June 26, 2014

Surviving the Heat

The last three days have been hard. We still don't have A/C', Miss A isn't taking naps in the house because it's so hot, and has been giving me a daily dose of the terrible two's. I'm sure it's because she's hot and cranky like I am. Not taking naps is also part of the problem. So we've been doing our best to get out of the house to air conditioned places, whether it be the bookstore, the mall, a friend's house, or the library, we've been there.

She was really excited to find this Frozen stand at Barnes and Noble on Tuesday. We spent some time looking at every book- coloring books, board books, and sticker books. I wish I could have gotten them all! There was a set of four board books for a great deal, I might go back and get it as one of her birthday gifts. Later on that day we met a friend at the pool, which she wanted no part in. She wanted to snack away the afternoon instead of playing in the water. You win some, you lose some.

Yesterday we were out of the house for most of the day. The temperature in the houses continues to rise; it is so uncomfortable unless we're sitting under a ceiling fan or are upstairs in the spare room with the window unit blasting. So we went to story time, played at a friend's house, and killed time walking, shopping, and playing at the mall.

I haven't wanted to cook since it's so hot in the kitchen. So we've been having lots of sandwiches and easy prepared meals. Last night I decided we'd have a little picnic on the floor under a ceiling fan, just the two of us, since my husband was working. 

So today, hopefully, we should be hearing back about the part arriving for our A/C. I don't think I can handle another warm night in our house. It is SO uncomfortable trying to sleep. I've been running two fans for Miss A and her room, poor thing, since she doesn't have a ceiling fan. I can't wait to have a working air conditioner again, after this, I'll never take it for granted! 

June 24, 2014

Fourth of July Recipe Swap- Smore's Cookies

With summer in full swing, I'm so excited that the 4th of July is right around the corner! Honestly, I can't believe how fast summer is already flying by. I'm not ready for it to be July already! A few other bloggers and I are hoping to get everyone involved to do a festive recipe swap; anything and everything that screams summer. Watermelon, Popsicle, ice cold drinks, hot dogs, and ice cream cones topped with sprinkles are all foods that I associate with summer. What about you?

Here's how it's going to work- we'll each be sharing a Fourth of July themed recipe and will be including a link up below for anybody who would like to join. So into the kitchen and get cooking! Post your recipe on your blog and link up by next Tuesday, July 1. Entries will close and everyone will be matched up to another blogger's recipe on Wednesday, July 2. Then, recreate the recipe; make it your own and share your results of the swap by Wednesday, July 9. That's it! 

I'm sharing one of my favorite cookie recipes that reminds me of summer. Of course I make them any time of the year, but summer time is THE time to make smore's. Am I right?

I have taken these cookies to many BBQ's the last few years and they are always a hit, everyone asking where they can find the recipe. I love using milk chocolate Hersey bars, but my husband loves it when I use dark chocolate. Even more of an indulgence! 

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups mini chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups mini marshmallows, or large ones cut up
2 Hershey bars, chopped

Preheat your oven to 375.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture, and mix until combined. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, graham crackers, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Use 2 tablespoons or a medium-sized ice cream scoop to drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets. Bake for 7 minutes and remove from oven. Push a few marshmallows and pieces of chocolate into each cookie and return to the oven to bake an additional 3-4 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack.

I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with! Happy Summer! Make sure to stop by and check out what these other ladies are serving up!

Natasha @ Hello! Happiness
Colleen @ Meet the Sullivan's

June 23, 2014

When It Rains, It Pours

It's true what they say, if one thing breaks, another is not too far off. Have you heard of the saying "it comes in three's". Last week we were concerned over my husband's car failing state inspection. We had to pour in some money to fix a few problems. Then I found a snake in the garage a day later, causing us to panic over having to pay someone to remove it. Luckily I have a very brave and smart husband who was able to get it out, both of them unharmed.

Miss A's second year photo shot was on Saturday. We had them scheduled for the morning, so I thought nothing of the fact that our hot water was non existent. We were rushing to get out the door. When we returned home I went into the garage to get something and found this. 

Water. Lots of water. Fortunately nothing was damaged as we keep all our storage against this wall and everything is inside large plastic totes. We turned off our hot water valve and spoke to our parents for advice. We've only been home owners for a year, we have so much to learn! 

After calling several companies and being quoted a pretty penny to fix this, we were pretty discouraged and upset. I was already in a crummy mood because I wasn't too happy with how our morning went. Miss A was NOT in the mood to take pictures and barely smiled. All the ideas I had for poses didn't go so well. We did get a sneak peek at some of our photos though. 

Up on her Dada's shoulders was the only time she really smiled. I'm hoping I like the rest of the pictures from our session. It's so unpredictable with toddlers, you never know how they're going to be! 

Anyway, someone will be coming out this morning to fix our water heater. Two days of cold showers was enough for me! To top it all off, that night we noticed it was getting really warm in our house. The air conditioner stopped blowing cold air. Or rather, any air. It was on, but no air was blowing out of the vents. The icing on the cake! I couldn't sleep I was so stressed out about having to pay for both services and appliances. 

The next day, Sunday, my husband had to work. Miss A and I ventured out of the house to Target and later on the park. It was so much nicer outside than in our house. I don't know what's going to happen with our air conditioner, looks like we have to wait for someone to come out and check on that too.

I know it's just material things and we have so much else to be thankful for. It sure is hard being an adult sometimes! Hopefully you had a better weekend than I did! 

June 20, 2014

Five on Friday

One. Happy Birthday...To Me!

Yesterday was my birthday! I don't know about you- I think less and less about my own birthday now that I have a little one's to plan for. Since Miss A's birthday is only a few weeks after mine I focus all my time on hers- planning her party, what to get her, etc. So my birthday kind of stuck up on me this year, but I still had a great day!

My husband had the morning off so we went to breakfast, where I ordered eggs benedict and a delicious mocha. A real treat for me as I never make either at home. After breakfast we went back home and I opened up the birthday box my parents sent me (I love care packages from my parents) and was also showered with gifts from the hubby. A new crossbody purse, Bath & Body Works candles, clothes, and a beautiful Willow Tree figurine were wonderful surprises and just what I wanted!

In the afternoon Miss A took a nap, husband went to work for a few hours, then came back just in time to meet us for froyo. Later on in the evening it was cake time, my favorite! I had such a wonderful birthday, thanks to my two loves.

Two. Summer Temperatures

It has been blazing hot this entire week. I'm talking temperatures reaching 100 degrees in the afternoon. Scorcher!! I did not know it could get so hot here in NC. We've been doing our errands in the morning instead of the afternoon as I hate getting in and out of a steamy car with a cranky toddler. So once she's up from her nap (or quiet time if nap doesn't happen) we've been filling up her kiddie pool on the deck and eating Popsicles. It was too hot for me to sit beside her so I filled up her second one and got in myself!

Three. Fourth of July Recipe Linkup

I'm excited to be a part of the Fourth of July Recipe Linkup happening next week on June 24th. A group of bloggers and I will be sharing a recipes that would be a perfect addiction to your BBQ or firework watching session. If you'd like to participate and share a recipe of your own, be sure to come back and link up with us! 

Four. Influenster Vow Vox Box

Isn't getting packages in the mail so much fun? I love when a new Influenster box arrives on my doorstep! This time I got a new nail polish, Olay tone perfecting cream, shaving cream, a facial sponge, tide to go stick, and a certificate to create a website. I always try out the polish first since I LOVE getting a new polish color. 

Five. Picture Session

Tomorrow morning is Miss A's second birthday photo session! We're also going to get a few family shots in too since we don't have any professional ones. I'm SO excited and have been planning her outfit, my outfit, and the hubby's for weeks. I've also been working on a black foam board to take with us as a prop. I'm not as artistic and creative as so many others free hand, so no fancy block letters or large drawings for us. Oh well! I think it's turning out well and can't wait to share the finished product with you all

June 18, 2014

Currently: A Mama Collective #2

I really enjoyed this link up, Currently, that I participated in a few weeks back. It's a quick way to share what I'm up to and loving right now, especially when I don't have a lot of time to devote to a long blog post! 

Thinking about: What to do with my "me" time once Miss A falls asleep for her nap (if she naps!) I'm all sticky and gross from my workout this morning, so I need to shower, but I'd also like to 1. Read, 2. Finish watching Monday's episode of Mistresses, 3. Work on party prep, 4. Drink coffee, and 5. Possibly clean something...what to do, what to do?

Reading: My Last Kiss! I so wish I could sit down and devote an entire afternoon to reading this book. I want to finish it so bad and I've only been able to sneak in a chapter here or there throughout the day. 

Listening to: The hum of our upstairs window air conditioner unit. We use it on really HOT days, like today- we have a high of 99 degrees and our second floor is stifling on days like today.  

Watching: Besides Mistresses, the hubby and I started watching Fargo, a short ten episode mini series. It's a little out there, with quirky, interesting characters, lots of violence, and strange behaviors. We really like it though, my husband is obsessed!

Thankful for: A great morning spent with friends. Miss A and I went to my workout class where we met up with two of our friends and their toddlers. After that we headed to story-time at the library, which is something I look forward to every week. Hopefully all that activity will tucker her out for a long, two hour nap!

June 16, 2014

Let's Catch Up!

It's been a whirlwind of activity ever since we got back from our beach trip. Unpacking, car problems, a snake in the garage, catching up with friends, and playing in the sun have occupied our days. I've barely had time to read and catch up on blog, which makes me very sad, as it's one of my favorite times of the day! I'm hoping this week will be more laid back as we no longer have suitcases littering the floor and piles of laundry to wash and put away.

So let's catch up, shall we? First and foremost, the best part of last week was last Tuesday. My friend and author Bethany Neal came out with her very first YA book! I met Beth while we were living in Michigan. We worked together as paraprofessionals at an elementary school and immediately clicked. We have so much in common- from reading, vampire love, movies, cute boys, and nail polish; we also shared the same dream- becoming a published author. Beth was waaaay ahead as she already was writing every day all day after work. I was so impressed and was lucky enough to read her first manuscript.

Anyway, last Tuesday was her book birthday and I went straight away to Barnes and Noble to find her book, My Last Kiss. I squealed and got teary eyed when I saw her book on the shelf. I'm so, so proud of you Beth, I wish I was there to share in the excitement with you!

Since coming back home I've been in full party planning mode. I can't believe this little miss is going to be TWO in just a month. TWO!! She is obsessed with this Minnie nightgown that my grandmother got her and wants to wear it all.the.time.

I found the perfect set of plates, napkins, cups, and straws at Michael's. I'm working on making streamers, banners, and small Minnie cutouts at home. It's quite the project. If you could see my "office" space right now, it's covered with strips of black, white, and pink cardstock. I can't wait to put it all together!

We had a playdate at a splash pad on a really hot day, which Miss A was better about this time around. The first time we went she wasn't all too sure about the sprays above her and stuck to the small ones coming out of the ground. This time she was a bit more adventurous in checking everything out. It ended up raining while we were having lunch and she was so excited to stand out in the downpour. 

Over the weekend we played out on the deck in the kiddie pool and went to a local food truck rodeo. Father's Day was very low key, as my husband was up the night before with a bad stomach bug. :( Poor thing didn't get any sleep and was so miserable! Thankfully he's better now and Miss A and I didn't seem to catch it. 

Have a great week!

June 10, 2014

Sanibel Beach Trip Part 2

If you missed the first part of our Sanibel Beach vacation, check it out here. Most days started like this- we'd wake up, have breakfast, lounge around for a bit until we'd all throw on our swimsuits and head down to the beach. My inlaws bought a canopy to set up on the beach, which was a lifesaver. Without it I would have been panicked about reapplying sunscreen on Miss A every twenty minutes. The sun was brutal! Definitely worth the money, I will buy one myself f we ever take another extended beach trip. We were able to be under the canopy all day and set up camp with plenty of food, games, toys, towels, and chairs.

Being on the shore and playing in her pink crab blowup pool were her favorite places to be. She loved climbing in and out of her pool, throwing sand, shells, and anything else she could find inside. Most of her time was spent under the canopy in that pool! She also loved watching the tide come in and seeing it roll over her feet. She loved looking for shells and collecting them in her bucket. She also liked to grab fistfuls of sand and throw it back into the ocean. Unfortunately she wasn't all that interested in making a sand castle. Oh well, there's always next year! 

I loved sitting back and enjoying the breeze and the view. I was able to steal away precious moments to myself to read and relax. It was wonderful!

We encountered all sorts of sea life- this starfish (that we put back immediately, it was only out of the water for a photo moment), plenty of fish, dolphins jumping in the distance, turtles sunbathing, clams, and sand dollars.

The only downside to the island- there's not much to do there. Of course we came to spend the majority of our time on the beach and that's exactly what we did. I'm not complaining! But there are cute shops to roam, restaurants, bikes and scooters to rent, and boat tours. Oh, and ice cream, of course!

We did our fair share of exploring the island and stumbled upon this beach that was right next to the lighthouse. This cool old tree trunk was resting on the sand. Definitely a great spot to take some pictures!

What a great vacation, I already miss waking up to the gentle crash of the waves. Thank goodness there is still so much of summer left to enjoy! 

June 9, 2014

Sanibel Beach Trip Part 1

We're back from spending a week in the sand, sun, and surf. I'll be splitting up our beach recap into two posts to avoid picture overload. To say we had a blast is an understatement! Beautiful blue skies (most days), hundreds upon hundreds of shells, hot blazing sun, and more than enough babysitters to go around (thanks family). It was so, so wonderful to be on vacation with my inlaws, they really know how to have a good time.

We spent the week in a condo they rented with three bedrooms and two baths. We had access to a private pool and the beach was literally right outside our door. The living space was huge- a large room that had the kitchen, dining room, and family room in one. When we weren't at the beach or at the pool, we were hanging out in the family room playing games (hubby packed the Wii U), eating, talking, and laughing. Miss A had the time of her life; I don't think there's anything more that she loves than her family. 

My mother in law went crazy and bought lots of floats, a mini pink crab pool to inflate on the beach, and games. I set everything up in the cabinet you see in the above photo. It was great to have so much variety and floats for everyone to use in the pool and the beach. 

The first two days we had gray, cloudy skies with drizzles of rain. We all made the best of it, still going down to the beach, except many of us didn't go into the water- it was so cold!

Luckily, the rest of the time we had beautiful sunny days. And it was HOT! The water temperature immediately changed from cold to warm. It was perfect! I was so excited to see the sun peeking through the windows on our third day that I woke up the hubs before anyone else was awake (except for Miss A, who was up almost everyday at the break of dawn) and dragged him down to the beach.

The three of us walked along the shore together, looking for shells, and playing in the surf. This was definitely one of my favorite moments of our vacation. I'll be back with part 2 of our vacation tomorrow- with so many pictures and stories to share, I can't possibly fit it all within one post!