Peanut Butter Grits
Friday, January 20, 2017 12:08PM
By Mellisa Pendleton

When Kailyn was little(my oldest and she was the only one at that point), we would cook/bake all the time. We'd make cupcakes, brownies, cake, just about anything. I never cared about the mess. I still don't, but as time has gone on and there are more mouths to feed, it has become a race for time to make sure breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served before meltdowns occur. So all that wonderful memory making has again, been put on hold. I'm not sure how that evolution happens, but it did for us. I was browsing a Food Magazine at my husband's eye appointment the other day when I came across this article about a year of cupcakes. It was the cutest ideas how to incorporate a cupcake a month with a sort of theme. I'm not gonna lie, I pulled the article from that magazine. I feel ashamed. Sort of. ;) Anyhow, I want to get back to cooking with my kids again. And what better way to start than by cupcakes? I'm obviously well aware that I am currently on the Whole 30 and not going to be able to enjoy the cupcakes per say, but I can sure make some lasting memories though. 

Beware: Another IG share. I can't help it. I have found the coolest people on IG to follow. Even more so than any other social platform. Emmy with Easy Toddler Meals has one heck of a following and there is good reason. Her IG stories are incredible. I do believe she may have super human powers. She has two small boys and she still manages to cook extremely healthy delicious meals each day for them. Did I mention she still breastfeeds too? I know right? Super human. Anyhow, has this great website, but I really love her IG feed. Her boys eat everything. It's pretty impressive. I think not only is the food amazing, but I think they eat so well because it's all they have known. She has done an amazing job incorporating every texture at a very young age. Anyhow, I'm in love. 

Do you know what's funny? My daughter still loves to cook. Bake really. I do believe it was all that cooking we did when she was little. She just mentioned the other day that she would like a cookbook of all the things we have made that she loves so she can continue to cook at college. Oh my momma heart. 

xoxo Mellisa 

Thursday, January 19, 2017 9:38AM
By Mellisa Pendleton

Yesterday after I picked up Ella from MMO(Mother's Morning Out), I decided to surprise her. Now normally when I say I have a surprise for her, it has always been a little trinket I got while out earlier that morning, but I wish you could have seen her face when she found out what it was. We were going to have a picnic lunch outside! Her face lit UP. It was so nice yesterday and I knew a sure fire way to promote less stuff and more special times was focusing on what was important. Not things. Time together. I made our lunch, we took a big blanket outside, and had our lunch on the grass. She takes a bite of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I made for her, and with a big ol' sandwich filled grin she says "thank you momma." Heart melted. I(maybe you do too) get so wrapped up in everyday tasks that stepping back and just focusing on them for awhile seems like a distant memory. 

We left our dirty dishes on that blanket and she got into the trampoline. Because of my back I've stayed away from that death trap, but yesterday I felt God's nudge to get in with her. Now I didn't jump, but I did try and catch her every time she ran her little butt past me. She giggled with delight and I smiled from knowing that I was creating memories. Don't let me fool you though, we got home about 2 hours past her bedtime last night and this momma turns into mean mommy after 8:30pm. I do. I can't help it. I'm ready for no one to touch me, need me, or crawl all over me. I distinctly remember saying to Scott last night as she was inconsolable crying while I was trying to get her pjs on as fast as I could..."Scott, I'm done. I'm done. Mean mommy is coming." I laugh now about it. He scooped her up and off to bed she went. Ahhhhh Motherhood you wonderful, exhausting, energy sucking dragon. lol

I have been following The Dad Lab on IG for some time, but never have gone to his actual website. This morning I did. OMGosh, you guys, this man is crazy amazing. He's a full time dad based out of London and his videos on the activities he does with his boys is just incredible. More science, more fun, more mess, more learning, less electronic use. You can find a ridiculous amount of actives here at The Dad Lab

I plan on doing a lot of these activities throughout this year. I used to do a lot of these types of things with the kids, but like everything else...time gets away and life gets busy. NO MORE! 

Happy Thursday 

xoxo Mellisa 


Monday, January 16, 2017 6:28PM
By Mellisa Pendleton

Before I start this post, I want to reiterate how important it is to have an emergency fund. This afternoon as my husband was vacuuming something, he was rolling up the up the cord a little too hard when the electrical part of the cord(where you hook it into the wall for power?) hit him in his eye. I can't make this stuff up you guys. He knew he had hurt himself so off we went to the closest eye specialist near our house. Yep, he scratched the crap out of it so we had to get antibiotic eye drops and some eye drops for lubricant. The moral of the prepared. Things will happen. Now to the acupuncture appointment. 

Well, I'm hooked. This was the first acupuncture appointment I have ever had and it was amazing. I think it may have a lot to do with how knowledgeable Shay Cline from Essentials Circles of Life was, but seriously amazing. We began with a thorough history. Girls, he even asked me how my libido was lol. I was open and honest and he had amazing bed side manor. No, I never felt any pain. A strange rush of something came when he was giving a treatment to my pain side, but nothing that hurt at all. In fact, I even liked the experience better than a traditional massage. And that says a lot (hahaha). The facility itself it very relaxing, easy to find, and you can tell that the employees actually really care about what they do here. They are very passionate about it in fact. It makes me passionate about it in return. The entire process took about 2 hours only because of the intake information he obtained and a normal visit is usually around an hour. 

He was never pushy about returning, he never tried to pressure me into anything I wasn't comfortable with, and get this he listened. Really listened. 

I told you guys before that this year is about Self Care for me. I really want to make an effort to take care of myself. Mind, Body, & Spirit. I feel like this was a great way to start for sure. 

Update on randoms: Still waiting to sell our house. Prayers appreciated. I just finished up my first 3 days of the Whole 30 and so far I haven't killed anyone(lol). I'm sure the fall is coming like they say it does, but I haven't had it happen yet. Best thing for me is just preparing myself for the next day. Already having an idea of what I'm going to make has helped a lot. The sugar dragon is still there. In fact, last night, after everyone was asleep and the house was quite, I desperately wanted one of the ice cream sandwiches in the freezer that my mom so loving brought over. I didn't. I did grab an apple and a spoon full of almond butter then just went to bed. I felt like it was better to just head on to bed then have that stupid sugar dragon whispering at me ;) I have kept up with every single thing I have eaten so far so instead of doing one massive Whole 30 blog post, I think I'm going to break it up to weekly updates. Keep a look out. We filled up the new car with gasoline this week and it only cost us $33.00. Before the truck would have cost well over 60, so we're super happy. 

It's really hard to plan a budget for next month with all the job changing, etc. we're getting ready to be hit with so I'm just taking it day by day for now. Once I know exactly what his take home pay will be, I'll do a really extensive example of our budget again. I'll even show you super specifics. It helps me, so I hope it helps someone else. 

Mrs. Frugalwoods had a GREAT blog post about a reader case study. Trust me, go look here: Frugalwoods. I found it fascinating. I think because Audrey(The reader case study individual) laid it all out there. She didn't hide what her Target runs were running, how much they actually bring in, or what she refused to budge on. I like that :)

xoxo Mellisa 

Friday, January 13, 2017 8:06PM
By Mellisa Pendleton

Back last year I did a Whole 30 challenge. I got about 2 weeks into it when life took hold. BUT, during those 2 weeks, I went through sugar withdrawals, headaches, and then something crazy happened...I started to actually feel good. Not just like oh yeah that's nice. I'm taking about no more diarrhea(yeah, I went there), not so sluggish all the time, my joints felt better. So why did I stop if I felt so good? Because making good food choices is so freakin hard. Chocolate, warm bread, and apple pie taste amazing. Well, they do :) But, and now here comes the big but...I feel like crap. I went to the Orthopedic doc today and had to get on the scale. The straight from the depths of hell scale. I threw my scale away a year ago when I thought it was wrong. I mean, it had to be wrong right? giggle. I also love elastic. LOVE elastic. So, although I knew that I probably gained some weight, I had no idea that that dreaded scale would actually read that number. I wanted to vomit. No because of the number per say, but the fact I have let myself get to a point where my joints ache. People I am 35 YEARS OLD!!!!! I'm not a geriatric. My joints should not be painful all the time!!!! I already had a goal this year to really find myself again, and that includes self care. Food used for nourishing my body is part of that self care journey. It is. 

Anyone ever watch food documentaries? Yes, I'm a geek and proud of it. I LOOOVVVEEEE watching food documentaries. Couple of my favorites are Food Inc., GMO OMG, Hungry for Change, & a personal favorite Forks Over Knives. I could list even more that I've watched, but those are definitely in the top ten for me. The problem is, I watch an amazing documentary, get all pumped, and then after a couple weeks...the sugar demon starts screaming at me. I love sugar, but it literally is killing us as a population. I honestly think if I could just get past that 2 week mark...I'd have control over it. So...that's my plan(again). 

"You can fail so very often. But you are not a failure until you give up." Anonymous 

There is so much truth to that statement. I often times will be so very hard on myself for giving up. The thing is...I don't give up. I try and try again. 

So, I'm back on the Whole 30 starting tomorrow, am going to give it my very ALL, and will document what I eat, signs, symptoms, how I'm feeling, what changes I'm noticing, how am I sleeping, all the nitty gritty things. I will come back in 30 days and give my full experience. I'd love to post about this daily, but I'm sure not everyone wants to see pics of each meal I ate, what random angry thoughts I have that day about not eating sugar, and how my bowel issues are doing. So, I'll save all those great details(lol) to the end of the month. 

A MRI has been scheduled for next week to see what specifically is going on with the right side of my back, but he said I'm doing everything right at this moment(i.e.: PT, ice, stretching, Yoga, etc.). He gave me a pack of steroids to see if we could pull some inflammation down from the inside and some pain medication in case I need it. I have a feeling I already know what the results will say and I'm mentally prepared for that right now. Lets see if I can do some healing from some serious good nutrition as well. <3

I took some of our grocery budget this week to buy a few items to aid this month. I'm already super conscious about what I cook with, but it's nice to have a few things that make this process a little easier. 

Tessemae has crazy good products. I used their cracked pepper dressing the last time I did the Whole 30 and it makes it sooooooo much easier to add it to your salad quickly than making your own compliant one. I really is. Even better is they have an actual Whole 30 Pack now. 

Something else I added this time was Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. It's expensive, but good products tend to be. I've been following them for awhile on IG, but once I whole heartedly decided to go another round on the program again...I started to dive into more research with the peptides. I'm intrigued so I'm gonna try it. And yes, it's Whole 30 compliant. 

Besides those new purchases, I will add some known anti-inflammatory herbs(turmeric, garlic, ginger, etc.), foods(fish, eggs, every single vegetable I can cook), and young living oils(Copaiba, Clove, Frankincense, Grapefruit, the list goes on and on.) Really cool post here about Essential oils and Inflammation here: The Peaceful Haven

Lets do this! 

xoxo Mellisa 

Thursday, January 12, 2017 9:24PM
By Mellisa Pendleton

We had some changes happen this week. You can read about those here: Changes Are Coming. My husband, starting Monday, will have to drive 40 miles one way to work every day. That may seem like a little to some and a lot to others, but the point I'm making is that we had to make some decisions on transportation this week. He's had a "company" car for a long long time. Now, I don't mean some fancy car that his company gives him, but lets just say a car to help keep our city safe(understanding me?). He's real finicky about the public knowing his occupation. Can you blame him? So much hatred against people who serve and protect. I'm sure you're following now ;) Anyhow, his non-work car has been this 1999 old black truck. It has served us well. It has also been paid off for some time now, so having to come to a decision on exactly what he was going to drive to and from his active orders military job had to be discussed and done rather quickly. He sold that truck in like 3 days. No joke. He knew for a fact that any dealership wouldn't give him much as a trade in so he answered a million calls once he put it up for sale. I must say he was really patient. The constant phone ringing would have drove me insane. We thought about just keeping it and not having any down payment, but we chose to have a nice amount to put down. He found 2 vehicles he was interested in and so off we went today to Charlotte to go look. With a down payment in our hands, a vision of a vehicle that not only would last through the active orders, but could be used as my next vehicle when my poor mom mobile(van) would finally blow up, we headed out. I love how much we both agree on want we needed vs. wanted. I've never been a girl who needed a new, shiny, all the extras car. I wanted a car that could take the chicken nuggets being thrown on the seats and it not completely ruin it if we ever decided to upgrade. Please note that what I mean by upgrade is if my car ever decided that it was no longer going to get me from point A to point B, I could at least trade it in. 

He has researched everyday since he found out. Great gas mileage, great trade in value, low miles, etc. We opted for a good old Subaru. It's funny. That's what my dad drove for as long as I can remember. He drove that piece of crap until all that was left was to sell the parts. The guy at the dealership was telling us a story about how just last week someone came in with $22,000 cash and paid for his 15 year old a new car. No, she didn't even have a license yet. We snickered and looked at each other. Scott proceeds to tell the salesman "wow, our daughter just got her license and we bought her a $2,000 car." I couldn't help but laugh. You see, she has already hit two mailboxes and no longer has a passenger side door handle. lol Like I've said before though, we all parent differently. <3

We had appointments with two different dealerships, but opted for the nicer of the two cars only because my husband caught some funky things with the first vehicle. 

Anyhow, that purchase will of course alter our budget, but with the new position, we'll be able to pay that car off faster than we ever could have before. Still, I had this sucky feeling even having to finance part of the cost. The thing order to be able to do his job, he has to get there first. I remember talking with a neighbor once about car payments and such. It's so funny how differently we all think for sure. I have one friend who puts what a car payment would be into her savings every month. That way when it comes times that she needs a new vehicle, she can pay cash and never have a car payment. I have another friend who states "we will always have a car payment. It's just the way things are."

I can tell you that if we would have had the entire amount in savings to pay for that car in full today...we would have. No doubt in my mind. That's what we're striving for though. To live like no one else so that we can give like no one else(hello Dave Ramsey!) I'd love one day to instead of trade my car in, give it away. Maybe to someone who desperately wants to get a job, but public transportation doesn't come to where they live, or a single mom who just would love to go to the grocery store without taking the bus. Yes, guys, while we take for granted even having a vehicle, for some people it would change their whole lives. 

I must say, Ella(our 4 year old) did unbelievably wonderful today. Wonder if it has anything to do with her siblings not being there? ;) Or maybe it had to do with me charing every single electronic we owned so that she was occupied(don't worked).  She was patient, kind, didn't pitch any fits, and was quite the hysterical little person today. We left this house at 9 am and didn't walk thru the door till 3:30. Yeah, she was good. Heck, I was whining more than she was about being hungry lol. 

Also, can we talk about this weather here? It snowed this week and it was almost 70 degrees  today. You can be sure my children went outside this afternoon. 

I have an appointment with my Orthopedic Surgeon tomorrow. The pain has just gotten the best of me, and has had a opening come in so I took it. I just can't go through another 6 months of constant back pain...i can't. So, my hopes is that a steroid injection will help relieve some of the pain and I'm going to beg for a MRI just to make sure I don't have another disc that is pinching off the nerve(90% blockage of the left side before surgery 2 years ago). I'd like to think that I have a high threshold for pain(and I think I honestly do), but like I've said before... if I don't take care of myself, then the whole house suffers. 

xoxo Mellisa 

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