Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Italian Sausage Pasta

Being married to a man that's part Italian is a wonderful thing because that means we eat a ton of Italian dishes.  Which is totally fine by me!  Not good for my waistline, but everything in moderation, right?!

This Johnsonville Zesty Italian Sausage has quickly become a family favorite and makes enough for at least 5-7 servings, if not more.  When I was pregnant with Bailey we made this meal once a week and it was known that I would get to eat all of the leftovers.  I love it so much and my girls do too, and they are semi-picky eaters.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Ingredients (the way we like it):
1 package of Italian Mild Sausage links (I've found that the Publix version is less spicy which is perfect for my girls)
3/4 package of angel hair pasta
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian diced tomatoes
1 can (10 1/4 oz) chicken broth
2 cups broccoli chopped

1. Remove casing from sausage and cut into one inch pieces.  Cook all the way through until brown.  Remove sausage and keep warm.

2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
3. In a large sauce pan, saute the onion in olive oil until tender, about 2 minutes.

4. Add broccoli and saute an additional 2 minutes.

5. Blend in garlic, tomatoes, sausage, prepared pasta and chicken broth.  Saute about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

We always sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.  Bon appetit!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mothers are such special people in our lives and we should honor them more than once a year, in my opinion.  However, one day is specifically dedicated to moms and that day is quickly approaching.  Before Sunday, May 13 arrives, I've rounded up some unique gifts any mom is sure to love.

First up is my mom's #1 wish list item - the Magnolia Table - Joanna Gaines Cookbook.  My mom, like so many other women, is obsessed with Chip and Joanna Gaines.  I gave her Chip Gaines' book, Capital Gaines, for Christmas and she loved it so I know she's bound to love this as well!  Also, Amazon has Joanna's book for $17.99 while I've seen it at higher prices at other retail stores.  Another reason why I love Amazon - great prices!

Next up is this gorgeous necklace, or any other handmade necklace, from my talented friend, AnnaBell.  I love being a cheerleader for my sweet friends and this sweet friend is definitely one you should check out.  Look up Wrapped in Wire on Instagram and gift your mom one of her gorgeous handmade necklaces.  I know this is on my wish list because they're so beautiful, unique and no two are the same!

Y'all, how gorgeous is this handbag!?  Such a stunning, one-of-a-kind statement piece for a dazzling evening out.  My father-in-law purchased this for my mother-in-law for her birthday and this is on my wish list as well.  So stunning!  I posted a similar one for my Valentine's Day Gift Guide from the same store.  Be sure to check out Faded Crown on Instagram for all of the latest fashion accessories and local friends, be sure to stop in and tell my friend, Jaime, hello!

Another unique item you should request for Mother's Day is a hand-painted, watercolor masterpiece from my dear friend, Allyson Watson.  She gifted me a beautiful piece as a host gift for our Galentine's Day party and I bought a pretty gold frame to show it off.  It's definitely one of my favorite pieces we have framed in our home.  Check out her Instagram page, Allyson Watson Watercolor.  She is so amazingly talented!  If you don't get this for Mother's Day, you need to purchase one for yourself asap.

The "IT" handbag of spring/summer is this adorable Bamboo Clutch.  What's great is they have a large and small version on Amazon and it has a 5-star rating!  Yes, please!  So many fashion bloggers rave over their expensive version, but I think this option would be just as great and it looks exactly the same.  So why not save a few bucks and buy some Beautycounter products with what you'd save if you bought the original. :)

Speaking of Beautycounter, this awesome gift set, or any item or gift set for that matter, would be a fabulous gift idea for any mom!  This gift set, which includes a bag with Lemongrass Sugar Body Scrub and Citrus Mimosa Body Butter, will be relaunching again in a few days and will probably sell out quickly.  If you're interested in ordering this product, message me and I can be sure to place your order as soon as it becomes available.  If you're interested in any other products, simply click on this LINK and place your order now.  I can't rave about these products enough!  I love so many of the cleansing products and the charcoal mask is by far my fave product.

I hope these gift ideas are helpful for everyone.  Be sure to pamper your mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, friend, or any other female that has been a "mom" in your life and make them feel extra special this Mother's Day.

Friday, April 20, 2018

DiEduardos Cruise with Disney

If you're heading to the Disney Cruise any time soon, you will NOT be disappointed.  Disney always does it right and everything is truly magical.  This post is all about the #dieduardoscruisewithdisney run down and hopefully it will be helpful to help you plan your vaca.

On Monday, April 2, we set sail for four nights on the Disney Dream with our family and Kyle's parents.  To say it was a magical time is an understatement!

I ordered precious shirts for the girls to wear from my friend, Jennifer at "Boas and Bowties".  Check her out on Instagram!  She makes super cute appliqued shirts, dresses, tea towels, etc. for every occasion, sports team and everything in between.

As soon as we arrived on the ship, the girls wanted ice cream!  Your wish is my command, princess!  (That's what every staff member calls the girls while on the ship...princess!)

I love that on the Disney Cruise, you can have all the ice cream your heart desires.  FOR FREE!  The girls probably had at least three ice cream "snacks" each day. ha!

After ice cream, we let the girls swim and slide and then it was time to decorate our doors.  Two years ago we went on our first Disney Cruise and I did tons of research.  I learned that a lot of people decorate their doors so I purchased the cutest DOOR MAGNETS for our trip from Etsy.  These have held up so well I knew I could use them again this year and they were just as precious!

We set sail and the girls were dying to see Mickey first!  I love that the Disney Cruise app on your iPhone lets you know what characters are going to be where and at what time.  This was HUGE for us as my girls LOVE mixing and mingling with all of the princesses and other Disney characters.  If you didn't see an earlier post, we used this super cute BOOK to collect all of the character autographs.

Day 2 was all about fun, sun, and the AquaDuck!  The key to the AquaDuck is to stay on the boat when you port in the Bahamas (or wherever).  Most people get off the ship, however, we stayed on this trip so we could relax and enjoy the boat while it was less crowded.  Even the grandparents loved it!

Another reason to stay on the boat, the characters walked around throughout the day so it gave us the perfect opportunity to get more cute pics and autographs.

The next day we arrived at Castaway Cay, Disney's island in the Bahamas.  They offer a 5K race on the island in the morning and Kyle ran in it two years ago but decided not to do it again this year.  The island is absolutely gorgeous and there's tons of opportunities for great photo ops.

There's tons of things to do on the island - snorkeling, parasailing, swimming, relaxing, swim with stingrays, you name it!  We decided to chill and let the girls play in the sand, swim, and of course have some more ice cream!

Don't forget, if you're going to be enjoying a day in the sun, you definitely need great sunscreen.  We use BEAUTYCOUNTER'S SUNSCREEN and I love knowing that the ingredients in it are nontoxic and will not be harmful for my girls AND it protects them from harmful UV rays.  Winning!

After a day of island time, we got back on the boat a tad early to ride the AquaDuck again since the majority of people were still on the beach.

That evening it was time for us to grab our eye patches and bandannas and get ready for Pirate Night.  Even the characters put on their best pirate costumes and the girls LOVE it!  Disney Cruise provides each passenger with a pirate bandanna to wear, however, it's important to remember to bring your pirate costumes.  They have some on the boat for sale, however, you can imagine how pricey they are.

We made our rounds getting more autographs and pics and then the coolest thing happened.  Peter Pan came up to the girls and asked if they wanted to scare Captain Hook.  They were SO excited and talked about this the remainder of the trip.  I love that the characters are so spontaneous and so attentive to the children.  It makes them happy which makes mommy and daddy happy.  Disney is truly magical!

Dinner time was also a favorite time for everyone.  We had an amazing server that was great with the girls.  AND, he did magic tricks!  We all loved him and it made dinner so much fun.

Also on Pirate Night, they have a super cool pirate party on the deck as well as a firework show.  The girls loved seeing the party but the fireworks are a tad too late for their bedtime.

The girls begged and begged all week to have their hair braided, especially when they saw a ton of older girls on the boat walking around with their hair braided.  I finally caved in and let them do it.  You only live once right?!  And getting it done on the last day was great so we didn't have to worry about putting sunscreen in their hair so their scalp wouldn't get burned.  They LOVED it!

On the last night, they had a Beauty and the Beast show and it was ah-mazing!  Seriously Broadway caliber!  I highly recommend making it to all the shows.  We enjoyed all of them - The Golden Mickey's, Believe, the Magic Show, and Beauty and the Beast.  One thing I would suggest is to get there early.  We sat in the lower level, the last row before the back section and those seats were awesome.  We sat there the first night and made a point to get there early each night to get those seats.  There's also popcorn, snacks, and adult beverages available in the theater which was great for everyone.

As you can tell, we had a delightful time on the Disney Cruise and our girls are already talking about going back. 

A few other tips and tricks I would recommend:

  • Purchasing this OVER THE DOOR SHOE ORGANIZER - this was great for storing all of our toiletry items since space is limited.  We didn't do this on our first Disney Cruise but used it this time and I highly recommend it.  Well worth the $9!
  • Go to Instagram and check out "Boas and Bowties" and "Little Cat Smocked Shop" - this is where I got the girls adorable Disney outfits and the prices are great!
  • Be sure to download the Disney Cruise app and make sure your spouse does as well.  This way you can communicate on the boat should you get separated.  Also, it lists what activities are happening daily and what characters are going to be where.  I used this constantly and was thankful I downloaded it!
  • As soon as you book your cruise be sure to schedule meet & greets with Anna and Elsa.  These were sold out once we arrived on the ship so we didn't get a chance to do that this trip.
  • When booking your cruise, you can also schedule a character call on a specific date and time.  This was super cool and our girls LOVED that Mickey and Minnie called them to tell them they were excited to see them soon!
  • If this is your first Disney Cruise I would recommend getting a lanyard to store your room key in.  Since you won't be carrying around a purse, this is an easy way NOT to lose your key.
  • Hit up the Dollar Tree for tons of items - glow sticks for Pirate Night, Disney items to give as sercies prior to your trip or during your trip (rather than buying expensive ones on the ship), snack containers (we brought our own snacks for the girls which was nice if you were having fun and didn't want to stop and go get them their 459029347th ice cream ;)), collapsible laundry bag (to store dirty clothes in as the rooms are such tight quarters - we stored ours in the closet during our trip), tissues, kids sunglasses, pool toys, etc.
  • Make sure to pack your bathing suit in your carry on as your suitcases don't arrive in your room until well after you've been on the boat for a few hours.  This way the kids can enjoy the pools and start having fun right away.
  • Pack clothespins so you can hang up wet bathing suits in the bathroom on the clothes line that's provided.
  • Pack ziplock bags in case there are any wet items to pack on your last day.
  • Most of all - relax, have fun, and enjoy making tons of memories with your family!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Things I'm Loving Lately on Amazon

It's been a while since I've posted.  Life has been super busy with Spring Break (we took the girls on the Disney Cruise - fun and informative post to come soon about that) and now the Come-See-Me Festival is happening in our town which means tons of fun festival activities for the community to enjoy.

I've run into several people lately that read my blog and they commented about liking my favorite finds so I thought I'd do another post about "Things I'm Loving Lately on Amazon".  Since I'm still unable to drive, Amazon has become my go to for finding anything I need.  This new list of items is definitely a hodge podge of items but they're all great!

#5 - Ruffle Dress

Saturday evening we attended a fundraiser for Winthrop University Athletics.  I cheered at Winthrop and Kyle coached baseball at Winthrop so this fundraiser is special to us and this year we served on the auction committee for the event.  The school colors are garnet and gold so I wanted to try and find a dress with those colors.  Amazon has SO many options for anything you're looking for, but the key is to search for specifics, read the reviews, and check and see if the item has free returns.  These are important when purchasing an item on Amazon and this dress fit the bill.  I knew I wanted a fun, unique dress and Amazon pulled through with a win!  I received so many compliments on this dress and it was well worth the $45!

#4 - The Greatest Showman DVD

If you haven't seen The Greatest Showman, do yourself a favor and spend $14.96 and watch it.  Once you watch it once, you'll have it on repeat and then you'll purchase the CD.  We've had both the CD and DVD playing daily since we received them.  One word to sum them both up = amazing!

#3 - Gripstic Snack Sealers
Kyle's aunt always gives us "unique" things for Christmas but they're always so cool and things I would definitely not purchase myself.  She bought these Slide & Seal Bag Sealers and they're so cool and keep our chips and snacks organized and fresh.  And they have a handle.  While I couldn't find the exact ones on Amazon, I found something similar that would work just as well.  They're easy to use and they have a 5-star rating!

#2 - Garmin Watch
Recently, Kyle ran in the P200 race which is relay race from Columbia to Charleston.  He had been mentioning that he wanted a Garmin to wear for the race so we searched on Amazon and lo and behold he was able to make this purchase and receive it within a few days.  This item has a 4-star rating and there are over 1,200 reviews.  Again, make sure you read the reviews for each item you're purchasing, expensive or not.  I can't stress that enough!

#1 - Balloon Inflator
I love a party!  Who doesn't right?!  Well, I love planning and throwing a party!  And this year I was a team leader for the Volunteer Sponsor Party for the Come-See-Me Festival.  I've been eyeing balloon garlands on Pinterest and knew I wanted to try to create one for this party.  I must say, it's a lot harder than it looks but we made it happen thanks to this awesome balloon inflator.  It blows the balloons up in seconds and you're able to stop and start it based on the size balloon you want.  I highly recommend this product, especially if you love throwing a party as much as I do!

Told ya, a random mix of fabulous finds from one of my fave websites, Amazon!  More fun posts to come, but if you have a topic you'd like me to discuss, please send me a message.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Surprise...We're going on the Disney Cruise!

Kyle and I have been itching to tell the girls for SO long that we're going on the Disney Cruise for Spring Break!  And we finally surprised them on Saturday.  To say they were excited is an understatement!

We've been to Disney World and did a scavenger hunt surprise to tell them and we've gone on the Disney Cruise two years ago and did another fun surprise.  This time I wanted to do something a little different, I wanted to do balloons in a box that they would have to unwrap.  It turned out perfectly!  They had no idea what was in the box and to see their expression was priceless!  

Inside the box I included a "B" and "S" letters along with Minnie ears and a countdown.

One of my favorite things included in the Disney surprise was the countdown.  I created this two years ago for our Disney Cruise trip and it was magical.  Young children have a difficult time realizing the concept of time.  I didn't want them to ask each day "When are we going on the Disney Cruise?" so the timeline helps them realize we have to do each activity before we get to go.  These are simple activities and don't have to be too complex.  Tonight we get to "eat spaghetti like Lady & The Tramp".

I also love that there are three Disney Gift Days on the countdown.  These will include an adorable Beauty and the Beast smocked dress that they can wear on the cruise, a Disney Cruise Journal from Amazon (they're really enjoying writing these days so I know they'll love these!), and a Disney Junior Encyclopedia from Amazon.  This darling book is going to be what they use to get autographs on our trip.  I saw this on Pinterest and I thought "what a fabulous idea!!"  We've done the autograph book with colorful pages and we've done the photo mat for autographs so I knew I wanted to find something different that we haven't done.  My girls LOVE books and I know they will treasure this special keepsake for many years.  And they'll have all of their favorite character's autographs in it as well.  Score!  

So, let the countdown to our Disney Cruise begin!  We can't wait to see Mickey, Minnie and all of their friends!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Salty & Sweet St. Patrick's Day Treat

The DiEduardo Divas (including myself) love arts and crafts time, especially around holidays!  Yesterday we made a fun treat that was super easy and quite tasty so I thought I'd share. 

I visited Pinterest (duh!) and found the cutest PRETZEL SHAMROCK TREATS from  Instead of using pretzel sticks, we used lollipop sticks and they still turned out darling.

After assembling them we had to let them chill in the fridge for an hour.  The Divas didn't like this step but they sure were a yummy treat after dinner when they got to enjoy them for dessert.

I hope you and your family enjoys making (& eating!) these as much as we did!

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Real Reel

A photo captures one second in a person's day.  One second.  And people typically post the positive photos on social media and in frames in their homes.  But, let's be honest, who wants to share the negatives?!  The other day I noticed Jason Aldean's wife, Brittany, doing #therealreel Instastories on Instagram.  So many people think just because a person has everything "together" and is "all smiles" in photos on social media that they actually have it "together".  I loved that Brittany kept it real and did a quick, few Instastories to show you what their "real life" looked like compared to the photos she posts.  Her skin isn't perfect, their house isn't clean 24/7, and her baby cries multiple times a day (just like every other baby)!

For me, this blog is about capturing my life, what I'm going through - the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly blessed beyond measure and SO thankful that my diagnosis wasn't anything worse but the past few weeks have been HARD for me.  It may look like everything is perfect by the photos on my social media pages, but just imagine a few things...

Imagine losing your car keys for 6 months and there is no spare key.  Being unable to drive for 6 months has been such a struggle for me.  I'm a GO-er and a DO-er and having to depend on others to get from place to place has been such a burden.  I've learned to be an independent person and I'm not one to ask for help.  Like I said, things could be 100 times worse but for me, in this moment, this is a struggle.  It's hard for me to ask others for help even though so many have offered.

Imagine not being able to pick up your child because you're not able to lift more than 20 lbs due to the weight limit restriction after your surgery.  Praise God I was cleared last Monday to lift my girls and you bet, I picked them up and squeezed them tight as soon as I got clearance from the doc.  It felt amazing!

Imagine not being able to cheers with a glass of wine with your friends.  There have been so many events and special occasions where I'd just like to enjoy a glass of wine with my girlfriends or family.  Let's be honest, we all have bad/hard days and sometimes a nice lil cocktail would cheer us right up.  I have acquired a taste for O'Douls so that'll do for now.

Imagine taking seizure meds that have your hormones, emotions, and sleepiness all over the place.  Some days I need a nap.  Some days I cry about the dumbest things.  Poor Kyle never knows what he's going to get on any given day.  I've heard from other people that have taken the same medication that it messed with their emotions as well.  So ready to get off of these!

Thursday, I had an EEG done to determine what's going on with my brain waves currently.  If all looks great, they will wean me off of my seizure medicine.  Hallelujah!  We won't know the results for a week.  I feel like the minutes and hours are slowly going by and I can't wait to hear from my neurosurgeon and neurologist with the results.  A part of me thinks the results will be great and then a part of me doesn't want to get my hopes up in the event that they're not.  However, all of this is in God's hands and in His perfect timing.

This post isn't meant to be a "Debbie Downer" but it's release my feelings and boy do I feel better getting all of this off my chest.  Today, for the first time in over 4-5 months, I worked out!  Yep, I went to Gold's Gym and participated in one of my favorite classes, BODYFLOW!  I definitely wasn't able to do it full out like I used to, but it felt great to stretch, breathe, and push my body just a tad in the right direction to get it back to a healthy lifestyle.  And duh, of course I wore one of my favorite workout tanks and had a taco salad for lunch!

After lunch I told Kyle, "exercise gives you endorphins...endorphins make you happy...happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't!"  LOL  Name that movie!!

So, #therealreel is that God ultimately knows the timeline of this journey and I love the following Bible verses that have helped me...

Acts 1:7 "He said to them: 'It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.'"
Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage."
Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the Lord and He heard my cry."
Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."