Beth and my mom and grandma for gifting these to me!) This shirt really is so comfortable and I want to live in it all the time. Its great for nursing, and perfect for the post-baby clothes transition that we all know and love. I love to wear it with leggings and my new moccs too!

6) LILY JADE DIAPER BAG I would like you to meet the newest addition to our family... Behold Elizabeth:

She's my other baby and I love her to pieces because she's the best thing that has ever happened to this mom of two (and hopefully more in the future!) I've been on the quest to find the perfect diaper bag ever since I was pregnant with Kolbe and I had yet to find it till now. The bag comes with an awesome washable insert that has a ton of pockets so the amount of organization I can achieve with this bag is music to my ears. By far my favorite thing is that it can be worn like a backpack, which comes in SO handy with two littles in tow. I think this may be the best Christmas gift I've given to myself. And for the record, the name of the bag on the website is the Elizabeth in Brandy =)

Have a blessed week!