Present over Perfect

This book.

This book was not what I expected.

I've never read a book by Shauna Niequest before. I didn't know what to expect.

I assumed I would receive a to do list and steps on how to fix my chaotic life. I thought she would give me details on how to be present and easy steps to giving up the idea of perfection.

What I got were mini heartfelt stories. I related to so many of them. I laughed and cried reading them. There were a few that punched me in the gut it hit so close to home.

We recently brought home baby number three. I'm realizing the importance of my role in their lives. Motherhood is the toughest hood you will ever walk through. I am responsible for so much. I'm not talking about cooking and cleaning. I'm talking about helping shape and define the character of these little people.

I want you to read Present over Perfect. You need to experience her words first hand. They will change you. I made a few notes as I worked my way through the book and I'm going to share a few of them with you.


What are YOU going to do?

Putting an emphasis on YOU completely changes the dynamic of the question. When your calendar is stacked and all you want is a moment to chat with a friend, what are YOU going to do? Usually the answer is TRY to meet up another time. TRYING is getting me nowhere. If I "try", I will never see my friends. I must DO.

Put up some chairs. Take things off of your plate. The concept is simple. In order to do more of what we want to do, we have to do less of the things we don't. We must simplify.

To add we must subtract.


How many times do I say this out loud or in my head? Or discuss said friend with my husband.

"She has it so easy. Must be nice."

Poor, Poor Me.

I read this chapter and thought "Oh crap, she nailed me." She has my number. I do this more than I care to admit. A friend tells me they are doing this or that and I immediately wonder "why not me?"

The truth is we don't know what anyone is really dealing with. We can't assume or make judgments on the short stories they choose to share or snipits we read on Facebook.

We also have the power to make changes in our lives if we want to live life a certain way.

If you aren't living how you want to live, STOP. MAKE A CHANGE.

I am making mental notes every time I think "must be nice" about someone else. It is likely I want this for myself. I need to figure out how to get it.


Not giving up.

Not running away.

Staying put.

Sticking it out.


I want to teach my kids this. Brave isn't always a BIG thing. Sometimes being brave is simply doing the RIGHT thing.


 I struggle with my identity.

At 35 I don't have confidence in who I truly am.

I think I've spent so many years trying to be someone that everyone likes I lost myself along the way.

I'm giving myself permission to be who I am. To say what I want to say. Act how I want to act.

Have an opinion about me? Keep it to yourself.

This is freeing.

When we stop worrying so much about other people's opinions WE BECOME FREE.

Find yourself. Figure out who you are.

Then be that.


This was my favorite "chapter".


That is a major word.

I really thought about what I want to leave for my children.

How do I want them to remember me?

What will they say about me when I leave this earth?

What stories will they share with their children and grandchildren?

Right now, today, this scares me.

It makes me sad.

I don't think I would like the stories they have right now.

I'm not a bad mom, but I can do better.

I will do better.


"It's all right here" ties in to the LEGACY chapter.

Giving your best self to everyone else and letting your family have the leftovers.

Leftovers aren't good.

They are dried up and over cooked.

Feed your family first. Give them your best.

This is hard to do. I struggle with this the most. Especially in this season of life with little ones.

I know I want to be everything for everyone. I want to help all the people.

I can't do that. My family needs the best that I have. It isn't fair they get me when I'm tired, worn out, and completely cooked.





This book has me thinking about my greater purpose. It has made me realize the important task I have been given to raise my children. I am the only one who can do this. They have been given to me.

No pressure! 

These kids deserve a mom who is present. They deserve my best.

What were your favorite takeaways?

Join me in our discussion group to share your thoughts on leave a comment. 
I would love to hear from you! 

Present over Perfect



This summer Landon and I are spending a lot of time together in the kitchen. We watch a lot of cooking shows together and I think they are rubbing off on him. One of our favorites is "Master Chef Juniors". Those kids are his age or younger, and very inspiring. If they can cook, why can't he? Sharp knives still make me nervous.

He got this map of the world on the last day of school. I guess his teacher wanted everything GONE. In an attempt have some sort of continuing education this summer I suggested we learn about what people in different countries eat. We can mark them off one by one on the map. Cooking was already an interest and I am happy because we are learning about different cultures and countries too.

I thought we would start off with something easy. I don't call myself an expert with European and Italian food, but I know how to whip up a good spaghetti!


There are quite a few pantry staples needed for Italian cuisine. One of which is OLIVE OIL. Look at all the recipes that require olive oil

I've learned a few things about what to look for when I'm out shopping for my EVOO. Did you know that different European countries produce different types of oils? Me either! If I want a fruity-nutty flavor look for a Spanish olive oil with a yellow color. Italian olive oil is a darker green and has more of an herb flavor. I had no idea about any of this. I just assumed oil is oil. They are all the same. 

When you choose a European Olive Oil you are getting years and years of tradition and knowledge. They know the best time to plant and to harvest.

The Flavor Your Life campaign has set out to help educate US consumers on purchasing Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They are backed by the European Union and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. You can learn more about this at

For our first European cooking lesson we made a delicious herb bread dip to go with our stuffed shells and cheese. One of my favorite things at Italian restaurants are the dishes of olive oil accompanied by a basket of bread. Get in my belly! And yes, I realize by having Landon help make this I cheated him on the practicing his knife skills. We will get there eventually y'all.


1 cup olive oil
3 tbsp fresh or dried herbs (any combination of basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme)
2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh garlic

Combine all ingredients and serve with an artisan bread of choice.

We used Zucchi brand as our EVOO of choice. They have been around for over 200 years and have been family owned for 7 generations. They are known for their high quality. I have to agree. It is delicious. You can learn more about their company and products at


What is your favorite dish to make with Olive Oil? Are you a fan as much as I am? 

** I received this product for free from Moms Meet ( to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links **



Two kids and one on the way this summer. I'm scared. I'm not afraid to admit that. I have two plans I'm working on.

Plan 1. Don't plan anything. Have absolutely zero expectations. Go with the flow and do what fits our fancy each day. The problem with this plan - fail to plan, plan to fail. I'm afraid by not planning anything I will be completely stressed out with two bored children while I'm nursing another.

No thanks.

Plan 2. Over plan. Have something planned for every day and keep everyone busy. The problem I see with this plan is over promising and under delivering.

I need to create some kind of hybrid solution. A loose list of summer ideas with no particular completion date. I've asked Landon to help me put together a summer bucket list of places to go and things to do. It is very interesting to see what he thinks will be a good time. Ha!

How much can we get done in 10 weeks?

What can we learn?

Where can we go?

Summer is for fun, adventures, family, sunshine, and relaxation.

I am going to have each one of us create our ultimate summer bucket list. I am personally going to make two different lists. One for what I want to learn and another list of where I want to take the kids and all I want to do. I will probably ask Landon to make two lists as well.

The learning list doesn't have to be boring or scholarly. I'm talking about learning how to swim the length of the pool, learning to dive, learn how to do origami, learn how to make slime, etc... Whatever you want to learn how to do big or small. The "learning" part will come in the research in finding out how to do it and creating the discipline to stick with it.

I created a quick summer bucket list sheet to keep track of our ideas. You can download your own copy below or make your own.


Here are a few things we came up with. Will we get to them all? Probably not. Remember, just a loose plan to keep summer entertaining. I just want to have ideas on those bored days when we are ready to lose our minds.

+ Strawberry picking
+ Try new foods
+ Make our own ice cream
+ Read 15 books (mine obviously)
+ Swim Swim Swim
+ Go to the beach
+ Learn Yoga
+ Learn Parkour (Landon of course)
+ Go fishing
+ Go campling

What are your summer plans? Any big adventures or small getaways? What do you want to learn this summer? I will be posting our lists in the Facebook Group for inspiration. Make sure you are there!



This is a sponsored post. I received a free copy of the book Oola for Women in return for an honest review of the book. All opinions are mine. Please see my disclosure. There are also affiliate links in this post.

The other day a friend posted a meme that I really resonated with. It was a photo of Cruella De Vil with her crazy eyes and hair, driving fiercely down the street. The caption read "Me trying to excel in my career, maintain a social life, drink enough water, exercise, text everyone back, stay sane, survive and be happy."

Does this sound like you? It is most certainly me. Every day is the struggle to do all the things and be everything to all the people. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. I alternate laughing and crying my way through.

What if I told you there was a way to work towards a more balanced life? That you can have less stress and more purpose?

I have your attention now, don't I?

A few years ago I discovered OOLA. I tapped into this system and I was finally able to get areas of my life moving in the right direction.

OOLA is the process of finding balance and growing in 
7 areas of your life. 

Family, Friends, Faith, Fitness, Finance, Fun, and Field. 

OOLA for Women was written with YOU in mind. This book is a compilation of stories from women sharing the same struggles we go through every day. Every story will give you courage, inspiration, motivation, and a feeling of solidarity. You are not alone.

OOLA for Women breaks down each of the 7 areas and teaches you how to grow in each one.

You will learn about the OOLA Blockers. These are the 7 things that will keep us from achieving our goals - fear, guilt, anger, self-sabotage, laziness, envy, and focus. You will also learn about OOLA Accelerators. The accelerators will push your dreams into overdrive - gratitude, love, discipline, integrity, passion, humility, and wisdom.

Do you want it all? 

A career, happy kids, good health, friends who feel valued, a partner who is cherished, and a growing faith that is bigger than everything?

I am learning how to let go of guilt, to stop self-sabotaging myself and become more disciplined. I can't wait for all of you to dig into this book, start pushing through all the things that are holding you back, and living life with the greatness you deserve.

Pick up your OOLA for Women book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble



I have been silent lately. I had really good intentions at the beginning of the year to write regularly. I had so many good intentions. Fortunately God had other plans. We have been blessed with one of the best surprises. I am so happy to announce we are expecting a beautiful baby girl this July.

Adam and I were in complete shock when we found out. We had our own plan for this summer. One that did not involve adding another baby to family. I feel completely unprepared for a third child. I'm not convinced yet I am a mom that can handle more than two kids. It is a little overwhelming for me. I'm excited, but I'd be lying if I wasn't stressed out over it. I'm doing my best to trust God and know
that he has my back when I can't do it on my own.

This is going to be an adventure. We live in a two bedroom townhouse. I will do a full tour soon to show you how we make it work. It isn't easy. I know we will look back on these days and appreciate the closeness.

Any advice for adding baby number three? How did you transition your family? How did you manage your time?



Here is another craft from the past! I am still making notebooks and tear pads this way. It is so simple. Last Valentine's Day I whipped up 24 of these for Landon's class to make coupon books for their parents. It was so much fun!


The creative company American Crafts sent me some golden goodies to help me create something to share with you.

I am a little obsessed with note pads, spiral notebooks, journals, and anything else that you can makes notes in. I never leave a store without cruising through the office supply section. It is a guilty pleasure, but give me a notebook with a pretty cover and I am in love.

I am forever jotting down ideas and making lists. I actually like to have one notebook per subject or interest. Weird? Maybe, but I do know it means a lot of notebooks. They aren't cheap y'all! At least not the ones with the pretty covers.

So, I decided to make my own.

If you are like me and spend WAY too much money on paper goodies then this is the craft project for you. Save your pennies my friends and create your own note pads that will reflect your style.

I received some of the prettiest, golden, paper I have ever seen from American Crafts. The gold triangle cardstock is really on trend and was the perfect thickness for my little note pad.

 Plain Paper or Lined Paper (I used plain computer paper)
 American Crafts Cardstock (Gold Avalon)
 Binder Clips

First you need to cut your paper to size. I for the life of me could not find my paper trimmer so I tore mine by hand. I'm kind of glad I did. I think the torn look added some extra texture.

Once all of your paper is cut use your binder clips to hold everything together.

Next, take the rubber cement and apply an even layer on one side and let it dry. You may want to put something heavy to weigh it down while it dries.

Repeat the last step and add an extra coat of rubber cement for good luck.

Now you are all set to take as many notes as your heart desires.

I am so in love with this little project, borderline obsessed.

Next time, I am using the pretty gold polka dot paper (that is from American Crafts too).

For more information on American Crafts and all of their awesome products,
check out the links below.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by American Crafts. They sent me some cool products to test run and create something to share with all of you. All opinions are my own.



This post was initially posted a few years ago on my old blog Literally Inspired. We still make this dip all the time for parties and taco night. 

I highly recommend making this on Sunday night for the Super Bowl. It is sure to be a crowd favorite!


Football season is officially here. We thoroughly enjoyed yesterday's Redskin's game against the Saints. For a team that was predicted to only win 2 games, I think we did pretty good. I am not going to get too excited but I am looking forward to this season. 

During football season we really enjoy entertaining and eating. We probably just entertain so that we can eat to be honest. Over the next 16 weeks I plan on sharing with you all of my favorite, tried and true, football favorites.


2 8 oz packages of cream cheese
1 package of Purdue Southwest Chicken Strips (they are in the refrigerator section of your grocery store)
1 can of green chiles
1/4 cup taco seasoning
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 tablespoon sour cream


1. Soften cream cheese to room temperature and place in a bowl.

2. Add green chiles and sour cream and mix into sour cream. I use the liquid from the chilies to help soften the cream cheese.

3. Add taco season and mix well. I suggest using a fork verses a spoon.

4. Cut/Shred chicken and add to the mixture. You can also use a large can of white meat chicken for a more cost effective version. Or slow cook and shred whole chicken breasts.

5. Add shredded cheddar reserving a small portion to add after it bakes.

6. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until thoroughly heated.

7. Add remaining cheddar cheese and bake until golden brown.

You can thank me later.

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