Corona Life Update

¬†I realized people might think something dramatic might have happened but not really, I just quit social media kinda cold turkey. We don’t have the corona virus, aren’t pregnant or anything serious but it’s been about two months now and to be honest, I haven’t missed it. I did it before all the quarantining and it was perfect. If you’ve been wanting to do a social media fast this is the best time because you aren’t missing anything and I humbled myself and realized no one truly cares about the day to day things. I felt like I wasn’t managing my time well and I wasted time. I needed to be present with people and work on my relationship with God. I started this year trying to better myself and become closer to God and it has changed so much. I had a lot of things I wanted to work on and improve in myself and I figured now was the best time so I just got off it and made a list of all the things I wanted to work on. I’ll get into that more later but I just figured I would give a quick update on our life and share some things that have helped me during the quarantine in hopes that they can help someone else. I have so much blogging to catch up on with our trip to South America and my graduation trip to Europe so I am going to try to update all that here as well.

WE CANCELED OUR BIG TRIP.

Kind of obvious with all that has been going on in the world and to say I was devastated… is an understatement. I was really starting to feel anxious about it though and then a lot of the countries started putting travel bans up so in the end it was the right decision. We had already gotten a couple visas and lost out on about half of our flight to India but we got refunded for the rest and can use them through next year so we are hoping we can again travel but this whole virus has definitely made me feel blessed about all the traveling we have done because I honestly wonder if traveling will be different in the future and I am curious about how things will pan out. I would love to go on a trip in the fall but I have a hard time picturing the future right now…I can’t even envision next week let alone months from now but I will say I always have things planned out…just in case. ūüėČ

WE ARE BUILDING A HOME. 

This is probably the news I am most excited about. We have been searching for a home for a while now and things were flying off the market or they just didn’t feel right. I was very picky about the neighborhood we would be in. I wanted it to be safe and not near anything that looked run down and we lucked out with what we found, eventually. When we initially went to check out this area, they had just sold the last couple lots that would be finished by the end of this year so we were disappointed but gave our information anyway. A couple days later, we were contacted and told that one fell through and it was ours if we wanted it so it felt as though it was all meant to be. Before quarantining we were having meetings to pick out everything in our home and its been exciting and also very time consuming haha. We had our final appointment so all of it is set in stone and now we drive by every week to check the progress. Lyle is so excited about it and loves to take drives over there all the time haha. We mainly look through the model progress and see how things look since ours will look pretty similar. It’s got a fenced in backyard for Murphy, an upstairs laundry room, a walk in closet and an unfinished basement. I can’t wait to share pictures of it! We would love to live here for a few years and then have it be a rental property so this has been good practice for building. I think Lyle ended up actually liking the process more than I did honestly haha I was very indecisive and didn’t care about some things as much as I thought I would. It should be done by October at the latest but we were just told the other day that it might even be done in August!¬†

WE ARE OFF TO LOUISIANA (TBD).

We were supposed to be leaving this week but with everything going on in the world we probably won’t be able to go until April 20th as of now but maybe even later. We were going to be living in Louisiana through September but we will see what happens. I have been pretty excited to explore a new place and get to eat all my favorite foods but we will see what happens. There has been a lot of changes going on for everyone and I feel truly blessed that in spite of our many canceled trips and stress about buying a piece of crap car for three weeks (and then the relief of getting our money back when we didn’t think we would) we are healthy and safe. My brother and his new wife canceled their honeymoon, my sister lost her job and my other sister has been dealing with the stress of trying to now have a home birth next month and worrying that none of us will be able to be there. I have immediate family members with a lot of health concerns out East that I frequently worry about but for now we are all healthy and safe and I know everyone can not say the same. I worry and pray for the world and hope that the end will come quicker than we think. This whole thing has put into perspective about what truly matters honestly. Life is so short and it’s had me thinking a lot about life and all the things I gave priority to that don’t really matter.

HOW WE SPEND OUR DAYS.

Bored. Just kidding…sorta. I can’t complain because I feel privileged that we can stay home and be okay but I am definitely a go go go person and I don’t like to watch tons of Netflix shows and movies and usually like to spend a lot of time at the gym, working and out and about. Below I posted some things that will hopefully help your quarantined time. More for my mental health I still run tons- I run about 6-7 miles a day, do LOTS of high fit workouts, and have slowly been trying to add weights and things for a home gym. I worked out like 4 hours the other day because I had nothing to do. I wanted to share a couple things that have been keeping me sane though in hopes of them helping someone else. So I LOVE high fit. It’s a cardio/dance workout that I do at the gym but with the quarantine the creator has been doing live videos for FREE! You can register¬†here!¬†Make sure you keep checking your email to get the link! Also there is a 45 minute workout on Youtube they just posted that you can access whenever¬†here. Working out is how I stay sane and these will leave you sweating but are fun at the same time. This is also a really great deal that they are sharing them free because a lot of people are charging for different online workout classes. I start my day with some stretching and conference talks. Conference is actually the reason I temporarily brought back my Facebook right now. Conference is this Saturday and Sunday and I wanted to invite everyone to watch. You can pull up every conference session¬†here. It’s awesome because they all have titles and then you can read the bio to see what it’s about. They are so uplifting, positive, give great parenting advice and have some awesome stories. I listen to them every single morning and my days are so much different than when I didn’t listen to them. They aren’t look either so you can listen to them when you do chores, brush your teeth, anything. To counteract all my workouts I also bake. If you know me, you know I love to bake. I love to tinker in the kitchen and for fun I bake lots of different chocolate chip recipes and compare them. It’s not as easy to give treats away anymore though so that’s a problem haha. I wanted to share the greatest banana bread recipe of ALL TIME though. I promise you it’s amazing and I will never make anything different. The secret ingredient is sour cream and a streusel topping. I actually combined a couple recipes because I love streusel on muffins, breads…everything. You also have to use milk chocolate chips. I posted it below! Guys, you will seriously love it and eat the whole pan. I did #sorrynotsorry

THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups ripe and mashed banana (3-4 medium bananas), measured
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • ¬Ĺ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (140g) chocolate chips (I don’t even measure)

STREUSEL

  • ¬Ĺ cup powdered sugar
  • ¬Ĺ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • ¬Ĺ tsp cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F and grease and line a 9√ó5 loaf pan
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter and sugars until you reach a paste-like consistency. This may take some vigorous whisking for a minute or two. You can either use a whisk or an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.
  4. Add in your mashed bananas followed by the eggs, sour cream, cinnamon and vanilla.
  5. Once all of your wet ingredients are mixed together, fold in the dry ingredients. Then, fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and spread it even. Then mix your crumble and sprinkle it on top with your fingers. 
  7. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let it cool completely before removing from the pan.

Oh and self care my friends. It is my best friend right now. I am all about masks and all the beauty treatments that have been on major sale lately. One I really wanted to share was this Peter Thomas Roth Mask you can get¬†here. I got it when it was on sale from Nordstrom and I got the smaller one just in case but I love it! It has unreal reviews and it smells really yummy too! Without wearing makeup and doing my hair I still want to be somewhat normal ya know? I’ve been reading books, watching lots of reality television- 90 Day Fiance or 90 Days The Other Way (you should watch this one! So interesting). I miss going to the movies and out to eat and all that stuff but I really have enjoyed learning to slow down and put things into perspective. I am loving the time to self reflect and grow and improve. Lyle and I have been praying together and reading the scriptures more and I am slowly becoming the person I want to be. I was kind of annoyed with myself that it’s taken this long but I realized its never too late for self improvement. I want to continue to use this time to grow closer to my husband and God and find new hobbies and skills and just make the best of it. That’s honestly all we can do right now. I am hopeful for the future and excited to move into our home and we are wanting to adopt or foster another dog once we have a home of our own as well. PS if you can, adopt or foster now. Animal shelters are really struggling to help animals and they have less volunteers giving the animals attention and there have been a lot of dogs that have been given up during this quarantine due to relocating and lost jobs. STOP buying these designer breeds like golden doodles that are essentially mutts. Dogs are put down every single day. If you really want a certain breed then look. I just saw a two month old cocker spaniel puppy on a shelter page. Help others and stay safe. <3The best pancakes ever and just some of the proof that I need to stop baking.¬†XO Cait

Hi Again New Orleans

We made it to New Orleans a little over a year after the first time we went. I went on and on about it after going once that this past July, my parents flew into New Orleans for a long weekend to experience it with us! They let me completely plan everything and were down for anything and everything. Below is real life proof of how tiring that can be sometimes haha. 

To sum it up we had the absolute best time! My mom quickly fell in love with this city like I knew she would. My dad was a little harder to convince. He thought the history was so interesting but at the same time, kind of surprised by it and it wasn’t what he was expecting haha. I blogged about the food in New Orleans and a post about what we did and I will link those here for prettier pictures and more information to help you. Guide¬†here¬†and food¬†here.

We started off our trip at District Donuts (one of my favorite donut places) and then jumped right into it with a walking tour. There are SO many amazing walking tours in New Orleans. If you don’t want to spend your whole trip doing tours (I could though, they are amazing) I recommend doing the French Quarter tour and the Ghost tour. You HAVE to do the ghost tour. If you have more time and really like the tours you can do the Garden District and Cemetery tours. With my parents we got to do the cemetery tour and see the crazy tomb Nicholas Cage created after visiting a psychic. You can honestly do the same tour over and over and still learn new things. Do the french quarter tour the first day if possible to get your bearings of the city. You also can ask your local guide questions about anything so write any you have down.

One thing we got to do this time was visit the Pharmacy Museum. I really wanted to go to this the first time and we just couldn’t squeeze it in but it was so interesting! We all really liked it and I honestly thought it was better than the Voodoo one if you have to choose just one for your first trip. It was bigger and has a ton of information.¬†Harry Potter vibes….

Instead of walking the Garden District tour we drove it. You can find a really easy map to follow¬†here.¬†This is awesome because it has every main stop you do on the tour but you can walk it yourself or even drive it. It has information under every stop for you to read so you still get all the information. The Garden District was absolutely beautiful and it was really easy to pull over and hop out at the stops we wanted to get more pictures at.One of my favorite homes ^ We wandered all the cute shops in the Quarter and ate at tons of yummy food places. It was seriously the best trip. I love that my parents come visit us in places and get to explore new cities with us. We’ve done Utah, Houston, New Orleans, New Jersey and New York. I can’t wait to add to the list as my parents keep visiting us but we will do better at pictures next time…
We took them to the famed Cafe Du Monde for some beignets, my favorite! Although I will say they are better at Disney! hahaha. In Orlando they don’t sell the beignets at Disney World BUT they do sell them at a resort nearby so we can get them anytime we want!…and I do hahaMy dad rolled up his untouched sandwich with fries and even added packets of sauce to give to one of the many homeless people. He waited until he found the right person to give it too. My whole life he has been such an amazing example of service.XOXO