Friday, February 27, 2015

Confessions


It's time for some confessions...

// Olive is obsessed with every office supply.  She unrolls my roll of stamps regularly, find stamp pads that I've hidden and scratches her fingernails in them or stamps her face, she finds pens and is quite the graffiti artist (poor baby gate, wall, coffee table and her own skin) and she has learned to say COLOR.  Which means she would like her crayons and coloring books ASAP so she can COLOR.  She yells the word and gets so excited.  It's cute until she starts COLORING on the furniture.

// We ate on Christmas dishes for a solid six weeks after Christmas because I decided it was too much work to switch out the dishes for my regular ones.  Don't worry, we are back to my white dishes and the Christmas dishes are stowed away until December.

// Kevin and I were cleaning out drawers and closets in our bedroom last weekend.  He came across a tiny framed picture of a newborn and said, "Isn't our little Liv adorable?!?!"  I responded by saying, "Ummmm, that's not Olive.  That's your niece Addie!"  He replied by saying, "Oh well, all babies look the same."  Ummmm I don't think so.  I guess I should print a newborn picture of Olive for his wallet so he doesn't have this problem again :)

// We went for a walk the other night and a neighbor asked if we'd come over to vote on a paint color for her house.  We said yes and headed her way.  She had four shades of green (which happens to be my favorite color) all ranging in shades from neon green, minty green, grass green and a more muted green.  I voted for the minty, Kevin said grass and Olive ran away from the house so I take it that she didn't care for any of them.  Another neighbor came over to cast her vote and said I vote for option #5 - none of these!  Time to head back to the paint store.  Then she walked away.  It was awkward and I felt bad for the sweet neighbor lady who asked us to vote.  She wasn't too phased and is painting her house her favorite shade of green.  Ahhhh gotta love some neighbor drama and for sticking to your guns.

// Olive has mastered saying Santa (seeeeeeeeennnnntaaaaaaaa) and Ho Ho Ho just in time for the new year.  She says it often and likes to point out Santas.  We were strolling around the mall and a man with a white beard was walking right towards us.  Olive points, yells out SANTA followed with a Ho Ho Ho.  It was hilarious and embarrassing all at the same time.  She was grinning ear to ear because she was sure that she'd spotted the real deal.  Now anytime she sees a man with a beard or with a sock hat on she shouts HO HO HO at him.

// I confess that I am not a fan of all these award shows.  I used to kind of care about what everyone was wearing or what songs/movies were winning, but now I couldn't care less.  It's kind of shocking to me how much publicity the events get.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I haven't seen a movie in the theater since Spring of 2013 or maybe it's just because I'm not that interested in all the very formal attire :)

// I bought my cats some new toys this week and my toddler has played with them more than the cats.

// We are entering a new phase of life at our house.  Out with the high chair and in with the booster seat.  Diapers are still our friend, but potty seats are now the coolest thing ever according to Olive.  We LOVE the booster seat and that it allows Olive to eat at the table with us.  She's thrilled with it and meal times have been much happier as of late.  The IKEA potty chair is great and Olive thinks it's a game to pee pee on it.  Unfortunately, both are green and she says pee pee when she sits on both.  Mom fail on my part for selecting a green potty AND booster seat.  Now to work on differentiating the two... haha.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Th2QGwGGepo/VNfX0lmytnI/AAAAAAAAsk8/yuWFr2EggKo/s1600/Feb3iphone%2B026.JPG

 Do you have any confessions or funny stories to tell ME??

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Highlights

It was a cold & rainy week at our house.  We were hoping for a bit of snow, but our snow day got rained out.  Boooooo!  If you did get some snow, go play in it and make some snow ice cream for us.  It's our first winter in Mississippi so we are still learning what Southern winters look like.

 The highlights...
 1. I decorated our house for St. Patrick's Day!  We love the holiday and my husband went to Notre Dame so we have always enjoyed celebrating this Irish holiday.  I try to decorate for every major holiday because it really adds some cheer to our house.

2. We've been stuck in the house a lot so I baked our favorite Banana Cake with homemade caramel frosting & pecans.  I'm normally a chocolate cake girl, but this cake is amazing!  I also shared my tips to make delicious cookie dough to freeze earlier this week.
 
3. I purchased this Squeezer reusable pouch for my daughter this week.  I'm hoping it'll replace those pricey puree pouches (say that three times fast :)  She LOVES it so far and so do it.  I'll wait and do a full review after we've used it for a few weeks, but my initial reaction is GREAT!!

4. I put together and mailed two care packages this week.  I had a lot of fun shopping for other people and sending some smiles to their doors.  I almost bought a pouch of those Starburst minis for myself - unwrapped and tiny sized seems like the perfect combo.  I also thought those nail polishes were perfect for Spring!

5. We have a Daylight Donuts shop right down the road from our house and we ate there twice this week.  Sunday donuts and dessert one night.  We rarely do that so it was definitely a TREAT!!

 Any big plans for your weekend??
Hope you have a great one!! 
Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Must Travel to... List

 
{Key West 2011}
I've been bit by the travel bug!!  Kevin and I have been finalizing some upcoming travel plans with family and friends lately and I've got traveling on the mind.  I find myself replaying highlight reels in my head of great trips we've taken and sights we've seen over the years.  

I'm anxious to add some more spots to that list this year.  We've always made it a priority to explore the areas of the country where we live and living in the South has brought us some new opportunities.  We have friends scattered all over the country now so I think it would be a blast to make plans to meet up with friends all over.

Must Travel to...
1. Washington DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival so I can see the monuments as well as have some lovely photos taken by those pink, puffy trees.

2. New Orleans - only a four hour road trip for us that we're hoping to take this Spring

3.  Explore some new spots in Mississippi - Oxford, Vicksburg, the coast - just to name a few.

4. West Coast - we have friends in San Diego and Washington so I think it would be fun to plan a trip around a visit.  I loved San Francisco

5. I'd like to take a road trip to an IKEA.  Rumor is that Memphis is getting one and Atlanta & Birmingham have them (I think...)

6. Tag along with Kevin to any conferences that are nearby MS - we are heading to Savannah with him in March and I'm excited to explore the city for the 2nd time with Olive along for the ride.

7. We live fairly close to Texas so I think we should plan a trip there at some point.  We know a few people scattered across the giant state so maybe our trip will involve visiting friends.

8. Head up to Notre Dame for a home game with our whole family.  Arrive early enough for walks around campus, tailgating and dinner in the dining hall.

9. Check some more National Parks off our list - Glacier, Yosemite, Yellowstone - Kevin wants to rent a motor home and do some exploring.  I think I could be on board with that plan as long as it didn't involve tents, sleeping outside and the motor home was clean & comfy.

10. We have friends that relocated to Iowa so it would be neat to visit them in their new city.  I've also thought it would be fun to meet them at Lake Okoboji because I've heard it's a darling little town.

11. Check out some little Harbor towns on the East coast - I can probably attribute this one to one to many Nicholas Sparks books :)  They do seem so sweet and charming.

12. Spend a few nights staying at my parent's place in Santa Claus, Indiana.  Go when we can spend the night and enjoy a weekend away.

13. Make our way to the beach regularly - Florida, Alabama, etc.

14. Take Olive to Disney in the Spring or Fall.  We went on our honeymoon at the end of July and it was SO HOT!  We carried umbrellas to shade ourselves from the sun.

I'd really love to visit every state.  What fun things does your state have to offer?
What are some places you hope to travel to?

DIY Toddler Placemats

Olive graduated out of her high chair a few weeks ago and has LOVED sitting in her booster at the table with us.  She is so much happier and no longer fights meal time.  Hooray for all of us!!

I started shopping around for some toddler place mats hoping to find some with letters, numbers and lots of pictures for her to name.  I searched all the big name stores and couldn't find anything like I described.  I decided that it wouldn't be that hard to make my own place mats.  One of my aunts recently commented on one of my pictures and said, "You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but she'll still find a way to teach!"  It's true :)

I gathered magazines and used the Sunday ads to come up with pictures of
letters
numbers
animals
food

You'll need:
magazines or Sunday ads
glue stick
scrapbook paper
laminating

I collected pictures for a week or two, cut them all out and attached them scrapbook paper.  I let them dry for a few days and then took them to Staples to be laminated.  Since they were on 12x12 inch paper, I had to pay for the over sized laminating.  It cost $1.99 per item.  The laminating was really thick and heavy duty.  I opted to cut them apart myself since there was an additional cutting fee for Staples to cut them.  The whole DIY project cost me about $8 since I had all of the supplies on hand and only had to pay for laminating.



The saleswoman at Staples tried very hard to convince me that my pictures weren't glued down well enough to go through the laminator.  She said they'd just peel up, but I assured her they'd be fine.  I have laminated many things in my days and knew this was going to work.  So if you run into a similar issue, just tell them to laminate away!
I collected a variety of pictures that Olive could already name as well as many new things.

I am SO PLEASED with how they turned out.  Olive LOVES them!  She names the animals, points to letters and numbers and likes to point out her favorite food.  My hopes are that she'll continue to learn new vocabulary with these place mats and learn while she's sitting at the dinner table.


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Dinners

I love wrapping up the month by sharing my favorite dinners with you.  I cook 5-6 nights a week and make sure to photograph my favorites for you.  I hope you find a new recipe to try for your family in March.  The best meals of the month were:

1. A lighter Chicken Parmesan
I didn't bread the chicken and just cooked it on the stove top.  I sliced it VERY thin and put it on a bed of spaghetti.  I used Ragu Tomato, Garlic, Onion sauce with freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Our side was sauteed green beans, onions and almonds with a splash of lemon juice.  This is one of my very favorite meals!  I could eat it every night, but my hubby doesn't share my love for pasta.  He loved this dinner so maybe I can sneak in a pasta dish or two.

2. Lettuce Wraps and Quinoa blend
We got both of these at Sams and they were delicious.
The lettuce wraps were really good.  I added in some extra green onion and bought iceberg lettuce.  We both liked the grain blend, but I preferred it without the Thai peanut sauce.  It tasted like minty peanut butter to me, but Kevin loved it.  I think I'll make half plain and half with the peanut sauce next time.  The lettuce wraps come packaged for two dinners and the quinoa blend comes with enough serving to have it four times.  I didn't remember to snap pictures of this dinner, but the food looks exactly like it's pictured on the box.  That doesn't happen often :)
3. Chicken Wings
We picked up these chicken wings at Sams and ate them for several dinners.  They were tasty, but hard to eat.  I don't love wings so I felt like I was branching out by trying these :)  They bake at 385 degrees and I've never baked anything at that temp before.  I'd suggest baking them for 35+ minutes if you prefer your wings crispier.  They were also tastier when we brushed on some BBQ sauce before baking.  My husband splashed some hot sauce on his prior to baking and loved them.

4. We've also been eating a TON of salads
I've tried hard to keep my fridge stocked with ingredients to make at least one salad a day.  An unexpected bonus with all this salad eating is that Olive has started wolfing down all the veggies!  She loves cucumbers, carrots and is trying new things.

 5. Kevin had several work dinners to go to this month so I made meatless meals for dinner those nights.  We had black bean burgers (Morning Star frozen ones are my favorite) with all the sides.  Olive loved them too!  I also made Loaded Baked Potatoes several times this month.


 6. We had Italian Nachos for the Superbowl.  They are really easy and delicious.
You can find my recipe here.

7. It's gotten cold for Mississippi and my sweet neighbor called to say she'd made a big batch of Vegetable Soup.  She said it was too cold for us to get out and go to the grocery so she wanted to bring us dinner.  It was delicious and really sweet.  I've learned that when the temps fall below 30 in the South, people go into hibernation mode :)

Lots of cooking and lots of yummy food this month.
What's the best recipe you've made recently?
Share it with my in the comments!

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What I've Been Wearing

I found a few pictures on Pinterest this week to inspire my outfits.  I know the concept of inspired by Pinterest is not a new one, but it's my first go at it.  I loved the outfit inspiration and really enjoyed hunting in my closet to recreate the outfits.  I also did well with my fashion goals for the week: curl my hair, wear a variety of accessories, change up my footwear and put together new outfits from pieces I already own.

My favorite outfits of the week:
1. Running Errands
sweater - GAP outlet
earrings - Versona
necklace - gift
chambray top & jeans - Old Navy
flats - Target

 **** Inspired by this picture on Pinterest: ****



2. Weekending
top - Old Navy
floral sweatshirt - GAP outlet
earrings - boutique
minty necklace - gift
jeans - Old Navy
loafers - Target



**** Inspired by this look on Pinterest: ****

I've already pinned several outfits to inspire my looks in the coming weeks!  If you don't use Pinterest for outfit inspiration, you definitely should give it a try.  I'm going to try to replicate this outfit next week.  I love the classic black and white with a little leopard and a red lip.


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