April 25, 2014

Five on Friday

One. Jelly shoes

Miss A is obsessed with these jelly shoes from Old Navy. She's never loved a pair of shoes so much and I don't think I have either! Did I mention they're scented? YES. The first few days after I bought them she refused to take them off, wore them all through the house, and even went down for a nap wearing them! I went back hoping to get her another pair in a bigger size and in pink, but they were sold out- in store and online! This makes my Mama heart very sad, we're having sandal war over here; she refuses to wear them, something about having her toes exposed she just doesn't like! So I bought her this pair instead.

Two. Take me to the Garden

Hubby had the afternoon off on Wednesday so we took advantage of the perfect weather and went to the gardens. If you're ever in North Carolina's triangle area, it is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! We had so much fun, looking at all the beautiful flowers and stopping to say hello to the fish and chickens. The only thing missing- an ice cream cone.

Three. Packing for a Toddler

We're headed to sunny South Florida this weekend- just me and the toddler. I had it in my head that I could pack everything we needed for five days in a carry-on luggage. HA! What was I thinking? I was doing well, had all the clothes fit snugly, until I realized I still needed her lovies, bath stuff, my makeup, hair dryer, and shoes. Fail.

Four. Influenster VivaVoxBox

Yay, my second vox box arrived last week! In this box I received a spray & go moisturizer, a Shell fuel rewards card, two bottles of nail polish, cleansing cloths, a new lip color, and a clay mask sample. I've already tried out the polish and love the color, it lasted a while too! I'm excited to try out the moisturizer and cleansing cloths next. I've never used a spray moisturizer before so I'm not sure what to expect. I thought it was a tanning bottle when I first opened the box, too bad it's not, I would've loved to try one! 

Five. Family Fun

There will be few posts from me next week while I'm visiting family. Say a prayer for me while I fly back home. The trip will be worth it after seeing my brother graduate from undergrad and meeting my cousin's newborn baby!

April 22, 2014

Easter Recap 2014

Our Easter this weekend was pretty low key. I was happy to have the hubby home, even though he was switching from night shift to day, so he was pretty tired most of the day. We made the most of it with cake pops and a special breakfast/brunch in morning.

Before I tell you more about the day, let me share some words about cake pops- they are hard to make! I've heard horror stories about the cake falling apart when dipped into chocolate and many other frustrations. Luckily I didn't have that problem, but apparently the chocolate I chose to melt wasn't a very good choice. It didn't stick well to the cake pops and was falling off in huge chunks. What gives?? I definitely want to try again and I think I'll write a "What I Learned About Cake Pops" post soon. At least they still tasted good!

Moving on to brunch! I had to hide the cake pops because someone couldn't wait to get her her hands on them. We had french toast, a rare treat in our house, on festive plates I picked up at Target a few weeks ago.

After breakfast we gave Miss A her Easter bucket. The pink Easter grass was a hit and covered our family room in seconds. 

She also loved her Slinky, new sippy cup, and bunny book. 

The rest of the day we spent at home and played outside, while I missed my family many miles away. Holidays can be the hardest days to be so far away. I hope to be there next year so Miss A can participate in our family egg hunt and have Easter dinner with my family. We did have an egg hunt of our own to attend, and she caught on to what was going on real quick!

When she realized the eggs were stuffed with hidden treasures she started to open them all up. She was very excited to find these play necklaces and immediately put them on. 

I love holidays so much more now that she is getting older! The more and more she understands what's going on, the more excited I become. I'm actually kind of sad there aren't many more holidays coming up! What's next- 4th of July? Not too exciting. But then it's her birthday!! That's something to look forward to, even though the thought of it makes me want to cry. A two year old. How did that happen!

April 21, 2014

What We've Been Eating Lately

I don't know about you, but I love seeing what other people are eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That's probably why I love Instagram so much, an endless stream of good eats and inspiration. I get stuck in food ruts all the time. We're currently in one right now with breakfast. Miss A is refusing to eat eggs, oatmeal (not like she ever did before), and yogurt. She'll only eat toast or waffles right now. And blueberries by the carton. Anyway, I thought I'd share some of our recent eats with you in case you're looking for something new to eat!

Breakfast- toast, peanut butter, and banana is still one of my go-to's. I also like to add a drizzle of honey or agave with granola.

Lunch- lettuce wraps! A few weeks ago I was on a huge lettuce wrap kick and was stuffing them with roasted turkey, dried cranberries, sliced carrots, and mozzarella cheese. On the side I'd have a chopped cucumber, tomato, and feta salad, lightly tossed in olive oil and lemon juice. 

Dinner- This is one of my favorite dinners we had recently. Sweet and sour chicken over fried brown rice, mixed with chopped carrots, frozen peas, corn, scrambled egg, and diced red pepper. I sauteed all the veggies first in some sesame seed oil, added cold day old rice, an egg, and scrambled it all up. Then I dosed it with soy sauce and topped the whole thing with diced green onions. It was delicious! 

Another favorite is Alaskan Baked Salmon with lemon risotto and sauteed zucchini. This is how I usually make salmon. It's super easy and fast to put together. The oven does all the work for you and I love the crunchy topping. 

Not the best picture, but these potato nachos were a lot of fun to make and a new thing for us to try. I sliced up idaho potatoes very thin, tossed them in some olive oil, salt and pepper and placed them on a wire rack on to of a baking sheet. Then I added cheddar cheese, black beans, tomatoes, and green onions. 

Hope you find something new to try!

April 17, 2014

Easter Basket Fun

I'm so, so excited for Easter this year. Last year we didn't really do anything- no basket, no egg hunt, and I'm pretty sure my husband had to work. Miss A was ten months old and I decided we'd wait until next year to celebrate.

I mean, really...where does the time go!? The pictures I took for her Easter "session" are some of my favorite baby pictures. That purple dress, headband, Easter bib...she was perfect, in every single way. You bet I'm taking Easter pictures again this year, I don't care if they'll be a blur as she runs around and dives off the couch!

So I'm participating in the Easter basket blog hop and thought it would be fun to share with you what I got Miss A for her basket, or in this case, bucket!

I thought about getting Miss A a white basket. I saw plenty that I loved but in the end I thought getting her a bucket would be much easier for her to carry as she collects eggs and it will be something she can reuse later. Plus, Minnie is on the front; I knew she'd love nothing more.  

I didn't want to go crazy with her bucket. For one thing, it's not all that big, and I wanted everything to fit. Everything fit perfectly, until I found a book that I couldn't pass up. She has a new outfit, a skirt and shirt combo (that has a popsicle on the front, win win), a colorful Slinky, a pink sunhat, a glittery bracelet, a Minnie Mouse straw cup, and her very first chocolate bunny!

I know she's going to love the bracelet as she can't get enough of my own. I'm curious to see what she does with the Slinky. I found it in Target's dollar spot and I loved the pastel color. And don't worry- I'm not going to give her that entire bunny in one sitting. She'll have a couple of pieces every now and then until one of us eats the rest for her. :) I'm also excited about the straw cup as she needs practice using a straw. I'd love to give her some smoothies to drink in the upcoming months! I wasn't planning on getting her clothes, but I saw the popsicle T-shirt and couldn't pass it up. Crazy 8 is a dangerous store for my wallet.

I can't wait to see her face Easter morning!

April 15, 2014

Weekend Shenanigans

This weekend actually felt like a real weekend. It has been a while, a loooong while, since my husband has had two consecutive days off, let alone an entire weekend. I actually don't look forward to weekends; due to the fact that everyone else gets to have their husbands home and Miss A and I are left to figure out what to do on our own. Shopping on the weekends with her stresses me out with the crowds and busy parking lots, so we usually stick to home and stay pretty low-key when my husband has to work on a Saturday or Sunday.

We spent the early part of Saturday finishing up Miss A's very own swing set! Her grandparents (my parents) bought her this swing set as a very early birthday present and it arrived at our house a few weeks ago. I've been dying, waiting for the hubby to have enough time to put it all together. He had the majority done earlier last week and only needed to attach the swings and anchor the whole thing down. I knew she was going to love it.

After Miss A woke up from her nap we all went on the swings. The three of us, with our adult bums being squished from the tiny seats, but any time either of us got up, she'd say, "Dada swing" and "Mama swing." We happily obeyed. :)

Later that evening we decided to head for dinner. We walked around the outdoor portion of the mall (which was packed with girls in colorful, vibrant prom dresses!) and found a place to eat dinner. That's where all the fun ended- Miss A was NOT having it in the high chair and I had to hold her in my lap, somehow managing to eat a burger and fries with her on top of me. By the end of the night we were exhausted and crashed on the couch to catch up on our DVR.

The next day we invited our friends over to grill and check out the swing set! It was a beautiful day, with highs in the 80s. Perfect day to spend outside on our deck. I marinated some chicken, chopped up some veggies, roasted potato wedges, and served slices of bread with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. 

I absolutely LOVE this new outfit I got for Miss A at Old Navy, along with these clear jelly (!!!) shoes. THAT ARE SCENTED. Oh my God I've never loved a pair of shoes more, and neither has she, because she refuses to take them off!

We had lots of fun letting the girls take turns on the swings and play with the balls and cars we had on the deck. Then, I managed to snap this picture.

For dessert I made a no-bake Oreo pudding pie. It was the perfect addition to a grilled meal. Layers of chocolate, cream cheese, and Oreo crumbs! Very easy to make and very thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. I only wish I remembered to take a better picture before we cut into it!

She's definitely my girl, what a sweet tooth! 

April 10, 2014

Good Days

Sometimes I still have those days where I can't believe she's mine. I can't believe she's my daughter, I can't believe I have a daughter. I still have those moments where I hold her a little closer, breathe in her skin, kiss her cheeks and nose a thousand times, and look deep into her eyes. This tiny human- she's all mine, we created her. It will forever blow my mind.

She started off the day on the wrong foot, waking up earlier than usual, and was crying and whiny most of the morning. It could be the two teeth I see about ready to come in, who knows. After lunch she took an early nap and slept for a long time, much longer than she usually does. She was up and ready to play after that and we went to meet a friend at the park. By the time we got back home she was in a great mood. I was able to prep dinner peacefully as she roamed from the kitchen to the family room (we have an overpass in the kitchen so I can see her). As I was chopping veggies she reached for my hand so we could dance. It was the cutest and sweetest thing and we twirled around the kitchen together. Each time she pressed a button on her Minnie car and it played a new song, she reached up for my hand.

After dinner it was time for her bath and she asked me to draw "babies" for her in the tub. She has these bath crayons, which are great and wash off easy. She loves to "color" and "draw" during bath time. I drew lots of smiley faces aka babies, dogs, stars, and hearts. She wiped each one off with a towel and asked me to draw them over and over again. Once we were out of the bath it was time to read books. She grabbed her stack of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse books (all six of them) and plopped down next to me to read. It's one of the sweetest times of our day.

The best moment yesterday was right before I laid her down to sleep. As I was singing her bedtime song, "You Are My Sunshine", she snuggled in close to me and hummed along. I melted, hugging her tighter, wishing with all my heart that I could keep her this way forever. I hope I can remember it for the rest of my life.

So yeah, yesterday was a good day. A day to remember for the not-so-good days, when we're tired, cranky, or nothing is going our way. A day I'll keep close to my heart.

April 7, 2014

Spring Days & Preparing for Easter

It's no secret that I'm loving the weather lately. We're hanging out outside multiple times a day, having lunch, blowing bubbles, and walking up and down our driveway. She LOVES our driveway. It's slightly sloped so I think she thinks of it as a slide she can walk up and down. I used to try and hold her hand as she went down, afraid of her skinning her knees, but now she's mastered it, and I always make sure to put her in pants. ;)

We're also preparing for Easter! Last week I put together our Spring mantle and realized I didn't have a garland to go with it. What is it about a garland that makes a mantle feel complete? I haven't seen any that I love in the store so I decided we'd make our own.

In our guest room, which is also our craft room/my office space, I keep all my old scrapbook supplies. You may remember that picture of her making a huge mess in this room. There are many, many messes here, not only made by Miss A, but by me. Although I'm sad to say I haven't been scrapbooking as much as I would like. Failure on my new years resolution (how are you doing with those?)

I found lots of pastel colored cardstock and some patterned ones too. I printed out an egg template to trace onto the cardstock and cut each one out. Then I let Miss A add her artistic touch to each one. 

Of course she was all about the yarn, wanting to take the whole spool herself and drape it over like a thousand necklaces. She was also really curious about the hole-puncher. 

I love this white rabbit and pink ceramic egg that I found at Big Lots. $7 for two new Spring decor items. That's a pretty good deal!

Of course no holiday around here is complete without candy. I filled an empty square glass with these colorful chocolate eggs and now reach in for one every time I pass it. Bad idea? Maybe. But they sure are pretty.

I've also been wondering what kind of basket to get Miss A. I saw this Minnie bucket on that same shopping trip and couldn't resist. She loves it, can easily carry it, and it's big enough for me to fill it with her Easter gifts and big enough to stuff it full of eggs that she'll collect. Sure, it might not be that white pastel lined basket I had in my head, but it'll do the trick for now. 

How are you enjoying Spring? I hope the weather has started to warm up!