The Berger Bungalow

Tomato & Feta Stuffed Mushrooms
Posted on:8.25.2016

Hey everyone! We finally have a kitchen again which I am thrilled about! Ian started grad school the week we moved in to our new place, so planning dinners has been a bit challenging, but we have officially cooked one dinner together here and are obsessed with our new kitchen. If you guys didn’t know, our rental house only had one counter, it didn’t have a dishwasher, our washer and dryers were IN the kitchen, and the oven was so old that it didn’t cook our meals too well. Being able to cook in our new kitchen has been an absolute dream! 1. How did we ever live without a dishwasher before?! 2. The island = amazing. 3. NEW APPLIANCES YASSSS! 4. Counter space rocks my world. It has been perfect & I cannot wait to cook more in it, BUT in the meantime, I wanted to share the first dish that we cooked in the new house! I apologize in advance because the pictures are not my best. I somehow lost my camera, and computer charger during the move and just recently found them, so back to posting more recipes with better pictures after this one! YAY! 

This Tomato & Feta Stuffed Mushroom dish is awesome as an appetizer, side dish, or even as a main course if you made enough. I would 100% serve this at a cocktail party, too! It is so versatile, so yummy and it doesn’t have any meat in it, so if you are a vegetarian or like to limit your meat, this recipe is for you! As you can see in my pictures, I made chicken for dinner and made these mushrooms as a side dish, but feel free to do what works for you! <3

Tomato & Feta Stuffed Mushrooms

9 baby portobellos
1 red tomato, chopped
1 yellow tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1 T garlic
2 1/2 oz. feta cheese

-De-stem and wash your mushrooms. Pat dry.
-Bake your mushrooms gill side up for 12 minutes.
-Mix your other ingredients together in a bowl. After your 12 minutes is up, pat your mushrooms dry again. You might want to stick a paper towel inside your mushroom to make sure all of that liquid is out. Then, put your mixture inside the mushrooms.
-Bake again for 10 minutes, or until your feta has melted some.
-Serve & Enjoy! :)

Optional: Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and/or balsamic.

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Easy Weeknight Meal Solutions
Posted on:8.09.2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SaveOnChef #CollectiveBias

Moving is time consuming, guys! We closed on our house a week ago & we have been non-stop working on the house. We are having a few renovations done, so we are still in our rental, but between the running back and forth, tons of yard work (we have 1/2 acre!!!!) and packing up boxes, I feel like there is no time for cooking! That’s okay though because I found this amazing deal and just had to share it with you guys no matter if you’re moving, headed back to school, or if you just need to save money on your grocery bill! I am actually obsessed with Chef Boyardee, especially the spaghetti and meatball flavor! I typically heat mine up in the microwave, but Ian loves the Beef Ravioli heated up on the stove. Either way, you cannot go wrong!

With the back to school season approaching, my family is looking for easy weeknight meal solutions. By spending less time in the kitchen, we can enjoy other after-school activities together. Now through August 29, 2016, each 14.5 to 15 ounce can of Chef Boyardee is on Rollback at Walmart for only $0.80! Purchase five cans for $4 in a variety of flavors that include: Mini Ravioli, Beefaroni, and Spaghetti and Meatballs. You can enjoy a week’s worth of quality meals at an affordable price.

Be sure when you stock up on Chef Boyardee at Walmart to look for the Chef Boyardee cans that feature NO artificial flavors, NO preservatives, and NO artificial colors. With quality ingredients since 1924, Chef Boyardee has been a pantry staple for many families.

While shopping at Walmart, be sure to look for the Rollback signs for Chef Boyardee in the Canned Food aisle!
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A Simplified Life // Book Review
Posted on:8.06.2016

Have you ever found yourself late to a meeting, or event because you cannot find your keys? Have you ever been late on filing your taxes because you have lost all of your paperwork? If you answered yes to this question, or if you are moving, and/or find yourself unorganized and stressed out, you need to read A Simplified LifeThe Author, Heather Rogers researched many career paths before deciding to become a professional organizer. She founded Simply Organized, a Local Atlanta company with the goal to simplify the lives of her clients, and ultimately save them time, money and unnecessary stress. Does this sound like something that everyone needs? I say yes! 

I consider myself to be a pretty organized person, so when Heather sent me the book to read, I didn't know if I would benefit from it, or not. I started to read it and by the second chapter, I was hooked! Ian and I are in the process of renovating our new house and I feel out of control and so unorganized between everything I need to do before we move in (taking care of two houses is hard work)! In her book, I read: "According to The Daily Mail, "Over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items. The research found we lose up to nine items everyday, or 198,743 in a lifetime. Phones keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list." The time spent (or lost) searching for these items can never be regained. Imagine how this lost time could be better spent leaving early to arrive at your intended destination on time and less frazzled, enjoying quality time with loved ones, generating revenue in your business, relaxing, exercising, thinking, or creating a masterpiece. Wouldn't you rather spend (or invest) your valuable 3,680 hours doing these activities instead of searching for misplaced items?" This shocked me and really put everything into perspective. I NEEDED to read this book to help me get it together to prevent losing valuable time during this entire process, and after reading it, I realized that I really wasn't as organized as I thought I was. Sure, I write down my appointments and events, and am never late, but I've realized there is so much more to becoming organized than I initially thought. Reading this book really helped me create a plan for going into our new house fully organized! 

A Simplified Life is an extremely fun, and easy read. It is split up into 12 Chapters and also has an introduction, organizing tips, resources, answers to questions you've been looking for, and a spot for learning more about the author! I absolutely loved reading her stories about working with real clients. I related to so much of it, and found it extremely interesting. My favorite part in the book was most definitely the section about moving. I have been using her tip on decluttering my home before packing, something I was not doing from the start. It will really help the unpacking process, I think. 

One thing this book has opened my eyes to is hiring a professional organizer. I am one of those people that cleans before the housekeeper comes, so I know that I would clean up before a professional organizer came. That is a big no-no, according to the book. I've realized that hiring someone to help isn't a bad thing; I am no less of a wife if I ever do need help organizing. Before this read, I never would have considered hiring anyone to help. When people came over to my house, I would stuff my junk in a drawer and go on with my day. Now, I will definitely think twice about that. I honestly believe that everyone will benefit from reading A Simplified Life. If you feel like you are pretty organized like I did, you will be surprised with how much you will learn from this read. If you know you are unorganized, you should definitely read this and also think about hiring a professional organizer, like Heather! 

Do you consider yourself an organized person?

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Paw Print Artwork
Posted on:8.01.2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyPetMyStar #CollectiveBias

 As you read this, I am most likely sitting at a lawyers office closing on my first house!!! You can bet I am giddy, but the excitement of purchasing a first home also comes with an extremely long to do list. On our to do list, we have a lot of typical items to cross off like buying a new front door lock, painting the interior walls, moving all of our furniture to the new house, and deep cleaning before we move in, but one thing that was on the top of our list that most people wouldn’t think of is making sure that our dogs feel special, and included. I can already tell that they feel a bit confused by the packed boxes and missing items around our house, but I want to make sure that they are fully comfortable during this entire process and have their own special part in our new home!

Dakota and Payton really are the stars in our family - they are the sweetest pups, and anytime people come over, the dogs are always the center of attention! Dakota is extremely laid back. She loves tummy rubs, balls, cuddling and sleeping. Payton is the complete opposite of Dakota. She is always on the move, and very hyper. She loves chasing birds, giving tons of kisses, eating food and being outside. The one thing that they both have in common is being loved by us!

Being the stars in our family, we make sure to pamper them each day, but especially throughout this process! A few ways that we are taking extra special care of them is:

1. Creating special art for them to place in our new home.
One of the many things we need for our home is new artwork, so when we were trying to come up with a special way to include Payton and Dakota in our new home, I thought about paw print wall art. I figured this would not only add some much needed art to our home, but it would also be meaningful and personalized! Our plan is to take the art we make and place it above their dog bowls in the new house to give them their own little area to eat, and hangout!! [See below to learn how to make them]!

2. Making sure they have good, yummy food in their diets.
Not only do they need a special place to eat, but they also need a great dog food that will keep them heathy and thriving. We personally use Purina® Dog Chow® Natural because it is crafted in the USA, and does not have artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in it. Instead, it has 100% complete and balanced high quality, natural ingredients! The cherry on top is that it is affordable and has an amazing money back guarantee (See the website for details -- We want our dogs to live long lives and that starts with the things we put in their bodies! Kroger actually has a few Purina brand coupons out right now here. You can get $2 off Dog Chow Naturals dry dog food, $1 Off Tidy Cats Lightweight Litter, and $1 Off Tidy Cats Litter!

3. Taking them on walks, or to the dog park.
Payton especially needs a lot of time to get her energy out, but we ALL benefit from long evening walks, or going to the dog park and coming home with tired, happy pups!

4. Giving them lots of treats and toys.
I don’t know about your dogs, but mine absolutely live for fun toys and tasty, healthy treats. We have been picking ours up from the Kroger Pet Aisle lately because it is a convenient and affordable place to pick up all of our pet items! Dakota loves to chew on bones and play with squeaky balls, while Payton loves to eat treats and occasionally chase a ball or two.

5. Extra tummy rubs and time outside is a must! 
This time in our lives could be pretty scary for them. Packing up all of our things and moving is a huge change, and we want them to feel 100% comfortable during this process. We are giving them extra love by making sure they get our attention more, and still getting the things that they love, like tummy rubs and outside time. 

Paw Print Artwork

Items needed:
Non-toxic paint
Paint brushes, or sponges
Lettered stencils

Step 1: Wash your dogs paws and make sure they fully dry before applying paint! This is an extremely important step, especially if they have been playing outside in the dirt beforehand. You can also trim the hair on their paws if you wish, but I left it. I didn’t want to irritate their paws, and I figured if the paw prints looked a bit messy, it would be okay because it is their special, natural paw. Each dog is different, and each paw print will be perfectly unique!

Step 2: Squeeze a bit of paint on a paper plate, take a sponge or paint brush (I used a sponge) and begin dabbing the paint on the paw pads of your pup! This is much easier with two people so one can hold your dog and give him or her lots of pets and love while the other paints their paws.

Step 3: Press your dogs paw on your canvas. Make sure you leave enough room for their name in the middle! Don’t worry if the paw print is not perfect - no dogs print will be exactly perfect because of hair, small movements from them, and the way their paw is shaped!

Step 4: Clean their paw off with a clean washcloth and repeat steps 2-4 with the other paw.

Step 5: When you are finished with their paws, line up your stencils as neat as possible hold them down with a piece of tape on the top and bottom. We had the tape hang off the bottom of the canvas so that it would be easy to take off when finished. Once you lined up the stencils and taped them down, make sure the letters look even to you. If they aren’t, fix them before you paint. If they are even, you can paint inside the stencils! 

Step 6: Take your tape and stencil off and let your artwork dry!! Once dry, you can hang them on your wall for a meaningful piece of art in your home. Enjoy!! 

I hope you loved this special craft idea for my dogs and hope you can use it in your home for your animals, as well. Let me know what you think!! Make sure to take advantage of the Purina brand coupons at Kroger while you have the chance. You can find them here. Have a great week, everyone!
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House Adventures // Our Home Search
Posted on:7.26.2016

Our house search was a relatively easy process. Stressful, yes because we were in a time crunch, but looking back, it really wasn’t a challenging or awful experience AT ALL. We actually had a really great overall experience. Let me start from the beginning:

Almost four years ago, Ian and I got engaged and automatically started saving for a wedding. Neither one of us had full time jobs at the time, so we buckled down and saved for two years straight in order to afford what we wanted with most of our family and friends. We paid cash for everything and didn’t accumulate ANY debt whatsoever which was an awesome achievement considering how much we actually shelled out for our wedding. Now, I’m not saying that we don’t have any debt now, we just didn’t accumulate any credit card debt from our wedding. After we were married, our plan of action was to pay off the few credit cards we had, travel, and just relax for a bit before starting to save for a house. 

Ian is attending grad school this next year, so our plan was to save for a house and pay off the remainder of our credit cards while he was finishing up his degree. We thought that the end of next summer (2017) would be the PERFECT time to buy a house because we would have absolutely no debt, plus a lot saved up for a house and we would also have the flexibility to be able to travel a lot (when Ian had the free time) at the same time. If there is anything I’ve learned over the years, it is that making long term plans like that is a complete joke. They typically do not work out the way YOU envision them to & that’s exactly what happened with our “plan.” 

When we found out that our landlord was selling our house, we had the option to stay here and wait for someone to buy it and then scramble to find a new house, rent a new place, or jump head first and just go ahead and purchase a house. So, with literally $0 in our "house savings fund", we decided to buy! Do you think we’re crazy yet?! Between Ian and I saving like crazy people, my birthday & his graduation gifts, and the money we had in savings for our emergency funds, etc. we were able to come up with not only a full down payment for a new home, but also closing costs(if needed), money for an appraisal and inspection, money for new appliances AND money to complete a few necessary renovations before we move in. This was all in just about three months!!! Phew.

We were pre-approved by Erika at Freedom Mortgage, and started working with my sister, Katherine Eisenberg (the best realtor EVER) to find a house! If you’re in the Atlanta area, go check them out! They are AMAZING! When we started looking at houses online, we quickly decided that we didn’t want to waste anyones time by looking at houses that we didn’t picture ourselves living in. Seriously though, what is the point in viewing a house that you have no interest in? It not only wastes your time, but also your agents AND the family that currently lives in the house. We have a Nest Camera (the best)!!! installed in the house we are currently renting and I cannot tell you how many times people come in and say things like: “Oh, I didn’t know it was just a two bedroom.” or “I am so glad we got to see it - I knew I didn’t want to buy it, but I was just so interested in seeing what it looked like on the inside.” How frustrating is that for us?! We take off work, go to the dog park and sit there in the heat until they are finished looking at the house just to hear that they were never interested in the first place?! Y’all - if you know you won’t like a house based on the online information, please don’t waste the owners time by looking at it! With that being said, if you THINK you might like a house, you should probably still look at it because your opinion definitely changes in person! :) 

Anyway, like I was saying, we only looked at houses that we could see ourselves in. Luckily for us, that was only three houses (we did drive by a few more like this one below)! One in Marietta, one in Roswell & the house we are purchasing!! We absolutely LOVED the first house and put in an offer BEFORE we even saw it. It was a good offer, but the family quickly countered and told us that they were not accepting anything under asking price with us covering closing costs, as well. We saw the house and still liked it, so we did put in a full price offer and said that we would pay closing costs. Someone still beat us out on the price and we were really bummed at first. We didn’t think we would find anything we liked as much, but we powered through & kept looking.

A few weeks later, we found the house in Roswell. It was smaller (1800 sq ft.) which was a negative in our eyes because we wanted something to grow into, but it was in the perfect location and had a huge backyard which we loved! As soon as we walked in, we could tell there was a major mold issue. It also had siding issues, and the backyard needed A LOT of work. We decided it was the best decision to pass on the house even though we loved the location.

A few days after that, we were getting ready to leave for Florida and another house popped up on the market. This was in a neighborhood and location that we loved. We would be 15 minutes closer to Ian’s parents which was one of our needs in a new house, it was big enough to grow into (more on this later), had a  good sized backyard, and had an open floor plan! We delayed our trip one day to see this house and it ended up being completely worth it! On our way down to Florida, we decided on a price and we made an offer!! They countered, we countered and by the time we were headed back home from our vacation, we were officially UNDER CONTRACT! We ended up getting pretty much exactly what we wanted and were so excited to start the process.

I fully believe that everything happens for a reason, and definitely see how all of our struggles with this process worked out for the best. I could go on and on about it this, but this post is already extremely long, so I will save that for another day! We are so very excited to start this next chapter in our lives and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to share it with all of you. Thank you so much for sticking with me through this phase of posting irregularly because of all the changes. I really appreciate it!! Oh, and sorry for this poorly written post. I cranked it out super fast and didn’t even edit it hahah. Can’t always be perfect! ;) 

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Your Holistically Hot Transformation: Book Review!
Posted on:7.15.2016

As most of you know, Ian and I have been on the journey of slowly stopping our bad habits so that we can live healthier lives. We (more like I) have read multiple books on why eating organic is better, or how to change your diet from eating processed foods to natural, healthy foods, but never have I read a book about living an all around well-balanced life. Your Holistically Hot Transformation: Embrace a Healthier Lifestyle Free of Dieting, Confusion and Self-judgment is just that! The author, Marissa Vicario is an award winning health and wellness coach who started off by looking at magazines in search of how to have the perfect “model body” just like a lot of girls do. Realizing she was searching in the wrong place, she figured out how to focus on her health and well-being and decided to share everything she learned with her readers! 

The book is divided into seven parts, which include 22 chapters within. The parts of the book include: Holistically hot ideology, how your bod works, small changes, big shifts, cooking at home, the food-mood connection, beyond food and real life application. As you can see, Vicario really thought of it all and included it in her book making it extremely educational and interesting! 

Each chapter in the book has so many details on not only what to do and what not to do, but also why it works (or doesn’t work). For example, she shares with us why diets don’t work, but doesn’t just stop at that. She goes into detail about how our body works, including what each food group does for our body, how to eat balanced meals, and how to add different ingredients into our everyday lives. Each topic builds on another topic which leads into a well-rounded, easy read. Not only is it an easy read, but Vicario convinces her readers to live out an all around healthy, rich life which is something that (almost) everyone needs help with! 

I really enjoyed reading Your Holistically Hot Transformation and definitely recommend it to all of my friends that are interested in living a healthy life!! Go pick up a copy here!
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4th of July Weekend Recap!
Posted on:7.05.2016

Our 4th of July weekend was perfect! I had Friday off work, so I took the time to  visit my sister and niece. The weather was great, so we walked to the park and played there for a while which was a lot of fun! That evening, Ian and I ran errands for our 4th of July party! We stopped at both Costco and Kroger thinking that we could get everything, but of course the next day we had to make at least two more stops to get everything we forgot haha! This week, we attempted to follow a Buzzfeed low carb meal plan & I am definitely going to write about that. It was definitely an interesting experience - stay tuned for more details ;)

Saturday morning, we cleaned the entire house and did a bunch of yard work. I think we did something that evening too, but for some reason I cannot remember what we did. 

Sunday, we had a demo day for our friends that just purchased their first house!! We ended up tearing up carpet in three rooms, linoleum in one room, and we tore down a wall which was so much fun! We were one of the first people in our friend group to get engaged and married, so we love that everyone is now buying houses and getting married! :) That night, we were EXHAUSTED, so we made jello shots, made the burgers, cleaned a bit more & then went to sleep. 

The next morning, we were SO excited to celebrate! We woke up early to tidy up, prep a bunch of food, and set everything up for the party! We had our Fatboy Lamzacs set up, tables for beer pong & flip cup, TONS of food and drinks, music outside, and chairs for everyone to sit in. We had the best time with our friends and family today! We played beer pong, flip cup, watched fireworks, ate and drank and just all around had the perfect day! It is crazy how this is our fourth year of being able to walk to fireworks. Now that we are moving, I have no idea what we are going to end up doing for 4th of July next year! We can always have a party and then uber, or have our own fireworks. I guess we will see! 

How was your 4th of July weekend? Did you do anything fun?
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