Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Local Eats

We've tried some yummy restaurants in Little Rock.
Here's where we've been eating:

Chipotle
We FINALLY tried Chipotle
and I kind of hated it... whomp whomp.
I know SO MANY people that love it but I did not.
I got the grilled chicken rice bowl - rice, black beans, salsa, cheese and lettuce.
There were many strong flavors but they all tasted a bit off to me.
I really wanted to like this but the only thing I liked was the fact that it was less than $7.
My husband didn't really care for his burrito either.

We've eaten at Cafe Rio, Barbacoa and Costa Vida
and they are much better.
Did I order the wrong thing at Chipotle??
Die hard fans - what should I have ordered??

Mellow Mushroom Pizza
We ordered the Medium BBQ Chicken Pizza (6 pieces)
and it was SO GOOD!!
The crust is ah-mazing, great flavors and it's not your normal boring pizza.
It was a little spicy, 
comes topped with crispy bacon and had great quality chicken & delicious cheese.
AND the pizza is yummy reheated.
My husband would like to add that...
 their Jerk wings and Mozzarella stuffed Meatball appetizers were SO GOOD.
Please check this place out ASAP!!

Famous Daves
 We signed up for emails with Famous Daves and got emailed a coupon for BOGO burgers.  We got them to go for date night one weekend and they were really yummy!  Good cheese, great bun and cooked to order.  My husband was in charge of ordering and decided mashed potatoes would go great with burgers... I would have rather had fries but I went with it.  They were tasty and we'd definitely eat here again especially with a super coupon!

 Chuy's
a yummy Mexican chain
The decor was so fun - great tiles, ceilings covered with all kinds of things and so colorful.
They have indoor and patio seating.
Kevin got me a Swirl (strawberry and lime) margarita that was so good.
 The Rainbow plate to introduce us to all of their salsas.
Most were spicy so Kevin loved them.
I wish there were more MILD options but you can't win them all.
 I got a salad and Kevin got their enchiladas.  Both were tasty.
 Olive's been doing really well when we go out to eat with friends.  She smiles and interacts with everyone and she munches on our food.  She sure is a lot of fun to be around :)
 
The Fold
is a cute little restaurant down the road from our house on Cantrell Road.  We walked there with friends one night and had so much fun!  The wait wasn't too long and the servers/managers were SO friendly!  They made plenty of room for our stroller, all came back to talk to Olive and were really cheerful.  Olive was waving at them and really hamming it up for an audience.  The whole experience was refreshing!!

We got chips, salsa & queso and scarfed all of it down.
It was tasty and not too spicy.
We ordered quesadillas and a chicken burrito.
Super fresh, tasty and pretty presentation.
We will definitely be walking over for dinner again SOON.
FYI They are closed on Mondays :)

Any other restaurants recommendations in Little Rock that we should try?

Boxcar Children for Life

Did you ever read The Boxcar Children series when you were younger?

I did not, but my husband LOVED them.
He insisted I introduce them to my students so I began reading them to my classes each year.  I quickly realized their charm and my students also loved them.  The Boxcar Children are making somewhat of a comeback in literature and have become popular again.  My husband often talks about reading the books and how much he enjoyed them as a child.  They were full of adventures (Digging for treasures at the local dump, wandering around town, making new friends and LOTS of imagination). 

True Story:
We were going for a family walk last week and we have to cross a set of rail road tracks.  Usually they are empty and we pass by uneventfully.  This afternoon was different... there were train cars just sitting on the tracks.  Lots of them and some were open.  Kevin immediately pulled Olive's stroller over, picked her up and headed to examine the train cars.  He told me to get out my camera and take some pictures of the two of them.  This coming from my husband who rarely asks me to take his picture :)  
He was telling Olive all about trains and living in a train.  He told her all about The Boxcar Children and how much fun they had in their train car.  I snapped lots of pictures and then Kevin wanted to climb INTO the train.  I said babies and climbing into trains were a bad idea, but that he could go in alone.  He opted not to and just continued to reminisce about this childhood memory.

It was fascinating for me to see how important and special this childhood series was to him.  He was beaming with pride telling Olive all about the books.  He had such happy memories of reading and enjoy great literature when he was younger.  They both loved posing by the train and getting a closer look.  His love for reading was born in elementary school and has continued throughout his entire life.  To this day he still makes summer reading lists of books he hopes to read when he has more free time during the summer.  
I can only hope that Olive will love reading as much as her parents do!!  This whole train encounter helped me to remember the importance of reading great books to Olive and encouraging her to read them on her own.  Teachers are so important and play a big role in helping kids love to read.  Librarians can also be super helpful in selecting quality books.

My husband and I would HIGHLY recommend The Boxcar Children series to any elementary aged children.  If you feel like your child is too young, read them aloud with them.  Their oral comprehension (when someone else reads to them) is often much higher than their individual comprehension (reading independently without help) abilities.
Hooray for reading!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Packing Smart

I liked this visual guide for packing SMART
and am going to try to use it for my next trip.

The 2014 BOB

I wrote about my hair debacle of 2014 here and my hair was starting to awkwardly grow out two months after the fact.  I felt like my shorter layers weren't growing that quickly and the longest layers were growing like wildfire.  I also noticed I was feeling frustrated with my hair and not loving how it looked once I'd done it.
I was talking to Kevin about my uber important hair dilemma (haha) and expressing interest in getting it cut.  I told him it was a little risky because I was afraid of making my hair worse or liking it even less.  He said,  
Getting your hair cut isn't a risky thing when you have a beautiful face.
Awwwww :)
 That made me smile and gave me the push I needed to get my hair cut.

I loved the manager who cut my hair the last time so I called him and made an appointment the very next day.  Olive is my sidekick during the days so I already knew that John was fine with her coming with me.  I appreciate the fact that he's sweet to her, talks to her while cutting my hair and I tip him extra for the extra work involved.  I leave her in her stroller and hand her toys throughout the haircut.  I usually don't have time for a wash and cut with the baby coming along so he just did a cut.

I'd been pinning pictures of long bobs on Pinterest and found a favorite on Heidi Klum.  I showed him the picture and he said it would be no problem to cut mine like it - hooray!!  He double checked the amount that I wanted chopped and I bravely said YES to him chopping 5-6 inches off the bottom!  I was nervous but knew he'd do a good job.  Olive was a dream baby and I joked about making her a baby toupee out of all the hair that was on the ground :)

BEFORE:
Sorry for the Touched by an Angel glow...
Mall parking lots selfies while baby is sleeping in the back seat :)
 I wanted better before pictures but figured my stylist would think I was weird if I asked him to take before shots for my blog. #bloggerproblems

AFTER:
 In other exciting news, Olive's hair is starting to sprout!!
I'm loving the change - I can get ready faster, it's cooler now that the weather is getting hotter and it still goes up in a pony tail.  My hair hasn't ever been this short so it's definitely a fun change.

If you're contemplating a hair change, DO IT!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

I'm Their Favorite

Technically, Oliver and Topher are MY cats.  It was our agreement when we got them.  I'd take care of them and be responsible for them and I have (minus those months I was pregnant and my hubby took over).  I've bathed them with kitty bath wipes, brushed them, played with them and given them treats for years.  That's probably why they love me the most :)

Kevin tolerates them but doesn't seem to be too attached.  He shoo's them away from his things, intentionally tries to keep his things kitty free and scolds them when they are naughty.  I don't do any of those things and I'm their favorite.  

Kevin wakes up before me during the week and the cats never get up with him.  They get up when I get up because I'm their favorite.

I usually stay up later than Kevin during the week and the boys stay up with me.  They seem to know that the baby is in bed and that they have my FULL attention again.  I think they think of this time of day as "Back to the Good Ole Days" aka pre baby days for them.

They jump on our bed at night and only want to snuggle on my side of the bed or they get into bed on Kevin's side once he's gone to work.  They purrrrrrrrrrrr with delight because I'm their favorite.

Kevin doesn't want cat hair on his clothes so they've learned his lap isn't for sitting and his legs will promptly jolt them away if they try to rub them.  I always have a sticky brush handy to roll over my clothes before I leave home.  So they know they can be my lap kitties, purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr when I'm near or give me rubs of love because I'm their favorite.

Kevin did teach Oliver to shake for a treat and he does make sure they have litter and food 
but I'm still their favorite.

Good thing they have me :)

I'm keeping an eye on Olive because I think she's my up and coming competition. She lights up when she sees the cats and tries her best to catch them.  She loves their swooshy tails and we are working on GENTLE hands.

Flying with Kids is No Joke

HELP!!!!!!!!!!
I've flown a million or so times and have become quite proficient with the rules/regulations and overall steps to successfully flying as an ADULT.  I've got the whole liquids, carry-on, flight etiquette down pat, but I am embarking on new territory very soon!  I'm finalizing plans for Olive's first flight and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Olive is a superstar roadtripping baby, but she'll be a complete wildcard on her first flight.  We have so much to read up on and there's so much advice out there - I feel like such a rookie!!

If you've ever flown with a little one, I need your help!!!!!!
We have two flights in the later part of the day.
1st flight is a little over 2 hours
and 2nd flight is just over an hour.
Oh how I wish it was one, DIRECT flight but no such luck.
I checked our airline's website and it was frustratingly vague and confusing.

Here are my questions:
Should I check her carseat at check in?
I read that it's free to check her car seat - true?
I purchased a carseat cover - is this a good idea??
Oh and should I check her stroller or take it through the airport with me?
I'm planning to bring my Ergo so I can wear her, too.
How will it work to go through security with a baby?
I opted out of the x-rays when I was flying pregnant - is it okay for her to go through the xray?
Or should I ask for a double, super awkward pat down for both of us?? haha
Olive is a formula fed babe, how does that work with bringing water for her bottles?
Any tips on baby in flight entertainment??


 Any other supermom tips for me???
Thanks a million for your words of wisdom.
Olive and I greatly appreciate it!!

Here's to hoping our travel days are filled with blue skies, 
puffy clouds, on time travel and smiles all around.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Organizing Woes @ Home

I run a pretty tight ship at home as for as organization goes.  We've never lived in really spacious places over the course of our married lives so that has forced me to be even more organizationally conscious (that's a thing right??).  
Many areas of my home are nicely organized...
bathroom drawers
toiletries
my pantry
refrigerator
patio
kitchen cabinets
bookshelves
baby's bedroom
my accessories
my car
my desk

BUT I'm always struggling with ways to organize...
Baby TOYS
 I have lots of containers but sometimes feel like they have invaded my home.
My baby is approaching one and our current routine is lots of baskets so that everything has a home and I do the tidying up now.  She's too little to help but I'm excited for her to learn the importance of picking up as she gets older.

My husband's bookshelf 
(where he puts his wallet, keys, contents of his pockets, etc. each day)
 I have containers for him to put his things but it only lasts a day or two then the dumping starts again.  He doesn't mind digging through his rubble to find what he needs in that space.  In the past, I've just cleaned and recleaned it periodically.  I am kind of over it.  So now I've started ignoring this area and using some Love and Logic/natural consequences for him - haha.

Our master closet
is always in need of tidying up and I blame it on the awkward closet
I tend to take off an outfit and toss it into a pile rather than hang it up.  My husband has a hanging rack on the door so he kind of ignores the inside of the closet.  We have our laundry baskets inside the closet, our current clothes for the season are hanging and the other seasons are stored in containers.

Any tips for how I should go about fixing my plan in those areas?
What are your PROBLEM AREAS of organization at home??

Hello Friday!!

Happy Friday to you!!
I hope you had a great week.
Here are the highlights:

1. I tried a new recipe for Stuffed Peppers and LOVED it!!
You can find the recipe here

2. I had to jump on board with the Spring BOB trend!!
I went back to my favorite stylist, John, and he worked his magic.  I think I'm going to LOVE this shorter look for the hot summer in the South.  Can I get an amen???

3. We got to take Olive to meet the Easter Bunny.
They hit it off and seemed to enjoy their time together.

 4. Our Easter Sunday was lovely - 
Bunny Brunch, naps, getting to dye/eat eggs and Easter baskets

 5. Olive and I were battling a cold for several days.  The highlight is that we are both feeling much better.  I made chicken noodle soup, scarfed down vitamin c, snuggled with my cats and stayed in our pjs for several days.  Another highlight is that we didn't share germs with my husband.


My Finish This statements for the week:
My favorite make up item is...
 my new discovery of Rimmel Stay Matte long lasting pressed powder
and Cover Girl Professional Super Thick Lash mascara is a close second.

The best book I've ever read was ______ because...
a children's book called The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
because Kate Dicamillo did an amazing job of making you feel every emotion imaginable as your follow along in Edward's journey.  Read it!

My favorite TV show...
as a child... Full House or America's Funniest Home Videos
currently... Grey's Anatomy
of all time... Friends

The most spontaneous thing I've ever done was...
I struggled with this question because I could easily be defined as the polar opposite of spontaneous.  I make lists about list and plan out everything to the max.  I guess the most spontaneous thing I've ever done was going car shopping and coming home with a new car that same night.  My husband had been doing a lot of research on his own but I didn't help because I was a million months pregnant :)

I prefer _____ because ______
staying up late because I can get so much done with the house is QUIET.

I met my significant other...
when I was FIVE years old. 
Our parents went to church together and arranged our marriage :)  Well not exactly but we like to joke about that being the case.

Thanks for stopping by!!  Hope you have a great weekend!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Avoid This Gelato

My TV has been bombarded by commercials advertising Breyer's Gelato
so much so that I felt like I had to give it a try.
My husband found a coupon for it and decided on the Triple Chocolate variety.
We saved it for our date night dessert and were so excited to taste it.

Let me save you $5
and tell you why you should avoid it.

-it's not the consistency of gelato - too creamy
- the flavors are kind of blah
-I love all things chocolate and this ice cream seemed to be an off flavor
+ I loved the chocolate curls on the top and wished they would have been all through it

You are welcome :)

Stuffed Peppers

My husband sent me an email saying he'd love to have Stuffed Peppers for dinner one night.  He's got a knack for picking out yummy recipes or coming up with good dinner ideas so I was on board.  I started looking for recipes and ended up making up my own.  It turned out to be really yummy so I figured you'd like it too!!

 Ingredients for 4 people
2 large green peppers
handful of orange/red/yellow sweet peppers
2 green onions
1 yellow onion
can of black beans
can of lime & cilantro Rotel
1/2 c corn
1 can chicken
1 pouch of mexican rice
shredded cheddar
lettuce
sour cream
sliced jalapenos

Dice peppers and brown them.

Mix beans, corn, Rotel, rice and chicken

 Wash peppers, cut out middles and cut each half into three pieces.
Put in a greased 9x13 pan.

 Spoon chicken mixture on top of each row of peppers.
Evenly distribute the entire mixture.

 Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 45 minutes.
Top with shredded cheddar and green onions right when it comes out of the oven.
We ate this for dinner two nights in a row and it reheats really well.  
It's also tasty with chips and salsa.