Jul 262014
 

Pinterest is my go to when I’m menu planning. I spend hours pinning food to my mmmmm… board (I think I may have a problem)…I pinned these a few days ago and immediately had to try them. So, while DH was out doing something, Noah and I whipped them up and OMG…I’m in love!!

The Skinny Pineapple Angle Loaves are really simple – like 2 ingredient simple and are so tasty. I used a muffin pan because I don’t have the brownie loaf pan she talks about and they still worked out great (although I got 29 cupcakes vs. the 24 loaves that she got). That makes each cupcake less than 1 WW point (MyFitnessPal clocked them at 13 cals/cupcake?!).

It’s REALLY hard not to eat like 10 in a sitting!!

Jul 242014
 

This backyard is living up to our hopes for sure. Noah and DH have camped out a handful of times and now that we have the play set we pretty much spend every evening out there before dinner (and often times eat dinner on the picnic table under their playset).

These pics are just a few from this past weekend. DH went off to play volleyball so the kids and I rounded up a bunch of toys and headed out to the tent to play for a bit. It turned into a pool and slip and slide session pretty quickly after (after Lia pointed to the pool and said “pool – outside – please”..how can you deny that?)

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Jul 222014
 

I’m really glad I stretched these out because this box was a home run too just like the last one:) While this is affordable, I’m not sure my budget can handle a full box more often than every few months and if Gillian keeps hitting it out of the park that’s what we’re looking at.

So, before we get on to the fashion show, a little about Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. You fill out a style profile online, schedule your fix and wait for the package of goodies!! Try everything on in the comfort of your own home and keep only what you want. Use the pre-paid envelop to mail back the rest (if anything!!) and that’s it.

A few details:

  • There’s a $20 styling fee, which is used towards your order
  • If you keep all 5 items you receive 25% off your order.
  • You choose your price range.
  • The more feedback you give to your stylist, the better your fixes get over time. So be sure to be very specific to your stylists so that they can send you things you’ll love. I highly suggest hooking up your Pinterest style board to your profile as well.

Lastly, if you want to sign up use this link. (Full disclosure, I get a referral bonus if you use that link. You can too once you’re signed up and share with your friends!)

Now, on to the fashion show. I actually broke out the tripod and tried to do these myself. You’ll see my little helpers in there periodically because it seems that the only time I can get them to sit for a picture is the only time I would rather they occupy themselves otherwise.


#1 Level 99 Andrea Abstract Print Linen Shorts

I wasn’t real sure about these out of the box but once I found a shirt (which is horribly wrinkled) and the shoes I really started to dig it. Not something I would have bought for myself but that’s why I love Stitch Fix – they open you up to new ideas and styles.

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#2 and #3 Honey Punch Sifaya Chevron Print Dress and Street Level Juno Small Folded Clutch
I LOVE this dress. Stress L-O-V-E!! It fits perfectly and can be dressed up or down. I had flat sandals and my Lisa Leonard necklace on for dinner the other night and it was perfectly casual. In the pic I switched to heels, a dressier necklace and the hot coral clutch and it would be appropriate for a date night or a night out with the girls.

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#4 Sweet Rain Adriann Racerback Hi-Lo Floral Dress
This is a little more romantic than I normally wear but it fits well and was so pretty on that I just had to keep it. It’s got a cool short liner with the longer chiffon over top. Paired with a pair of gladiator sandals (which I don’t actually have…) it would be perfect for a Saturday afternoon out or add my normal platform sandals and it works for an evening out too.

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#5 Renee C Francisco Crochet Detail Tank
This was the only one that I did not love when I put it on. The cut was nice but the material is so light and skin colored that I struggled. However, my opinion has been changed. I put a pink tank under it and paired it with my Navy shorts and it actually worked really nicely. Not one of those shirts that goes with anything but with the right thing it’s cute.

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So that’s it! I asked Gillan for shorts this time around and she delivered. This next fix I’ve asked for a skirt instead of a dress (or along with a dress) so we’ll see what they come up with. My next fix isn’t until September so I’ll have a bit of a wait (but the skirt will be a fallish skirt I hope!)

One thing to think about, if you’re on the fence – Stitch Fix is great if you have an event coming up and need something to wear. Just tell them what the event is and what look you’re thinking about wearing (formal? casual? beach wedding? cocktail party?) and let them style you! I think I may do that for a Nov/Dec fix so I have something for the work Christmas party.

Jul 212014
 

So things don’t always go as planned. Saturday night dinner was a no go. I forgot to actually buy the ribs when I was a the store! It worked out for the better though, we ended up with friends over during dinner and didn’t actually eat until very late.

Lunch:
Sat: Chorizo grilled cheese with potato salad
Sun: Sammiches (momma at book club)
M: Sweet Potato Taquitos Left overs
T: Greek Cucumber Salad
W: Left over spinach tortellini salad
R: Quinoa Veggie Rolls
F: Out

Dinner:
Sat: Ribs with corn on the grill
Sun: Black bean and sweet potato Taquitos
Mon: Pasta and Bolognese sauce
Tues: Chicken, Spinach, Tortellini and Peppers Salad
Wed: Salmon with Grilled Nectarines
Thurs: Buffalo Chicken Burgers
Friday: Pizza

Jul 182014
 

So, I’ve been following the Bikini Body Mommy program for 75 days now without any big misses (I think I outrightly skipped 2 workouts but only on days where I’d done something else active – like run or bike) and it’s showing!

As of day 75 I’m down almost 10.5 inches and 6lbs which is huge for me since up to this point I tried everything and could not make that scale budge. The progress is slower than I’d like (of course) but yesterday was a turning point for me. Mainly because people outside of my immediate family noticed and commented on the changes.

We have 15 days left and it all culminates in a beach trip for the family! Totally didn’t plan it that way but it works out well. I’ll actually be at the beach for final weigh in and measurements so I may have to do them before I leave – a day shy of the real ones.

Starting Measurements:
Chest – 36
Waist – 33
Hips/Tush – 39
Thigh – 23
Calf – 15
Bicep – 12

75 day Measurements:
Chest – 33.5 (-2.5)
Waist – 29.5 (-3.5)
Hips/Tush – 38.25 (.75) (so excited to see this move)
Thigh – 21 (-2)
Calf – 14 (-1)
Bicep – 10.75 (-1.25)

Trying out the new bikini in this last set of pics!!

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Jul 142014
 

We’re off to a good start – Saturday and Sunday went as planned!:)

Lunch:
Sat: At the pool
Sun: Cold cut sandwiches
Mon: Feta and Cucumber Salad (had to substitute, no english cucumbers at the store. I’m having left over chicken over spinach with a sriracha mayo dressing)
Tues: Banana Sushi
Wed: Taco Lettuce Wraps
Thurs: Out
Fri: Out

Dinner:
Sat: Salmon with Roast Broccoli
Sun: Thai chicken skewers with Ranch Asparagus spears (Hidden Valley Ranch powder with some EVOO) down at the lake with s’mores for dessert!
Mon: Pasta with Crockpot Bolognese
Tues: Tacos
Wed: Salmon with Zucchini Fritters
Thurs: Pizza
Fri: Dinner out (Outback!)

Jul 072014
 

I was going to put 4.5 but he’s not quite there yet and a lot can happen in 2 months!!

Sometimes I sit and stare at him and wonder where this little man came from. His face is thinning out and showing more maturity (but those big eyes still get me..), he’s more sure on his feet and doing more complex things motor skills wise. He can assemble legos, smaller puzzles, use my mouse, and find his own movies on the Netflix interface.

Then there are the days where the 4 year old shines through and the tantrums and attitude are rampant and the toy ransom bin grows in toy population. Those are the days that I’m reminded that he’s still a little boy who has a lot to learn about the world around him.

Sometimes it’s easier to think in bullet points:

  • 42 inches
  • 40 lbs
  • wears 4T, 5T and 5yr stuff and a size 11(!) shoe
  • played summer soccer, signed up for fall soccer (so he can do spring t-ball:)
  • can write his name, the word zoo and many of the other letters.
  • can count to firty (30) without help. Give him the 10′s beyond that and he’ll go to 100
  • wants to badly to read so he “reads” to me all the books he has memorized (which is a surprising amount)
  • picks out his own clothes and dresses himself, shoes, socks and all.
  • Loves elk-milk (oatmeal!) and camping with daddy in the backyard
  • Is into Legos, Ninja Turtles, Super Why, Wild Kratts, Bubble Guppies and Barney to name a few
  • can remember EVERYTHING! This kid never forgets I swear. He even remembered, 2 months later, that yellow and blue make green!
  • He wants to help with everything! Cooking, cleaning, yard work, painting, even my exercising he sits there and cheers me on. “Good job mommy! You’re working hard!” comes from the peanut gallery.

    I love his sweet sly smile when he’s trying to will me to do something he wants and his ability to try to negotiate for that sweet treat after dinner. Just last night he realized that he made a bad deal by agreeing to eat 100 carrots and backed his offer down to 5.

    His giggles as daddy chases him around the house and the screams of “you can’t find me” which totally give him away. How he and Lia will hold hands over their seats in the car – especially when she’s upset (she HATES the car ride home from school).

    With each day that passes I swear that this is the most fun age. In reality they’re all fun for different reasons and I’m trying like heck to pack away those memories in the vault so that I never forget them. If that doesn’t work then we’ll have lots of pictures to remind us:)

    Jul 072014
     

    Last week went pretty well. A little out of order but in the end we made what I’d planned.

    Here goes this week – including the weekend that has already passed:)

    Dinner:
    Sat: Burgers/dogs, cucumber salad, potato salad
    Sun: Out – I’m tired of cooking
    M: Pasta and sauce (with spaghetti squash)
    T: Grilled Pork Chops with Mango salsa
    W: Steak and pepper Shish kabobs (prep and marinate the night before)
    R: Salmon on the grill with Asparagus or Broccoli
    F: Pizza or something out

    Lunch:
    Sat: Left overs from all the picnics
    Sun: Sandwiches
    M: Spinach, sprout, mushroom, chickpea, carrot, edemame
    T: Banana sushi
    W: Out
    R: Steak salad with shish kabob left overs
    F: Out

    I had to laugh – I had a full grocery cart before evening making it past the veggie section of the store. I do 90% of my shopping on the outer walls of the store and at least 60% of that is the veggie section so luckily the rest fit with a little creative placement. We love our fruits and veggies here!

    Jul 052014
     

    My IG and FB friends (which is probably most of you that read this…) have already seen these but I figured I’d save them here too…

    Saturday morning, while daddy was out mountain biking, we decided to take a walk down to the lake for a picnic. Well, I shouldn’t say “we”. I came downstairs to find that Noah had pulled everything together for “sandwiches” and insisted we take them to the lake to eat them – it was 9:30am at this point.

    Since DH was out and the weather was nice I figured “why not” and so we packed up some PB&J’s and the blankets and off we went. We spent a few hours down there just enjoying the quiet and chatting with some of the neighbors that came down to enjoy the lake too.

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    Jul 032014
     

    I walked past the front door this past weekend and saw this strange white belly looking back at me from outside. Upon closer inspection it was a little tree frog stuck to my side light. Never to miss a teaching moment I grabbed Noah and Lia and a box top and off we went to check it out (and get it out of the baking sun).

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    It took me a few min to catch him but once we did he stayed relatively settled in the corner of the box. Noah just wanted to poke him and then feed him.

    He turns out to be a Grey tree frog and they’re quite common around here. Especially around areas where the grass has recently been disturbed (which makes sense since they just dug out the lot next to ours…).

    After we learned all about him and checked him out thoroughly, Noah and I walked down to the treed area in our backyard and looked for a good bush to release him into. We found a nice shrub with strong branches, a little sun and a little shade just incase he wanted one or the other.

    I checked back a few hours later and he’d climbed up higher into one of the bigger branches and settled into the place where the branch joined the tree. I figured he was waiting out the daylight and biding his time until his family started calling back to him in the evening.

    He was gone this morning when I went out to look. I hope that means that he found his friends.

    Jul 022014
     

    kayak ride that is…the only other time she’s been out is when she was in my lap while my dad paddled. This time we suited her up, distracted her with cookies, and she and DH took off for a lap around the lake.

    She really enjoyed it I think. She didn’t try to get out or climb around. In fact, she seemed to just relax back into the life jacket and almost take a snooze. I don’t blame her, it’s quite peaceful out there.

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    Click to enlarge this one – her face is awesome!!!
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    What was even cooler is that one of the neighbors had just come off the lake in their kayak and let me take Noah out with me so all 4 of us were paddling a the same time. So awesome!!!

    Jul 012014
     

    (so this is one of those posts that you can chalk up to the baby book/diary aspect of this blog. There are things I don’t want to forget but probably are boring drivel to the rest of the world…bear with me:) )

    Just like her brother Lia’s gone from nonsense babble to actual words and sentences almost over night. In the last two weeks we’ve had an explosion of communication from her.

    We still get our fair share of just plan babble but there are more and more real words mixed in there to a point where we actually know what she’s saying.

    This is a pretty good list. I know I’m missing some and she adds a few new ones every few days. I’m just so happy that she’s finally starting to communicate better with us. Now if I could only get her to go to sleep on her own.

    I ride
    I walk
    I go
    Big Truck
    Bubba hit
    I don’t know (I no no)
    Yogurt, Milk, Cheese, Fresa, Apple, Bread, Uvas, Water, Shake, Moothie (smoothie)
    Memaw, Papa, Tucker
    Chicken, Goat, Horse, Cow, Goldfish, Snake, Meow, Macie, Bug
    Pants, Shirt, Socks, Shoes, Pull Up
    Princess
    Mommy, Daddy, Bubba, Lia
    Up, Down
    Bulldozer
    Snack (nak)
    Sippy, Fork, plate, bowl, spoon (poon), cup
    Mickey Mouse, Minny Mouse
    Baby, Lambie, Makkie (Blanket)
    Brush (tooth brush)
    More/mas, me, mine, me too
    Yes/No
    potty, pee pee, yucky, poopy
    I love you
    please, thank you, bye bye, night night

    Jun 302014
     

    This seems to be the only thing on this blog that I can be consistent with:) This past week kicked by butt for some reason. Nothing big, just lots of little stuff I guess. Plus it’s so incredibly nice out these days that we stay out way into the evening and totally mess up bed time. Eh..oh well…enjoying life and living in the moment:)

    Here’s what’s on tap this week:

    Lunch:
    Sat: PB and J Sammies
    Sun: Book club so the kids ate at Subway with daddy
    M: Shrimp and Spinach Salad
    T: Out
    W: Out
    R: Thai spinach salad
    F: 4th of July!! Picnics x2

    Dinner:
    Sat: Hotdogs on grill
    Sun: Low country shrimp boil kabobs (with corn and potatoes)
    M: Left overs/scrounge since momma has an appt in the evening
    T: Teriyaki Salmon with Broccoli
    W: Honey Lime Chicken on the grill with quinoa
    R: Pizza most likely
    F: 4th of July!! Picnics x2

    Jun 232014
     

    Another week, another menu. Last week was a total fail on the lunches. I ended up working from home a few days so that threw things all off. Regardless, it’s nice to have the menu there when I need it.

    Lunch:
    M: Out
    T: Banana Sushi
    W: Thai Spinach Salad
    R: Greek Cucumber salad (We did this for lunch this weekend – AMAZING!!
    F: Out

    Dinner:
    Sun: Steak Filet with Asparagus and Red Potatoes
    M: Zoodles with Shrimp
    T: Pizza/Out
    W: Spaghetti Carbonara
    R: Salmon with veggies
    F: Pineapple Chicken Quesadilla

    Jun 212014
     

    Almost as soon as I finished the last blanket – wait, I’m not finished, I haven’t woven all the ends back in, oh well – I started this one. I hadn’t intended on starting one so soon nor was this the one I had planned on but it just happened. I was at my mom’s and we swung by Joann and this yarn was the softest they had and in pretty colors – oh and on sale:) So I grabbed a bunch of skeins and set off to do another blanket.

    I’ve been waffling between a chevron stripe or a granny stripe for my next project. Given that the last one took me so long, I wanted something fast but still pretty. The granny stripe won out. I’m good at that stitch and it goes up fast. Which is good since I’m doing this full sized – each row takes about 30 min to get through.

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    I was actually much further along when I realized that I botched the ends of a few rows and had to rip out 4 or 5 rows back to fix it. Talk about heart breaking. But, I’m back to where I was before the rip out and I love it! Like I said, it goes up quick but since I’ve not had a ton of time the progress is slow. I’ll get a row or two in every few days.

    You can look up any granny stripe and they’re pretty much the same pattern. I used this one in particular to get started. I’m looking forward to seeing it progress and ultimately finishing it. I already have my next two projects lined up:)

    Jun 192014
     

    Those of you that have me on IG will have seen these pics already. I had to share though because ever since Noah was born I was looking forward to this moment.

    As a child we were always pinning towels on our our shirts and pretending to fly. Something about having a cape was so magical and powerful. We were reminded that we could not indeed fly but that never stopped us from trying. So, when Noah asked me last week to tuck a towel into his shirt for a cape I swooned:) He’s to that age now and I love it.

    I loved it even more when he asked me to make him a cape like Batman. My sewing skills leave alot to be desired but for him, they are perfect! So, after picking up DH’s fathers day present we ran over to JoAnn to pick up some fabric (I told him I’d make a ninja turtle tie blanket too so we needed that as well).

    He insisted on a black cape and I picked the yellow for the liner (figuring I could use the yellow left over to make the Batman insignia for the cape. Thankfully all the prom dress material was 40% off so I grabbed a shiny black fabric that had a nice drape and the yellow matching fabric.

    I didn’t have a pattern so I was just eye balling things. I figured a yard each would suffice (in the end .5 to .75 would have been just fine too). Then I did a quick look up on line to see if I could find a pattern for the neck area. I combined two or three ideas and out came this:

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    Folding the fabric in half, I drew the one half of the design on the material and cut. I made the cape just under 30 inches long so it wouldn’t drag on the ground (even though Batman’s cape is to his ankles).

    Then taking the right sides of the material together, I sewed the perimeter and left my self a gap to turn it then once right side out sewed a top seam to finish it up. All in all it took about an hour to put together.

    The hardest part was figuring out how to attach it around his neck. I didn’t have any velcro and he wasn’t going to wait for me to get some so I used a Kam snap I had left over from converting diapers. I think I’ll replace it with velcro later for safety but for now he’s happy and we just keep a close eye on him when he wears it.

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    I still have to do the Batman emblem on it for him but he’s not pressing me on it and I’m okay with that. I’m not quite sure how I’ll do it:)

    In the end what matters is that he loves it and has so much fun in it! My next problem now is that Lia wants one:)

    Jun 172014
     

    On Costco Snacks…

    N: Can we go to Costco for snacks (as we drive by Costco on our way out of daycare)
    Me: No, I forgot my card, we can’t get in.
    N: Okay, well, we’ll go home and you can get your card, put it in you pocket so you don’t lose it and we can go tomorrow.
    (tomorrow – rather, this morning)
    N: Mom, did you get your Costco card?
    Me: No buddy, haven’t grabbed it yet.
    N: Well get it and put it in your pocket so you don’t lose it. We need to get snacks from Costco after school.

    On getting wood:
    N: Where’s daddy going?
    Me: He’s going to get wood to build the shelves.
    N: He’s going to Costco?
    Me: No
    N: He’s going to Target?
    Me: No
    N: Grocery Store?
    Me: No
    N: HOME DEPOT! He’s going to Home Depot! I wanna go!

    On anything that I don’t let him do:
    N: You never let me do anything ever and ever!

    On eating his cereal:
    N: I ate ah-hundred cereals and I’m gonna get big and strong and have a big belly.

    On eating all his fruit:
    N: Fruit is healthy right?
    Me: Yes, fruit is healthy.
    N: It’s gonna make me super big and strong like daddy.

    On Lia and Potty training:
    N: She’s not tall enough to use the potty. I’m taller and can use the potty, she can’t.
    Me: But we have the little potty on the floor.
    N: But that’s for babies, she’s not a baby either.

    I could go on and on with these. He’s a riot of stringing together various conversations and pieces of information.

    Jun 162014
     

    Somehow we made it to Monday again in the blink of an eye. Last week we did pretty well following the menu for dinner. For lunch..well, let’s say that my co-worker is really persuasive about going out for lunch…

    Here we go for this week:

    Lunch:
    M: Veggie Sushi (already blew this – worked from home and had mac n cheese)
    T: Banana Sushi
    W: Thai Spinach Salad
    R: Out
    F: Out

    Dinner:
    Sat: Grilled BBQ Chicken, corn and broccoli
    Sun: Filet Mignon with red skinned mashed potatoes and corn
    Mon: Tacos with Black Beans
    Tues: Chicken Corn Chowder
    Wed: Salmon on the grill with asparagus
    Thurs: Leftovers – they’re taking over the fridge.
    Fri: Out/Pizza

    Jun 092014
     

    So as part of my new “pattern” I’m making more of an effort in sitting down on Saturdays and making up the meal plan for the week. I figure since I’m putting forth the effort, I should share. I’m always looking for inspiration and have found it many times on others peoples blogs.

    I’ll include recipes where I have them. Many I’m just making it up as I go:)

    So here’s the plan for this week:

    Lunch:
    M: Mason Jar Pesto chicken and spinach salad (No recipe, just spinach, veggies, pesto and a little EVOO and Rice Vinegar)
    T: Thai Spinach Salad
    W: Quinoa Veggie rolls
    R: Out with co-workers
    F: Banana Sushi (banana and peanut butter wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla)

    Dinner:
    Sat: Roast Chicken with something out of the pantry…lord knows what yet.
    Sun: Crock Pot Pulled Pork Sammies with Grilled Corn on the Cob
    M: Chicken Veg Soup (using left over roast chicken)
    T: Salmon and Grilled Peaches
    W: Clean Alfredo
    R: Fish Tacos with mango salsa
    F: Pizza

    Jun 082014
     

    Lia’s always happiest when she’s creating a mess. A mess with paints and she’s in heaven. So one morning I covered the table with newspaper, gave her a bunch of white construction paper, a set of water paints and a brush and she was off.

    She was having so much fun and ended up sitting and painting for over 30 min which is amazing given her attention span. Now I just need to string up the wire display line so that we can hang her masterpieces.

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    Jun 072014
     

    So, just over 30 days ago I started this Bikini Body Mommy program with a few of my old high school friends in an effort to shape up, change my lifestyle and loose a few pounds.

    The program consists of 6 days a week of short high intensity workouts that alternate between cardio and strength. They’re generally under 25 min which is totally digestible when the only time you have to do them is after the kids are in bed – at 9:30pm!

    They have check in’s every 15 days so I figured I’d share some results because well, evening training for a half marathon didn’t make my weight budge but this..this is working!

    Starting Measurements:
    Chest – 36
    Waist – 33
    Hips/Tush – 39
    Thigh – 23
    Calf – 15
    Bicep – 12

    30 day Measurements:
    Chest – 35 (-1)
    Waist – 31 (-2)
    Hips/Tush – 39 (0) (which is as expected, I don’t carry my weight there…I carry it in my belly)
    Thigh – 22 (-1)
    Calf – 15 (0)
    Bicep – 11 (-1)

    I’m trying not to focus on the weight aspect of this whole thing. Muscle weighs more than fat right? Although I can’t pretend that I don’t care about the scale number – I do..alot! I’m just trying really hard not to focus on it. That said, from the time I started this to day 30 I’m down 4 lbs. 4lbs in a month isn’t bad considering it’s always hardest to lose that last 10 right?

    I can’t believe I’m going to share these because they’re terrible but the do show a small difference which I’m hoping after the next 30 days will be an even bigger difference.

    (ignore the messy basement and horrible look on my face…selfies after you busted our butt for 30 min are not exactly the most flattering pictures)

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    Jun 062014
     

    We knew going into this thing that living in a construction site would be thrilling for Noah. His obsession with Bob and all things construction started pretty early. So, when we can go on a family walk just down the street and “bump” into Scoop, Rolley, and the rest of the crew you can expect this little boy to want to play.

    The cabs are locked on these guys (which is for the best:) ). So we settled on just playing around the equipment. DH was close at hand to make sure that Noah didn’t get hurt.

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    I know that DH has more on his phone too with some of the other equipment but in each, his face is the same. He loves these things!!! And now that the construction has moved closer to our house (there are 6 houses going up right around us) he gets to see these guys up close and personal.

    Jun 052014
     

    I remember as a kid how cool it was to do experiments at home on our own as we explored the world around us. It’s still early with Noah to get into some of the more complex stuff but a friend’s post on Facebook made me think of a cool thing to do with him that he’d understand (and it tied in nicely to what they were talking about at school a few weeks prior).

    I ordered a kit of butterfly caterpillars from Insect Lore. I’d looked a few others but they were rather pricy. The caterpillars themselves was not that bad you need to do overnight or 2 day shipping so it added up.

    When the package arrived it had everything in it we needed to raise our caterpillars into Painted Lady butterflies packaged inside a box that actually contained all the instructions necessary.

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    I’m missing the first picture of the caterpillars because I was out of town when DH and Noah set it up but they were tiny!! Skinny little buggers only an inch or so long.

    It didn’t take long for them to grow into these 2.5 inch giants! Along the way you could see them shed their outer skin in order to grow bigger.

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    After about a week, they started to make their way to the top of the cup and get into the classic J hook shape that indicated that they were ready to pupate. Once in the J hook they molt one more time and then the chrysalis forms. This happened very quickly – overnight for us so we went to bed with J hooks and woke up to a bunch of chrysalises (plural chrysalis? haha)

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    I didn’t manage to get a pic of the chrysalis some how – they were in there for about a week. We gave it three days or so to harden and then moved them into the butterfly enclosure where they spent the rest of the week. About 7 days later it was time for them to emerge – they started to do what my friend referred to as “bleeding their colors”. There is a waste byproduct (meconium actually) that exudes from the pupa right before they emerge. That’s the red staining you see around the enclosure. They actually continued to exude that for a few hours after emerging.

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    We missed the emerge process too – I went to work and they were pupas and I came home and they were butterflies. Noah was so very excited to see them out and about. He wanted to hold each and every one. I gave them a day or so to dry their wings and then let him stick his hand in the enclosure so they’d sit on him. I really wish I’d gotten a picture of his face…so awesome!

    We kept them in the enclosure for a few days to enjoy and then, with Papa and Memaw in attendance, released them one by one in our back yard.

    I’d grab one, put it on his hand, he’d say a quick good-bye and wished them well on their way to Mexico (yes, that’s what he said…he said “bye bye, have fun in Mexico”). I later found out that they read a book at school about Monarchs and their journey from Mexico on North so he thought they’d to Mexico too. I love what his little brain retains and applies!!

    Anyways, this was a great little experiment to do with him. I actually find myself looking for them when I’m washing dishes (because that’s where they sat on our counter). We’ll definitely do it again next year!! Thanks Christine for sharing yours on Facebook which in turn inspired me to do it.

    May 272014
     

    A few weekends ago (gosh – it’s been at least a month now) we hosted some friends and their daughter over to see the cherry blossoms and while we didn’t get any pictures of the actual blossoms – the crowds were just too nutz, we did a get a bunch of the kids down at the lake as we had dinner. We just had to break in the new grills down there and try things out.

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    May 182014
     

    (or “enemy action” depending on what Rule of Three definition you want to go by..)

    As always I’ve been in a start/stop mode with the whole working out thing. I was doing really well when I was training for the half and even signed up for another half to try to keep it up. Unfortunately somewhere in the working, commute, trying to dinner made, kids fed and bathed and into bed, I fell off the wagon. Seems that falling off the wagon, which I’ve done more than three times for sure, has become my pattern.

    Fortunately for me, patterns can be changed if you try hard enough. I realized that I have to stop viewing my efforts as a diet and rather look at it for the lifestyle change that is necessary to live healthier.

    Before kids DH and I were out every night doing something active. Our mountain bikes never sat idle for more an a day or two and our backpacks got a regular beating at least every other weekend. It was our lifestyle.

    Fast forward a bunch of years, a house, a dog, kids, and the responsibility that surrounds those, things changed (as one would expect them to). Our lifestyle changed and while we’re just as happy as we were before we’re not as healthy. Face it, trying to cook a healthy dinner every night while dealing with a long evening commute and kids that are starving when they get home doesn’t always happen. It’s really easy to resort to bag meals, frozen chicken nuggets and PB&J sammies and exercise is the last thing on my mind.

    So when a friend of mine was looking for accountability partners for a 90 day challenge and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to kick off a lifestyle change and try to get back to that active state as a family.

    What this meant for me (which will hopefully trickle down the family) was:

    1. Planning my lunch and dinner menus for the week and shopping for it (generally on Saturday).

    And writing it down on the menu board so everyone knows. Having the plan means that I can avoid the 20 min “oh-shoot” stance in front of the fridge wondering what I’m going to make. It also allows me to try to prep things ahead of time on the off occasion I have the energy left over at the end of the previous day. I’ve been doing this since Lia came along but have in the most recent weeks skipped it. So, I’m trying to get back into the habit. I don’t always follow the menu but it’s nice to have it there when it is needed. (I usually plan 4 meals, 2 backups and one assume “out” night per week). I added my lunches to this plan as well to keep from eating out every days.

    2. Switching to a more whole foods diet and cutting way back on the processed foods

    This is the biggest switch I think. This means ditching soda, alcohol (except for special occasions), and as much processed food as possible. And switching to lots of whole veggies and fruits and meats. I’ve been really trying to shop the outside walls of the grocery store vs. the aisles (because you find more of the prepackaged and proceed foods in the aisles generally).

    We’ve also cut our eating out at restaurants way back. Which, aside from being an awesome calorie saver, is a money saver too!

    3. Logging everything in MyFitnessPal

    So that I can keep a sense of what I’m eating on a regular basis. One of the goals of this lifestyle change is to get back to a healthier weight. Which I know will come with improved eating and activity but while I’m still learning portion control and making better choices in the food department, I have MFP to back me up (and the community that surrounds it).


    4. Picking up a work out that I can do in my limited time in the evenings.

    My friend introduced me to the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge which is what spurred much of this change. I’d love to get out for a run every evening to keep active but truthfully I have about 20 min to spare and that’s generally after the kids are in bed (so it’s dark out – I don’t like running in the dark). In those cases in the past I would just make up an excuse and move on (and I still may some nights:). However, BBM takes 30 min or less but still gets the heart pumping so I’m able to fit in a quick burn and feel good about the day. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to jump at the chance for a long run or ride, but as for daily exercise – this does it.

    We’re also, as a family, trying to find activities that we can do together. DH and Noah go out for a kayak ride sometimes in the evening or a bike ride as I’m putting Lia to bed. We’ve been grilling out a lot so that we can play soccer or kickball in the back yard as dinner cooks. On the weekends we go for at least one big family walk or bike ride a day.

    Bottom line, I want to make sure that as Lia and Noah grow up, they favor the outdoors like we do and want to do things that get them out and stretching their legs and lungs. So far so good – they’d rather be outside playing than inside so we just have to keep it up!!

    May 172014
     

    So, I’m only a little behind schedule with these posts. Such is life:) I just managed to get these off the camera and edited at least a little bit.

    We spent Easter up at DH’s old hood this year (we alternate venues each year). As has become the tradition, his mom did an Easter egg hunt for the kids and then his sister hosted for dinner. It’s always nice to get everyone together. Noah loves his cousins so much and I’m so happy that they’re able to spend time together as they get older.

    Probably the one family photo we have of us since Christmas. I figured we were nice and dressed up and relatively coordinated:)
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    The kids checking out their haul…
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    The best pic I got of her in her dress. My grandma bought that for her last year
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    May 152014
     

    I was walking through the mall this past weekend and thought to myself, “I’m so spoiled by Stich Fix”. This was in reference to the fact that I had to stop at 5 different stores and try on 10 different things to finally find the shorts I wanted. So much work…

    Which is why when Stitch Fix #6 came the other day and I was so excited to see what they picked! I had one specific request for a gold bib like necklace to expand my collection. I had only one and needed some variety.

    This time around I had Gillian to style me. I’m really happy with the pieces and I won’t leave you in suspense – I kept the whole box. With my referral credits, the styling credit and my birthday money it fit into the budget!

    So, on to the clothes. I had DH snap the pics after dinner but the sun was still so high so I’m not looking at him because all I was doing was squinting. Ignore the odd poses (and the porta john in the background – I need to go photoshop those out!):)

    First up: Collective Concepts Esten Button-Up Sleeveless Blouse

    I love this top. I asked for things that were not tight around my middle since I’m still really self conscious there and they delivered. It’s a smidge boxy but it moves well so you don’t really notice. I actually went out and bought new white shorts to wear with it for my birthday/mothers day dinner date with hubs! Love it! Kept it!
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    Second: Paper Moon Crissy Spacedye Cross-Back Knit Shirt

    Loved this too. It’s casual enough for jeans and I can dress it up with a nice pair of linen shorts (as seen here). I love the criss cross detail on the back (which I totally forgot to get a pic of) and the neat chevron detail on the pocket. Plus? It’s sooo soft and flowy.
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    Third: The Bay to Baubles Eaton Metal Shape Bib Necklace is in those pictures too. This they totally delivered on! I asked for another gold bib type necklace and this is what I got. I loved it so much and have already worn it a bunch!!! It’s a nice change up from my gold chevron one.

    Fourth Up: THML Kahlo Racer Back Striped Maxi.

    This is a nice casual maxi. I love maxis although this one is a little more form fitting than I usually go for. A nice sweater over top helps. But, DH did love it so I figured it was a keeper.

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    Last up was the Renee C Jaimie Eyelet Striped Cardigan

    It looks terrible with the maxi but it was the last one I had to photo and didn’t want to change again. I love this cardi. It’s light weight and so pretty. It’s a little more casual but works well for my office. I think with the right outfit it can be dressed up a bit.
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    So there you have it – Fix #6. I kept it all and have actually worn most of the pieces already!! I just noticed that they now offer the option to schedule your fixes ever 2-3 weeks, every month or every other month. I would generally just skip a fix but now I can set it to be every other month.(I find that every other month is just about right. It spaces things out so I can budget better). So, my next fix will be July.

    So, if you want to try this for yourself, Click here on my referral link to sign up. (In full disclosure, I do get a little kick back when you get your first fix but then you can share you link and get the same!!) I promise, you won’t regret it!!!

    (I wasn’t compensated by Stitch Fix for this review, just sharing some things I love with the 10 people out there that actually read this:))

    May 132014
     

    We came home from Easter at DH’s parents’ house with a goodie bag full of food (like we always do:)). At some point Noah mentioned green eggs and ham (because Dr. Seuss was the theme at school the week or two prior probably).

    Well, DH decided to indulge our little one with a little bit of green eggs and ham. They LOVED it. I’m not sure I can get on board with eating green eggs but it didn’t seem to faze them one bit.

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    May 052014
     

    A few weekends ago we had friends over who had a very articulate 2.5 year old. She and Noah hit it off and we’d find them deep in toddler/preschooler conversation a various points of the day.

    Noah was showing her his legos and telling her a story about the man on the car.
    N: (struggling to get his Lego man to sit in the car)
    E: You have to be patient
    N: Yea, there’s traffic…

    Other times he busts out with the most hilarious observations and/or logic..

    N: Daddy, what happened to your face
    DH: (thinking he’d done something goes to look in the mirror) I don’t see anything bud, what did you see?
    N: all those cuts on your face, do they hurt?
    DH: (confused as he sees no cuts…until he realizes..)…Oh buddy, those are wrinkles.
    N: it’s okay daddy, they’ll heal

    I really need to get on the ball and write more of these down.

    Apr 162014
     

    How can you deny your child when the actually ask to use the potty? I’m certainly not going to. So, when daycare mentioned that she basically helped herself one day and actually had success, we decided to break out the froggie potties and give it a go. Forget that she’s still 4 months shy of 2.

    So far we’ve had more failures than successes but she can generally “perform” if you plop her down. Daycare is having her sit at the times they normally do diaper changes and some times it works, sometimes it doesn’t. She’s been hit or miss too with telling us. She generally tells us after she’s done so we switched to pull ups to see if the feeling the wetness helps any. Again, the results are mixed.

    I’m not really pushing this, just going with the flow and letting her lead. I was very surprised that she initiated it this early but figured we should just see what happens. My fear is that this will just get drawn out forever (vs. Noah who mastered it in about 3 months) but we’ll see. Once she hits 2 we can try harder if she’s not mastered it yet.

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