Welcome to my weekly meal plan, where I’m sharing quick and easy meals for the pickiest of eaters!

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Happy weekend, cuties!

We went from temperatures in the single digits to the 70’s and now cold and rainy. Needless to say, my allergies are going absolutely bananas. PASS ALL THE BENADRYL, PLEASE.

I’m craving cozy comfort food with all this wet weather, so we’ve got a lot of it on the menu this week. As always, be sure to print out a grocery list for easy shopping.

Enjoy!

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Monday: Slow Cooker Beef Brisket French Dip Sandwiches

I mean…good grief. BRISKET FRENCH DIPS!!!

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Tuesday: Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken is one of my favorites! I love how easy this recipe is, and we all love it.

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Wednesday: Parmesan Garlic Chicken with Roasted Potato Wedges

Simple comfort food that the whole family loves!!

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Thursday: Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

This is every bit as good as it looks. One of our favorites!

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easy-breakfast-casserole Friday: Breakfast Casserole

I love having breakfast for dinner. It’s yummy and easy! This casserole is one of our favorites.

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Happy cooking, guys! Have a great weekend.

birthday

My best friends in the universe and the birthday cake of my dreams.

When I turned seven years old, I invited the two cutest boys in the first grade to my birthday party. It was a ballsy move, but I was a ballsy girl. I was the leader of the Purple Club, a club where every girl in my class who loved purple followed me around the playground, doing whatever I said. I’d touch the third rung on the monkey bars, they’d follow suit. Exciting stuff.

Everyone knew that RJ and Christopher were off limits. They knew this because I’d told them so. I didn’t want an actual boyfriend — I just didn’t want them to have girlfriends, spending their days pining over me and only me. Inviting them to my birthday was my way of staking my claim.

At the birthday party, RJ sang me a special birthday song in front of everyone, waving his hands with a flourish when he was finished. My face was red and hot, but I was pleased. I lay in bed later that evening, replaying that moment over and over again. We moved later that year, but the song became a running joke in my family for years with “cha cha cha!!! *hand wave*” being a private joke of sorts.

When I got older, birthdays got complicated. My dad was abusive, and I was embarrassed to have friends over. They might say something wrong, reveal something about me that I might pay for later. Eventually he went to prison for raping me and my relationship with my mom, for reasons that are too numerous and painful to get into at this time (even counseling was only able to chip away at it), dissolved completely. And birthdays became incredibly painful.

For nearly 20 years, I have associated being strong with being unaffected and unbothered. So when that anxious feeling pops up every year about a week before my birthday…I’ve pushed it down and plastered on a smile. I have kids who love me, a cozy warm home, a great husband, wonderful friends. How ungrateful must I be, to not be satisfied? I have what so many others want.

I won’t be a drama queen. It’s not who I am. Drama queens dwell and stew and strong people push forward. So when my husband asks, I tell him I’d like pizza for dinner, that I want a new pair of shoes, that I’d like to go out for a pedicure. I watch my family look at me anxiously, wanting me to be happy. And I make myself play the part of the grateful, happy woman who isn’t sad and hurting and wishing she had parents. I chew on food that sits funny in my stomach and I wonder what it’s like to have a child who you held as she took her first breaths and then threw away when she grew older and her pain was inconvenient. And I wonder what you tell yourself when she has a birthday every year.

My father-in-law, a gruff, unsentimental man who rides a motorcycle and liberally uses the “F” word, sends gorgeous flowers with chocolates and a balloon, which stuns my husband. My mother-in-law plans me a birthday party at her home, making whatever I’d like for dinner.

I cry thankful tears and feel  honored to be so loved. But I also wish that they could be the ones who knew what I always asked for my birthday dinner as a child. I wish it was they who remembered the time that Barbara cried every time she lost one of the party games. I want them to know that my favorite birthday cake of all time was Rainbow Brite.

I want them to remember RJ waving his hands as he sang, “CHA CHA CHA!!”

One thing about getting older is you learn to give yourself a lot more grace. And with that comes the realization that some things are just sad and there is no getting around it. Not having loving, caring parents on your birthday is sad. And it’s okay to allow myself to feel that sadness and grieve through it.

I spent my birthday evening in bed sobbing as my husband listened to me confide in him that my birthday is the one day a year that exposes a giant pit of loneliness that lives in my heart. That I wish I had a home to go to that smelled of my childhood. That I wish someone would laugh and yell, “CHA CHA CHA” as they sang me Happy Birthday — not because I told them to but because they were there and remember how cute RJ’s face looked as he proudly sang my special song.

My husband wasn’t disappointed in me. He didn’t think me ungrateful. And as I closed my eyes on the night of my birthday, eyes swollen and face red and splotchy, he put his arms around me and I felt strangely light. Because it was the first birthday in a very long time that I’ve told the truth.

Mommas. Don’t ever underestimate what the funny traditions mean. The streamers in the doorway — the candle in the donut — the embarrassing birthday song. They may roll their eyes and hide their faces, but you are home. You are the one who saw them take their first breaths, who fed them their first cake, who remembers that they always want the good homemade macaroni and cheese with their birthday dinner.

They would miss it horribly if it was no longer an option.

Happy birthday to me. Cha cha cha ;)

 

 

I’m recapping episode two of The Bachelor with Nick Viall.

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The episode opened with the women toasting to each other with mimosas. Super precious, considering they will be ready to claw each other’s faces off by the next rose ceremony. Also, is anyone else troubled by the perfectly pressed pajamas and super fresh “no make-up make-up” the girls sport every morning? I basically live for that moment when I swipe my make up off and pull my raggedy sweats onto my body.

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Christen though…she’s not playing the “I woke up like this” game. MISS TULSA IS LIVING WITH AUTHENTICITY AND I AM HERE FOR IT.

(more…)

**I was provided with LipSense product in exchange for this review. As always, my thoughts and opinions are a million percent my own.

Hey, cuties! I’m so excited about today’s Make-Up Monday! It’s a good one!

Soooo…have you heard of LipSense?

I heard about it for the first time about a year ago and was a bit skeptical. The hype is that it’s a lipstick that lasts all day — but doesn’t a lot of lipstick promise that?

LipSense also kind of expensive. Which is fine, if it does as it’s promised. But if it doesn’t…well, then.

So about a month ago, I put out a call to my readers looking for a LipSense distributor…and I was contacted by a reader named Julianne who was happy to send a few shades in exchange for an honest review.

What did I think about it? Watch my review to find out!!

There are 3 ways you can order LipSense from Julianne:

1. Send her your order via email to: [email protected]

2. Message her your order on Instagram or Facebook- Lipsbyjewels

3. Order at www.senegence.com and select “Customer Buy Now” using Distributor Id # 235373

 

If you need more information on the application process, here’s a detailed description from the LipSense site.

Please let me know if you have any questions about my experience using LipSense and I’ll be sure to answer them! And if you’re an independent distributor of  hair or beauty products of any kind and would like to work with me on a Make-Up Monday video review, let me know! I’m always looking for new ideas.

Have a great day and thanks for watching!