March 28, 2014

Five on Friday

One. Easter Egg Hunt

Easter may still be weeks away but I'm already thinking about what we're going to do to celebrate. An egg hunt is definitely in store and I picked up a bag of plastic eggs at Target this week, along with these cute paper plates and napkins from the Dollar Spot. I'm also searching for an Easter basket, since last year she was nine months old and I didn't do a basket for her. I saw a really simple, beautiful white wicker basket at HomeGoods recently and haven't seen anything I like as much as that one, so I think that'll be the one! What are your Easter plans?

Two. This Picture

Wednesday night Miss A wanted to take a few of her baby dolls with her to bed. She tucked them in around her blanket and said "night night." The next morning she woke up and insisted on holding them both for her diaper change and carried them downstairs with her for breakfast. Sometimes I just can't take it! She is too cute for life.

Three. Mirror

Whenever my dad comes to visit, he likes to find little projects around the house to do. Sometimes I'll ask him to do something and other times he'll find jobs on his own. This time around I asked if he could help me spray paint an old mirror we had from our apartment. Instead of selling it or giving it away, I figured a new coat of paint would work to help it match our new furniture. He went ahead and did the whole job; he sanded it, painted it, and hung it up above our mantle.



I'd like to get wall scones and change out the candles next. I'm not sure what should go on the far left, another picture frame? Tall candlesticks?

Four. Spring Shopping

I'm so ready for Spring, as we all are. I picked up a few new tops at The Limited this week, purposely buying tops in bright colors like mint, peach, and blue. I looked through my closet the other day and realized I wear SO much black and grey. It's time for me to branch out and buy COLOR! These shoes from Target may be my next purchase!

Five. Peanut Butter Cookies

We have more visitors arriving today, my in-laws! I'm so happy our parents have been able to visit us, with my husband on his ICU rotation, he has been gone ALL the time. Having company is so wonderful! I made them these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, which I haven't had in a long time. They are SO good! I'll be sharing the recipe soon!

Happy Friday!

March 26, 2014

Grandpa & Grandma Visit!

There is something so sweet about a man and a baby  toddler. Am I right? Something about seeing a big, tall man sitting down to play, color, read, hold her hand, and feeding her bites of chocolate coconut cake.

My parents visited for the last five days and Miss A was one happy girl. Every morning she ran to her grandparents to say hello with a big, warm hug. She played "Cookie Monster" with her grandma (not sure what this means, a game they made up together that she LOVED) and traced her hands over and over again with her grandpa. Lots of songs were sung, especially "Row Row Your Boat" and "The Wheels On the Bus".

We went to the park, on the only warm day they were lucky to receive (seriously Spring, what's happening), to the mall, out to eat, and to a children's museum. She had a blast, but I think her favorite thing to do was sit with the two of them, coloring and reading books. 

It's really interesting watching my parents be grandparents. To see how they interact with her, teach her, and play with her. It makes me wish I could remember what my parents were like when I was that little. If only we could keep those memories! Next up, my in laws will be visiting, no doubt ready to spoil her too. She's one lucky little girl. 

March 21, 2014

Five on Friday

Three cheers for Friday! My parents arrive tonight, we've got a weekend full of fun activities planned, and the weather is supposed to be gorgeous. I'm really looking forward to lots of family time! Hopefully the weather cooperates the entire time they're here and it doesn't turn ugly as is predicted by the beginning of next week. Spring needs to stay! Without further ado, here is my Five on Friday.

One. Wishlist 

I LOVE making wishlists. I constantly see things that I want, not really for me, but for Miss A (although my wishlist can be found on Target). My longest wishlist is on Amazon. My husband and I love toys...almost as much as she does! We get so excited whenever we see something we think she will like. Every time I'm out somewhere, Target, a random toy store, or even browsing other blogs, I always find something I'd like to get her. Keeping a wishlist is a great way for me to remember what I like and allows me to give family members ideas whenever they want to get her something new. Here are a few things on my wishlist right now.

Two. West Elm 

West Elm is one of my favorite stores, I love browsing there and oooing and ahhhing over their housewares. I bought our duvet set their last summer. I'm still decorating our home and trying to find the right accessories for our family and living room. Currently, West Elm is having a 70% clearance sale and I'm dying to pick up a few things. We could use an updated throw to match our new decor and other accents, like these mercury votives and vases.

Three. Let's Go Outside!

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in North Carolina. We've had rain for so long that it was wonderful to see the sun and feel its warmth. We went out for an early morning walk, colored on the sidewalk, and cleaned out my car. Later we were able to go to the park and kick a ball around, a new skill Miss A is getting very good at. The next two days are supposed to be just as nice and then we dip down to the 50s again. Ugh! Stay Spring, stay.

Four. Cuban Treats

My parents arrive today from Florida and they're coming armed with not only gifts for Miss A, but treats for me! One of the things I miss most about Miami (besides my family and the shopping) is the FOOD. You can't get Cuban bread or pastelitos up here. I've been craving Cuban food bad and can't wait to get my hands on a Cuban sandwich next time we visit!

Five. Oreo Cheesecake Bars

With that said, their generosity in indulging my cravings will not be unrewarded. I love having family staying in our home and baking them sweet treats to sink their teeth into. I'm pretty sure I'll be wiping up a batch of these bars, some cookies, and many other goodies!

March 19, 2014

It's The Little Things Part 6

My, my, things are finally starting to look up around here. It's amazing how sleep affects your mind and body. Too little sleep and I'm a disaster, dragging my feet and barely holding my head up. It was not pretty in the newborn days, not until we sleep trained around seven months. I don't know how I functioned back then! Yes, Miss A is finally starting to sleep again- knock on wood! Every mom knows the minute you talk about how great your kid sleeps, that's when it all goes to hell. So, let's just say I'm feeling good, we're doing good, and life is as it should be.

Today's "little thing" is kind of a big least, it is to me. It's a little change in the way Miss A is having her meals. Last week she was refusing to sit in her high chair. Cue drama and tantrum whenever I said, "okay, let's go sit and eat!" I was worried we'd have to start following her around while she ate, just so she would eat, or that I'd have to start looking for a booster seat. Instead, I tried putting her in her chair without her tray.

I set down her breakfast (of scrambled eggs, which she hasn't touched in months) on her own little plate (Mickey and Minnie Mouse of course) and gave her own fork. She was SO happy. The smile on her face! I sat there watching her eat, shoveling food into her mouth like a little expert. When did this happen? Sure I give her a fork every now and then to practice but suddenly she's gotten so good at it. It's fun to watch her and to cheer her on when she manages to get a full bite into her mouth. Our dog is certainly loving this new development as there are plenty of scraps for her to gobble down that end up on the floor. Which also means I'm cleaning the floor twice as much. Awesome.  

Anyway, she's loving it! There have been no more fights to sit down and eat and she's eating almost everything on her plate. Veggies are currently the struggle here, but she's eating tons of fruit and I try to sneak in spinach and other greens when I can. Like in this quesadilla. 

She also had her first real sandwich yesterday for lunch (still in pjs, it was a rainy day). Usually I make her quesadilla melts, like you saw in the picture above, but we were out of tortillas and I thought I'd give it a go and see how she'd do with a whole sandwich. I pressed it in our panini press so she wouldn't have this huge chunk of bread to bite down on and cut it into four pieces. She did pretty well, despite pulling out the slivers of spinach I tried to sneak in and chunks of ham falling out occasionally. She also likes eating with her plate on a placemat like a real big girl. I mean, my mind is blown. When did my baby get SO big? It really is amazing how quickly things change. I'm loving it though, she is becoming so independent!

March 17, 2014

Snacking with Granola

I love snacks. Sometimes I enjoy having a snack more than an actual meal. I carry snack with me everywhere I go, even before I became a mom, you're sure to find a granola bar, cheese stick, crackers, trail mix, or a few cookies in my purse. I'm definitively not capable of waiting for y next big meal- I need a snack in between, or I'm super cranky!

At home I like to have cheese and crackers, fruit, toast with peanut butter and banana, sliced apples with peanut, and yogurt as a snack. My favorite snack at home is yogurt, or a yogurt bowl, as I like to call it. I empty out a container of yogurt and add granola, chocolate chips, honey or agave, and fruit. 

I was thrilled to be contacted by Ladera Granola to taste their product. There granola is "made from all natural ingredients" and it is roasted "at low temperatures to preserve the full-bodied flavor".

Honestly, I can really taste the difference. It really does taste like a batch of fresh homemade granola; I was so impressed from the moment I opened the bag to when I tasted it all on its own. It's good stuff! It smells heavenly too, with all that cinnamon. My favorite thing about this granola? The pecans! Huge pecans that have been roasted to bring out their flavor. They're almost like candy, I could sit and shift through the bag just to eat the pecans.

I'm so glad more and more companies are trying to keep their products natural, ingredient list down, and looking for ways to be energy efficient. Ladera Granola's packaging is 100% recyclable. I'm going to be so disappointed when this bag runs out, it really is my new favorite granola. 

I was given a product to test from Ladera Granola, however all opinions are my own. 

March 14, 2014

Five on Friday

One. Blog Hiatus 

I apologize for not being quite "there" lately. Blogging has taken a bit of a backseat while I struggle to maintain the house, run errands, entertain a toddler, all on little to no sleep with a husband who has just started to worst rotation he will have this year. We're literally seeing him for 20 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. It really, really sucks. April can't come soon enough!

Two. Hello Spring!

With that said, I'm so, so happy the warmer weather is starting to stick around. We went to the park twice this week (I even wore shorts!) and spent lots of time in our front yard coloring with sidewalk chalk. A cold front passed through over night and we're back in the 40s, but thankfully not for long! I'm so ready to have my windows open every day and to sit out back on our deck for lunch!

3. Party Planning

Yes, I realize I've got four months to plan Miss A's second (say whattt) birthday party, but I can't help it! I'm already on Pinterest browsing for ideas. I see lots of Oreo's at her party...with Mickey and Minnie Mouse as the star of the show!

4. Working Hard

Despite not sleeping through the night, Miss A has SO much energy. I was so happy to stumble upon a preview class of The Little Gym for a fraction of the cost and quickly signed her up. She LOVED it, anything that she can climb is a huge deal for her right now. By the end of class she was the last one to leave, with many tears shed!

Five. Friends

I can't tell you how important it is to have mommy friends when you become a mother. There is no one else who will understand what you're going through (sorry friends who don't have kids yet) like another Mom. I was so fortunate to make a really good friend here right from the beginning and I have loved watching these two grow and change together. My friend's daughter is a few months younger than Miss A but that doesn't seem to matter at all. They may not always get along (Addie has quite the flair for dramatic, don't touch her sippy or snack cup!), it is so sweet to watch their relationship grow.

Happy Friday and don't forget to link up with the ladies!

March 11, 2014

Currently Loving

1. This TV show, Reign. Have you heard of it? It's on the CW, Thursday nights, at 9:00pm. It's SO good. Seriously, I'm obsessed. I feel like I'm sixteen again, stuck in a love triangle. I can't get enough! I love the time period, it's done so well with the costumes and the setting (not historically accurate, but whatever) and the actors. I like to let the episodes build up on my DVR so I can binge watch them on a night the hubby is working, while eating squares of dark chocolate. Perfect night!

2. Spring Dresses. It's so easy to get dressed when it's warm out. I'm dying to buy some new dresses and break out some cute sandals and wear lots of bangles. #Summergirl

3. Fresh fruit. I'm eating strawberries and blueberries like they're going out of style and so is my mini me. We bought a carton of both at Costco over the weekend and they're both pretty much empty. Just from the two of us! Yesterday Miss A literally sat on the floor in the kitchen eating blueberries out of the carton, screaming if you tried to get her to eat them in her high chair. So I let her eat them on the floor. It's funny because I craved blueberries pretty much the entire time I was pregnant with her and she's obsessed!

4. Planning family trips. We have lots of family time planned from now until June and I'm so excited. We could definitely use some family time, three months is a long time to go without seeing our parents. I'm making a trip down to Florida myself with Miss A in April and then we're going again in June. I see lots of beach days in my future and I can't WAIT! 

5. Zulily has been killing it lately. Vera Bradley and Jessica Simpson were recently featured and I was this.close to buying all her scarfs and bags. There have also been lots of cute, summery dresses, shoes, and swim suit cover ups. I can't look at what they have for toddlers right now either because I want to buy it ALL, especially the frilly Easter dresses! 

6. Totally guilty of this. ALL of this. 

7. Want to know something I'm NOT loving? Cooking! I'm in a serious rut and lately everything I've made has turned out like crap. I'm starting to think it's the sleep deprivation. I'm burning food, overcooking chicken, pasta, rice...I even tried making pancakes today and had to throw out the entire batter because I measured the ingredients wrong. Ughhh, nothing is tasting good over here and I'm ready to throw in the towel and order take out every night. Can someone else come over and cook me dinner for a change? 

What are you loving? Hating? Please share!

March 10, 2014

The Day You Wore A Pink Dress

There are so many moments that make being a Mom worth it. Despite being bone tired, crawling into bed every night by 9:00pm, and occasionally dragging my feet, there is nothing else in the world that I would rather do than be her mother.

Sometimes I'm hit with the reality of being a parent. This little girl is mine, my daughter, my responsibility, my everything. I'm the one that gets up with her at night, that makes her breakfast, lunch, dinner (and a million snacks in between), puts bandaids on her boo-boos, watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the hundredth time, and teaches her her letters, numbers, and colors. Every day is a day that she is older, smarter, happier. 

We went to the park, the three of us (!) over the weekend for a birthday party. The weather is gloriously transitioning to Spring and you'd better believe we're going to be spending lots of time outdoors. Miss A LOVES to be pushed in a swing. She says "weeeee" as soon as she sees a swing and "weeeee" while we push her. The rest of the play equipment? Forget about it. The swing is where it's at.

She munched on her own huge piece of fried chicken, ate a whole cupcake, and half of mine. She said "Wow!" when her Dada pointed out the tall trees and "oh cool" to the Thomas the Train party decorations. Just like that, she became a little girl. 

I cried yesterday, thinking about how close she is to turning two and how beautiful she looked in her pink dress. Yes, I'm tired and exhausted from this strange sleep regression we've been having, making me more emotional than usual. But seriously, when did it happen? When did she become this little person who can wrap her arms around my neck and slap my cheeks and laugh like it's the funniest thing in the world? Those are the moments that make it all worth while.

But still, I'd like to sleep, baby girl.

March 5, 2014

The Little Things Part 6

On Monday we had a nasty day of weather. Rain that turned to sleet that turned to snow and temperatures that fell to the 20s by late afternoon. We were able to get out of the house early in the morning before it got bad but were stuck inside the rest of the day.

Back in the day, this kind of weather could mean parking on the couch with a blanket, hot chocolate, a book, and my trusty remote. Sure, we did watch a little TV, as in Doc McStuffins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! My my how times has changed. Obviously we couldn't sit on the couch forever (what kind of Mom would I be!) so we went into the kitchen for some coloring time.

She loves, loves markers. Crayons, not so much. I might be crazy to let her use markers so soon, but I don't let her out of my sight, they're washable, and it buys us at least 30 minutes of happy playtime! She likes it when I draw something, which is the same thing every time because I don't know how to draw, a dog. I'll also draw faces, which she calls "baby" every time, flowers, stick people, and hearts. All my drawings are immediately colored over. ;)

Once marker time was over I grabbed our muffin pan, some cupcake liners, dried beans, and uncooked pasta. Once again, I never left her side, as these are obvious choking hazards. She's really good about not putting things in her mouths at this point, especially when I give her a stern No! Anyway, we counted them, over and over again, and then she had fun dropping the beans and pasta into the cupcake liners and back into the muffin pan. Another solid 30 minutes gone and precious memories made with my little girl. 

Last, but not least, we made this! I traced our right hands and right foot. She didn't mind me tracing her hand, but her foot looks that way because she scrunched it up immediately. Hehe. Now it hangs proudly on our fridge and I love looking at it every day. 

March 4, 2014

The Liebster Award

I was recently nominated for The Liebster Award by Kelly of Sweet Carolina Charm. Thanks Kelly! This is a fun way to get to know other bloggers and share a little bit about yourself. Kelly came up with eleven questions for me to answer. 

1.What is your Favorite City? 

My favorite city is Chicago. When we lived in Michigan, we drove to Chicago several times for weekend trips with friends. There is so much to do there, I love the architecture of the modern and old, the festivals, the museums, the lake, and the food. I hope we can go back again one day with Miss A and do other kid related activities!

2. What is your Favorite Book/Currently Reading?

This is a tough one. I LOVE to read. Since I read so much, it's very hard for me to say, "this is my absolute favorite book ever". But if I have to chose, I can't just chose one...I have two favorite books, The Art of Racing in the Rain, and The Reliable WifeI'm currently reading The Snow Child.

3. Biggest Fear?

Something happening to Miss A or my husband. Every so often I'll have a horrible dream about something happening to her and I'll wake up terrified, jump out of bed, and make sure she's okay. Ugh, I HATE those dreams.

4. Favorite Recipe to Make?

How can I answer this! I have so many. I can narrow it down by category. My favorite crockpot recipe, cookie recipe, I-don't-want-to-cook recipe, dessert. I could go on and on.

5. Biggest Treat/Indulgence you give into?

Welllll let's see. If I'm craving a donut, that's a huge indulgence for me because I never, ever have donuts. Fresh donuts from a bakery are like a sin to me. I also indulge in ice cream, especially in the summer. I LOVE ice cream!

6. Something You Haven't Done in One Year?

Slept in until 9:00. Ha! Make that almost two years.

7. Something You Want to Do in the Next Year?

Finish decorating my house. It's a constant work in progress.

8. Describe Your Go To Outfit.

Before I was a mom, my go-to outfit was tight jeans, a pretty top, heels, and jewelry. Nowadays I'll reach for jeans (with stretch, let's be real here), a cute, but comfy top (that can go with everything), with sneakers, flats, or sandals. I dress it up with scarfs, bracelets, or pretty earrings.

9. Do you Subscribe to any Magazines?

Yes! I love magazines. They pile up since I don't have time to read them but I typically read one on Saturday mornings. I subscribe to Us Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Parents, Shape, and Self.

10. What is your Starbucks Drink?

A caramel mocha.

11. Favorite Thing about Blogging?

Reading and "meeting" other moms who are going through the same thing that I am and having a creative outlet to share what's on my mind. 

Now it's my turn to nominate a few other bloggers! Technically, I'm supposed to nominate eleven other bloggers for this award. However I'm only going to nominate three:

Stephanie from Wife Mommy Me
 Linzi from Little Gem
Jessica from The Newly

I love reading about the daily lives of these ladies and hope you'll take a minute to check out their blogs! Here are my eleven questions:

1. Did you always want to be a Mom?

2. What did you do before you were a Mom?

3. What's the biggest struggle you've had so far, in parenting?

4. Favorite TV show?

5. If you could have one day to yourself, what would you do?

6. Do you have any guilty pleasures?

7. What's your dream vacation?

8. Favorite go-to meal?

9. Favorite restaurant?

10. What are your hobbies?

11. If you could have any career, what would it be?

March 3, 2014

Inside-Out Burrito

If you follow me on Instagram, then you've seen me share this a million times. I've had many questions as to what it is and how I make it, so today, I'm going to tell you all about it! I struggle with what to call this. I toyed with "burrito on a plate" or "burrito bowls" (I love to serve this in large bowls) and "inside-out burrito". I thought that was a good fit, hence the title of my post. Whatever you want to call it, this is one my favorite meals. I'm obsessed with it. I'll make it for lunch or dinner, at least once a week! It's my fall back to those nights I don't want to make anything on my menu or don't have much left in the house at the end of the week.

The great thing about this is there isn't really a recipe for it, and you can customize it however you like it. Don't like red onions? Leave them out. A regular onion works just fine. Want it to be spicy? Add some jalapeno peppers, crank up the cumin, or add some red pepper flakes to the mix. You can even leave out the chicken and just have the beans, which I do ALL the time, for a meatless meal. Really, anything goes!

This particular night, I had a red onion, lettuce, black beans, cheddar cheese, and chopped chicken. You could also use:
Red/Green Peppers
Jalapeno Peppers
Yellow Onions

Here's how I make it:

Step 1. Start the rice first (we only eat brown rice in our house, but it would certainly be delicious with white rice).

Step 2. Season the chicken with cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. I spray a skillet with cooking spray and cook the chicken for five-seven minutes, on both sides. Once it's cool enough to handle I chop it up.

Step 3. Layer the rice in a bowl or on a plate, then add the chicken, and whatever veggies you're using. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Add a dollop of sour cream and salsa. Serve and enjoy!