I've long loved a good bruschetta, preferably over a table surrounded by girlfriends with a side of Diet Coke, but more often than not these days, it is consumed in my barefoot on a lazy Sunday afternoon. My favorite bruschetta of all time was from a restaurant called Sauce. It's a fast casual place that we frequent often and I always have to order their Caprese Bruschetta...sometimes I'll share it, most often times I won't.
I loved it so much that one day I determined to make a copy cat. They serve theirs on a big slice of french bread, which they slice for easy consumption, naturally I fashioned mine the same way. It became a staple lunch for me and my friends as we visited while our then-toddlers played. When one of those friends was asked to cater a wedding, we determined that we must make a mini version of this bruschetta and our favorite party trick was born...because anything mini is extra delicious!
These are hands-down my biggest crowd pleaser and the best part is, they are SO easy!
Here's what you'll need:
baguette, sliced & lightly toasted
basil pesto, my favorite is from Costco
sliced cherry tomatos, I like to use kitchen shears for a quick slice
balsamic glaze - my favorite is from Trader Joe's
Once you toast your baguettes, spread each piece with a smear of basil pesto, then place on your serving tray. Top with the tomatoes & mozzarella, then drizzle with balsamic glaze.
Make more than you think, everyone always loves them!
Buying a house has got to simultaneously be one of the most exciting things annnd one of the most stressful! I can still vividly remember when we closed on our first house. We'd been married about a year and I was all in and what I thought fully versed in the process. Scot meanwhile, was overly practical. Is that a surprise to anyone? In my defense, I was fully immersed in the industry so I thought I knew all the ins and outs. In hindsight, I'm incredibly grateful for Scot's pragmatism. We bought in the hay day of 2005...when all you had to do to qualify for a loan was be alive and breathing. Truly.
Thankfully, Scot ensured we didn't get in over our heads, which required some considerable restraint when a bank is wanting to give you more money than you need. While we were both working full-time at the time, we knew kids would be on the horizon and little did we know at the time, that I'd continue working throughout all our child-bearing years. Back then, we both thought I'd hang up my work wardrobe and exclusively stay home with the kids. So when we went to talk to the lender, we ran numbers solely on Scot's income and based our purchase on that. In all honesty, we still operate our finances this way and it's probably one of the better decisions we've ever made.
So before YOU get to buying, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1. If your employment were to change, would you be able to cover the cost of your mortgage for 6 months? If the answer is no, you might want to hold tight. I say might because there are conditions where this doesn't apply. If you're a physician just finishing residency for example. you probably won't have a lot of reserves, but once you get working, you can probably accumulate them quickly. In that case, I'd recommend you purchase at a price that will allow you to accumulate those reserves. I realize that in addition to saving up for a down payment, adding this cushion might feel overwhelming, but the peace of mind it brings you is immeasurable. If you're under 30, you didn't adult through the Great Recession of 2008 and let me tell you, you'd be shocked how quickly it can all turn and that cushy job can be gone in an instant. If both Scot and I were out of work tomorrow, we could feasibly pay our mortgage for over a year. That probably didn't matter when it was just me and him, but when you've got 4 kids in the mix, it's a game changer.
2. Is the mortgage amount more than 1/3 of your take home pay? If the answer is yes, you're over buying. We personally have always shot for this number to be about 1/4 of our take home pay. Again, there are some exceptions to this, so you've got to crunch the numbers in relation to the trajectory of your career. If you're 30 and still have a ton of growth in your employment and you've found what could be your 'forever home,' you might stretch this number a bit, but I wouldn't suggest much. We've always run this number solely on Scot's career so that I can hang up my work wardrobe at any time without consequences on our mortgage.
3. Do you like the location, lot and layout of the home? You can change out floors, countertops and even cabinets if you want, but if you've got a wonky floor plan, a lot that backs up to a busy road, or a location that requires a far commute, consider carefully. If the location, lot and layout are questionable to you, they will also be questionable on resale. Do not compromise on these unchangeable aspects of a home, instead, be patient and save a little more in the meantime. Something that works will come soon enough and if you've planned accordingly, you'll be in the perfect position to snatch it up when it hits the market.
If you're actively looking for properties, you can search them on my personal website here, this is updated in real time with the MLS, giving you the most accurate info there is!
If you've got more questions about buying or selling a home, schedule a call and I'd love to talk through them with you.
In March I focused on creating a habit of meditation. You can read all about my intention for March back here. When I first started this idea of creating a new habit each month this year, I had the ridiculous notion, that I’d decide on the habit I wanted to create, map it out and then each month, just switch it on like a light switch.
Three months in and I’ve learned it doesn’t work quite like that. Well, I suppose it only took me into February to realize that because I crashed and burned fairly hard in February. Naturally I was hard on myself for falling short, but upon deeper introspection, I learned how to better approach it, which I’ll call a success because that really is the whole point of this exercise. The goal isn’t to be perfect, it is to be better.
Heading into March, I was much more measured in my approach. Instead of setting that standard of meditating 5 days a week, I gradually eased myself into it. I allowed myself some space to feel through what would work best in this phase of my life. I tried a few different approaches, a few different times of day and a few different locations. If something didn’t work well, instead of beating myself up about it, I just crossed it off the imaginary list I had in my head and moved on.
It felt so good to allow myself the opportunity to make some mistakes.
The first thing I figured out was where and when. I’m typically at the gym about 5 days a week, so it made sense to link my meditation with my time at the gym. Whether I’m there early, or mid-morning, I’m at least by myself, which felt like step one: Not being interrupted. The next question was regarding where. While I’ve always listened to podcasts at the gym, I didn’t really want to be meditating while I was lifting. Nor did I want to cram myself in a corner. I was really looking for a space where I could lean into the quiet and I’m so grateful to have found it.
Each day, post work out, I head back into the locker room, remove my sneakers in favor of some flip flops and head into the sauna. It is typically empty, but even if there are people there, it generally still feels like a private space. While there I’ll often times set a timer on my phone and then tuck it away before beginning my breathing exercises (I outlined the format I love here) and allowing myself to relax into my meditation.
In the first weeks, I did a few varied approaches, but at the very end of this month, I found exactly what I never knew I always needed. Simply Sadie’s Meditation Guides. You guys. They are total game changers. They popped up in my Instagram feed and since this is where my focus has been all month I, of course, had to learn more. I bought both the adult and kids/teen guides and we’ve been using them every single day. They are the perfect balance of guided meditation, along with allowing enough space for myself. I honestly, just truly love them! They aren’t too ‘woo woo’ and really speak well to my heart and within my personal framework. Check them out if you’re wanting t get started and aren’t sure where. They’re the best ones I’ve found.
Sooo, heading into to April. I debated on a couple of habits I wanted to form this month — for the record, thus far, I’ve been able to carry every habit on into the next month. In January, I created weekly capsule wardrobes to make getting dressed easier and I'm still doing that. In February, I went on a spending fast and while I’m not on a spending fast every month, I’m still feeling the benefits of that reset in February. I'm loving the mindfulness so much, I'm sure that will keep carrying over as well. Coming in to April, I’m hitting my busy season in both work and home. You know all the end of year recitals and responsibilities, paired with increased real estate activity. It’s important I stay organized so I can always approach things from a space of clarity.
For April, my goal is to ditch my ‘to-do’ list, an idea I got from my favorite podcast, The Life Coach School with Brooke Castillo. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but really, I think I can ditch all those silly scraps of paper with tidbits from here and there that I’m trying to remember. Here’s how I’m going to do it.
Each Sunday night, I’m setting aside 1 hour to sit down and write out every single thing I need to do for the week. Cook dinner, phone calls to make, closings to coordinate, carpools to drive. EVERYTHING. Word vomit on a piece of paper. Once It’s all on the paper, I’m going to begin putting it in my calendar. One by one, I’m going to create space for each thing that needs to get done and if there isn’t enough space, well then my list is getting edited. I tried it this week for the first time and I’m happy to report, I got Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday fairly mapped out. I’m writing this on Monday and I can already tell you 2 things: More is getting done and there has already been a lot of movement in my calendar as I adjust for things that are popping up. I’m hoping I can get better at anticipating the things that pop up, as well as, creating a schedule that allows for those things.
I’m hopeful working on this in April will save my bacon in May. Major bonus: I’ll be out of town one of the weeks, so that one shouldn’t be too hard to map out.
12 years in to motherhood and last night I told one of my kids to fail the project. Just flat out, I told my child to fail the project.
I'm not sure I recommend this to everyone as I certainly have other children where I would never tell them to fail the project, but this one, this one could stand to lighten up every now and again. So I said, fail it. In fact, I tripled dog dared him to.
I have kids that naturally excel in school AND find great satisfaction in doing well. I also have the other variety that take a bit longer to connect the dots and don't get too flustered over an average grade. Both are fine in my opinion. Where I begin to get concerned is when the pressure starts mounting and they become inpatient with themselves. In the first scenario the anxiety kicks in when they aren't quite sure how to get from point A to point B. They normally naturally excel. So to struggle, even a little is completely and totally uncomfortable. They aren't used to having to pause and now that they are having to pause to figure it out, well then the panic starts to mount. The panic begins a discourse in the their mind that goes something like this, "I can't figure this out," and because this is unchartered territory, it then goes, "Since I can't figure this out, right away, I'm going to run out of time and not finish, which means I'm going to get a bad grade. If I get a bad grade, it means I'm stupid and I don't want to be stupid. I don't get bad grades, only good grades are acceptable."
It continues to spiral from there, which makes actually figuring it out 100x more difficult.
We were in this space last night and as it circled and circled, despite my efforts to course correct, I finally just said, "Great, fail it. What's actually going to happen if you fail it?"
I realize this seems counter-intuitive, but it's a worthwhile exercise and one I use on a regular basis with my kids, my spouse and myself. There is great power in getting yourself comfortable with the worst case scenario.
For this child, failing the project is worst case scenario. "Okay," I said, "So let's explore what could happen in that situation."
All of my kids are in elementary school, and this particular child has straight A's. So really, what could possibly happen if the project is failed?
We talked through the actual consequences of a failed project, not any made up panic in our head, but real and factual consequences of failing. Often times, I'll have them remove themselves from the situation and instead imagine it's their very best friend in the situation. They'll answer these next questions more honest. If (insert best friend here) failed the project would you still be friends with them? Yes. Would you think they were still smart? Yes. Would their mom and dad still love them? Yes. Would it effect them moving on to the next grade level? No. Will they have to put it on a resume and tell everyone until the end of time that they failed a project in elementary school? No. The more ridiculous the questions become they more they tend to realize worst case scenario actually isn't the end of the world.
We go through these questions and while they might start to be convinced they never quite fully are. They're convinced that it's fine for other people to fail the project, but not them. We're making progress, but we aren't there yet. So then I follow it up with one of my epic fails: Algebra II my junior year in high school. I give them all the nitty gritty details of how I full on failed the class, when I was fully capable of passing it. Algebra was, in fact, one of my stronger math areas. Instead, I just talked too much to my friends and didn't manage my time properly and it bit me in the butt. I tell them all about how I had to take a summer school class, which I aced, by the way, but had to miss summer vacations to attend. It wasn't fun, but I definitely learned a couple of valuable lessons. One of them being, it's just a high school algebra class that I've never had to report on ever again. It hasn't effected my ability to go to college or get married or raise a family or even create my own freaking awesome career.
I did also learn it's worthwhile to manage your time and not fail in the first place, but at the end of the day, it really wasn't that big of a deal. A failed project is just a failed project. It doesn't determine your worth, it doesn't determine your ability, it doesn't determine your smarts. It's just a project that didn't work out well.
Every now and again, just fail the project if you need to. If you can't afford to fail the project, walk through worst case scenario and remind yourself that even if you end up in worst case scenario, you're likely capable of figuring it out.
And now...I've got to go help them on their project, hopefully we're to the point where it can be fun again, because our best is good enough.
Guys. If you're looking for a house in Lehi Crossing...this just might be it! I don't like to make predictions, but if I WERE to predict, this one will go fast. Here's the details:
3439 N. Mayfair
2,105 sq ft || 4 bed || 2.5 bath
Saturday, March 23rd
and here's the photos
I often get asked the question: Who cuts your boys' hair? Each time I sheepishly raise my hand. I've cut their hair since forever and finally felt confident enough to share a 'how-to' after one of my hair stylist friends about fell out of her seat when she asked that very question and heard the response.
Zack was born with a head of hair like I've never seen on a white boy and I first cut it myself when he was 4 months old. Since then, that's just what we've done. In the beginning it was in an effort to save money, but now, it not only saves me $80/mo, but also the headache of appointments and waiting rooms. I can cut all 3 boys in about 30 minutes on a good day.
I'll tell you I've come a long way since I first started, but worst case scenario, your kid ends up with a shaved head every now and again. I suppose that was a risk I've always been willing to take...except Zack would literally lose his marbles if I messed up bad enough to require a shaved head. He's like Sampson and his hair is his power apparently. I still like to kid him every now and again that I've messed up and will need to shave it. It never fails to get a rise out of him.
A few tips if you're a first-timer:
1. I am not professionally trained and am certain this isn't the 'correct' way to do it. I just don't care enough to do anything about it and don't think you should care either.
2. Always cut a little longer than you think at first, you can always take more off. Take your time.
3. That being said, I use a 1 guard on my boys' lower part, blending up to a 1.5. You'll see this in the video, but not sure I gave the exact numbers I was using. You might start with a 2 guard if it's your first time.
4. These are the clippers that I use. The set comes with clippers, guards, comb and scissors. Everything you need to get started.
5. These are the blending shears I use and I can't recommend them enough, especially if your boys' have blonde or light colored hair. The trickiest part about blondes is that every cut shows, these soften up those transitions and you'll see how I use them in the video.
Hoping this helps you simplify your days too. Take your time and realize your first cut won't be your best, but with practice you'll get better and better! Be sure to tag me if you try it!
You know I love a family dinner, but let's be honest, some days it's rough getting it all together. We live a busy life, which I realize is completely by choice but we've had to find some work arounds to accomplish everything we want to, while holding tight to some things that are important to us. As such, I've started teaching my older kids how to do more tasks in the kitchen! Liv is our resident guacamole maker. Really, no one makes it quite as good as she does.
She sets up her spot and she gets to work & frankly, I LOVE watching her so confident in what she's doing.
We make a SUPER simple guac recipe, if you want to make it fancy by adding in red onion, tomato and cilantro, you most definitely can. I just live with a husband who is a pure-est, meaning he can't bear to add anything else to the avocado annnnd he still doesn't like onions. I keep thinking he'll outgrow that, but nope, he's firmly a no onion kind of guy.
First things first, when you slice your avocados, did you know you can use the knife to remove the pit? Go ahead and just hammer that knife down into it...
the pit will stick to it, making it easy to deposit in the trash.
While the avocado is still in its skin, go ahead and dice it. This makes smashing it quicker and easier.
Time to scoop out that green gold goodness. We just throw it right onto the cutting board to mix it up good.
Once you've smashed it up a bit, it's time to add in your seasoning. We add lemon juice, this adds good flavor and prevents it from browning, then garlic salt and lemon pepper. We have never measured, even Liv doesn't measure. Instead, you season, then you taste, then you season, then you taste...until you get it juuuuuust right.
Transfer it to a festive serving bowl, I got this one at Target for $2.50 and enjoy!
Pro Tip: Always make more than you think.
I never thought in a MILLION years I'd ever change brokerages...that's how much I loved my previous firm. However, after being introduced to eXp Realty and doing my due diligence, I couldn't hardly transfer my license fast enough.
Here's the deal. As a real estate agent, you only have so much time in a day, so you can only produce so many transactions in a year. It's a numbers game, just like any other business. So while I can produce a full-time income on a stay-at-home-mom schedule, if I'm not 'working' I'm not producing.
Passive income has always been my goal, I just didn't think it would pan out quite like this. Instead, I thought I'd use my earnings from real estate to invest in rental properties or other income producing assets...but in all honesty, I think this is even better.
Here's a video that will explain it better than I can, but at the end of the day, this model allows for me to offer training to agents in a fiscally responsible way (because guys, let's remember, this is a business, not a hobby!), allows us to share information like a team, while we all keep our own book of business AND it allows us all to be networked on a national level. There are a lot of upsides to this model, at first glance, there are five simple revenue streams that can be built in the eXp model:
1. You're own book of business
2. Opting in on stock options with each transaction
3. Supporting agent growth by developing training programs and partaking in profit sharing
4. Referring deals in your network for a 25% referral fee
5. Re-selling your training programs outside of your network
I'm certain as I dig in, I'll find more and more, which I'll then share with agents on my 'team.'
If you're a real estate agent that wants to grow exponentially, join me. Join me in learning, sharing and growing. I can't think of a better way to build out your business and trust me, I've researched it. I'll be teaching all the agents on my team all my tricks inside my private FB group.
Confession: I drink too much Diet Coke and I've become obsessed with sneakers. I bought half a dozen pairs this winter season and now I'm brining them right into spring by pairing them with dresses. Dress + belt + sneakers has become my current favorite recipe to use when getting dressed.
Granted, if I'm meeting with a client, I've been known to throw on some heels, but for the most part, sneakers really do the trick!
A few combos I've got in my cart currently for the warmer months ahead!
Over the last several months I've had different opportunities to let Zack spread his wings a bit. Opportunities to grow on his own on camping trips with the Boy Scouts, ski trips with cousins and traveling with family friends this week. We have an unspoken system of sorts, I do the laundry and gathering of things, he does the packing and organizing. We make a good team. As this unfolds each time, my heart is pierced a little more that he's growing up and I have to remind myself again and again, I WANT him to grow up. I want him to not need me. I want him to be self-sufficient.
It really does a number on my mother heart and it is currently so well illustrated with my bookends. Currently, on one end, I've got Luke, who I can't take my eyes off for one second or he's out the front door...probably naked. On the other end, I've got Zack, who is capable of making his own dinner and doing his own laundry. I'm pushing Luke to grow, pulling on Zack to stop and realizing just how quickly they go from toddlers to teens. It's a cruel joke, supporting every need as they are young and then supporting every opportunity for them to not need you.
As I'm still and have taken moments to think and pause, I'm reminded, that I DO want Zack to grow up and lean into himself more. I want him to have confidence in his OWN abilities and his OWN judgement and he'll never develop that if I'm always standing by, holding his hand and whispering in his ear. Never. He'll never know he can do hard things on his own, unless he begins doing hard things on his own. He'll never know he's capable of making good choices in a crowd, unless he's faced with the opportunity. He'll never know how much he loves home, unless I allow him to be away from it for a bit.
This also means, I'm allowing him to be exposed to more things outside of my control. Naturally, I'm prepared for him to make some bad decisions. I'm prepared for him to fail a time or ten or ten-thousand. At the end of the day, I'd like to pack as much failure as I can while he still lives in these 4 walls. That is not to say, I'm seeking it out, but it is to say, I value the process of natural consequences and hands-on learning and I recognize home is the safest place to make these mistakes. He's got a big safety net under him right now, so I continually push him outside his comfort zone. I'm prepared to receive a phone call from a friend's mom (and thank you to that friend's mom for being willing to make the call) letting me know something is amiss. I'm prepared for him to be heart-broken by a friend. I'm prepared for him to fail a class, miss an obligation and wreck the car, not because I'm seeking those things out, but because those are all part of the human experience and I don't want to protect him from it. I don't want to protect him from over-bearing coaches or frustrating teachers or the pressures of homework.
Instead, I want to help him navigate it. I want to pick him up when he's overwhelmed and help him carry the load, until he's regained his strength. I want to walk beside him when he feels abandoned by his friends, reminding him that it will all work out if he'll be patient. I want to lay beside him when he's devastated by his own choices and help him work through a solution. To protect him from these things would be the biggest disservice I could muster as a mother. To protect him from experiencing the pain of failure is to send him out into the world completely disillusioned, because without experiencing failure, he'll never have fully experienced triumph either. Without failure, there is no true satisfaction.
And so, here I sit, allowing him to go, spread his wings, then come home and we can repair any damage, bandage any wounds, correct any mistakes, and then...off he'll go again. I'm hoping this process will also ease my heart into the inevitable, but I'm certain it won't.
He did promise me before he left this time that he'll always want to come home, wondering when an appropriate time will be to tell his future bride this...please weigh in.
Hi, I'm Amy. When I'm not scouring the valley for the perfect new house, you can usually find me in the kitchen with a gaggle of kids. Chips, salsa and a Diet Coke are usually in hand.