Categories RECIPES

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

So i’ve been in full new baby prep mode on my days off and cooking up some homemade meals between nap time and play time.  In the weeks leading up to my first delivery I cooked up a different dish each week and stock piled our freezer with delicious and easy meals. These were an absolute lifesaver in the early weeks and months of having a newborn baby.

I thought it might be fun to share some of my recipes.  Last time I used basic crockpot recipes and some simple pop in the oven type meals. We got an Instant Pot for Christmas this last year and it has been a total game changer when it comes to meal prep.  Now, I had never heard of the Instant Pot prior to receiving one, but apparently they are all the rage right now.  In essence, it is a pressure cooker but a modern version of this classic kitchen appliance.  My only memories of a pressure cooker are of my mom and grandma cooking preserves on the stove. That device scared the crap out of me and looked really complicated.


The Instant Pot is the easiest and most amazing kitchen appliance I have ever used and now it has become a staple in our weekly dinner routine.  The Instant Pot replaces the role of a slow cooker or crockpot and will cook a meal in a 1/4 of the time.  We’ve only experimented with a few different types of cooking methods, but apparently you can cook pretty much anything in these babies.  We use it at least 3-4 times a week at a minimum!

My chicken enchilada recipe used to require me to cook the chicken in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours and then still do almost 2+ hours of prepping the enchiladas in dishes. NOW with the Instant Pot, I can cook and shred my chicken in 45 minutes with the same slow cooker taste.

This chicken enchilada recipe is so tasty!!!! My hubby loves it and it freezes really well.  I make huge batches of it and put 5 to 6 dishes away for crazy nights were we need a quick meal.  Normally there is nothing quick about this dish, but with the Instant Pot I was blown away at how much time I saved.  I have the recipe and instructions available to download at the bottom of the post and a detailed outline of the enchilada assembly along with photos.

STEP ONE – Add thawed or fresh chicken breasts to the bottom of your Instant Pot.  Pour enchilada sauce and green chilies over the chicken.  Plug in the Instant Pot and push the “poultry” setting.  Adjust the cooking time by pushing the up arrow to 45min.  Allow the pot to cook and cool fully.  Once the timer is done, release the steam valve to cool the pot fully.  In a large bowl, the larger the better, shred the cooked chicken using two forks.  Personally, I strain the cooking juices and chilies and set aside all the juices. I add the green chilies and black beans to the shredded chicken.  Set aside 2 cups of cooking juices for later and add remaining juices to shredded chicken mixture.  I split my chicken mixture in two and add sliced olives to one batch. The hubby isn’t a fan of olives but I LOVE THEM!!!!!

NOTE –  I cook my chicken in batches because the Instant Pot can only hold so much meat and liquid while maintaining pressure.  This method is still faster than waiting for 6-8 hours for the crockpot method. I tripled the recipe below to allow for bulk and lots of extra freezer meals.  Tripling the recipe allowed for 5 pans in the freezer, plus two nights worth of meals.

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

STEP TWO – Spray your baking dish well with a good nonstick spray, including all the sides.  This recipe gets messy in the oven but is so worth it. I buy basic tin cake pans to use for the freezer meals and regular cooking dishes for that nights meal. Using the reserved cooking juices, add 1 cup of juice to the bottom of each pan.

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

STEP THREE – Time to assemble your enchiladas.  Sprinkle some cheese on each tortilla and add 1/3 cup of chicken to each tortilla. Roll up and place in the baking dish.  I can generally fit 7 enchiladas into each baking dish, 3 with olives and 4 without!

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

STEP FOUR – Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of the enchiladas.  I mark the tops with olives to show what they contain.  Next, pour any remaining juices over the top of the tortillas.  Pop the dish into a preheated oven at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese is browned.  For the freezer dishes, I put a layer of Glad Press’n Seal over the top followed by a layer of Reynolds Wrap. This really does the trick in preventing freezer burn and keeping the dish sealed tight. I’ll pull one out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw in the fridge the whole day.  Pop the dish in the oven at the same temp and you have an instant and quick meal for your family!

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Instant Pot chicken enchiladas

Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas

Download recipe by clicking Instant Pot Chicken Enchiladas.

We absolutely love this recipe and if you cook it in batches its so worth the work.  The freezer meals are good for 3-4 months.  I hope this helps any other pregnant mommies or families with young children.  The recipe isn’t too spicy or bland and is perfect for kids.  Reagan was a big fan. I was a little nervous about giving her something spicy or concentrated like this, but she did great and loved every bit.  These meals helped us feel normal when we welcomed our first child into the world.  I’m so excited for Baby #2 but the crazy has a way of sneaking up on us in those first few weeks. These are a life saver!!!!! I can’t wait to keep stock piling the freezer. Let me know if you have any questions about the Instant Pot or adaptations for this recipe.

xo xo friends,

michelle signature


Categories HOLIDAYS

Happy July First

Happy July 1st to you ALL and Happy Friday Friends!!

I am so exited to be kicking off the long weekend with everything fun & festive for the Fourth of July. I love a good LONG weekend! Holidays that spill over onto a Monday mean a little extra sleep (maybe), a little extra help from the hubs, and lots of FUN and SUNSHINE celebrating the Red, White, and Blue. We are headed to the lake for the Fourth this year and are so excited to celebrate Miss Reagan’s first Fourth of July! We’ve got some amazing food, activities, and festive outfits planned, and just can’t wait to wrap up the week and get started on the FUN stuff.

I’ve finally rounded up my meal plan for the Fourth and this is what we are thinking. Every year we kick off our Fourth with these festive Red, White, & Blue Waffles for breakfast.  We’ve got lunch covered with my husbands delicious BBQ Pulled Beef Sandwiches and I am excited to try a NEW recipe for Lentil Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing. I actually really enjoy cooking as long as I have a decent recipe to follow and Reagan is preoccupied for a bit! Dinner is going to be classic BBQ Chicken (a staple/can’t MESS it up), but I was seriously drawn to this recipe for BBQ Chicken Bacon Pineapple Kabobs. They look AH-MAZING!!! It wouldn’t be the Fourth without Corn on the Cob and of course our 4th of July tradition…a Gourmet S’Mores Bar complete with all the candy classics. I just might end up looking pregnant again but will have had one HELL of GOOD TIME!

s'mores bar   s'mores bar

Slate Chalkboard HERE & HERE   //   4th of July Trays (similar HERE)

We’ve got our food covered, all our festive outfits are planned (read about them HERE), and we are taking the whole weekend off to Play and Celebrate as a family.  Our baby girl is turning 4 months old TOMORROW!!!! Oh my goodness, where has the time gone? Watch for her four month pictures + updates coming next week…so excited to share all the details.  Some of our good friends are getting married on Sunday so we will be living it up and flying solo without Reagan. A little sad, a little excited, and a little confused by all the mommy emotions i’m feeling about leaving her.  Totally NORMAL stuff! And then of course Monday is one of the BEST DAYS OF THE WHOLE YEAR!!!! I think its safe to say this weekend is going to ROCK!!! 

Tonight, we’ve got friends coming over for pizza and to play Cards Against Humanity. I’ve never played before. We might be the last people on the planet to finally jump on that bandwagon, but am so EXCITED because I hear it is beyond hilarious and ridiculous! I bought the game the other day and thanks to Amazon Prime it arrived yesterday just in time for a whole mess of 4th of July shenanigans.

cards against humanity

Cards Against Humanity   //   First Expansion Pack

And on that note…i’m OUT! Cheers to the freakin’ weekend Friends and Happy Fourth of July to you all! Play SAFE this weekend!!!!!

xo xo,

michelle signature

Categories Uncategorized

Our SuperBowl XLIX Party

Well…the SuperBowl was definitely a BIG disappointment for our Seattle Seahawks. But, a true fan is always a fan even when their team loses.  It simply comes with the territory and nature of competitive sports. We had high hopes for a 2nd SuperBowl win, but it just wasn’t in the cards for our 12’s!

Our original plan was to watch the game and enjoy some game day food with our girly puppies.  Things changed rather quickly and we enjoyed the game with a house full of FAMILY! It was awesome.  We have never done much “entertaining” at our house so it was wonderful to have everyone around for the FESTIVITIES!!!

I decorated our basement and turned it into a “HAWKS NEST” of sorts.  Festive decorations always help to set the mood and we wanted to send good energy to our Hawks on game day.  I decorated our mantel last year, but this year we went all out with balloons, streamers, and football pom poms in addition to last years decorations! I’ve got quite the collection going on.



I took last years mantel decor and gave it a little update.  To check out last years mantel and how I made the “GO SEAHAWKS” letters click HERE!  My Circle Garland Tutorial can be found HERE. This year I added the festive tassel garland and football yardage banner! They turned out so good and I can reuse all the pieces again next year!


We wrapped up our “Hawks Nest” decor with a cute football field snack table! Add some yummy lime chips, homemade guacomole, veggies and one of my FESTIVE chalkboards and we were ready to start some pre-game party action.


I was sooooooo pleased with how my Seahawks Chalkboard turned out. I have made it available in my Etsy Shop, LoveTheSparkle, if you are interested in downloading it.  I also have some other Football Inspired prints available to help carry you through the off-season.  

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We continued our SuperBowl Shenanigans upstairs with LOTS & LOTS of appetizers, drinks, and my spicy homemade Chili! To download the recipe click SuperBowl 2015 Game Day Recipes and ENJOY!!!!

Crock Pot Chili




I finally had an opportunity to put my Pretty Bar Cart to good use.  This sweet thing was a birthday gift from my mom and I have been absolutely dying to do some entertaining so I can show it off.  I brought back the football mason jar from last year and enjoyed “several” tasty rum & cokes during the game.  It was the SuperBowl after all.  I also put out some champagne glasses for celebratory purposes…but we didn’t win.  We totally broke out the champagne anyway…



I had every intention of posting this several days ago, prior to our Big SuperBowl celebration. Here are some Seahawks Favorites that will knock your socks off at your SuperBowl 49 next game day party…

Seahawks Favorites - 2015

We had such a wonderful time celebrating with both sets of parents and finally enjoying a “day off” together.  They very rarely come around these days so it was so wonderful to see my sweet hubby and rock some Seahawks gear at the same time.  The off-season will “feel” long, but football will be back before we know it.  I’m already anticipating Draft Day 2015 and hoping Marshawn Lynch accepts the new 4-year contract we offered him.  Sigh…


CHEERS to a very happy and loving February Friends!!! And hopefully it will either snow some more OR spring will pop up early…i’m so over this dark, cold, and brown winter!!!

Hope everyone is ready for “HEART” shaped everything!

xo xo Friends, 


Categories Uncategorized

Twas’ a very Merry Christmas – Part Two “My Christmas Cookies & Recipes”

The few days leading up to Christmas I was one busy and slightly crazy lady running around wrapping up last minute gifts and putting together some tasty Christmas Cookie boxes for friends and family!!!! I was up at the crack of dawn busting out these goodies and stayed up way past my bedtime finishing everything.





First up I made copycat Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Cookies. I opted for the cookies instead of the bars, but with a few easy modifications to the recipe the bars could be easily achieved.  To download the whole recipe click Cranberry Bliss Cookies.

Cranberry Bliss Cookies #1

 Next up the most AMAZING and yummy Chocolate, Caramel, and Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats!! These were so easy to make and and beyond tasty.  To download the whole recipe click Chocolate Rice Krispy Treats!

Rice Krispy Treats #1

Perfect M&M Cookies were definitely a TREAT!!! Click Perfect M&M Cookies to download the recipe!!!

Perfect M&M Cookies

These yummy Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies were probably one of my all-time favorite cookies this year.  They were super easy to make and are soon delicious!!! Click Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies to download the recipe.

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

And last I decided to include the classic Peanut Butter Blossom cookie! Always a staple and a favorite of many of our family and friends! Click Peanut Butter Blossoms to download the recipe.  I opted to use Hersey Hugs instead of the classic Kiss.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

I had such a blast making all these goodies.  I will be 100% honest however, these goodies were a TON of work.  I was pooped by the end and had pretty much exhausted my stack of Christmas DVDs.  They are wonderful for an inexpensive gift for coworkers and family though.

If you have any questions regrading the recipes or trouble downloading them, let me know and I can email you the recipe directly!!! Any of these recipes could be modified for different holidays or used as is.

Enjoy friends,

Xo Xo


Categories Uncategorized

Happy December Friends…FaLaLaLa

Happy December my friends!!!!

I’m so flipping excited for Christmas, New Years, and all things SNOW related!!! Bring on a very white Christmas baby!!!

But first a quick Fall roundup…because once again I got a little behind on blogging!!! I’ve definitely been marching to my own beat lately and blogging just wasn’t part of the schedule!!!

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since mid-November when we were celebrating Miss Jovie’s 5th birthday. I didn’t even cover our Halloween festivities…

So here is a quick recap of all things Halloween and Thanksgiving related with a few of my favorite Football ramblings sprinkled in.


– October 31, 2014 –

As much as I love Thanksgiving & Christmas, i’m always a little sad the day after Halloween. It truly is one of my all-time favorite holidays and I plan our costumes all year long.   This year I searched and searched for an awesome family costume!!! Last years SuperFamily was one of my absolute favorites and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to top it.


 So keeping with the tutu theme from last year…I opted for a fun fairytale costume…

The 3 Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf





 We had such a blast.  I intentionally left all our lights off so we wouldn’t get any trick-or-treaters and we hit the town with some good friends in our costumes.  As always, I made our costumes and I just want to point out that I AM SO HAPPY with how they turned out.  Although the 2 biggest challenges were finding a freakin’ pair of light pink leggings to wear under my tutu AND making the hubby’s wolf hood by hand.  It was a nice challenge but something I won’t be attempting again!!!




– November 27, 2014 –

This year was incredibly quiet for us over the Thanksgiving holiday. We are getting to that age where families are beginning to spread out and start their own traditions etc.  That means smaller family gatherings, until of course we start our own family. YAY! YAY! YAY!

I was SOOOOOOOO excited to try out a new Thanksgiving Cupcake recipe this year…

INTRODUCING the worlds cutest Pie Inspired Cupcakes…in cute packaging of course!!!! I’m in love…

Cherry Pie Cupcakes



Apple Pie Cupcakes






I had such a blast passing these beauties out to good friends and family! I’m so incredibly thankful for each and everyone of them!!!!

We started our morning with a wonderful and chilly walk with the golden girls. It was such a gorgeous morning and although it was COLD the sun was shining!!!!

The hubby visited some friends and I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  We enjoyed an absolutely amazing dinner with my parents, a few aunts and cousins, and my sweet grandfather.  It was super chill and completely wonderful…and you know there were yummy Mimosas involved so I was a HAPPY girl.



We really missed our golden girls however, so we decided to head home early this year.  We curled up in some comfy pajamas, gave lots of Thanksgiving kisses to the girls, and watched our AMAZING Seattle Seahawks destroy the San Fransisco 49ers.  Just one more reason to be extra Thankful this year!!! My friends…it was an absolutely glorious WIN and we were cheering the whole game. GO HAWKS!!

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We have so many reasons to be Thankful this year…way to many to count.  So i’ll be simple and give a shoutout to all our Friends and Family…WE LOVE YOU and are so incredibly thankful for the endless love and support we receive from you all on a regular basis. Not just on thanksgiving, but all year long.

As each year passes, I begin to see the value of our loved ones more and more, and the “stuff” of this life fades into the background. “Stuff” is meaningless and relationships are KEY.  I would like to spend my time investing in people and relationships.

With that, i’m going to wrap some Christmas gifts and put another sprig of Mistletoe up in our house…any excuse to get some “extra” kisses from my amazing hubby this time of year.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and Happy “Everything!!!!!”

Xo Xo & CHEERS Friends,


Categories Uncategorized

Soup Sunday – CrockPot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Hello Hello Friends, i’m back today with another “fab” recipe.  My first Soup Sunday was such a HIT with the hubby that I just knew I needed to dial up something awesome for week 2.  My sweet hubby so kindly pointed out that Week 1’s Loaded Potato Soup was seriously lacking in Protein.  I knew I needed to get my act together and wanted to try something with chicken.  I found multiple recipes that seemed so-so but finally ended up “making my own” recipe.  GASP, because I am so not a cook and totally do better when I have a detailed recipe to follow.  Luckily, my Chicken Enchilada Soup turned out soooooo yummy and is a bit like a “glorified” Taco Soup. HAHA.

If your interested in Week 1 – Loaded CrockPot Potato Soup

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So…here is my recipe for CrockPot Chicken Enchilada Soup!!!!

To download a PDF copy of the recipe click CrockPot Chicken Enchilada Soup!!!

CrockPot Chicken Enchilada #1 Soup

Start by gathering all your ingredients.  I had to de-thaw my chicken breasts and that took about 45 min. to an hour.  Also, per my husbands “more protein” request I used 6 chicken breasts instead of 2. Chop up the chicken,  dice your onion, and dice your green pepper.


Following the given measurements in the recipe above, dump all the ingredients into your CrockPot.  Stir to mix all the ingredients and spices.



Let this cook and simmer for 3-4 hours on LOW or 6 hours on HIGH!!!!


Sprinkle some pepperjack cheese and cilantro on top of the soup, re-cover and allow the cheese to melt!


I served my soup with some yummy Spanish rice and warmed soft tortillas!!!  Ladle into serving bowls, top with extra pepperjack cheese and cilantro, and finish with a dollop of sour cream if desired.




This recipe was a BIG hit in our family and I was so pleased with how it turned out.  I was surprised with how “spicy” the recipe is however!!!! My husband loved it!!!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me or comment below and i’ll get back to you right away!

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the recipe!!!!

xo xo,

Categories Uncategorized

Soup Sunday – Loaded Potato Soup

I’m so excited to announce a new feature on Every Day Should Sparkle…introducing Soup Sundays for Fall 2014.

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My sweet hubby and I are both ridiculously busy working and creating this wonderful life together, so when it comes to  dinner time i’m all over a quick and easy solution for a yummy family dinner! Cue the new Soup Sundays for Fall…aka…the easiest and yummiest recipes that I can get my hands on!!! I will be featuring a new recipe every Sunday throughout the Fall of 2014.

When it comes to cooking I am definitely not a “natural” and my husband always jokes that I can cook anything from a cookbook…as long as I have a recipe to follow.  So i’m always collecting yummy recipes and my favorite recipes usually come via a crock-pot.  Super Easy and Yummy.  Its really hard to mess up a crock-pot recipe friends.

So our first recipe was one i’ve been wanting to try for a very long time.

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To download a copy of my recipe click the PDF link below.  If you have any questions regarding the recipe please feel free to email me or comment below.

Crock-pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup Recipe

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Dinner Roll Recipe is available as a PDF below.

Homemade Dinner Rolls

These recipes are seriously easy to make.  I was a little nervous to try the Dinner Roll recipe but I was completely shocked at how easy and simple it was. Most “roll” recipes require several hours to make because you have to let the dough rise.  This one only took about an hour and I was so excited…again quick and easy.  Up first the potato soup recipe…

Start by washing, peeling, and cubing your potatoes.



Add potatoes, chopped onion, garlic, salt & pepper, and chicken broth to the crock pot.




Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours until the potatoes are soft.  Gently mash the potatoes but leave some chunks. I added a little extra broth about half way through.


Now its time to make our fabulous soup nice and creamy.  Start by removing 2 cups of liquid from the crock-pot.  Then melt the butter and cream cheese in a medium sized pot. Slowly add cream to the mixture and stir.  Then add flour stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  The mixture will thicken quickly.  Next add the 2 cups of liquid and then slowly add the whole mixture to the crock-pot. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 10 minutes.






NEXT UP, the Dinner Rolls…

Start by dissolving 1 package of quick acting yeast in warm milk that has been heated to 110 degrees.  No more than 115 degrees or you will kill the yeast AND no less than 105 degrees or the yeast won’t grow properly.





Then add 1 cup of flour and beat until smooth.  Continue adding remaining flour, oil, sugar, and salt until a soft dough forms.






Cover the dough and allow it to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. The dough will double in size. Punch down the dough in the center and fold over a few times.




Pinch off 1 inch balls and roll gently in your hand.  Place 3 rolled balls in each cup of a greased muffin tin.  Brush the tops of each roll with melted butter and sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.




Serve your tasty Homemade Dinner Rolls warm right from the oven with the Crock-Pot Loaded Potato Soup. Sooooo Yummy!!!!! We served our soup with crumbled bacon bits, cheese, chopped green onions, and sour cream!!!




I hope you ENJOY this recipe just as much as our family did!!! As always if you have any questions regarding the recipes above let me know.

Enjoy Friends,

Categories Uncategorized

Summer Recap – Part 3 “The Bridal Shower”

 In July, my fellow Co-MOH’s (short for Co-Maids of Honor) and myself threw a beautiful Bridal Shower for my sister in law Jessie. The festivities lasted all weekend long and started with an amazing 4th of July Celebration, followed by a joint Bachelor and Bachelorette Party, and we wrapped up the weekend with this fun and rustic Bridal Shower in honor of the Happy Couple.

To read about our 4th of July Celebration click HERE!

To read about the fantastic Bridal Party Olympics & Bachelorette Party click HERE!

And check out this adorable photo of the Happy Couple…they are just sooooo good together!!!


Burlap Banner Tutorial can be found HERE!

We decided to go with a Champagne Brunch theme for the Bridal Shower, with fun red and yellow accents and pops of sunflowers. No brunch would be complete without a fully loaded Mimosa Bar and a signature drink in honor of the bride-to-be, appropriately named “The Blushing Bride.” And you know I needed a fun chalkboard and big gold B A R letters to add a little flare.



photo 3-24

We started by stocking our Bar with classic Mimosa supplies; lots of yummy champagne and orange juice.  Then we threw in a few fun twists with different juices and fruit garnishes. Also for a non-alcoholic beverage option we stocked up on IZZE Drinks that matched our colors.





Our pretty table was accented with a simple lace tablecloth, a custom made yellow chevron and lace table runner, and matching yellow chevron paper straws. I will post a tutorial on how I made the pretty table runners shortly.  I tied red, yellow, and sparkly bows on all the champagne flutes to add a colorful and feminine feel to our Bridal Shower.


Next up we wanted a fully loaded Waffle Bar for our guests and we completed our table with a whole spread of yummy breakfast goodies!!! Waffles piled high and a yummy Mimosa in my hand…sign me up!!!!!

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The waffle irons were hot and we were popping out fluffy waffles left and right!




DIY Cupcake Tower Tutorial can be found HERE!


We had so much fun together and everything turned out even better than we could have imagined!


The Bride and Groom opened their gifts and we polished off some more champagne, ok lots of champagne, but we had so much FUN!!!!!!

The Beautiful Co-MOH’s!!!!


I love my beautiful Sister In Law!!!!




The whole weekend was an absolute blast.  Thank you so much to everyone who participated and helped us celebrate Jessie and Joshua!!!

Cheers to the Beautiful & Happy Couple!!!!


Categories Uncategorized

Summer Recap – Part 1 “Our 4th of July”

Well Summer is wrapping up and Fall is right around the corner, as in next week!!! My Halloween loving heart is singing and i’ve got Halloween costumes and Football on the brain.  BUT we’ve got a few nice days left of Sweet Summertime and that means a few quick Summer Recaps.  Our Summer was so jammed packed with activities and festivities that I wasn’t able to blog normally throughout the months.  I decided to condense our Summer Fun into 3 recaps starting with our 4th of July!!!

We are big time American Lovin’ Patriots in this house and that means the 4th of July isn’t just our Nations Birthday, but it is THE BEST HOLIDAY of the summer!!!! America, the lake, s’mores, fireworks; whats not to love?!?!?! We typically spend our 4th at either my parents lake house or my husbands family lake house!  This year was EXTRA special in that we threw my sister-in-law, Jessie, her Bachelorette Party & Bridal Shower at the lake house with all her friends and family.  We had a good time to say the least, such a fun weekend!!! 🙂 More details to come on those festivities in the next recap.

My day started with a festive and fun 4th of July Chalkboard!!!! No holiday would be complete in my book without one of these beauties!!!



Next up we enjoyed the beautiful weather and took advantage by hanging out together and showing our festive side by dressing up, the puppies included. Cue the absolutely adorable Red, White, and Blue swimsuits!!!


The boys cracked us up with their matching RED board shorts, completely accidentally by the way. 🙂


The girly goldens weren’t having it however, they hated the fun 4th of July headbands we put on them! They seriously need an attitude adjustment when it comes to Americas Birthday!!!! 🙂



We enjoyed the 2nd Annual Haguewood Water Sports Day with a little tubing and fun water activities! Here is my hubby reliving his glory days as a Pro-Tuber…he likes to go fast and can do so many jumps and fun tricks.  Look at how cute he is…I just love him so much 🙂




Next up we have the girls.  We are significantly less coordinated when it comes to tubing, but we had a good time!





Every year all the folks vacationing around the lake will do a festive 4th of July boat parade!!! Totally festive and right up my alley.  The boys were feeling very patriotic and represented our boat well.



We spent the rest of the day eating lots of yummy and tasty oysters, a 4th of July tradition in our family,  and taking cute and goofy photos.








As the sun went down around the lake we watched the gorgeous sunset, cooked up some absolutely FAB s’mores in my S’mores Bar, and enjoyed the endless hours of fireworks going off around us.  Such a gorgeous and beautiful day.

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photo 1

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A very very VERY late Happy 4th of July from the Haguewood Family!


To read about our 4th of July from the Summer of 2013, click HERE!!!!

CHEERS to all the fun and festive memories that were made during the Summer of 2014. I’m already looking forward to next summer!!! A few more recaps to come and then we can dive into ALL things FALL!! Whoop Whoop!

Cheers Friends,

Categories Uncategorized

Christmas Prep is in Full Swing

This Santa’s Elf has been soooo busy the last few weeks.  Between Christmas cards and prepping for the holiday season, i’m afraid blogging has been on the bottom of my list.  But i’m excited to announce that I am all finished!!!! Woo Hoo!!! I always over do it around Christmas time and think that I can complete my “To Do List” with time to spare…NOT!!! The last few weeks i’ve been running around like a nutcracker, only slightly more nutty, doing shopping and all things Christmasy!!! My sweet hubby was out of town and I was left to man the Haguewood Zoo.  Including a communial visit to the vet with a $600 bill at the end. Gulp…I love my animals, I love my animals, I love my animals!!!!

Communial Vet Visit 2013

The good news is that I had some quality alone time with my Christmas Cards and was able to make them extra special & christmasy this year!!! I love my christmas cards and it was a pain in the ass SO MUCH FUN to hand address every…single…one…of them.  It really was a blast although next year I need to choose a less elaborate design!!! My little fingers were numb and cramping so bad.  I’m a firm believer that Christmas CHEER is contagious and if I brought even one smile to someone’s face then my work is done!!!!

christmas cards 2013

christmas cards #2 2013

Even Santa and Mrs. Claus will get a card this year!!! Did you know North Pole City is a REAL PLACE in Alaska!!! My christmas loving  heart just flipped in my chest when I saw that.  Can’t wait for little kiddos to write letters to Santa.  If you have kids they will actually write you back and everything!!!! YAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!

Well our christmas lists are finalized, Santa shopping is done, and gifts are wrapped safely under our tree! We opted for a “small” christmas this year and chose to donate money to a local animal shelter instead!!!! I saved little kitty babies and my heart is happy!!! Its so important to remember the Reason for the Season!!!!

christmas gifts 2013

I believe I have watched every single Christmas movie I own for the hundredth time and Christmas Vacation is permanently stuck at the top of my Instant Netflix account…strangely, I’m totally ok with that.

I whipped up a batch of yummy yummy Christmas Sugar Cookies last night and got to work frosting them today!!!! I always love the idea of making cookies, but there is something about sitting there frosting all of them that makes me want to pull my hair out!!!! I was going to go for homemade this year, but saw a gigantic bag of Krusteaz cookie mix at Costco and it was in my cart before I knew what happened.  I’m not a huge fan of all the preservatives/fillers etc. that are in this mix, but my exhaustion level was winning more then my holiday spirit last night!!!


I love decorating cookies but get so bored after doing say 3 of them!!!! I decided to go with little festive trees because it was an easy 1-2-3 (bake, frost, sprinkle) method that kept my lovely locks intact this year.  Last year I made little ones that said HO HO HO and they were decorated like candy canes.  My hair took a beating last year for sure!!!

cookies 2

cookies 3

cookies #4

cookies 5

cookies 6

cookies 6

cookies 7

My husband likes to tease, with love, me that I can only cook/bake something if I have a recipe to follow.  And 90% of the time he is CORRECT!!! But I invented my own little frosting recipe and it turned out AWESOME!!! I love cream cheese frosting that is whipped but needed it to be a little lighter for the cookies.  Here is my slam dunk recipe for Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting!!!! Yum…as I eat  my 10th sugar cookie.  Just Kidding…but maybe not!

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

The Haguewood Family Christmas countdown is officially on!!!!

Haguewood Family Christmas 2013

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‘Twas the Happiest Thanksgiving of All

Happy Thanksgiving to you all from the Haguewood Family!!!!

 I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and had fun with family and friends.  On this special day I would like to thank everyone who plays a special role in our world! We are so blessed to be loved by so many, and in return we can offer our love and gifts back to the world.  Without the love and support of our family we could never accomplish the things we have, and our gratitude is pouring out to you all.

 We spent most of the morning watching football, drinking mimosas, and playing with the babies.

photo 1

While all the yummy food was cooking the hubby and myself took the dog for a small walk to play fetch.  The goal was to exhaust all of her energy before guests came over.  We succeeded!!!



Then it was nap time for everyone, adults and puppies included, before guests and dinner time!!!

The rest of the day was filled with tons of family and hugging! Dinner was phenomenal and we all experienced a bit of a food coma.  After we let our tummies settle, it was time for PIE!!!

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Did you do any Black Friday shopping???

We opted out and decided to get some extra sleep.  We both had to work today, but it was fun to hear how much money all of my clients had saved at the crack of dawn. I’m all about saving money, even if it isn’t me!

Sharing the love for Small Business Saturday, we will be continuing the savings at my Etsy Shop, LovetheSparkle!!!

Celebrate your local small business and if you swing by my shop you will receive 50% OFF your entire order with coupon code gobblegobble50!!!! Check it out today and watch for new designs coming shortly!

GobbleGobble #2

Now that we have made it through most of November, and we have passed Thanksgiving, it is officially socially acceptable to discuss all things CHRISTMAS!!!! I started my decorating and the house has a festive feel to it.  The holidays make me so happy and it really is the most wonderful time of the year!!!!

All the Best and enjoy your shopping!!!!!!

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‘Tis the Season to Be Thankful

Be Thankful - Listing Image #3

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I am getting so excited! It is time to celebrate all the things we are thankful for.  This year, there really are too many to count. It truly is the Season to Be Thankful.

This time of year is so hard for me because i’m trying to focus on all things Thanksgiving, but I can’t STOP THINKING about Christmas and New Years!!! We EAT a ton of food and WATCH a ton of football, and then before you know it, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us!!  Turkey Day comes and goes and then its time for Christmas Trees, decorating cookies and sparkly party dresses. Bring on the holiday season…

But I do have to keep up the “thanksgiving” vibe a little longer.  The fall decorations have been staying up with a few new additions, although i’m itching to get my Christmas gear out. I might, or might not, have put up my outdoor Christmas lights today…shhhhh don’t tell!!!

Here are a few of my Thanksgiving Favorites to help keep us focused…

Thanksgiving Favorites 2013

#1 – Essie “Bobbing Baubles”     #2 – Essie “Twin Sweater Set”     #3 – Target Sheer Top

#4 – Pearl Strands     #5 – Orange & Red Hydrangeas     #6 – Philosophy Pumpkin Pie Shower Gel

Many of you know my obsession with Essie Nail Polish and Fall has been a great season of rich hues.  I’ve never been able to get into the “dark” colors but Essie’s “Bobbing Baubles” completely won me over.  I love how it is a “lighter” navy and goes on with a distinct blue tint. Sometimes the darker tones go on black and you can’t even tell that you are wearing an actual color.

This season’s color inspiration came from one of my coworkers who is getting married next summer.  She has totally turned me onto a rich raspberry color that is popping up all over this fall.  I love the contrast of the raspberry tones with the traditional oranges & yellows of Fall.

#6 on my list doesn’t need any introduction.  I absolutely LOVE anything in the philosophy line and their seasonal scents are no exception.  This year I decided on Homemade Pumpkin Pie Shower Gel which is amazing. It really gets me in the mood for Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to gorge myself on the real thing post Turkey Day dinner.

On my Love List this week…

1. The “Naked 2” Palette from Urban Decay!!! OBSESSED doesn’t even begin to explain how much I love this product. OMG it is amazing.  I like to keep my makeup colors fairly neutral and this palette allows me to do just that without feeling boring.  I’m literally counting down the days until the Naked 3 Palette is released…Dec 11th at Sephora!!!!

Naked 2 Palette

2. Christmas Music before Thanksgiving.  I spent my afternoon in the chilly outdoors today putting up Christmas Lights, while rocking out to Christmas Music on pandora.  Every time a car or a jogger would go by they would give me a dirty look like I was a crazy person. What these Scrooges don’t understand is that Thanksgiving really is the turning point for the Holiday Season. I LIVE for Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year and i’m simply getting in the spirit of the season.  Bah Humbug.

3. The 3M’S…Mimosas, Muffins, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!!!! So excited to enjoy these pre-thanksgiving treats before we stuff our belly’s with Turkey!!!!

4. Golden’s and Pumpkins!!! I finally got around to throwing away our Halloween pumpkins and was sad to see them go.  I will always remember it as Roxie’s first holiday and she has grown so much in the past few weeks since we first got her.  But…I am so excited for our first christmas together as a family of 2 plus 5 furry children!!! Which means something even cuter then golden’s and pumpkins…Christmas Goldens. Fa La La La.

Roxie - Pumpkins

Last but certainly not least I have a few new additions to my Etsy Shop, LovetheSparkle, which I am making available before Thanksgiving.  I was going to wait until Black Friday, but all the fun holiday prints have officially changed my mind.  I’ve been rocking out to Christmas tunes while working on these pieces and I am so happy with how they turned out. Ho Ho Ho.

Tis the Season - Listing #3

“Tis the Season to Be Jolly”

Merry Christmas - Listing #3

“Merry Christmas”

Thank You so much to everyone who has helped my Etsy shop take shape. I’ve always had a blast doing my fun chalkboards and I’m excited to be able to share my designs!!!

Enjoy these last few days of November before we ring in the holiday season with our own personal 25 days of Christmas.  YAY!!!

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Getting Started with Clean Eating (part 2)

 30% gym There is a lot of truth to this photo. You can do crunches all day long but if you don’t have the discipline to eat clean you will never cut down on the layer of fat that sits over your belly preventing all your hard work from showing through.

Workouts and Clean Eating go hand in hand. For 30-Days I am on the clean eating train. Check out my first post I did on this topic HERE to get caught up.

My detailed game plan is as follows:

  • Before Photos and Measurements to track my progress
  • Workouts 6 days a weeks
  • 6-7 Small Meals a day
  • A gallon of water every day
  • Recording and Tracking all my meals/workouts in my Food Journal
  • 1 Cheat Meal per week
  • After Photos and Measurements to reveal my progress

I took some time last night to plan out all of my workouts for the next 30 days! Here is the rest of April and May!!!

April Workouts

May Workouts

I also did a 30 day countdown with colorful tabs in my office to monitor my progression through the next 4 weeks.

30 Day CountdownWorkouts and Clean Eating here I come. I will post my progress everyday along with my thoughts & feelings as I give this a go. I am hoping to try some new recipes along with my basic clean eating staples…chicken, fish, fresh veggies, oatmeal etc. Oh and lots and lots of WATER!!!!

Gallon a Day

Here is a sample of what I will be eating everyday…

6:00am – Wake up & Coffee/PreWorkout Supplement (meal #1)

 – Americano with 1 tbs Almond Milk

6:30am – Workout

– Weight Training followed by 40 min. Cardio

8:30am – Breakfast (meal #2)

– 3 Egg Whites with 2tbs Salsa

11:30 am – Mid-Morning Snack (meal #3)

– Isagenix Protein Shake

2:00pm – Lunch (meal #4)

– Tilapia with Sweet Potatos & Veggies

4:30 pm – Late Afternoon Snack (meal #5)

– Apple with 1tbs Peanut Butter

7:30 pm – Dinner (meal #6)

– Chicken and Veggies

9:00 pm – Before Bed Snack (meal #7)

– 1/4 cup Cottage Cheese

Well there you have it. Portion control and watching what I eat. I know it seems like I will be eating all the time but that really is the BEST part. I won’t ever feel hungry and I have a plan that I can follow to help keep me focused and on track. I will be prepping all my meals tonight for the rest of the week and that will help with convenient and easily accessed meals. No excuses for not staying on track if I always have something ready to go.

Here I go…not looking back!!!!

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Getting Started with Clean Eating (part 1)

Whoa…just starting this post is a crazy task for me. I’ve struggled with where to start for such a long time. I am not a registered dietician or a personal trainer, and everything I have put together is my plan. I wish I had the expertise that others posses, but unfortunately it simply isn’t so. A good place to begin is to read this POST that I did a few weeks back on Nutrition. Now my take on Healthy Nutrition might be totally different then yours, again this is just my perspective on clean eating.

Getting Started with Clean Eating

Introducing…drum roll please…my 30 – Day Clean Eating Challenge!!! Whoop Whoop!!!!

I’ve been trying to put this plan together for awhile now but something wasn’t quite clicking for me. One thing I know about myself is that when I try to force something and  I am not getting the result I want, I throw a huge fit and flip out ,  I accept that I need to take a step back and say it “just ain’t gonna work for me right now.” Truly the best thing I can do is walk away temporarily and come back with a fresh perspective at another time.  I’ve been attempting to write this post for a few weeks now…and whatta ya know, it just wasn’t the right time.  And I know it is because I tried to force it into becoming my new “healthy plan.”

I have a really tough time drastically changing my nutrition and exercise routine overnight. There are so many people out there who can simply flip the switch, and suddenly they are committed and motivated to a clean diet.  I can do this…for about 3 days, but eventually my old habits and temptations resurface.  I try to do way too much…way too fast. This is exactly what I have experienced the past two weeks.  Once again, I tried to force it and I needed to take a step back and reevaluate #1 My approach to Clean Eating and #2 why I am struggling so much with staying on track?

I know, along with the rest of the world, that there is no such thing as a perfect diet OR perfect physique. What I want to focus on is putting the right tools in place so that I can be successful and healthy and balanced AND FINALLY ACHIEVE THIS GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!

The 30-Day Clean Eating Challenge will help me to create boundaries and assess my specific goals.  I will also have a tool to stay accountable to my goals but even better, to myself! I am the only one who can make this happen and I am SO OVER the yo yo number on the scale. I am going to try this for 30 DAYS…and then reassess my successes and failures and where I can tweak and improve my plan. Again, this plan and my take is not for everyone and I would encourage anyone to consult a medical professional before adjusting and attempting this plan.

What is Clean Eating?

Eating clean is not complicated, it is common sense and dedication to a plan. Where I struggle is staying motivated and not giving in to all the temptations. Everyone will have their own struggles and road blocks.  It takes control and a plan to stay on track.  Through all my years of dieting etc. I have never really put a concrete no nonsense plan in place and simply stuck to it. That changes TODAY. Clean Eating is choosing to include healthful and nutritious foods & liquids into your diet. It really is simple; kick out the crap foods, you know EXACTLY what they are, you are only cheating yourself and draining your own life.  Include wholesome and nutritious foods with NATURAL lean protein sources, NATURAL complex carbohydrates, and HEALTHY natural fats in moderation. Cut out the junk, bring in the GOOD, and DRINK TONS OF WATER!!!!! This is a lifestyle change…not a fad diet!

Food and Workout Journal

Over the past two weeks I have been keeping a food journal to track what my habits look like. I highly suggest doing this…it really helped me to see everything I was consuming and at the end of the day I was surprised.  I have to be honest with myself to grow and change and move forward towards a better “self.” Here is my assessment:

#1 – I am really good in the AM.  I don’t have much of an appetite in the morning and zero cravings for anything, so it is super easy for me to stay on track.  If I struggle with anything it is actually eating in the morning period.  I am so proud of myself for actually doing this.  There were only 3 days that I legitimately forgot to eat anything in the morning…and yes that is a common problem for me…forgetting to EAT in general. Definitely not the case later in the day. I seem to have more of an appetite when I work out in the morning and adjusting my schedule so I actually GO to the gym has helped a lot.

#2 – I am really good at eating a snack in the mid-morning before lunch. I have a work schedule that begins later in the morning so I pretty much eat again as soon as I get to work.

#3 – My job complicates my ability to actual EAT while at work.  I will often go hours or all day without eating and I am so busy with appointments and consultations that I don’t even notice. This is definitely an area where I will be focusing a lot of my energy because I spend a good portion of my day at work. On the flip side, I have days where I can’t control my appetite whatsoever and eat everything in sight. I think the key for me is going to be creating a schedule for eating and sticking to it. I need my meals to be easy and accessible and consistency will be key. I know there is truth in firing up your metabolism and I need to get mine going.

#4 – Even though I struggle with eating at work, about %50 of the time I don’t do too bad. I stick to what I bring and have really adjusted my habits with ordering lunches etc. Not only does it save money but it keeps me focused on what is truly healthy.  I’m hoping to get on a schedule where I eat every few hours without any exceptions.

#5 – I have a tendency to BINGE at night. I do such a good job during the day and then all the stress and hunger catches up with me and I lose it. I also have a tendency to indulge in too much wine in the evening which isn’t a healthy habit either and definitely something I am looking to change! I am a snacker in the evening and even after i’ve had my dinner I am still hungry. I have yet to determine if it is true hunger or simply a habit of eating in the evening.

#6 – I have a weakness for sugar that I will be getting into CHECK ASAP!!!! No excuses with this one. NO SUGAR doesn’t mean I can’t have a little cheat or indulgence every once in awhile, it just means that it won’t be an everyday occurrence!

I’m sure I could go on and on but I really want to focus on putting a plan into place and then tweaking it as I go. I need to focus on consistency and success.

Here is my Game Plan for the next 30 days:

Nutrition / Clean Eating Schedule:

6:00am – Wake up & Coffee/PreWorkout Supplement (meal #1)

6:30am – Workout

8:30am – Breakfast (meal #2)

11:30 am – Mid-Morning Snack (meal #3)

2:00pm – Lunch (meal #4)

4:30 pm – Late Afternoon Snack (meal #5)

7:30 pm – Dinner (meal #6)

9:00 pm – Before Bed Snack (meal #7)

I am going to give it a GO for the next 30 days and then reevaluate and see how things are going. I know for me it comes down to discipline and pushing through the difficulty. It is mostly a mental game and once you break through the barrier it becomes 2nd nature. I don’t expect PERFECTION and I know I will have days where I will slip up, but again it is about staying focused and seeing the prize at the end of the road.

the secret

I will track my progress everyday and record my WORKOUTS & DIET. I know I can do this for 30-days. Focus on your goals and take it one week, one day, one meal at a time…MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!!

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Birthday Weekend Extravaganza (Part 1)

Well hey there!! Long time no see! Things have been INSANE…I will repeat this again…INSANE lately! I’m currently coming down from our Birthday Weekend high. We are tanked. On the agenda today…breakfast and goodbyes followed by adult nap time while we watch the Masters and then a quick birthday visit with my parents.

We have been so blessed to enjoy this special Birthday Extravaganza with my honey’s family and my parents!!! The weekend started Thursday night with a fun and festive birthday cake for my love!!! I originally had BIG plans for Jeffrey’s 26th birthday but as is normal, life happened and I had to tone down the scope of my Birthday Extravaganza. Baking my baby a cake however was non-neogatiable. I recently discovered Ombre Cakes and Colored Birthday Cakes! Oh boy…SO MUCH FUN!!! Last month I made this Pink Ombre Cake for one of my coworkers and it turned out so AWESOME!!!

Pink Ombre Cake #3

Pink Ombre Cake #1

Pink Ombre Cake #2

I immediately fell in love and decided I had to make one for Jeffrey’s birthday!!! I originally had this whole Captain America/Avengers theme going but decided to bail last minute. I opted for a RED,WHITE, and BLUE cake instead…still very patriotic just like my husband! Here is a photo tutorial on how I made the cake. Basically I used 3 boxes of White Cake Mix, food coloring, and I made my own frosting (special recipe). Super Easy!!!

bday cake 1
BONUS!!! I bought this set of Wilton’s Food Coloring for like $4…use a 60% OFF coupon and your set with any color combination you could ever need! YAY! I used No Taste Red, aka actually turns out pink, and Royal Blue.
bday cake 2
More Pink then Red…but the idea is still there. HAHA. Next time, purchase one box of red velvet cake mix and boom your done.

bday cake 3 bday cake 4 bday cake 5 bday cake 6 bday cake 7

bdaycake 8

bday cake 9 bday cake 10

This was all pre-birthday prep! I was off from work Friday, the hubby’s actual birthday, and we had a blast. The day started with some cleaning and a quick coffee visit with a girlfriend, and lots of birthday kisses! Next, we met the newest addition to the Haguewood Family…meet Harley Haguewood!!! She is a 7-week old Golden Retreiver and is THE BEST!!!! Jeffrey’s parents recently got her and she is AWESOME!!! It was such a blast watching Jovie meet this little girl for the first time.

Harley #3

Harley #2

Harley #4

Jovie and Harley #5

Jovie and Harley #1

Jovie and Harley #6

There aren’t even words to express the love we all have for this little one. She is the perfect addition to our family. Jovie will always be our baby but Harley is our Spunky little firecracker with so much energy. It was such a blessing to see how far Jovie has come and to see her “playing mommy” for little Harley dog. We are all so excited to see them grow up together and can’t wait to make some more additions to the Haguewood Zoo!!!! We were sad to see her go, but our so thrilled for Jeffrey’s parents.I leave you with this adorable video of Jovie and Harley playing in our backyard! BEYOND CUTE! She is such a little nugget and we love her already!!!

Part 2 coming soon!!!!