Thursday, October 2, 2014

Toddler Time: Twistables

 Toddlers are tricky.  They love something one day and despise it the next.  They are afraid of things you'd never have guessed, they chew on everything and they are oh so curious.  Since I have a tiny toddler at my house, I thought I'd start sharing Toddler Time activities with you.  I'll put them under Toddler Time so you can easily find them in the future.

Today we're re going to talk about
TWISTABLES

Crayola makes these fun, long crayons that come in a plastic case.  The end is capped off, they are easy for toddlers to hold and they can chew on the end while still having a dry end to color with.  Win-win for everyone!!  I picked up this pack of 8 Twistables for $2.99 at Target last week and Olive is obsessed.  We have art time every day and she thinks she's such a big girl when I pull them out.



 Olive typically bites the end off of regular crayons so I've tended to avoid them.  She does it in nearly every restaurant so I was thinking she was far too young for crayons.  Twistables were the perfect compromise.  Coloring, chewing and creative outlet :)


I got her several pieces of printer paper and we practiced shapes, colors and her name.  I would write things and she thought it was hilarious to scribble over them.  She also enjoyed when I traced her hands and feet.  We both look forward to our little art sessions each day.




I still monitored her closely and encouraged her to write with them instead of tasting each color.  We have made several lovely works of art and they are currently displayed in a little fridge gallery.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Trend or Trash: Leather

Are you noticing leather details popping up here and there this season?  I'm seeing leather or pleather pants, skirts, dresses and tons of jackets.
via shopbop

Whitney says...
I could get on board with a long leather pencil skirt or a cute moto jacket, but you'll likely see me incorporating this trend with a leather shirt collar or leather elbow patches.  I don't feel like it's my style to sport leather pants or pants with leather details and leather jewelry seems a bit too masculine for me.  I also plan to fully embrace leather booties and ankle boots.

What do you think of the leather look this season??
Trend or trash?!?!

Our Fall Bucket List

This is our first Fall in Mississippi and we are excited to make the most of it.  The temps are still 80+ so I think my typical image of fall (sweaters, layers, scarves, boots and a chill in the air) is going to have to be adjusted slightly.  I'll settle for enough of a chill for me to wear a scarf, fall colored clothing, pumpkins and comfortable temps.  Oh and some mosquito-less space would be wonderful.

My husband and I compiled our bucket list together 
and hope that it's Olive approved.

1. Head to a local street festival on the 1st Thursday of the month 
- get dinner, check out the local artisan booths and stroll around.
2. Go to the Mississippi State Fair
- my local friends suggested making a lunch date out of it so I'm hoping to be able to do this.
3. Find a local Fall Festival to attend
 - I've heard the Yazoo City one is fun.
4. Visit a pumpkin patch
5. Buy pumpkins for our house
- big ones and pint sized ones for Olive to play with and carry around.
6. Make some pumpkin treats to share with our neighbors
7. Plant some yellow mums on our porch/patio
8. Visit Kev at work for a lunch/coffee date
9. Take Olive out to explore some new parks in the area
10. Find a fire pit for our backyard
11. Eat smores
12. Go for a drive to see the Fall leaves
13. Go to our church Fall Fest in a few weeks
14. Try a new donut shop or two on Sundays
15. Watch a lot of football and make fun appetizers
16. Plan some new restaurants to try when my in laws visit mid-month
17. Get out and about in our neighborhood and explore new areas to walk
18. Head down to the Mississippi Coast

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

15 Month Well Check

Olive and I went to her 15 month well check last week.
We were meeting her new pediatrician and were hoping we would like her.  Olive's had 3 pediatricians in 3 different states so far and we were hopeful we'd find another good one.  Our sweet Bunny came along because we rarely leave home without Bunny these days and I was hopeful that she'd be more relaxed with her BFF in tow.  

 The office staff and nurse were all really nice.  Olive had lots to "say" to all of them and seemed to be pretty happy to be there.  She explored the room, didn't mind being measured and loved 90% of the visit.  She did not appreciate having to sit still to get her eyes/ears/nose/heart checked out and she really did not appreciate the FOUR shots she had to get.

 Olive's 15 Month Stats:
Height: 33inches (97th percentile)
Weight: 24lbs 10oz (70th percentile)
Head: 48cm (92nd percentile)

She's always had a biggish head, her weight has always been in the 70s but she's hit some kind of toddler growth spurt and it appears that she might be a tall one.
She has 11 teeth.
 Her pediatrician has a 14 month old so we were swapping stories of tantrums, picky eating, biting, potty training, dentists, and rear facing car seats.  Her doctor said she's got great language skills already - whoa, wow, what's this?, hey ma, shoe, cat, nummy and down - and that she's doing great!  Keep doing what we're doing!!

Olive always got shots in her legs until this visit when they did one in her arm.  She grabbed her arm after the nurse put on her bandaid and said OWWWWWWWWWWWWW in a very sad/pitful way.  The nurse felt terrible and I was impressed that she said owww in a very appropriate situation.  

We hurried home to nap and she woke up good as new.
 Picking flowers for her mama and watching the airplanes fly over our house.

Looks like our next visit will be around Christmas so long as she stays healthy.

Favorite Whitneys

I've seen this challenge going around lately where you are asked to find five pictures where you feel BEAUTIFUL.  Five of your favorite pictures of yourself.  So I did a little digging and found five pictures that I love that always make me smile from the last few years:

1. Mommy Whitney

2. Teacher Whitney
3. Happy Birthday Whitney

4. Notre Dame Fan Whitney

5. Vacation Whitney

I challenge you to find 5 pictures of yourself that you LOVE.  Leave me a link to your blog in the comments, your name on instagram or just do the activity for yourself.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Baby-Daddy Bonding

It can be tricky for new dads to bond with their new babies.  

I've always been Olive's primary caretaker so we get LOTS of one on one time to bond.  My husband works full time and I'm always trying to think of fun things that they can do together with just the two of them.  I have noticed that Olive reaches for me, wants me to snuggle her and is definitely a mommy's girl.  I could tell that it kind of hurts my hubby's feelings at times when he really just wants to snuggle and love on her.  
 
Here are some ideas we are trying at our house to help encourage
Baby-Daddy Bonding!

1. Stroller rides together - my husband makes car noises, drives faster and sillier than I ever do.  Olive thinks it's hilarious and enjoys the wild ride.

2. Dress your baby in your hubby's favorite team apparel - this may sound silly but my husband LOVES seeing our daughter in Notre Dame gear.  She even has a cheerleader outfit to wear this season as well as some fun ND picture books they can read together.

3. Ask your hubby to take a turn feeding your baby - a bottle, baby food or a meal.  It was fun to teach my husband how to start feeding her solids and now they snack together.

4. Read books together - board books are nice because they aren't too long and involved for young kiddos, encourage them to read in silly voices or act out parts of the book.  If your man is totally uncomfortable with this, offer to model how you read with your child and show them how you do it.  Dad's definitely do things differently, but I think it's nice for them to see it in action if they are leery about a new activity. 

5. Sing silly songs together or listen to music - we make up goofy songs, change the words to regular songs and have a silly nursery rhyme cd in the car.  Olive thinks it's funny when her dad knows some of her favorite songs.  She also likes to dance to country music.

6. Bath time/water play - ask your hubby to give the baby a bath, let the baby splash around and if they are older incorporate toys, peek a boo, counting toes and any talking is great!  Babies loved to be talked to so encourage your hubby to tell the baby all about their day.  It might seem silly at first but it's so important to talk to your little one.

7. Toys - I try to give Kevin & Olive time to play together without me.  Let them go through her toys and make up fun games together.

8. Be alone.  Give your husband opportunities to be alone with your child.  It's hard to feel like a pro when someone is always watching you so leave!!  Haha... start with short errands, runs to the grocery store and work up to lunch dates and outings with friends.  It's amazing how they will bond when you leave them together.

9. Send pictures/videos to him at work.  I know some days he feels like he's missing out on a lot at home when he's at work so I make a point to send him a picture or two throughout the day.  I write him a message as though it's from Olive and he gets to feel like he's a part of her day.  I've noticed that if I get busy and forget to send him a picture, he'll text and ask what his girls are up to and request a picture.

10.  Be encouraging.  Compliment your hubby when he finds a fun game to play with your child, praise him when you notice they are having a great time together and watch their relationship grow!  My hubby installed a tree swing in our backyard for our daughter.  She loves it and I often remind him of how much fun she has on the swing he got her.

Kevin is definitely the "fun parent" so Olive greatly benefits from all of their fun, rough and tumble activities.  I enjoy watching them play because Kevin come up with the silliest, funniest games.  I rarely hear Olive laugh as hard with me as she does with her Dad.  I am really thankful for the differences in our personalities.


I'll confess that it can be hard to let Kevin do things his way with Olive because I have my own way I like to do things.  I found that if I go and fix the things he's done with her he gets discouraged and doesn't want to do it again.  So I try to be flexible and let Olive wear funky outfits if Kevin picked it out, go with the flow of things if they're having fun together and encourage their interactions.

Do you have any other baby-daddy bonding ideas for me??
I'm always looking for new ones :)

Linking up with Leslyn for Mama Mondays.

Menu Monday



I tried several new recipes last week and wanted to share them with you.  They were delicious and really easy which are the best kind of recipe if you ask me.  
Here was our menu last week.

Breakfast:
1. cinnamon toast & fruit
2. cereal & fruit
3. oatmeal
4. donuts
 

Lunch:
1. dinner leftovers
2. grilled cheese
3. sandwiches/paninis
4. big salads with tons of veggies

Dinner:
1. Grilled Brats
2. Takeout
3. Cafe Rio Pork Burrito Bowls (I posted this favorite recipe last year)

4. Pulled Pork BBQ  (serves 8-10 adults)
3lb pork roast
1 t garlic powder
1 t ground mustard
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 - 18oz bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce 
(our current fave is: Kraft Sweet & Spicy Chipotle)

Combine all of the ingredients for your rub in a bowl.  Then rub it on the meat in the crock pot.  Pour in about 2 cups of water.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove meat from the water.  Dump the water, shred the meat once it's cool and discard the fat.  Put all of the meat back in the crock pot and generously coat with BBQ sauce.  Leave in the crock pot to cook for another hour or so.  Eat!!  Your house will smell amazing all day and your hubby will be dying to eat this tasty BBQ.  It's definitely the best BBQ I've ever made.  Can't wait to have it again real soon.


5. Pepperoni Pinwheels (Another family favorite recipe)
a different spin on traditional pizza & is really fun to eat



Treats:
Reese's Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies were so good!  They kind of tasted like the pb girl scout cookies.  I cut the recipe in half and made a few changes: no PB chips because I didn't have any, 1 cup of rolled oats instead of 1/4 cup and I baked them for only 11 minutes and let them cool on the cookie sheet. 


My menu for this week includes more paninis, brinner (breakfast for dinner), pasta, salads and more grilling since the weather is supposed to be nice.  Hope you find a new recipe or two to try out with your family this week.

Linking up with Menu Plan Monday

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Well Curated Home

It can be a daunting task to FILL up your home especially when you move into a new home that's larger than what you are used to living in.  I want things to look put together and done, but not at the expense of just filling my house with junk or buying everything on the shelves at Target.  
My goal is to put things in my home that have sentimental connections, evoke memories, were collected a little at a time on fun trips or have a great story behind finding the perfect item.  I love decorating with pictures and am working on updating our frames with our favorite travel pictures and memories.
Of course there are those unavoidable things you just go out and buy - a high chair, rugs, appliances, techy items, bedding, toys, some things from IKEA to help organize your home, tchotchke (sidenote: I definitely had to google "chatsky" to see how to spell it and I was shocked to see the true spelling...) at TJ Maxx and others.  There's nothing wrong with picking things up from time to time, but my goal is to have lots of things in my home that make me smile and make me think of fun memories.  There are also times when you really try to buy NEW items - a mattress, a crib, rugs, lighting, paint and bathroom shower curtains/rugs.  I don't have any special memories of those things and it makes me happy to know that they are new and germ free - haha.

 Let me tell you about a few things that I have in my home 
and the memories associated with them.

 A brand new rug and a dinging room with our first table and chairs, 
a sofa table from IKEA that Kevin got me and assembled for me for my birthday one year
Bookshelves my parents bought us for our first apartment
Shelves filled with favorite books and photo albums
two cats we adopted from Utah :)


 A new rug
A quilt that my parents picked up at an auction long ago
A coffee table that my husband adores.  It was his first piece of real furniture back from college and he can't bear to part with it.  I don't share the same love for it, but we compromise on our sentimental items :)  I hope to paint it one day in the very near future.

 A chalkboard that was part of my baby shower decor when I was pregnant with Olive.  I've since erased the message and use it to greet guests in our dining room.

 Patio table and chairs from our first place.  They've lived in UT>AR>MS and have been on all of our patio.  The chairs fold up and are comfy.  
A bird house that my dad made us as a house warming gift.

A bar cart that was our first furniture purchase in MS.  It's vintage, solid wood and I had fun shopping at a neighborhood sale for it.  I got a great deal and have a fun story to tell about it.  I'm also hoping to paint it and use it for many years to come.


 Decorating your home can be so much fun.  
Take your time
& fill it with things you LOVE!


I'm currently hunting for the following things:
NEW: the perfect kitchen rug, great fabric for curtains and curtain rods

THRIFTED: art, mirror, fun pieces for gallery walls, 
outdoor furniture for our patio and a little bench

Where do you find things for your home??