An Uncomplicated Life Blog: July 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Mini Summer Vacation!

Taking the week to enjoy some of the weeks of summer! We had to do our annual summer vacay early this year since I won't be allowed to travel come August (too pregnant with the twins) so we're soaking up some sun and fun while we can... And while I can still walk (albeit with a massive waddle) and don't need one of those motorized carts to get around! I'll see you back here Monday, July 23 with a whole bunch of fun new content.

And now it's time for... VACATION MODE! No fishing for me though, thanks. Fish gross me out. So slimy and stinky.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Current Snarky Confessions

If I were Catholic, this would be my Thursday confessional of impure thoughts

It's been ages since we just sat and caught up, no? That's somewhat intentional because my monthly bump dates are pretty close to my current thoughts and happenings. If you haven't read those, even if you're not pregnant or a man or don't care, they might amuse you, so check them out here and here. This post, however, is dedicated to all the impure thoughts I've had recently - the judgmental, the snarky, the not so nice stuff - you know, the kind you need to confess to and seek forgiveness. Read at your own risk of being offended. Or amused, if you're well adjusted and know how to properly let things go.

Is there anything worse than when your manicurist leaves your nails too long?! I get dips, so my nails don't break or chip, they simply grow out until I get a new color put on. If they're left too long, they turn into straight up CLAWS. I spent most of last week struggling to use my phone and typing on my laptop, they were such eagle-like-daggers. First world problems? Sure, but I paid $47 for this vampire botch job mani, so I'll cry about it if I friggin want to. And suck your blood if you're rolling your eyes at me right now. Better sleep with one eye open, cause these nails can kill.

The Target maternity tank I bought that will fit me for maybe one more week. I sized up.

The inability of clothing manufacturers to consistently size women's clothing the same blows my mind. Bought two new tanks at Target. Bought a sundress from the same designer. The sundress was an XS and too big for me, the tanks were S and too tight. I know it's crappy and cheap Target clothes, but seriously! Can they not do their job right? Can they not cut patterns correctly from cloth? Do they secretly get enjoyment from pissing women off with all these weird sizes?

What is with pregnant women comparing their gestational diabetes tests to the likes of facing a dang firing squad?! It's not that bad, it's not that hard, you chug a drink that tastes like off-brand Powerade and get pricked by a needle. Settle the heck down. It's nothing compared to birth.  It's nothing compared to when things *actually* go medically wrong in your pregnancy. You don't even have to fast anymore. You literally just have to chug a drink and get pricked by one needle. That's it. One thing pregnant women are known to do is taking advantage of every "opportunity" for special treatment they can get (myself included here - I feel like I can say this as a current pregnant woman!) and they're taking full advantage of complaining about this test. Eye roll. So hard.

How we roll when it's super hot out. And by super hot, I mean well over 100 degrees.

I can't help but laugh when I see people up north complaining about 90 degrees. I haven't felt air that cool since May! Heat warnings for a mere 90 degrees? I mean, for real? I don't even run my car AC for 90 degrees. That's windows down kinda weather! For the record, I think the same thing when I see people freaking out in Texas over 30 degrees, all decked out in every single piece of winter gear they own. Except at 30 degrees, your pipes can burst and destroy your home, your landscaping can get destroyed to the tune of thousands of dollars and if there's ice on the road, you're not going anywhere... But 90 degrees? Sounds like a pleasant day to me! Pour yourself a lemonade and get outside and enjoy it. And know that everyone across the South, but especially in the Southwest, has daggers in their eyes at your "heat advisory" and "heat index" nonsense.

Gimme all the pumpkins! Cannot wait to decorate and do all the fall things.

I will absolutely not apologize for starting to get excited for all things fall. Yes, it's July. But bloggers run on retail calendar, so this means I can already start to plan and pin and schedule fall content, and it gets me SO EXCITED. Frankly, thinking about and creating fall content in the hellish months of Texas summer make this place bearable! Don't like it? Stay off Pinterest and out of any and all retail stores until you're ready to face the coming season! I'm happy as a clam over here planning my fall content. In July. Not even sorry a little bit. I cannot WAIT to pull out my seasonal decorations and get this party started! Also, does this paragraph makes sense immediately after a paragraph telling people to stop complaining about heat? Meh, probably not, but I thought it was funny.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Early Morning Hacks For Back To School

Back to school means early mornings! Use these hacks to make them as efficient and smooth as possible

If I haven't said it here before, allow me to announce it to the world now: I am NOT a morning person. I hate mornings. I wish nothing happened in the world before 8 am and it that it was required for all people to sleep until AT LEAST 7 am. I'm sure to a college student or even a 20 something year old, that sounds like the early morning, but to those of us who are parents or hold down typical jobs or worse yet, both of those things, you know that those hours are indeed considered sleeping in! Henry has one more year of preK preschool left, and after that, we'll need to be in the carpool lane by 7:15 am, Monday through Friday. Just pull my hair out now, please. That sounds like death. I'm going to pretend like that's not my impending future because getting four kids out of the house by 7 am is too much for my despise of morning hours self... However, through this hatred of early hours, I've developed a series of hacks that honestly make the mornings bearable! Not likable, but tolerable. If you're anti-mornings like me or you just need some tips on how to use your time more efficiently, check out these early morning hacks that are great for those back to school rushes.

Morning hacks and efficiency tips for the early back to school mornings to curb chaos

1) Make lunches the night before and make them in bulk
Everyone knows this one but so few do it! Trust me on this one and just do it. I like to make them after dinner but before I've done the "final clean" of the kitchen for the day. If your kids go to school everyday, make them two at a time! This is a super efficient way to do it - you've already got the bread and peanut butter and jelly out, make two sandwiches instead of one. Then store it in a paper or plastic bag in the back of the fridge, and swap it out when your kids come home from school and you're cleaning out their backpacks and lunch bags.

Breakfast #1 gets set out on the counter, ready for the kids' early wake up time

2) Set out your kids supplies the night before
This is for everything: Outfits, special supplies like an art project or a towel/spare outfit for a field trip, homework in folders, tuition checks/lunch money/etc in the right spot - whatever your child might need for school the next day, have it set up and ready to go for the morning. Make sure it's all in one spot so you're not chasing it down when you should be getting in the car! The only thing I don't set out the night before is the kids' lunches, which stay in the fridge until we zip up and put on backpacks.

We're a two breakfast kinda family (or at least my kids are) so I set out their first breakfast the night before. They like to wake up early so I shove cereal bars at them because these kids wake up hungry! Then I usually heat up pancakes that were made the day before, scramble a few eggs, or give them yogurt and fruit closer to when we leave for school. The first breakfast is the super early one and therefore needs to be made as easy as possible! You could set out cereal bowls or partial supplies for breakfast if your kids eats from the fridge. Get out whatever you can to make it as easy as possible!

Otto's packed backpack ready to go in the morning

3) Set our YOUR supplies the night before
I don't go as far as getting my outfit planned because I work from home and can wear whatever I want, but if I had an office job, better believe I'd plan that out! I do get my coffee set up. I make individual cups (don't use a Keurig because of the mold and mildew that grows in them and how wasteful the actual cups are... Seriously it's like getting a new plastic straw everyday for your drink - why are you doing that?! Plus, I think it makes sucky coffee and isn't strong enough hashtagsorrynosorry) when my husband is working or traveling and I get this and the kids' "first breakfast" all set up and on the counter at the same time. Takes less than 2 minutes.

My coffee station is ready to go for an easy morning cup

4) Wake up early enough to move at your desired pace and still leave on time
Seems like the wrong advice coming from a woman who hates mornings right? Like I should be telling you all of this so that you're able to stay in bed until the last possible minute for the most possible sleep, right? Here's something else I've learned: When you push your timetable, it makes early mornings WORSE. For example, I don't like mornings, so I don't like moving fast or loud sounds; basically, the general chaos of rushing is excruciating! I've started to wake up a half hour before I used to in order to move at a calm, reasonable pace in the morning. We aren't rushed but there's also no time built in for dragging our feet. It makes a huge difference on my mood not only while we're getting ready to get out the door, but also for the rest of the day for me! It might take you a few tries to get it right, but you'll find the sweet spot of time to get up that enables you to move through the steps necessary for the morning at the pace you need to be a happy and calm parent. For me, that was more than worth shaving off 30 extra minutes in bed.

Back to school time is always a crazy mess of figuring out new schedules, timing, and what all needs to be done to get everyone where they need to go. If you're not a morning person like me, this is especially painful! Use these early morning hacks to get you on track for a well planned, prepared, calm and efficient back to school morning schedule. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July! May your day be full of BBQ's and cookouts, parades, fireworks, and everything red, white and blue. Taking a break today to celebrate with the fam, but I'll be back Monday with a some back to school 'successful morning' tips I've developed over the years. Can you believe kids go back to school so soon?! Third week in August for Dallas students. Cray cray.

Enjoy some adult bevvies for me and make sure to stay safe - don't drink and play with fireworks!

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Best Summer Mocktails

Whether you're pregnant or simply avoiding alcohol this summer, I've created some great mocktail recipes that are refreshing and fun to sip on all summer

I know some people are huge fans of sipping summer cocktails when the weather is warm. I'm one of the weird ones that actually doesn't mind forgoing alcohol in the summer. Day drinking on a boat was my JAM when I lived in Minneapolis, but now that I live in a city that is triple digit heat from June through September, alcohol just makes me feel more loopy and frankly - a tad ill in the summer. I truly haven't minded giving up booze for this summer pregnancy! Water and juices get boring day in and day out though, and I like to still be "a part of the group" when I'm with non-pregnant friends who can indulge by a pool or at lunch. If you're riding the sober bus for any reason this summer, I've crafted a list of great alcohol-free summer mocktails for you to enjoy. *Affiliate links used*

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Bubbly Bloody Mary
The key to this one is the mix. If you've got a bad mix, this will be a bad drink! I have tried mixes from here to kingdom come and hands down the best one is Zing Zang (available here and Target also stocks it). It's not too tomato-y, not too much horseradish or pepper, the perfect saltiness, and just a great, robust favor. In fact, if you think you don't like Bloody Mary's, try this mix and see! Now that you've got the mix, you need a vodka replacement. Topo Chico is a great way to cut the acidity of the tomato juice mix without the booze. While Zing Zang is the king of Bloody Mary mix, Topo Chico is the king of sparkling mineral water. Seriously try it. It's so much better than La Croix or Perrier, it's insane. Like, miles ahead of the race better.

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Bubbly Bloody Mary
- Zing Zang or your favorite Bloody Mary mix
- Topo Chico sparkling water
- lime
- salt and celery seed
- other accouterments to garnish as desired

Mix together a small plate of sea salt and celery seed. Line your glass rim by rubbing a lime wedge over it to moisten, then dip into the plate of salt and celery seed. Add ice to your glass and fill 1/3 to 1/2 full with Topo Chico. Top off the reminder of the glass with your Bloody Mary mix and garnish with a lime slice and whatever else you desire (Tobasco sauce, other hot sauces, olives, pickles, a celery stock or even a beef stick are all good choices!)

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Enjoy! Hubs and I had some one morning out in our courtyard. I like adding the bubbles so much, I might keep it as an addition even when I'm able to enjoy vodka again! I will say, this virgin option is a nice morning drink that keeps your head clear, unlike the traditional Bloody. It's also a great recovery drink after a good morning workout.

Strawberry-Basil MojitNO
See what I did there?! I know, but I'm not even sorry about it. There is nothing like warm weather and a good crisp, fruity beverage to tame the heat. This one has the fruity flavor from the strawberries, fresh basil and mint to brighten it, and coconut water that actually helps keep you hydrated by providing natural electrolytes. Win win win! I would CHOOSE to drink this on a super hot day instead of a wine spritzer to keep myself hydrated, that's how good it was. If you watched my IG Stories the day I made and filmed it, you saw I made myself three of them. Yup. That good.

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Just like with the Bubbly Bloody Mary, this drink requires QUALITY coconut water. I'll be honest with you: I don't like most brands of plain coconut water. When I first went "crunchy" and replaced Gatorade with it, I had to buy the fruit juice infused blends because the plain coconut water taste was just terrible! Turns out, I wasn't buying the right brand. My favorite is Zico (available here and at Whole Foods - it is NOT sold at conventional grocery stores, at least not that I've seen). This brand is smooth, not too nutty and not too bitter. By far the most drinkable brand I've ever tasted.

Strawberry-Basil MojitNO
- 3 to 4 fresh strawberries per drink you're making
- 2 FRESH basil leaves per drink you're making
- 2 to 3 FRESH mint leaves per drink you're making
- Zico coconut water
- 1 can lemon lime soda

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In a small bowl, rip up the basil and mint leaves and add the strawberries after you've removed the tops. Muddle the berries and the herbs until mushy. In a tall glass, add ice and the muddled berry mixture. Fill about 1/2 to 2/3 full with coconut water, and top off with the lemon lime soda. Mix together to distribute the ingredients. Enjoy with a paper straw to help filter out the berries and herbs or drink straight from the glass to get bits in your sips (it enhances the flavor!)

Peach Bellini MimNOsa
I'm at it again and I'm still not sorry. This is by far the easiest drink to make, so if the others were a tad too labor intensive for you (especially with no fun boozy benefits!) than this is more your speed. Two ingredients and one step. This pregnancy has made me in love with any and all things peach flavored, but you could easily use traditional orange juice or ruby red grapefruit juice too.

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Again, the QUALITY of the ingredients is key when you're not using alcohol. Do not buy cheap, processed junk that's only 10% juice and expect it to taste good! Save that for alcohol when you won't even notice it after your first drink anyway. Better yet, cut that garbage from your life. If it's only 10% juice, what the heck is the rest of it? Fake sugar and water that they're charging you an arm and a leg for. But I digress, back to the mimNOsa.

Peach Bellini MimNOsa
- DRY sparkling apple or pear cider
- 100% peach juice (or orange or grapefruit)

Get a champagne glass, fill it 1/3 full with juice and top it off with the sparkling cider. Boom! Mocktail express. This is an excellent option if you're expecting but haven't told anyone yet - nobody will know it's sparkling cider and not champagne. In the same vein, this is the perfect baby shower drink option for the mama-to-be and enables you to still serve the other guests real champagne. It's also a great brunch option if you've got a long list of things to do after brunch that a few mimosas will inhibit.

Just because you can't or don't want to consume alcohol doesn't mean you're stuck drinking water or soda! These fun mocktails are the best of summer booze-free flavors! If you're entertaining, they're great to impress guests and you could make some mocktail style and some traditional style by adding vodka to the Bubbly Bloody Mary, rum to the Strawberry-Basil MojitNO and champagne to the Peach Bellini MimNOsa. Just be sure to clearly label which drinks are virgin and which are traditional for your guests.