Friday, January 31, 2020

January Favorites

Happy Friday!  I don't know about you, but January felt VERY long to me.  I'm not sure why - we were all pretty healthy, we had a good month and didn't have much going on.  It just felt long.  I'm excited to move on to February.

We've had plenty to smile about this month.  Here are the FAVORITES from this month:

1. Fiddle Leaf Figs
I've raved about these pretty plants for a long time.  I hit the jackpot at Aldi this month.  They'd just unloaded a huge pallet of BIG house plants and they were all marked $12.99!!  I got these two fiddle leaf figs and they're beautiful.  They're about 3 feet tall, come with a white plastic pot and they look really healthy.  I had hoped to pick up a new one this Spring and wanted to spend $25 on it.  I got two for that price at Aldi.  I'm hoping they do great at my house!

2. Kevin & Olive
Kevin got to go to a fun technology workshop with Olive.  She was thrilled.  He was thrilled.  It was really fun for both of them.  And he took pictures for mom :)

3. Winter Sunrises
The sunrises have been so pretty this month!  I'm not really a morning person so these beautiful skies have given us all something to look forward to.

4. Adventure Awaits
I've been trying hard to say yes to fun things - like when the kids ask to go to the park, but it's freezing out.  We had lunch with friends, bundled up and headed to the park.  We were chilly, but it was tons of fun!

5. Mimi & Papaw
My parents came up for the day to help us and to visit.  My dad brought his truck to help us with phase one of operation big kid bedroom (getting the kids new beds) and then we sent home an extra mattress we had with them.  That way they'll have an extra bed for us to use at their house and we can get the big kid bedroom set up.  It's always fun to hang out with them.

6. Deals
I love a good deal!  I've been saving our coupons, deal code and doing those silly receipt surveys to add some fun into our routines.  This day I surprised the kids with a free ice cream run to our favorite - Culvers!  They were thrilled!

7. 100th Day of School
Olive got to do several fun things for the 100th Day of School.  Dressing up as a cute grandma was easily her favorite.  She picked out her pink outfit, makeup, dry shampoo to gray her hair and loved it.  Fletcher had to join in the grandpa fun.

8. Story Time
We've gotten into a great routine of story time each week.  Fletcher enjoys going and the class always ends with bubble time!

9. Dot's Pretzels
My parents have been raving about these pretzels.  My friend Erin raved about them.  I spotted them in the store for $5.99 and couldn't fathom that they'd really be that good.  Well, I was wrong.  They're the most delicious seasoned pretzels ever.  Think Gardetto flavoring, but better.  They're such a fun treat!  Have you had them before??

10.Sweet & Silly
Fletcher is so sweet to happily wait on his sister for things.  He's so silly at the bus stop.  Sweet smile and his new favorite silly smile.

11. Big Kid
It's really fun to be at the big kid phase with Fletcher.  He can walk through the store, help me unload groceries and in general just be fun to hang out with.  

12. Road Trip
We went on a little road trip to meet up with some friends this month.  We had dinner at a new favorite pizza place.  The kids did great and we all enjoyed catching up.

13. Under Construction
Our local children's museum unveiled a really fun new construction exhibit to correspond with some new construction project coming to our down town.  Fletcher loved it all.  He had the best time building, using the air cannon and doing construction work.  We're excited to take Olive back after school one day.

14. DIY
I've been in a major DIY mood this year.  I gave our front door a makeover and have a list of projects to do next.  I ordered the supplies so stay tuned for some fun projects on the blog in February!

Hope you have a wonderful Superbowl weekend!!

Linking up with Momfessionals for Friday Favorites

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Baby #3: Weeks 24-28

It's time for our monthly baby #3 check in.  Everything is going GREAT!

Week 24: Dec 24
Baby boy is the size of a pomegranate.

We celebrated all the Christmas traditions with family this week!  We had Christmas at home, traveled to see family for a week and packed tons of fun into our week.  I was more tired than usual and tried to rest when I could.  I found myself missing my bed and the comforts of home after being away for so many days.  I'm a do-er so it was hard for me to sit back and ask for help carrying things or loading up the van.  I just want to do everything myself.

Week 25: Dec 31
Baby boy is the size of an egg plant.

He's moving like crazy at night.  Makes me wonder if he'll be a night owl.  I keep having the urge to clean out and get rid of all the things.  I want all the clutter GONE yesterday.  No closet is safe.  It feels so good to sell, donate and throw out stuff we are not using.  My family is not sharing in my enthusiasm to get rid of things.

I'm hungry 24/7.  Not just a little hungry, but like STARVING.  I am craving cereal and candy just like I did with Olive.  My belly is starting to feel heavy.  I had a check up this week and things are looking good.

Fletcher announced in the car one day, "I can't wait to meet my baby brother!!"

Week 26: January 7, 2020
Baby boy is the size of an acorn squash.

Happy New Year!  We celebrated at home and enjoyed a quiet Christmas break.

Quiet week this week.  I'm still feeling super hungry and getting up lots at night to use the restroom.

Week 27: Jan 14
Baby boy is the size of a cabbage.

I started having my traditional pregnancy dream - all my teeth fall out.  I've had it with all the kids.  It's so vivid and real that I always wake up and feel to make sure I still have teeth - ha!

I'm craving lemon water, burgers and baby is moving a ton.

Week 28: Jan 21
Baby boy is the size of a head of lettuce.

When we sit down on the couch together or go to read a book together, the baby is kicking like crazy.  The kids think it's hilarious when he bops the book we're reading and they love feeling him kick.  It's been a fun way to include the kids in his milestones.

It's getting harder to get in and out of bed.  I feel like a flipped over turtle and find myself saying WOOF anytime bending or sitting up is required.

I took my one hour glucose test this week.  I was sure I'd fail it since I did with Fletcher.  I was already trying to wrap my head around having to take the 3 hour glucose test and failing that since I was borderline with Fletcher.  We talked through it all with my doctor and she said she'd call the following day with the results.  Well she called and said I PASSED MY GLUCOSE TEST WITH FLYING COLORS.  Zero concern going forward with blood sugar!!  I cried actual tears of JOY.  It was such a relief to know that it was fine and not have to do any additional monitoring.  My blood pressure is high, but not that high for me so we're just keeping an eye on that.  I also found out I have a sinus infection.  I haven't had one in years so no wonder my head was hurting like crazy.

I've been thrilled this time around that I haven't been as swollen or had as much heart burn as this point in other pregnancies.

Things are zooming right along into the 3rd trimester now!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Best Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I just love the combo of chocolate chips + banana.  Banana chocolate chip muffins are probably my favorite muffin.  I always have the ingredients on hand to make them and they feel like the ultimate comfort food.  I make them for my family regularly and will often drop off a batch to a friend if they're sick.

I've tried lots of recipes over the years and the recipe I have to share with you today is SO good! 

It does a couple of things differently - melted real butter, lower sugar than many muffin recipes, no oil and no milk.  Even with all of these changes, they DO NOT taste like a healthy muffin.  You know the kind I'm talking about - dry, tough, hard and not fluffy.  These muffins are light and delicious.

My kids really prefer mini muffins over full sized muffins.  They are easy to eat and I love that they bake in 10-12 minutes.  Quick breakfast for the win!

3 ripe bananas
1 egg
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 c chocolate chips
1 t salt
1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1/3 c melted butter

Combine all ingredients.  Be sure not to over mix because you'll end up with tough muffins.

Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes to lightly brown the edges and make sure the muffins spring back when you touch the top of them.

They are best right out of the oven, but keep well for a day.  I wouldn't recommend this recipe for baking and eating all week long.  They're better to be eaten right away.

I mixed all the ingredients in my Kitchen Aid.  It came together so quickly!

Use a scoop to ensure that your muffins are all the same size.  Definitely grease your pan!

I added a few more chocolate chips on top of the muffin mix just for looks (and taste!)

 Look how light and fluffy these muffins turned out!

Can't wait to make these again soon!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Quick Quinoa Bowl

I've been trying harder to eat real food and fix real meals for myself for lunch (instead of snacking through lunch just grabbing what I can find).

I made this Quick Quinoa Bowl last week and it was DELICIOUS.

I've also been trying hard to use all the food in our pantry/fridge and planning meals around what I have on hand vs what sounds good in the moment.  It's helping cut down my trips to the grocery store while saving us money.  I am also thrilled to say that we are really cutting down on any food waste.

Rotisserie chicken
olive oil
Montreal Steak Seasoning

Baby Carrots

Quinoa Mix
2 lemon wedges
feta cheese

I did all of these things while also preparing Fletcher's lunch.  He ate something completely different.  Both meals were done at about the same time so we were able to sit down and eat together.

Follow the directions on the box of quinoa to cook it on the stove top.  I had to add water, olive oil and the seasoning packet and cook for about 14 minutes.  Aldi has really inexpensive boxes of quinoa.  It was under $1.  

Saute the first set of ingredients together in a skillet until the onions soften.  I had a mix of purple and yellow onions.

Steam fresh broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in the microwave.  I bought one of those mixed bags of fresh veggies from Sams.  I added them to a bowl of water and microwaved them for 6-8 minutes until they were tender.  Drain off the water.

This recipe is completely flexible and customizable to your own tastes or for whatever is in your fridge.  The rotisserie chicken makes it come together so quickly.  I didn't measure anything.  Just grabbed an amount that looked good to make two bowls.

Split the ingredients in half so that you end up with two servings.   Top with fresh lemon juice (instead of salt or soy sauce to add flavor) and feta cheese.  I ate one the day I made it and refrigerated the second bowl for lunch the following day.  It reheated perfectly!

Serves: Two Quick Quinoa Bowls

Also, some real life for you.  I always have a side kick with me.  On my camera roll of food pictures, I always have some pictures with toes in them :)  I didn't feel bad at all taking time to make a healthy meal for myself while also preparing a kid meal for Fletcher.  I want him to see me eating healthy foods that I love and taking the time to do things I enjoy like cooking.

Would you or your family enjoy this meal??

Friday, January 24, 2020

Front Door Makeover

Do you LOVE the color of your front door??

I'm here to give you permission - if you DO NOT love your front door - change it!!

You'll be surprised at how easy it is.

We've lived in our house for almost 4 years and it was time for another front door makeover.

When we bought the house in 2016, our front door was original to the house, painted white and covered up by a storm door.  I had the storm door removed and picked out a BOLD blue to give our house some personality.  We loved it, but I've been anxious to change it.  You see, back in 2016, our house needed a lot of love and lot of personality/curb appeal.

Fast forward to 2020 and we've put 4 years worth of time, money and lots of love into our house and the door needed a change.  We now have beautiful landscaping, new trees in the front yard, new gutters, shutters and more.  The door needed to be taken down a few notches on the BOLD scale.

We stuck with another blue since blue compliments our roof and stone, but it's more of an understated, classy blue now.

The official color is Secluded Garden by Valspar.
We opted for the Valspar Season Flex Paint + Primer.  It came recommended by the lady in the paint department once we told her what we were painting.

It came from Lowes.  Kevin and I worked together one wild Friday night to pick out the new color.  Grown up dream come true - right!?!  I'd been wanting to do this project for a while, but kept talking myself out of it.  So dumb!  The project was so inexpensive and I'm so proud of how it turned out!  I did the whole DIY myself.

And we're in LOVE!

We spent under $20 on this makeover and have more than enough supplies to paint a couple more doors!

Front Door Painting process:
1. Wipe down your front door really well with a wet rag.  I used one that I could throw away.
2. Let it dry completely and put a towel down on the floor around your door to protect the area.
3. Open and stir your can of paint.
4. Start painting.  I painted in all directions.  Leaving the tricky parts (by the hardware and the windows for last).
5. I let the kids help.  They were thrilled.
6. Watch for any drips, keep a wet towel nearby for any drips or for wiping off the hardware, switch brush sizes as needed and then leave the door cracked open for at least 1-2 hours to dry completely.  Hold off putting your wreath back on the door for a day or two.  I didn't tape off the windows or hardware.  I just used my tiny brush and wet rag to paint around it/wipe off areas as needed.  It worked great especially since I didn't have straight lines to tape off.

Before: Pretty blue, but it was very BOLD.

The kids helped me paint and Fletcher told me to cheese for a picture.

I painted the door on a sunny/chilly day.  I had a space heater going to keep me warm and bundled up.  It took me about an hour to do the whole project thanks to those 4 detailed windows at the top of the door.  I'd imagine this project would go much faster if you have no windows are a less intricate/newer door.  I really love giving our vintage door some new life.

We bought the inexpensive brushes from Lowes and they worked great.  I think they were $4 and $2.  Then I just grabbed a tiny brush from our craft closet.

1 quart of paint was around $12.

So now I'm curious - what color is your front door?  And do you love it?