Letting Go Of My Home: How Travel Has Changed Me

I have a crazy obsession with my home.  I'm in love with it.  Not because it is super fancy and luxurious but because I have a deep heart for my home.

We just returned from our five year anniversary trip.  Coming back from a two week vacation in Paris, Iceland, and Seattle, for the first time in my home obsessed life, I was sad to come home.  We have gone on vacation before, usually for a week or long weekend.  This is the longest I have ever been away and it felt different to come home this time around.  I did not miss it as much or yearn for it like I usually do.  It felt oddly unfamiliar. 

Sometimes my husband and I talk about if we ever think we would move.  Anything from moving to a different house in the same city to moving out of state.  They are never serious conversations and usually my answer is a big fat "NO" because the idea of moving away from my family and familiarity seems unbearable. 

Yet coming home this time was different.  I missed seeing my friends and family and looked forward to sharing about our adventures with them.  But being away with my husband exploring new countries and cities was just the taste of something else that I needed that is helping me let go of something I have always held so tightly to. 

I got to experience a life somewhere else and it was more that I could have ever imagined.  I know comparing everyday life to vacation is unrealistic.  But it made me realize that at the end of the day, as long as I have Brent by my side, we could have a full life anywhere. 

And to be completely honest, travel is not always luxurious.  Our feet hurt, we got irritated with each other, we got lost, and no matter how many band aids I put on I still got blisters--ones so painful that I cried one night walking back to our room in Paris.  But travel changed us in a way that allowed us to see the life that we know in a different element.

We have no plans of moving anytime soon.  Or ever.  But my obsession with my home and need for familiarity has changed.  And I feel grateful for it.  I will continue to love my home, taking care of a home, home decor, and using my home as a place to extend love and relationship with others.  But I do not want my home to become an idol that perhaps would keep me from experiencing something better out of fear of losing something I love so much. 

I was reminded that relationship and experiences are greater than things.  As I continue to love on our little home, I hope to be less consumed with it's appearance and instead more focused on letting it serve its purpose as a place to rest my head at the end of the day for a life that is well lived.

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." 
--Henry Miller

Black Bean and Hummus Burrito

I will admit, this is not the prettiest recipe I have ever shared but it definitely is a good dose of reality.  Afternoon eating is hard for me.  I have my breakfast down to always shakes and dinner time is usually planned in advance for my husband and I.  But for lunch I am usually on my own and I try to not indulge too much on leftovers or food that comes in a bag that can be quickly grabbed.  I get tired of salads and soup and sometimes want something a little savory without over indulging.

These black bean and hummus burritos are so easy yet pretty darn good.  They are far from anything fancy but sometimes slopping some food on a plate and putting it into the microwave is all I have the energy for.  I also like to change this up by adding veggies or lettuce.  I recently did a hummus and cucumber wrap and it was surprisingly really good and refreshing.

The low carb tortillas are the key.  The garlic hummus and Taco Bell sauce add flavor and the beans add texture and protein.

Black Bean and Hummus Burrito

1 tablespoon (or so) garlic hummus
1/4 cup black beans
1 packet of taco sauce
1 low carb tortilla

Assemble and microwave! 

And if you want to go crazy, a little cheese also goes a long way for flavor!

Simple Chocolate Banana Protein Shake

I am a huge fan of shakes.  Protein shakes...fruit and veggie shakes...blend it up with some ice and you have what I have eaten for breakfast for over five years...maybe more.  I cannot even remember that far back.  I go through seasons where I am obsessed with certain foods but they usually die out.  This is one exception.  Starting my day with the proper nutrients helps me get through a morning workout as well as helps clean out my body of the previous day's impurities.  I am all about the shake.  And it brings me great joy to come up with new combinations.

I'll admit that it is hard to find a protein powder that fits your dietary needs, tastes good, and isn't terribly expensive without trying a few.  I did some research after choosing to not use soy protein anymore about what was the best for you as well as best tasting protein powder.  There are a lot of suggestions out there.  But based off of a few resources I really trusted, I decided to try Designer Whey.  I was recently told that whey protein actually does not have a lot of lactose in it making it easier to digest with my lactose sensitivities. 

Since I have switched, I am really happy with it.  Both the chocolate and vanilla are pretty good which has been hard for me to find a powder where I liked both flavors equally.  But since trying this recipe and using cocoa powder for chocolate taste, I am sold on having just the vanilla flavor from now on.  This recipe is just slightly more of a natural chocolate taste that I like, plus it is nice to not have two giant protein powder tubs taking up my precious cabinet space.

I realize chocolate banana is not a new combination.  But when I call this a simple recipe, it is simple in the fact that I use basic combinations to create a delicious but not fussy morning drink.  When I am running out the door in the morning or perhaps half asleep at 5:00 am, I don't want to make something that I have to refer to a recipe for.  I want to just dump and blend.

This is a dump and blend with ingredients I always have on hand.  When I am starving or craving something sweet, this shake is so easy to make, I don't even have the time to listen to my screaming hunger to grab a chunk of cheese or chips instead.

Simple Chocolate Banana Protein Shake 

1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water

Dump and blend.

I have a Vitamix that I use and love.

And I find Designer Whey at some of my local Target stores.  You can also find it online.

Fall Backyard Entertaining: Birthday Party

My dad's birthday is in September and so hosting his birthday party is always my first sign of autumn.  Plus besides my husband's birthday, it is the only other festivity I cannot go full force pink on.  So each year I use the upcoming season as inspiration for the decor.  

I used all my plushy pumpkins and other fall decorations along with leaves from the yard to create the table centerpieces.

I then used inspiration from our MOMS group to write phrases with a sharpie on butcher paper.

I loved the look with the simple brown paper and pops of color for the pumpkins.  It screams fall in a sweet subtle way that I think would make for a darling Thanksgiving table.

I usually use a combination of my white vases and serving wear for flowers or plants but this time around I grabbed only glass containers.  It was a simple but new way for me to change things up.

I even dressed up the porch with our yard boots and a couple of fake white pumpkins.

I always love the long table that feels like we are eating family style.  We have four long rectangle tables.  Using one for food, the other three fit twenty people.  If we have guests under that, I usually prefer this setup to the round tables as it makes for more of an intimate setting.

For the food, we did a similar table setup using the brown paper with the food labeled.

We were coming off a busy week so I planned an easy menu that could be made in bulk and planned ahead.  So we ended up serving a pasta bar with spaghetti and meatballs and chicken alfredo.  We also have electricity that runs to our back garden (that we used for our old backyard light setup) which allowed us to plug in the crock pots outside before guest arrived.

For dessert, my dad loves peanut butter so I made yellow cupcakes with chocolate chips and mixed some peanut butter into store bought cream cheese frosting.  All I have to say is that frosting was amazing.

It was a wonderful evening of family and friends celebrating my sweet dad and kicking off this beautiful fall season.  That is something that I most definitely am thankful for.

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