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.
Call it prayer. Call it mediation. Call it mindfulness. No matter the umbrella you want to put it under, I encourage you to try incorporating it into your day…morning if at all possible. I’ve practiced a habit of mindfulness over the last few years, but never as consistently as I’d like, which is why I’m making it my habit for March. Taking what I learned from February (I have a whole post written, just haven't hit publish yet, so I'll fill you in soon!), and trying not to bite off more than I can chew, I’m going to ease myself into this. My goal is to do it 3 times the first week, 4 times the second week and then 5 times the third and fourth weeks.
Over the years, I’ve had several different practices of meditation. About 3 years ago, I started using the Headspace app and if you haven’t ever done it before, this is a great place to start. It’s a guided meditation, that I found incredibly grounding and a wonderful place to begin to learn how to be still and settle your mind. You can do the first 10 sessions for free and if you’re really ambitious, you can subscribe to more of the series. I loved it so much, I began having my kids practice it with me. We live such a fast paced world, I think its so good for kids to sit in their stillness and learn to be comfortable in it.
I then listened to a podcast where Tony Robbins outlined his morning meditation routine and this was when I really began to apply the principles of it in a new, more spiritual way. I loved his outline and I’ve used a version of it ever since. His routine is about 10 minutes long, find a comfortable seat and close your eyes then begin with 30 deep breaths in and out. Moving forward, the series is broken down into 3 sections. The first section you’re going to think and more importantly, feel through 3 experiences you’re are grateful for, spending about 1 minute on each experience. So if it were me, I might think through a favorite summer trip, remembering long boarding on the boardwalk and early morning bike rides with Luke. Really re-living it and enjoying it all over again, feeling the wind in my hair and the sand in my toes, so to speak. Within these 3 things, one thing needs to be incredibly simple. When I’m sitting on my back porch doing this, it’s almost always the warm sunshine I’m grateful for…unless its summer, then it’s the a/c. ;) The next section, you’ll focus on 3 people you’re grateful for and why, spending about 1 minute on each. You’ll think and feel though your relationship with them and allow yourself to feel your gratitude for them in your life. I tend to find myself praying over these people in this section. The final section you’ll choose 3 things you’ll be grateful for once they are accomplished, spending about 1 minute on each. So while the previous sections were in remembrance, this section is forward thinking. I was in a really good habit of this series when I was pregnant with Luke, so during this section of the series I’d always focus on that moment when the baby is placed in your arms and feel that gratitude of it before it even happened.
For me, this series tends to unfold more like a prayer and I like the organizational outline of it and the stillness that it brings with it. It tends to settle my mind just like the Headspace app did, but also expand my vision as I spent more time sitting in gratitude. There are a ton of ways to practice mindfulness, if you’re interested in joining me in developing this habit, be sure to share what you’re doing on social media and tag me @amygregory. I’m hoping to expand on my own version and I’ll be sure to check in every week with my progress on IG Stories.
We've been making these buttermilk pancakes for as long as I can remember. Scot's mom is really the ultimate master of them and we undoubtedly force her to make them every time she's in town. They're simple and quick, using ingredients I almost always have on hand and they're a million times better than the 'just-add-water' variety. I often times double and triple my batch, cooking up extras and then storing them in Ziploc bags for my kids to eat all week.
2 C buttermilk (you can also use regular milk and 'sour' it with 2 tsp of white vinegar...I do this ALL the time with this recipe)
2 TB sugar
Stir together then add,
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 C flour
2 TB vegetable oil
Mix all together until combined. Your batter will be a bit lumpy, I usually mix this with a whisk to stir in the four well, but it will still be lumpy. Don't worry, once it's mixed, it's time to get cooking. Spray your hot griddle with cooking spray and bake until golden brown, then flip and bake the other side.
Two note to up your pancake game: This batter will be thick, I often times add water to it because I like a thinner pancake, if you do too, don't hesitate to make the adjustment! Also, these are best served with homemade syrup. For reals. It's so easy and about a million times better. Here's our simple recipe that Scot has tinkered with for years to get just right.
Homemade Maple Syrup
4 C sugar
2 C water
2 tsp maple flavoring
Add to pot and bring to a slow boil. The trick in making this is to not get it too hot. If you get it too hot the sugar will start to crystalize and 'candy'. It doesn't ruin it, as the candy pieces always fall to the bottom of the syrup, but it is a an art form to get it warm enough that the sugar melts but not too warm that it candies. For the record, Scot always makes the syrup and mine always has candy pieces in it.
One of the more fun things I had to figure out when I began my journey into real estate was, 'What do I wear?' If I'm being honest, that's the first question I ask myself when I have anywhere remotely fun to go, and suddenly I was going from park days and Target runs to interfacing with clients and board room meetings. It was apparent very quickly that my t-shirt and jeans just weren't cutting it. I had an idea of what I wanted my 'work wardrobe' to look like, but it had been a solid 10 years since I'd needed to use one. Slowly, I've been sorting out what works, and what doesn't and I thought I'd share some of my finds here with you in the hopes that it makes it just a bit easier for you to juggle both worlds.
I posted a snippet of this outfit a week back on Instagram and everyone loved the stripes on stripes...I do too! Both pieces are wash and wear and can be mixed easily with other pieces in my closet, which is always a huge determining factor in my choices. Neither one of these pieces are currently available but I scoured the internet to find a few other combos that I might need to add to my own wardrobe.
Confession: I love a good Monday morning. I usually wake up with a little spring in my step at a fresh new week ahead of me and the possibility that it holds. It's like mini re-start each week. A fresh start. New thoughts and ideas to explore and while I really look forward to it now, it wasn't always so. I used to dread Mondays and mornings in general. A few key changes made all the difference and I hope these ideas help support you in supporting your family and yourself as you grow new ideas.
5 Ways to Make Your Mornings Stress-Free
1. Wake up earlier. I know, this is the last thing you want to hear, that's why I came out of the gates with it. But honestly, this makes the biggest difference. Whether it's waking up the whole family 15 minutes earlier (we've done this) or just yourself an hour earlier (also done this) it makes a HUGE difference. I don't wake up an hour earlier every single morning, the goal is to do that 2-3 times a week. This simply allows me an hour of quiet in the morning to do the little nagging things that just never quite get checked off the to-list. Meal plan, online grocery shop and sign up the kids for the next season of sports. Not glamorous, I know, but helpful. I often work in some quiet meditation in this hour as well and it's a lifesaver. I never want to get out of bed on the mornings I've committed to wake up, but I am ALWAYS so happy I did 15 minutes into it.
2. Lay out your clothes the night before! If you want to get crazy, you can do it by the week like I do, but at a bare minimum, do it the night before. This allows for you to realize that that layering shirt you need to go under that sweater is wadded up in the bottom of the dirty clothes hamper. It gives you the chance to either get it washed, or choose something else. I love doing it by the week, right after I've folded all the laundry, I hang up a week's worth of clothes. At first, this was a bit more time-consuming than I had hoped it would be, but with just a few weeks practice, I've come to love doing it. I no longer spend 20 minutes determining what I want to wear, then realize that my pants are dirty. It's a total lifesaver. My kids are working on just getting things laid out the night before because if I had a quarter for every fit that's been thrown when basketball shorts are missing, well, I'd be one wealthy mom.
3. Pack lunches the night before. If your kids take their lunch to school, have them pack it the night before. Again, this allows you room for error. If their favorite dessert isn't available, it's much easier to process through it at night, then in those early morning minutes when you've got to get out the door.
4. Make your bed & have your kids make theirs too. I find accomplishing a simple, mundane task early in the day sets my day up for more accomplishments. There is a whole methodology behind this that I won't take a deep dive into right now, but it's effective. Basically, your brain steps through making the bed, feels good about the accomplishment and seeks out more things to accomplish. On the back end, at the end of the day, when you're ragged and tired, it is soothing to return to a made bed and it's a simple reminder that while your day might not have unfolded as you'd have liked, you did accomplish something.
5. Be okay when it all goes hay-wire. Some mornings are just rotten. Some mornings you're not just crying over spilt milk, but also sassy teenagers or a baby that didn't sleep, or you've spent the night cleaning up throw up or pulled an all-nighter to get that project done. Some mornings, hair doesn't get combed just right and socks are itching in their shoes and breakfast is a sticky-sryupy mess. Some mornings it just all goes wrong. On these mornings, instead of raising your voice and trying to push hard on the deadline, just throw in the towel. Take your time. Drop the kids off 30-minutes late. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter if you're morning goes south, what matters is that it doesn't seep over into your whole day going south, which we all know can happen to fast!
I love a good Friday...good thing they show up once a week, giving me something to look forward to!
1. Zack played ball at the Suns arena this week, which is always such a treat. The game itself wasn't their finest performance, they'll all admit that, but it's always fun nonetheless. The lead up to the championship game this time was a doozy. I love sitting with all the parents on the sidelines, yelling at bad calls and wondering if today is the day I get kicked out with a baby on my hip. Yikes. I don't actually want that to happen, but a game this week was very borderline.
2. I've got kids rooms on the brain again. When we had Luke, we kicked Olivia out of her room and bunked her in with Max, so that Luke could have his own room. As he gets older, we're on the verge of giving Olivia her room back and transitioning Luke into sharing a room with Max. I LOVE a kids shared room and think Max and Luke will be the best roommates. I ordered these simple shelves to hang above what will be Luke's bed for all his bedtime stories. Can't wait to get them hung and bring out my book collection. I am a lover of kids picture books!
3. I mentioned on IG stories that I have a website I use for free downloads of amazing photography. So many of you were like, 'whhhhaaat?!' It's true. Head here and enjoy! If you download and print, be sure and tag me so I can see @amygregory.
4. Luke has begun to notice my earrings and has taken a liking to yanking the daylights out of them. I've screeched on more than one occasion. He broke one of my favorite pairs and instead of replacing them from JCrew, I found a similar pair for a fraction of the price. Love these, these and these. All under $15, I might get all three...once my spending fast if over. ;)
5. Ordered this make-up travel case (trying to pack like an actual adult) for our upcoming cruise, it has amazing reviews, I'll let you know if it works as good as I'm hoping it does!
With the weekend upon us, you know what that means, Open Houses!
These links are for those of you that love walking houses as much as I do or are in the beginning stages of looking for a home. Use the links below to see the list of weekend open houses going on across the Valley. If you haven't used these links before, I break each list into different cities, then they are sorted by price, so you can find what you're looking for fairly quickly. Once you find a property you want to walk, click on the 'open house' tab at the top right to see the date & time of the open house...and be sure to let me know if you find a gem!
Arcadia || Gilbert || Mesa || Scottsdale
Looking forward to a slow weekend and hope you get a moment to relax and revive this weekend too!
Because I love you guys so much, I'm giving you a sneak peek of a listing that is COMING SOON, so that you can get your ducks in a row if this is a good fit for you!
Located in the coveted neighborhood of Alta Mesa Estates, this home sits on a golf course, behind gates.
Property boasts a brick exterior with immaculate front landscaping. Inside you'll find soaring vaulted ceilings up top and wood floors down below.
A side-turned 3-car garage gives you plenty of storage space and parking, while keeping your front exterior beautiful.
Mature trees out back with low-maintenance landscape, with plenty of space for a pool down the road.
If you're looking to move this spring & this property is of interest (2585 sq ft, 4bed, 2bath), shoot me an email & I'll keep you updated when it hits the market.
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.