Monday Morning Favorites…

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Happy Monday Friends! It’s going to be over 60 today!! Hip hip hooray. We are super pumped, so I’m closing my computer for the day and we’re hitting the park. Of course not before we all admire how adorable Rowan is in her first school picture. Omgosh. I die. Hope you all have a great day!!

Here are a few of my favorite items and posts from around the internet this past week…
1. Dresses that must get in my closet for the summer. White, Red and another white. Plus, I think it’s meant to be- just look at the name of these sandals.

2. How super cool is this?!? So excited for Rubyellen.

3. The most worn item in my closet. So simple, yet so awesome.

4. Not gonna lie. Ohdeardrea is probably one of my most favorite blogs. Ever. Love her. Love this post on blogging.

5. What color Saltwaters would you choose for yourself? I’m partial to the tan & the red.

6. How delicious does this drink look? Strawberry blood orange limeade! Love the photography as well.

7. The absolute most perfect spring coat! Love the hood.

8. So happy to hear the news about baby number two for Sydney! Also, so excited for Indiana and the birth of Lucy. Love reading her birth stories. I’m always crying and laughing all at the same time.

9. Did you know the LOFT carries swimsuits? They are totally adorable and flattering for ladies (me!) who don’t want to try to wear a teen suit from Target. Also, I’m kind of obsessing over this romper. I always forget how much I like the LOFT. I got all of my summer shorts there last year. Love them.

10. 2 of my favorite fashion posts over the past 2 weeks. Always love Julie (duh!) and love Bridget’s large red beads.

11. This blowup donut pool float is about the cutest thing ever!

12. Totally touched (and a crying mess) by Mandi’s heartfelt post about having cancer. What a journey! So much love for her.

13. How pretty is the back of this sports bra? Love the straps on this purple one as well- perfect for low impact exercise. When the temperatures change I start itching for some new running gear. Aren’t these shoes and running capris awesome?

14. Totally inspired by Lauren’s meal prep posts! So helpful for eating healthy for the week.

Clean Eats | Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

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After getting tons of questions about what I’ve been eating this month (and lots of jokes about twigs and berries), I decided I would start a series called “Clean Eats”. I hope to share some yummy, clean (nothing processed), and filling recipes you can easily make at home. Last fall Panera had a limited time Squash soup. Oh man! It was so yummy. I am assuming it was high in calories with cream and sugar. It sure was delicious though. Since I stated this cleanse, I have been craving some sort of warm “comfort food”. I decided to try my hand at making my own squash soup that would fit into the restrictions of the cleanse. This soup is hands down one of the best things I have ever tasted. It is so yummy! I have made it every week for the past 4 weeks. If the cold weather keeps sticking around here in the northeast, you can safely assuming I will keep cooking this soup. I made some homemade tortilla chips as well for something to dip in the soup. Super easy!

Ingredients:
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 large apple, peeled and diced (i’ve used a few types of red apples as well as a granny smith one time too)
1/2 onion, diced (I used a purple onion, yellow would work well too)
2 cups water
2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp salt
Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Spread out butternut squash on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon. I sort of use my hands to toss them around to coat evenly.
3. Roast in oven for about 30 mins.
4. While butternut squash is roasting, add coconut oil to a large pot and heat on medium-high heat. Add onion, apples and curry powder. Stir to mix and sauté together for about 10 mins, or until soft.
5. Add water and almond milk
6. When roasting is done, add butternut squash to mixture. Stir to combine. Add salt.
7. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until creamy and mixed well. I am sure a blender or food processor could handle this step as well.
8. Serve topped with some fresh parsley and pepitas.

For the tortilla chips:
We used Ezekiel tortillas (found in freezer section). We love this brand because their breads are made with only whole ingredients and use sprouted grains.
1. Cut into triangles. Line on a baking sheet. Dust with a bit of salt and spices of your choice. I usually add a bit of chili powder and cumin.
2. Bake at 350 for about 8-10 mins

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I think Rowan has taken notice to all the cooking going on around here lately. She has been wanting to help a lot and asking to bake or “make soup” almost everyday. I love having her help out. We got these awesome (awesome!) foam blocks/step stools that the girls can’t seem to get enough of. They are the perfect height for Rowan to reach the counter, and the most fun toy in the house right now. I wish we had a whole toy room full of bObles. Thanks ModernMini!

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IMG_2800^^ Rowan making “soup”. This game entertains her for like an hour. I just give her a ton of little dishes with random ingredients and of course some pink water and she cooks it all up into a very yummy soup.

IMG_2857^^ and a picture of Finley just ’cause.

Finley’s overall are from Target | Highchair from Boon | Moccasins from Freshly Picked | Headband from Little Hip Squeaks | Llama by Jellycat (gift from Auntie Amy)

Hey! Remember us? | And some thoughts on Balancing It All

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Whew! It’s been a while. I feel like I blinked my eyes and 2 weeks pasted. I didn’t mean to stop blogging there for a bit but sometimes it just happens. I posted a picture on instagram last week talking about balance. I’m pretty sure this idea of finding balance is somewhat of a myth. A lie and pressure we put on ourselves (especially as Moms) that we must achieve it. We are told to find time to get it all done. We have to find the “balance” of it all. You NEED to have the time to take care of kids, clean, cook, work, be a good wife, friend, mother and make sure you find time to do things for yourself. Seriously? Who has the time to do all of that and or do it well? I think the thing with balance is that it’s constantly changing as life changes. For me that looks different every week. It’s the ebb and flow of life. Some weeks somethings take more time and energy than others. Sometimes, I can blog or paint every day and some days, weeks, or months, there’s just not so much time. But that’s ok. We don’t need to feel guilty over that. Whatever your hobby or love is doesn’t mean you have to have time to do it everyday or you fail at life. You can still take care of yourself and be happy when other things just take more of your time. It’s a season. Things will change. These tiny girls won’t be tiny for very long. Everyday they are becoming more independent and time is freed up.

For me my top priorities are 1. God 2. Kev 3. the girls 4. others (friends, family, helping others) 5. everything else. I will always make sure these things are in check before I start trying to fit in other things. Am I perfect at keeping my priorities straight? No! Of course not, but I do try. I feel like we have a happier life, family, marriage when they are. Most days that is all I have time for, but that’s ok. We have a lot of fun in our family. I wouldn’t change that. I don’t have a nanny, or daycare or even family in the area. Anyways, I am not really sure where I am going here. I just wanted to encourage you ladies not to feel guilty when you don’t have time to get it all done. Putting more effort into one thing can only mean it will suffer somewhere else. That’s life. It has nothing to do with you not being about to balance everything. We all have a lot on our plates and we are doing the best we can!

High fives for everyone!

Here are a few photos from my phone over the past few weeks- it’s about all I’ve had time for.

running ^^Training season has started. There is a half and full marathon for us this spring. You can follow along on instagram for running tips and trick with hashtag #runwithjenloveskev

sickbaby^^Poor Finley. She’s been battling such a terrible cold.

matesofstate^^Kev and I got to go on a date to see Mates of State play a super intimate show at Berklee in Boston. It was such a fabulous night!

finley ^^I started a silly hashtag for Finley called #funfactsaboutfinley on instagram

hockey^^Hockey games and Mickey LIVE!

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javas^^A weekend away in Rochester. Kev was speaking at a church conference about the importance of design and having a strong brand. We luckily got to tag along and hang out with my sister.

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pool^^Hotel pool all to ourselves.

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butterfly^^Pretty sure there is nothing cooler for kids than the Strong Museum in Rochester.

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Life is good and we are living it!

My Everyday Style | 03.17.14

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Do you have a pair of boyfriend style jeans? I’ve always liked them on everyone else but never thought I could pull them off. I am way to attached to my skinny leg jeans anyways. After getting a fun gift card in the mail for a free pair of Madewell jeans, I decided to go for it though. Why not try something a little different?

They are super comfy and cute with flats. I’m thinking I might be wearing these more often than I thought. What’s your favorite way to style your boyfriend jeans?

Kev and I got to spend a whole day (A WHOLE DAY!!) on a date on Saturday. The girls played with their Grandparents and we headed into Boston. Oh my heart- it definitely belongs in Boston. We got to walk to all our favorite spots, try out some new restaurants that helped us stay on track with the cleanse, and then we went to a super intimate Mates of State show at Berklee. It was so fun! They ended the show covering Miley Cyrus with a bit of Frozen mixed in. Crazy Awesome. Love them!

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OUTFIT DETAILS:

Top: Target
Rip & Repair Jeans: c/o Madewell
Red Bow Flats: Target
Personalized Druzy Initial Necklace (I have a “K” for Kev): c/o Wrenn Jewelry
Glasses: c/o Bonlook
Delicate Gold Bracelet: Stitch Fix

Our 40 Day Food Cleanse

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Well, we are a week and a half into our food cleanse for Lent. I kind of want to jump up and down and shout how much I love it!! Of course I have some weak moments where I want to shove my face with 10 of the Trader Joe’s Donut-O’s that are sitting on my counter right now, but for the most part it’s been so yummy, fun and doable.

Like I mentioned in my Lent post, we are following Drea’s cleanse e-guide. Basically it’s all vegan, no (or very little) processed and no sugar. It’s not about counting calories, or starving yourself. It’s about resetting, feeling healthy and learning about what we are putting into our bodies. Aside from the cleanse, eating clean really is something we should challenge ourselves to do more often. Start by trying to eat clean even 1 or 2 days a week.

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Here are a few things I’ve learned about eating clean this past week…

1. It does not cost more to eat all whole foods.
I was sure our grocery bill was going to go through the roof. LIE. When you cut out all the other processed food you normal buy (condiments, bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, etc…), you really don’t spend more when just buying veggies and fruit. Especially when you are heading the the grocery store with a meal plan and a list of the exact things you need. It also helps when you try to buy local and what is in season. Which is pretty much nothing here in the northeast, but oooh I can’t wait for the summer.

2. It does take time and thought.
It’s been pretty easy to eat clean, but it does take some effort. Every Sunday I sit down, look over the recipes and browse a few blogs for ideas. Then I come up with a meal plan for the week. I’m talking breakfast, lunches and dinners. I find my weakest moments are when I am hungry, without a plan and no allowable snacks. Those are the moments that have me justifying in my head that it’s ok to eat the Inner Peas from Trader Joes that I brought with us for the girls. After I grocery shop, I spend one evening cleaning, chopping and organizing all the food. That way when I am hungry I will have some homemade hummus and carrots all ready to go. Plan ahead. Plan filling and yummy meals. Eat often.

3. Dishes.
It might be just us, but whoa baby! we have a lot more dishes. Thankful for a dishwasher and a handsome husband that willing does the dishes.

4. Overnight Oats are gross.
Ha! It might be just me but the cold texture of the oats just doesn’t work for me. I much prefer cooking them and topping them with a dash of unsweetened almond milk, some cinnamon, hemp seeds and a ton of fresh fruit. *edit: Umm I didn’t know you could heat up overnight oats. Whoops! Trying that tomorrow.

5. Be adventurous
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “well, what can I eat then?” leaving you feeling like there is nothing to eat. Truth be told, there are tons of things you can eat. Try something new, even if in the past you thought you didn’t like it. Try new vegetables and fruit you’ve never eaten before. Find some recipes that excite you. Remember you can always substitute things to make a recipe work for you. I found a soup recipe I wanted to try, but it had a few things that didn’t work with the cleanse. I added water instead of veggie broth, almond milk instead of heavy cream and cut the oil way, way down and used coconut oil instead. The soup was DELICIOUS!! We have had it twice already.

6. Habits take a while to break.
The very first day I found myself with a mouthful of waffle pieces that I ate off of Finley’s highchair. Whoops. I was so used to eating the leftover bits and pieces of what they eat all day. Over the past week I have been more conscience about what I put in my mouth (that’s what she said- sorry. had to.) Although this morning I may have licked my fingers after a drop of Rowan’s maple syrup got on them. Oooh Sugar!! Speaking of sugar… After a few days and some good mental review over why I am doing this in the first place, I can pass the bag of M&M’s a lot easier than before. It really makes you realize the lies we teach ourselves that we “need” certain things.

7. Have fun!
I am actually having a lot of fun doing this! It makes me proud at the end of the day thinking about the good things I’ve put into my body. It will most definitely be something that last much, much longer than the 40 days. Clean eating has taken a hold of me! I am looking forward to adding a few things back once this particular food cleanse is done. I miss plain greek yogurt and some bread here and there (pizza!) but overall this cleanse has already really made an impact on our household.

You can buy Drea’s 30 Day Cleanse E-Guide Here.

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*For those of you that are asking the top dish is just a bowl that I put a handful of spinach in then layered on top: roasted sweet potatoes, roasted beets, roasted chickpeas, carrot sticks, red quinoa, avocado, some hemp seeds and then added a big ol’ dollop of homemade hummus. Let me tell you… it was DELICIOUS!

Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev
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