Saturday, January 31, 2015

Swoon Worthy

This time of year always seems so strange to me.  All of my favorite stores are releasing their spring collections, and everything is pastel, and floral, and bright. Yet it's totally freezing outside, and most of us are currently buried in snow.

The optimist in me is choosing to feel hopeful.  Hopeful that the season that brings warmer weather, green grass, and tulips will be here before we know it.

In the mean time, I plan to park myself in front of a warm fire this weekend, while blogging about some of my favorite spring-y items. Here's what I'm swooning over this week.

1.  If you are looking for some great last minute ideas for Super Bowl snacks, this list has you covered.

2.  Seeing as it is definitely still winter, and likely it will be for awhile, I love the look of a flushed pink cheek.  This gel is my fave (I use the flushed color).

3.  The pouf obsession continues.

4.  These brownies are such a simple and fun idea for a Valentine's Day treat.

5.  Speaking of hearts, this rug is seriously the cutest.

6.  I'm thinking Max is going to need these kicks this spring.

7.  So, I already told you guys how much I loved The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies, but clearly I can't get enough of Liane Moriarty's work because I'm currently reading this book by her, and it is so, so good.

8.  I would like a pair of these studs in every color, but I'm totally partial to the tortoise ones.

9.  Adding this to my list of "items I MUST purchase for Ella".

10.  This candle might just smell good enough to eat.

Hope you're all enjoying your weekend! Stay warm friends!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

(Random) Thoughts For Thursday

I'm sure by now, most of you are used to my totally random posts where I ramble on and on about anything and everything that we have going on around here... Let me just assure you, this post is no exception.

our backyard

We've been having quite the week.  Seeing as it looks like the photo you see above outside, winter hibernation mode is in full effect.  With the exception of a quick jaunt to Trader Joe's and Target yesterday, the kids and I haven't really left the house.

I'm not sure when I became such a wimp about snow, but it happened, and now I can't seem to be bothered to go out in it, unless it is absolutely necessary (obviously a trip to Target is always absolutely necessary and justified).

Anyhow, I guess I kind of just wanted to share a little bit of what we've been up to, as I'm sure you're all just dying to know how we've been passing the time.

For the most part, this week has looked kind of like this...

Toys everywhere, crazy hair, pajamas all day long, and lots and lots of snacks.

We did however, manage to get out and play in the snow for a bit the other day, which as you can guess from the photo below, Max LOVED, and Ella was less than impressed about.

We made snow cream, which I neglected to photograph, so let's just pretend that this photo is mine.

Despite the fact that we have literally gone nowhere, I've been making a valid effort with this whole "housewalking" thing (mentioned in a previous post).  It's actually kind of fun, and I'm finding that my fitbit is totally keeping me motivated to achieve, and even surpass my daily goals, which to me is impressive.  I've come to terms with the fact that I have to make the best of what I have to work with when it comes to exercising, and what I have to work with is not getting out of the house very often and having 2 little people constantly tugging at my pant legs.

In addition to the housewalking, I like to throw in a little workout dvd (when naptime allows for it) to spice things up from time to time. This one and this one are a couple of my favorites.

Last night I left the house completely on my own, a concept so foreign to me these days, that I felt pretty weird about it.

My sweet husband had signed me up for a pizza making class for one of my Christmas gifts.  Not to toot my own horn, but  I make a pretty mean homemade pizza... Still, I'm always up for improving my domestic skills, so I was pretty psyched about going.

I'm pretty sure that this was generally the type of class we should have taken together or that you take with a group of girlfriends, but off I went, and being that I'm not super shy and there was wine involved, I quickly made friends, and had a blast.

I actually learned a thing or 2, the pizza came out amazing, and it was an overall fabulous experience.

I drove home high on the spell of San Marzano tomatoes and fresh basil, while jamming out to Taylor Swift... I'm rarely in the car alone, so this was a total treat.

Naturally, Mike reaped the benefits of my attending the class, when I arrived home with 2 freshly cooked pizzas.

Today, I've been using my scrap yarn to whip up a bunch of these little hearts, that I plan to use to make a garland to hang on our mantle for Valentine's Day.  This is the pattern I have been using and it's super simple and fast, so I was able to bust out a bunch of these in no time at all.

Other than that, I currently have our dinner (with a paleo twist) going in the crockpot.  If it turns out as well as I'm hoping, I promise to share the details!

That's about all of the randomness I have for now, and probably more than you can handle.  If you want to keep up with all of the recipes, crafts, and other random stuff I find on pinterest, please feel free to follow me.  There is a link on the top right side of this page.

Hope you're all having a great week!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Valentine's Day Favorites

Seeing as Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away, I thought I would share some of my favorite love inspired finds... You know, if you happen to be looking for a gift for your little one, your significant other, or you just so happen to want to treat yourself!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Recap

We had yet another blissfully lazy weekend around here. It has been off and on snowy and dreary over the last few days, so we took full advantage, and with the exception of a trip to the grocery store yesterday, we pretty much lounged around in pjs at home all weekend.

I know some of you are about to get buried in snow, so the miniscule few inches that fell here in Pennsylvania are irrelevant to you, but I viewed this accumulation as the perfect excuse to stay inside and play, do some baking, read a good book, and even tackle a little sewing project.

Over the course of the weekend, M&E tore apart the house (no shocker there), and pulled out basically every toy that we own at various points.  They were pretty pleased with themselves though, so we just went with the flow.

On Saturday, Mike brought me home my most favorite French macarons, so all diet/healthy eating plans were out the window!

I baked up some of these to-go baked oatmeal cups that I mentioned in my Swoon Worthy post.  Chocolate chip for Max (obviously), and blueberry and flax for Mike and I. I love how the options are really endless with this recipe, and that now we're covered for breakfast for the next few days!

I finally got the chance to whip up this adorable little top for Ella.  One of my biggest goals in 2015 (and in life) is to strengthen my skills when it comes to sewing clothes.  An opportunity presented itself to be a pattern tester, and I jumped right on it.  I can't wait to put this on Ella over a white onesie and some skinny jeans.

Otherwise I'm kicking off the week by "house walking" (seriously, it's a real thing), and with one of  my favorite healthy smoothies... in an effort to detox after all of the macarons I ate.  I love to throw some unsweetened almond milk, frozen bananas, a spoonful of almond butter, some chia seeds and a squirt of honey into the blender.  Max loves it too, so it's a great way to get something healthy into him.  I'm sure it helps that we call it a "milkshake".

That about sums it up really, pretty uneventful around here. Hope you all have a wonderful week, and for any of you about to get nailed with snow, stay safe and warm!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Swoon Worthy

There's something about waking up to snow on a Saturday morning. It's as though the weather instantly grants you permission to stay in your pajamas just a little while longer and sip on your coffee just a little bit slower. 

Even as a SAHM to 2 kids who are not yet school aged, I have totally come to appreciate and relish a good snow day.

While we're not getting walloped here in Pennsylvania like some of our friends along the East Coast, I'm taking full advantage, and snuggling up with a warm blanket, and my laptop to share this week's Swoon Worthy post. Here's what I'm loving at the moment...

1.  I really fell off the wagon for awhile when it comes to reading, but I recently finished this book, which was this month's choice for my book club, and it was so good, I instantly started reading this one by the same author.  If you're looking for a good quick read, I highly recommend both of these books.

2.  I recently confessed just how in love I am with my crock pot, but can I also tell you how obsessed I am with recipes that include quinoa?  I can't get enough of the stuff. This recipe is getting tested out ASAP.

3.  You guys know I like my wine... These glasses are so cool.

4.  I pretty much died when I spotted this rain coat at Target the other day.  Obviously Ella had to have it.

5.  I am totally stoked about these new Larabars!

6.  I think my sister said it best, when she described these jeggings as "pseudo maternity pants".  They are super affordable, and the most comfortable "jeans" ever.  I probably wear mine a little too often.

7.  This to-go breakfast recipe is right up my ally.

8.  A new Baby Lit book... yes please!

9.  I wouldn't say that we totally follow the concept of Baby Led Weaning when it comes to baby food in our house, but I recently discovered this blog, and love all of the information and ideas it provides for feeding little ones.

10.  Why not get into bed with your favorite dessert?  This quilt is the cutest!

That about wraps it up.  Hope you're all having the happiest and coziest weekend!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ella Rose 9 month/Max Anthony 2.5 Update

In keeping with tradition, today is the day for our sweet Ella Rose's 9 month update (as much as I'd prefer to freeze time, she just keeps growing), but seeing as Max hit the 2.5 year milestone this month, I figured why not double up and do an all around update on both of my babes.

I'm having a pretty hard time coming to grips with how fast M&E are growing, so consider yourself lucky that you can't see me sobbing over the keyboard as I type this!

Okay, so first things first, Ella's 9 month update...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, this girl's personality grows bigger by the day.  She is seriously hilarious.  If she hears anyone else laughing in her vicinity, she bursts out into hysterical giggles, a sound that I could listen to all day. She loves praise, and claps wildly for herself every time we exclaim, "yay Ella!".

She's up to approximately (based on home measurements) 18 pounds, 7 ounces, and is 28.3 inches long. She fits nicely into size 9 month and size 6-12 month clothes, and wears size 3 diapers.

She is crawling, scooting on her bum, and making a valid effort at trying to pull herself up on furniture.

She loves sitting on the floor with her brother and playing with all of their toys... when Max decides to share.

She's a great eater, has become a puff addict (just like her brother was), and is still going strong with nursing.

As for her sleeping habits, they are a work in progress.  Some nights she sleeps through the night without a peep, others she wakes 2-3 times to eat.  

Overall, she is a super happy and easygoing baby.  We're loving every second of watching her grow and seeing her personality develop, even though I desperately want to press pause and freeze time. With every milestone she reaches, I have mixed feelings of pride and  sadness over just how fast this precious time really flies by, but I still look forward to all that is to come in the future for our little girl.

Now for a little update on our Max Man...

It is so, so much more difficult to get good photos of a busy toddler than it is of a baby! When Max was Ella's age he was photographic perfection... These days, I'm lucky to catch more than a blur.

A busy 2.5 year old is exactly what our Max has become. He's super into cars, trucks, trains and school buses. He's obsessed with all of the Toy Story movies and Fireman Sam at the moment, and he loves being told stories; about farm animals in particular.

He's the best snuggler, gives amazing hugs and kisses, and is super sweet... When he's not having a toddler tantrum!

When he wakes up every morning and after every nap, he'll tell you that he missed you, then he'll proceed to greet Ella with a super joyful "HIIIIIII ELLA!" Every. Single. Time... And it never gets old!

He loves "Row Your Boat", and has become partial to saying "awwwwww man", and "awwwwww dear"!

He's doing amazingly well in his big boy bed, apart from the one day during naptime when he decided to remove the artwork from the walls around his bed!

His eating habits have gotten significantly better, but he's still your typical picky 2.5 year old. He loves scrambled eggs, pb & j,    pizza and macaroni and cheese best, and you can get him to pretty much anything for a package of fruit snacks.

He's amazing at puzzles, and loves taking things apart and putting them back together.

Two can be a tough age, we've had our fair share of I-want-to-rip-my-hair-out moments, but overall, Max is a lot of fun, and he makes up for the meltdowns, when he looks at you with his big brown eyes and says, "shawry mummy".

It's been such a blessing to get to experience having both a baby boy and a baby girl. In my opinion, they are each pure perfection. I love these little munchkins more than words, and can't wait to watch them continue to grow... If only they could slow it down just a teeny tiny bit!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Swoon Worthy/Weekend Recap

I went ahead and fell off the blogging wagon this past weekend. 

We have been working on so many projects at home, I've had shop orders to complete, we had guests in town, and the reality is, I just didn't have time to sit down at my computer.

Enter Monday.  I'm kicking off the week feeling somewhat refreshed for once, so I'm tackling it head-on with an extra lengthy Swoon Worthy list combined with our weekend recap.  Can you handle it?

First things first, the above pictured Curry Chicken Salad.  As I've mentioned before, recipe writing on a whim is not my forte.  Sometimes it's just a little of this, a little of that... but this one seems easy enough to share, if you can deal with my not-so-exact measurements.

I generally make this using a store bought rotisserie chicken.  We're not dark meat eaters, so I just remove the breast meat and shred it.  Fear not, I don't waste the rest, I usually boil it and turn it into soup or broth.

Anyhow, to the shredded chicken, I add a tablespoon of curry powder, some salt and pepper to taste, a couple of tablespoons of either raisins or dried cranberries (whatever I have in my pantry, in this case cranberries), about 1/4 of a diced granny smith apple, an 1/8 of a cup (approx) of nuts (usually pecan pieces, slivered almonds, or cashews (in this case cashews), and last but not least 2 tablespoons of mayo.  The thing with the mayo, is you can add as much or as little as you would like... we're not big mayo people, so I am cautious with how much I add. Feel free to throw in a little more if you're feeling adventurous. We are currently trying to eat pretty clean, so I used this recipe for homemade/paleo mayo, but in the past, I have used greek yogurt, and even a combination of sour cream and mayo.  Whatever tickles your fancy.

It is delicious served over lettuce as a salad, or on a croissant or toasted sourdough as a sandwich.

Beyond what I ate for lunch this past weekend, there are a ton of things I am swooning over and dying to share, so although it's slightly belated, here's what I'm loving lately...

1.  I don't think winter is going to be over anytime soon, so I just ordered this super cute colorblock beanie to stay warm and stylish over the next few months.

2.  I'm pretty sure that I can totally get on board with this breakfast concept.

3.  There are naturally a few Valentine's Day themes items on this list, I have my eye on this for Ella and this for Max.

4.  I have raved about my love for Oliver Jeffers' books before, but a book about a moose?  The Mainer in me is sold.

5.  This moisturizer and this toner make my dry winter skin happy.

6.  I'm all for an adult beverage that also provides health benefits such as Vitamin C.

7.  We love holiday themed books around here, and Pete the Cat is about as cool as they come.

8.  After seeing this delectable side dish pop up on my Insta feed over the weekend, I can't stop thinking about it.

9.  When I'm not lugging around my gigantic tote full of toddler snacks and diapers (which is rare), I love a small crossbody bag.  This style is cute and affordable, and I have seen it in the store in some awesome colors (think mint and cobalt).

10.  *** I'd love to tell you that I am one of those mothers whose children only eat healthy an organic meals 3x a day, but that's just not our reality.  I enjoy giving my kids (Max) a treat from time to time, so when were recently sent a sample of Reese's Spreads, I couldn't wait to use some on pancakes and top them with bananas.  Naturally Max gobbled them right up and asked for more.  This spread is a tasty combination of both chocolate and peanut butter flavors, and I can't wait to experiment with it in more recipes and share about it with you.

11.  Spaghetti squash has easily become one of my favorite healthy things to eat, so I am dying to try this recipe.

12.  Hearts on baby bum's... need I say more?

13.  If you have a little girl that is in desperate need of superbowl appropriate accessories, today only, you can order her one of these.  My husband might be a Steelers fan, but my heart will always belong to New England.  Go Pats!

*** disclosure:  This blog post contains items that were sent to me as a courtesy for my review, however, all opinions are completely my own.

Other than all of the fabulous items listed above, it was business as usual around here.

We had guests visiting from out of town on Friday, which prompted a trip to our grocery store's beer section, which inevitably led to the photo below... Mother of the year, I know.

Otherwise it was spent playing...

And of course... lounging.  Just as any good weekend should be.

{security blanket | sheet (diy)}

Hope you all have the absolute best start your week! Both M&E are napping at the same time right now, so as you can imagine, my Monday is fabulous!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday Things

meant to write a Monday post, but just like that, it was Tuesday. 

Oh and what a Tuesday it has been... 

Have you ever had one of those days where literally every single thing you attempted to accomplish somehow resulted in epic failure? That's pretty much how today is going for me. 

First I tried to get invitations printed for Ella's (very belated) Baptism... That didn't work out as planned. Then we treked to Target in the frigid cold (15 degrees), to get some photos printed and pick up a few things... Low and behold, the photo printing equipment was down. Then there was an issue with a gift card of mine that I was attempting to use, and I ended up somehow coming home sans the cutest pair of leggings that I had found, on clearance, for Ella... Even though I paid for them!!! I have been assured that I will be reimbursed for them, and that better hold true. Add to that a good toe stub and some DIY projects gone askew, and that pretty much sums up my Tuesday.

So basically, there are lots of items not getting checked off on my to-do list, and if it weren't for M & E, I'd likely climb back under the covers and pretend that this day didn't happen.

However, with all of the glass-is-half-full attitude that I can muster up, I'm trying to turn this day around... So I thought what better way to jump start a 180, than to share some fun things I've found/tried lately!

 I'm really and truly trying to eat clean/healthy lately. The "you just had a baby" excuse is becoming a bit of a stretch at this point, so it's game-on in the exercising and eating right department. Last night we made this butter chicken, and I had mine over cauliflower "rice". It was seriously so good, that I can't wait to make it again in the future!

Have you guys seen/tried these broccoli florets from Trader Joe's yet? I saw them pop up on my Instagram feed, and just had to give them a whirl. They are strangely delicious!

In my ongoing effort to stay trendy, even as a legging-wearing-mother-of-2 who rarely puts on make up beyond bronzer and mascara these days, I've been dying to try a red lip (a la Taylor Swift). I didn't want to invest in something expensive, knowing full well that it wouldn't get that much wear, so I picked up this e.l.f. lip gloss stick in "Movie Star" at Target for $2, and now I'm obsessed!

Lastly, I wanted to share a photo of this super cute cardigan I just finished for Ella.  I love making clothing for my kids, but haven't had a whole lot of time lately between shop orders. I actually started this while the shop was on vacation, but didn't quite finish it until recently. It still needs blocked, but I love it and can't wait for her to wear it. 

If you like to knit and want to take it to the next level, try a baby sweater. They're much easier than you think to whip up, and since they're mini, they don't take much longer than a hat to complete!

That's all I've got for now! Hopefully your Tuesday has been more successful than mine! I'm feeling better already after this post, and seeing as it's 5:00 PM, I see a glass of red wine in my future!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Swoon Worthy

I think we are experiencing 2015's version of the Polar Vortex.  I am literally so cold that I just sent my poor husband out in this frozen tundra for food and red wine while I stay hunkered down at home with M & E, in warm pjs under multiple blankets.  I refuse to leave the house in this weather.  I actually almost wish I could hibernate until spring.

A snuggie would be perfectly appropriate to wear while typing this post... I actually have one somewhere around here, but that's neither here nor there.

Here's what I'm loving this week...

1.  My Instagram feed literally blew up this past week when news of this collaboration dropped.  I'd being lying if I didn't say I was super psyched to check it out when it arrives in stores.

2.  I am pretty obsessed with my crock pot lately, so I've made it my new mission to try to cook as many meals in it as possible.  This list should help me on my path to finding self-cooking meals.

3.  Is anyone else as obsessed as I am with finding out Blake Lively's new baby's name???

4.  We are smoothie lovers in this house.  This recipe will definitely be going down around here this weekend.

5.  I adore this sweatshirt I picked up at Target this week so much, that I want to go back and get it in every color.

6.  We really enjoy making and eating energy bites around here, so I'm dying to test out this recipe.

7.  It seems tough to think about spring fashion with how cold it is right now, but I'm totally swooning over this coat for Ella right now. (40% off this weekend, and GAPcash!!!)

8.  In my ongoing effort to eat healthier/cleaner in the new year, I am really intrigued by this "1-day renewal".  It's exclusive to Target, and seeing as we're there no less than 3x a week, I may have to give it a whirl!

9.  Max certainly doesn't need any new toys after the holidays, but I really love these blocks.

10.  I'm a huge fan of J Crew's baby line, particularly their pajamas.  These are the cutest... for Valentine's Day or just because!

I hope you're all staying warm and having the coziest of weekends!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cold Weather Favorites

It seems that the real, true winter is finally upon us here in Pennsylvania.  December was exceptionally mild, but along with a new year have come some unbelievably frigid temperatures.

For the most part, I'd like to stay snuggled up all day inside with M & E and hibernate until Spring... but I suppose that's not really an ideal alternative for dealing with this season.  With that being said, I thought I'd share some of my favorite "cold weather" items, the ones that help me deal with the chill... along with lots of hot coffee and red wine of course.

Also worth noting, I made this tasty Crockpot White Ranch Chicken Chili last night with a few slight modifications (I used smaller navy beans instead of great northern beans, and added a few dashes of cayenne pepper for spice). It was super easy to make, delicious, and the perfect dinner for a chilly night.  We had ours topped with cheese, a dollop of light sour cream, and scallions, along with a side of honey corn bread. I totally recommend it.

And, last but not least... I just added some new hat styles in the shop, because let's be honest, it's going to be cold for awhile longer!

That's about it for now, I hope your all staying warm this week... it's almost Friday!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Moms Don't Take Sick Days

This past week has been the absolute worst.  It was so far from how I envisioned our family kicking off the new year, I don't even know where to start.

It all started on New Year's Eve Eve, when Max came down with a fever and a cough.  Shortly after, I came down with a sore throat and a cough.

Max is definitely a snuggler, but it's pretty rare for him to fall asleep on me these days... a sure sign that he was really feeling awful.

I had my fingers crossed that it wouldn't pass on to Ella, even though deep down I knew it was inevitable.

Low and behold, a few days later, as soon as Max was feeling better, Ella woke up with a fever and a cough too, shocker, I know.  There is literally nothing in the world worse than a sick baby.  It just makes you feel so helpless.

A trip to our pediatrician confirmed that it was a virus, a "bug" that is going around, and we would have to just wait it out.  Thankfully, within a couple of days, Ella seemed to be feeling better too.

So... after 5 days straight of being stuck in the house with sick kids and not feeling so hot myself, I was desperate to get out.  I was also days behind on packing up Christmas and my house looked still looks like a tornado went through it.

I think Mike could see that I was about to go crazy, because on Saturday afternoon, he told me to take a break for awhile and get out of the house.

Naturally, I ended up at Target.  How cute is this Valentine's Day stuff I scored in the Dollar Spot? Anyhow, while I was there, I started to not feel so hot... light headed, hot flashes, dizzy... the whole bit.  By that evening I was feeling worse than ever.  I'm not exactly sure what I caught, but I can tell you this, I haven't felt that awful in a very, very long time.  As I laid in bed, box of tissues in hand, moaning and groaning, I kept replaying that Dayquil commercial in my head, "mom's don't take sick days"!

Seriously though, when mom is down and out, sh*@ really hits the fan.  I'm thankful to my husband for holding down the fort the best that he could, I mean he took care of M & E, which is all I could really ask for, and he may have washed a dish or two in the process... but when I finally emerged from my dark hole, our house looked even worse than it did when I thought it looked like a tornado had already passed through.

So... as you can imagine, the last day and a half have been a bit hectic.  I'm desperately trying to get things back in order, and playing catch up on all of the things I planned on starting on January 1st.

Max's "big boy" bedroom plan is in full effect ( I promise to share when it's finished), as are about a million and one other projects... pretty typical around here.

We are finally getting snow here today, and it is freezing outside, so we're taking advantage by staying inside and playing/cleaning/jamming out to toddler radio.

I hope you are all having a great week, and for the love of God, please wash your hands and take your vitamins... you do not want what we had!

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