Sunday, February 28, 2016

My Favorite Pasta Salad | Meal Planning Link-Up

I'm so excited to be joining in with some of my favorite blogger friends today for this little meal planning link-up.  These kind of things are always such a fun way to discover new blogs, and to find some great ideas and inspiration in terms of recipes, in this case.

Every once in awhile, I love to share a favorite recipe of mine here on the blog, and today's recipe is one that I have been making for a long, long time now.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Swoon Worthy

Cheers to the weekend my friends. Another crazy week has come to an end, and still no happy hour cocktails in sight for me... but soon enough I suppose.

It's supposed to be warm here over the next few days, so I'm hoping we can get out as a family and enjoy some fresh air.

In the meantime, I've been doing lots of cooking lately in preparation for a little meal planning "blog hop" going on around here, so be sure to check back tomorrow for some fun recipes from yours truly, as well as some of my lovely blogger friends!

Otherwise, here's what I've been swooning over lately...

1.  Have you guys seen Target's new Pillowfort line for kid's???  It is amazing, obviously... I want to buy all the things!!!

2.  Um, so I felt like baking cookies yesterday, and took this chocolate chip recipe for a test drive... If you like chewy delicious cookies, you need to try this recipe.

3.  I read about this amazing make up remover on a fellow mama's blog, and was totally intrigued.  I picked some up, and it's safe to say I'm obsessed!

4.  Totally excited to dive into this read, as soon as I get the chance.

5.  Was anyone else dying as much as I was to watch Fuller House last night???#havemercy

6.  Another one of my favorite designers has joined forces with Target.  This dress, I die!

7.  Let's just say a certain little boy decides to show up a little early and join us for Easter... he's going to need this adorable sweatshirt for sure.

8.  Cadbury Cream Egg lovers rejoice... I stumbled upon these babies in Target's Easter section the other day!

9.  I don't think I will ever stop loving nautical styled things... this sweater has me swooning for sure.

10.  This recipe has honestly left me speechless....

Hope you all have a great Saturday, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for some inspiring meal ideas!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Spring Fashion Finds | On a Budget

I've been thinking a lot about spring fashion lately... I love all of the bright and cheery pastel colors, finally getting to say goodbye to bulky coats and clunky boots, and most importantly this year, for me, getting to wear normal clothes again!

Lots of cute stuff is showing up in stores and online, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite finds, all of which happen to cost under $50!

Monday, February 22, 2016


It's been awhile since I have written a post about our weekend, but this one was such a good one, I felt that it was worthy of documenting.

It finally warmed up a bit around here, allowing us to get out for some adventure.

On Saturday, I spent much of the day cleaning house while Mike entertained M&E.  It always feels good when the house is picked up, and thoroughly cleaned (even if it doesn't last long), but at 33 weeks pregnant, my back surely paid the price for all of the work.

While I cleaned, Mike took Max on a nature hike, and then Ella got to go out for a run with him.  Sometimes it's so nice to spend one on one time with them.

On Sunday, we packed up the minivan and headed out for a little day trip to Lake Placid. 

We had never been before, and it was absolutely beautiful there.  The mountains, the lakes, the snow, all of it.

We checked out the Olympic facilities, and Max was totally into it when we stumbled upon a kid's hockey tournament.  He wanted to stay and watch, and repeatedly told Mike and I how much he wanted to play.

Ironically, we just took him ice skating for the first time last weekend, and we are planning on signing him up for lessons because he loves it so much.  Perhaps we will have a little hockey player on our hands.

I'm really trying to soak up my time with M&E over these next several weeks... as crazy and exhausting as they can be, I know that once the new baby arrives, so much of my time will be dedicated to nursing and caring for their little brother, and I want to make sure they both get the attention they need and are aware of just how much they are loved.

They've both been so silly lately and have been saying some really funny things.  I forsee another post coming soon about all of the crazy things they do and say lately that make me laugh, even through the most stressful of days!

I hope you all had a great weekend, and that your week is off to a fabulous start!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Swoon Worthy

Happy weekend, friends.  This past week seems to have flown by and dragged all at the same time.  My oldest was on break from school, and the earlier part of the week was beyond freezing and a little snowy, so needless to say, we spent a lot of time at home in our pj's.

It finally warmed up a bit toward the end of the week, so we managed to sneak out to Target and Trader Joe's to stock up on some of our favorite things/scope out spring collections.

It's hard not to have spring on my mind at the moment, while inching closer and closer to my due date with baby number three, but we're trying our best to take things one day at a time around here.

Here's what I'm swooning over lately...

1.  I swear if I didn't have to work, and didn't have children or a house to take care of, I could watch Fixer Upper all day and night. I love this list of farmhouse finds from Target. They just scream Fixer Upper style.

2.  I've confessed my love for the Nose Frida several times on this blog, but have you guys seen their newest product?  Genius!

3.  I know a certain sprinkles obsessed little boy (and his mom), who would think this is a pretty amazing idea.

4.  With Easter being at the end of March this year, I'm thinking it may be time to decorate for spring pretty soon.  Looking for some inspiration?  This was one of my favorite DIY projects to date!

5.  Dying over how cute these little ballet flats are!

6.  I'll be making these this weekend... I like to add a little bit of shredded chicken to mine!

7.  These old school letter boards have been popping up all over my Instagram feed, and I kind of love them.

8.  I'm a total sucker for a drug store beauty buy... some things are worth splurging on, and others not so much.  My latest inexpensive obsession is this stuff.

9.  I was totally swooning over this gorgeous spring garland last year, and never got my hands on one... so happy to see they brought it back again this spring!

10.  Finding cute dresses that you can also nurse in, has always been a struggle for me... I adore this one, and it pulls double duty as both a maternity dress and a nursing dress, post pregnancy!

Have an amazing weekend!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Taking Care of Mom

So, I went and got my hair cut the other day... for the first time since May.

For those of you who are trying to do the math, it is mid February...  That's right, nine months ago I made an appointment for myself and got a little trim.  As someone who used to make a living as a hair stylist, I can assure you that nine months, without a trip to the salon, will generally earn you some pretty fabulous split ends.

The ironic thing is that the only reason I managed to sneak away for that hair cut last spring, is because I had a gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket, and we were about to move out of state, so the frame of time in which I had in which to use it was quickly running out.  The gift card was a birthday gift from my husband and kids for a full day at the spa, and my birthday was in July, 10 months prior.

I never did use the gift as it was intended... all at once, for a full day of rest and relaxation, a reward for all of my hard work at home. Rather, I broke it up into smaller increments, sneaking away for an hour here, a half hour there, all the while feeling guilty for spoiling myself and leaving my children at home, with their more than capable father.

So, as I sat there in the salon the other day, melting into the chair and staring at my exhausted reflection in the mirror, while my stylist worked her magic on my mane, I couldn't help but think, when did I forget to take care of me?

I am currently 32 weeks pregnant with baby number three.  I have a 3 year old and a one year old, and I manage our household on a day to day basis, by doing all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, appointment juggling, finance handling, kid wrangling, etc.

When my husband needs a haircut, once a month, he goes... heck, I even make the appointment for him.  He doesn't ask me if he can, he just says, "I'm going to get a haircut."  When my son needs a cut, I take him.  I always make sure everyone else in our family is well taken care of.

It appears that I have only let that "care" slide when it comes to me... The thing of it is though, I have no one to blame for my lack of self care, but myself.

My husband often encourages me to go get a pedicure, to slip out for a massage.  Heck, he even purchased me another gift card for a mineral bath at a local spa as a Christmas gift this year.  He has asked me no less than once a week since then, when I am going to make my appointment, and yet here we are, it has been almost 2 months since Christmas, and I am due to give birth to our third child in approximately 8 weeks, and still no relaxing bath at the spa for mama.

Lately, my back is killing me, and I am incredibly uncomfortable.  I feel huge, and unkept, and well, if I'm being honest, I don't exactly feel my best... and yet I can't pry myself away from my children and our home for a little over an hour, every once in awhile, to go indulge myself in a little time for me.

I'm not entirely sure when a 10 minute shower, or a trip to the grocery store alone, become my version of a day at the spa, but somewhere along this path to motherhood, I undoubtedly lost my well-manicured way.

At the end of my appointment the other morning, I felt amazing.  My hair was bouncy and shiny, and styled the way I liked it, and that in itself was enough to leave me feeling oh so good.

Lately I have felt anything but good.  I have felt frumpy and washed up... but after this trip to the salon, it dawned on me.  When I shed the yoga pants and let down my "mom bun", and I actually put in a little bit of effort, I really and truly feel so much better about myself...  My mood improves ten fold... and when I feel good, I am in a much better place to care for my family.

More than all of that, what kind of an example am I setting for my children if I'm not showing them that I take care of myself while also taking care of them?

So, from this moment forward, I am going to make a valid effort to better take care of me. My husband and children will no doubt, still come first, and I don't think I'll be heading to the spa for a day's worth of treatments any time soon. I also highly doubt I'll be shedding my yoga pants quite yet... but perhaps I will make that appointment for my mineral bath, maybe even attempt to blow dry my hair and style it a little more often.

Baby steps to start I suppose, but as mothers, we work so hard, I think we deserve a little pampering from time to time.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Swoon Worthy

I'm not sure how the weather is where you are, but it is bitterly cold here this weekend... like negative degrees with the windchill cold, so as you can imagine, we have really big plans to stay in, snuggle up, and do a whole lot of nothing.

Seeing as it is both Valentine's Day weekend, and super blustery around these parts, a lot of what I'm swooning over this week involves things that are festive and cozy.

Here's what  I'm loving lately...

1.  We whipped up a batch of the yummy snack mix, pictured above, for the weekend... no rhyme, reason, or measurements involved here.  We just threw a bunch of festive stuff into a big bowl.  Our mix included Valentine's Day m&m's, milk chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, Golden Grahams cereal, and pink Goldfish crackers.  Some other items that would work are pretzel sticks, cheerios, popcorn, Swedish fish... whatever you like!

2.  Since all I can think about is staying warm right now, these mittens have me swooning hard, and they cost next to nothing if you use the code EXTRA40 to save an additional 40% off of the sale price!

3.  Soup is definitely on the menu today!

4.  These are hands down my favorite warm socks to layer with a pair of boots.

5.  Banana bread... in the crock pot... yes please!

6.  Now that we are on the home stretch, I am dreaming of snuggling with baby number three while he's all swaddled up in a blanket from this adorable company.

7.  Someday it will be warm again, and when it is, I totally want to rock these ballet flats.

8.  This pizza has become a Valentine's Day tradition around here.

9.  I'm hoping to curl up with another good book this weekend.

10.  Frigid temps are rough on skin... this balm is amazing in so many ways!

I hope wherever you are, you stay warm, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's Day Treats

We really like to celebrate holidays around here, particularly when it comes to indulging in treats, so naturally we've been whipping up a few of our favorites this week, and thought I would share the how-to/recipes.

Heart shaped Rice Krispie treats seemed like a good and festive idea, even though Max informed me that "hearts are for girls, not boys!", when I asked him if he wanted to help me make them.  True to form, he had zero issue with eating them.

Also, this super easy fruit dip has been on heavy rotation around here lately... #pregnancycravings. We like to pair ours with strawberries, but feel free to go wild and try it with pineapple, bananas, apples, whatever you wish!

Heart Shaped Rice Krispie Treats


1 10 oz bag of marshmallows (or 4 cups of mini marshmallows)
1/4 cup of butter
6 cups of Rice Krispie cereal
4 drops of red food coloring
Valentine's sprinkles (optional)


We followed the standard, on the box, recipe for these, and melted the butter and marshmallows in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often.  Once melted, we added the 4 drops of red food coloring.  In a large bowl, for fun, we added 1/4 cup of festive sprinkles to the 6 cups of cereal, and then mixed in the pink marshmallow/butter mixture.  Then we poured the entire bowl into a greased 9x13 baking dish, where we allowed the "treats" to cool for about 5 minutes.

Once cooled, we flipped the "treats" onto some parchment paper, and added some additional sprinkles on top, gently pressing them into the "treats".  Then, we used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out heart shaped treats!

2 Ingredient Fruit Dip


1 8 oz container of strawberry flavored cream cheese
1 7 oz container of marshmallow fluff
Fruit of your choice


Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature.  In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and marshmallow fluff together until combined.  Chill, and serve with the fruit of your choice.

Hope you guys enjoy these fun and easy recipes!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Baby Registry Favorites | For the Car

For this week's installment of my "Baby Registry Favorites", I'm breaking down the items that I love for traveling in the car.

Don't forget that you can check out the rest of my baby registry must haves under the Mamas+Littles tab at the top of this blog!

Britax Infant Car Seat-  I have a confession to make... we do not/have not owned this car seat yet, but after switching from a Graco infant seat to a Britax seat when our first was ready for something bigger, I will only buy Britax from here on out.  Why?  Their safety ratings are fabulous, and you can tell that they are built for quality.  We love our Britax Marathon car seat.

Sophie the Giraffe-  I know what you're thinking; "Why is Sophie a must have for in the car?", but just hear me out and trust me on this one.  My kids LOVED to gnaw on and hold Sophie while driving in the car.  She helped us get through a lot of road trips back in the day.  So, not only do I constantly recommend Sophie as must have in general, but she is great for keeping tiny and hands and teething gums occupied whilst riding in the car.

Brica Stretch-to-Fit- Window Sun Shade-  If you don't have built in UV shades like we do in our new minivan, aka the Swagger Wagon, then these sun shades are great.  They're inexpensive, easy to install, and what we used for the last few years, until we needed to purchase a bus to transport our offspring!

Brica Car Seat Protector-  These were a lesson-learned purchase.  Have one of your kids projectile vomit milk everywhere in the middle of a 5 hour road trip and you will understand why.  Spilled milk, spilled juice, explosive diapers, and car sickness incidents all happen when you have kids, and let me tell you, cleaning your car's seats is no picnic.  These are a lifesaver!

Car Seat/Stroller Toys-  Toys like these that can be attached to a car seat are great when you have little ones.  Bonus points if they jingle, rattle, or crinkle.  My babes loved to play with toys like this while riding in the car or strolling in the stroller.

Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat-  As previously mentioned, this is the seat we upgraded to when our oldest outgrew his infant car seat.  I only have good things to say about our Britax Marathon, and totally believe it was worth every penny.  It is made for babes from 5 pounds to 65 pounds, so once you invest, you can get quite a bit of use out of it!

Stay tuned for my next list of favorites, which will include items that I love for the nursery!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Swoon Worthy

That's right, another photo of cake...

We celebrated my husband's birthday the other day, so naturally, we had to bake him something, and funfetti always wins around here.

We had originally planned on a little road trip this weekend, but decided to postpone it in lieu of the fact that there are actually some fun weekend activities going on around here, and of course there's that little thing called the Superbowl happening Sunday night.  

If I'm being honest, I don't particularly care about the game at all this year, but I do care about the food... and of course, Beyonce.

So, what am I swooning over this week?  Allow me to break it down for you...

1.  Every single time Target pairs up with Oh Joy, it makes it on my Swoon Worthy list, and this time is no exception.  This new home decor line hits stores this weekend (I already found it in my Target), and as always, it's amazing!

2.  I'm such a sucker for a handmade Valentine, and this book is chalk full of great projects that share the love!

3.  I've totally hopped on the bandwagon lately when it comes to using essential oils in our home... Then I stumbled upon this awesome and super affordable line!

4.  This new collection is totally giving me flashbacks to my childhood!

5.  I haven't decided yet if I'm motivated enough to take on a baking project like this, but these cookies are the cutest!

6.  I sure do love anything with a monogram or initial on it.  This little trinket dish would make for a great gift.

7.  I honestly have no menu plans yet for the Superbowl, but this list is full of some great ideas.

8.  Totally fell in love with this jacket the other day while shopping with my kids... I wonder if I could rock it with the bump?

9.  Craving this for breakfast this weekend!

10.  I dream of the day when I can wear normal clothes again... currently swooning over this sweater.

Hoping you all have the most amazing weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Baby Registry Favorites | Baby Gear

This next installment of my baby registry favorites is all about the gear!

If there is anything I have learned, you totally get what you pay for in terms of quality.  Some of these items might seem a little pricey, but for us they have been worth every penny!

BOB stroller-  We have literally owned a handful of strollers at this point.  First there was the travel system, a Graco stroller that went with the infant car seat that we had... convenient for it's snap and go feature, but a total pain to push.  We also own two super cheap umbrella strollers for the random occasion that we need something super small and lightweight... we don't love them, but for the price, they have served their purpose.  We bought our BOB when Max was almost a year old and I was getting back into running.  Yes, it is a jogging stroller, but trust me, even if you don't run, this stroller is AMAZING.  It pushes like a dream over and around everything, and we would purchase it again 10 times over (It is also currently on sale for 25% off, which rarely happens!).  We also own a City Mini Double Stroller, which has worked out great for us, but if I am being honest, we will likely be upgrading to the BOB duallie, and selling our City Mini... that's how much we love the BOB.

Motorola Video Monitor-  This is the monitor we have had since the very beginning.  We used it when Max was a baby, and added an additional camera when Ella was born.  It has always worked great for us, so I totally recommend it!

4Moms Mamaroo-  I can't say a whole lot about our Mamaroo yet, as this was a recent upgrade for baby #3.  Everyone I know who owns one raves about it, so I cannot wait to put ours to use.  I already love that it can be controlled from my iPhone, and how much less space it takes up then a traditional baby swing.

Boon High Chair-  True confession, We do not own this high chair, but if we decide to upgrade, this is the one we will purchase.  I have heard great things from people who own it, and have read many reviews. People seem to love how easy this high chair is to clean, and how stylish it is.

Solly Baby Wrap-  I plan on baby wearing A LOT this time around, and this will likely be my go-to wrap.  It is incredibly soft and lightweight, and comes in the most beautiful colors.  The natural and gray stripe is the color that I went with, and I am already obsessed.

Fisher Price Rock n' Play-  We bought our rock n' play just before Ella was born, after so many people highly recommended it to us, and let me just state for the record, EVERYONE was right.  Ella lived in this thing for months.  She slept in it, napped in it, lounged in it... and I loved it, because it is super lightweight and portable, so I could move it all over the house, and have her everywhere I needed to be.  This thing is high on my baby item MUST-HAVE list.

Stay tuned for the next installment in this Baby Registry Favorites series, which will feature my favorite items for in the car!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Shop Small Love: Little Beasties Shop + A DIY Magnet Board

If you weren't already aware, I am a HUGE advocate for shopping small.  There are so many amazing small handmade businesses out there, many of which are run by super talented mamas, that offer a wide array of high quality products, and I love supporting them.

One of our favorite new small business discoveries is Little Beasties Shop.  Jess, the owner, makes the sweetest handmade plush toys out of fabric and felt. Her work is incredible, and her creativity is second to none... just check out this awesome Felt Garden Set.

Recently, Jess was kind enough to send over a set of her Magnetic Alphabet Letters, which naturally were a huge hit with Max and Ella!  

The letters are sewn using super soft and bright colored (our favorite) flannel fabric, they are slightly plush, and there are magnets inside, making them perfect to use on your refrigerator, or any magnetic surface.  Their size is perfect for little hands, and we had so much fun practicing our ABC's and spelling out words while we played with them.

The quality of these letters is impressive, and I could instantly tell that they were durable enough to withstand the roughness of toddlers/little ones, so I know they are a toy that we will have around for a long time.

Seeing as our refrigerator is stainless steel... aka non-magnetic, our amazing new set of letters from Little Beasties Shop got me to thinking about adding a decent sized magnet board to our playroom.

M&E received a set of magnetic animals for Christmas, and now this set of alphabet lettersso I just knew a magnet board would be the perfect way to display and play with our new toys.

I originally considered using magnetic paint to make a board that could also serve as a chalkboard, but after reading numerous reviews, the magnetic paint sounded like it might be more trouble than it was worth, so I enlisted my husband to help me, and we came up with a much, much easier DIY project.

I purchased the materials at Home Depot and Michael's (using a coupon), and have linked them below.  The entire project cost just over $25.

If you're interested in making a 24"x 36" magnet board like the one pictured in this post, you will need the following materials:

24 inch x 36 inch frame (I purchased this one on white, using a 40% off coupon)

To make the magnet board, we simply removed the cardboard backing from the frame, as well as the layer of plastic that would normally cover the photo/poster going into the frame.  We then used the cardboard backing as a template, and using a marker, we marked what would need to be trimmed from the metal sheet, in order for it to fit in the frame.  It was less than 1/4 inch that needed to be trimmed from both the length and width, and the metal was easy to cut, using just a pair of kitchen scissors.

Then we popped the metal sheet into the frame, and replaced the cardboard backing... and that was it!

A super fun addition to our playroom, and the perfect place to play with our alphabet letters from Little Beasties Shop!

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