Friday, November 29, 2013

Athleta Favorites

Atleta Favorites

Flannel Top / Fairisle Hat / Skort / Tank
Cargo Tote / Half-zip Hoodie / Batman and Robin Top / Beach Pant / Glass Bottle
Half Zip / Moto Jacket / Power Touch Gloves / Yoga / Moto Sweater

Everything at Athleta today is 20% off with the code FIT20. Promotions at Athleta are rare so stock up on your favorites and Holiday gifts today! Plus, free shipping over $50. My Mom got me hooked on Athleta. These items are all on my wishlist. I wear these pants all the time with my boots- they are so comfortable and I love they way they look. Happy Shopping!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Wine to Try and Very Thankful!

On the agenda today is writing a letter to Santa to give to him tomorrow at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, making dinner, and prepping for tomorrow. How cute is this letter to Santa? Click here for a free printable!
Last night I went out to dinner with a good Mommy friend, Stephanie, who I haven't seen in a while now that she is back to work. It was so nice to catch up and we talked over wine and Thai food for over two hours. We went to the White Elephant. If you are local and you like Thai you must try this place. Delicious. It's a byob so I picked up a bottle of wine for us to enjoy. I've read about the "Cupcake" brand and the label looked pretty (that's a reason to buy wine, right?) so I got the Sauvignon Blanc. My new favorite! I highly recommend it.
I'm making this Pinterest recipe tonight for dinner. I already have all the ingredients and it looks amazing.
Tomorrow will be a busy day. As I mentioned, we are going to the Philly Thanksgiving Day Parade. This has been a tradition my family growing up and now Nick and I are doing the same tradition with our girls. My brother and his family will be there and my parents. My favorite part about Holidays is not the food, but spending time with our families. When we get home I have two recipes to make- one for each side of the family. Mashed sweet potatoes for my husband's side of the family and a green bean casserole for my family. I'd also like to make a batch of my favorite pumpkin muffins if I have time. They are great for the morning after when you're still too full to eat a big breakfast.

This is last year at the Parade:
Thanksgiving 2012
If you have been following me on Instagram you can see (in pictures) what I am thankful for, including the loving sister bond of Ellie and Summer, a good night's sleep, my helpful husband, and my Mommy friends. I'm also very thankful for my family who is very supportive in all aspects of my life. I'm thankful for the little things, too: Sophia the Princess- the television show that keeps Ellie occupied in the morning while I enjoy a cup of coffee or in the afternoon when I need to get Summer down for her nap, for example. I'm thankful for all my readers of my blog. I write because I love it and it's my outlet from my busy life. I love sharing my recipes, favorite items and current obsessions.

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and a delicious dinner!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Slow Cooker BBQ Pork + First Fire!

I adapted a recipe my friend, Lauren, made Sunday night. It's pretty similar except for one substitution. We both have never cooked pork tenderloin in the slow cooker before and after hearing hers turned out really good I decided to make the same for dinner last night.

Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Tenderloin:
via Lauren :)

1 pound pork tenderloin
1 cup barbeque sauce
1/4 cup molasses (I substituted honey b/c I didn't have molasses)
2-3 Tablespoons brown sugar (I used 3)
1 teaspoon onion powder

1. Combine all ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker and mix
2. Cook on high for 4 hours

I added Trader Joe's frozen mashed potatoes (cooked on the stove with 1% milk), sauteed spinach, and peas for Ellie. This would also be really good on sandwiches!

I loved that there were minimal ingredients and it cooked only for 4 hours. We hosted play group yesterday morning at our house so I didn't run out for the pork tenderloin until around 1:00. It took just a few minutes to prepare, then dinner was set and we had the rest of the day free. I love these kind of recipes. Next time I'll choose a different barbeque sauce. Ellie thought it was "too hot" (spicy). It definitely had a kick to it. The one I used was from Trader Joe's.

I had to take Summer for her 6 month shots in the afternoon. While we were out Ellie and Nick built our first fire of the season. I hung mine and Nick's stocking and I am bringing Summer's in to be monogrammed in the same color and font as Ellie's. I plan to decorate the rest of the house this weekend. When we got home Ellie was snuggled under the blanket watching an episode of Daniel Tiger. After dinner we roasted marshmallows. Ellie was so excited. She picked out a stick at the playground this afternoon. Nick did the roasting since I was too nervous letting her do it inside. Outside on a fire pit is fine.
 Nick caught an intimate moment with me and Ellie hanging out after dinner:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Etsy Love

I've recently purchased a few things from Etsy that I love. First, I love chalkboard art. It takes such talent and it is a cool piece of art. I loved everything by this seller, Lily and Val, and decided on two cards, which I've hung in my kitchen. I needed a small size and these were perfect to use as wall art:
I just ordered this headband by Ryan and Wren and can't wait to receive it. I also just ordered Summer this pink dress that will match the headband perfectly (and with her gold moccasins it will be an adorable outfit!!).
I also ordered this custom matting to hang in our playroom by The Little Shoppe of Paper. I have yet to frame it- I've been waiting to get a good cousins picture. I plan to get one on Thanksgiving of all of them dressed up. I love this shop. She is my friend's sister in law and is so talented. I am so impressed with how creative she is. She does everything from parties to photo shoot props to wall art and Holiday decor. I definitely recommend her and you must check out her shop. I am loving this Holiday banner. It looks like it came out of a Pottery Barn catalog and would look perfect on our mantle!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekend Recap

Friday night my Mom and I went to a shopping night out to benefit The Breathing Room Foundation, which was started by my High School field hockey coach (and her husband) who battled breast cancer. She passed away in 1997. You can read more about it here. It's great that so many local businesses will donate to the Breathing Room. It was nice to enjoy it with my Mom and we spent an hour or so shopping. She bought me Cutco knives, which I've been wanting since we moved into our home. They will be a Christmas gift. I bought Ellie a necklace for Christmas from my favorite children's store, Hatch. My Mom bought the girls knitted hats (also a Christmas gift) from a local knitter. They are very cute.

I found some fun finds at Target- a purple giraffe wall hook (for the playroom), $1 polka dot thank you notes, and little angel ornaments to put in Ellie's stocking. I also picked up a stocking to be monogrammed this week for Summer. Ellie kept herself occupied while I shopped and put together a fabulous Christmas display. She always makes me laugh. I turn my back for a minute and she has done this in the middle of the aisle. Afterwards, she did put everything back in the correct spot. I really like those miniature white trees and want to go back and pick one up this week.
Saturday Ellie and I went out in the morning while Summer was napping to my favorite local coffee shop, Velvet Sky Cafe. They also have the most amazing cupcakes (this was where we got our wedding cupcake tower). Even though it was only 11:00 Ellie really wanted a cookie so I said yes for a change and we split one while I enjoyed my coffee.
Nick had to work in the afternoon so after Summer's nap we went to Morris Auboredum for the Holiday train opening. It was a lot of fun. This was Summer's first time and she couldn't keep her eyes off the trains. It is a fun set-up for the kids. Even I enjoy them. On a side note, Ellie's jacket is so bright! I love it and it's adorable for a little girl (thanks, Mom!), and she is easy to spot at the playground, for sure!
On Ellie:
Jacket (Gap) / Dress (Old Navy) / Tights (Gap, hand me downs)
Shoes (Uggs)
On Summer:
Hoodie (Gap) / Pants (First Impressions, Macy's) / Hat (Carter's)
Shoes (Little Lookers)

Today I did some errands and did a fun Snowman craft with Ellie. I'm still working on Summer's nursery. I'm planning a trip to Ikea this week. Hoping her light fixture is in stock! I'm also looking forward to seeing all the deals for Cyber Monday and Black Friday. I plan to do most of my shopping online this year, and if you haven't signed up yet for Ebates do so here! Last year I received a check in the beginning of the year. You get paid to shop through their website. Before you shop the great sales at Gap, for example, first go to Ebates and they will re-direct you to Gap's website and you will earn money depending on how much you spend. It's awesome!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five on Friday

1) I got my Ipsy bag this month! As I previously mentioned, I was on the wait list for a couple months. It was a pleasant surprise to get something in the mail that was for me. I love makeup and trying new products, but it's not as easy now that my time is so limited. I don't get to browse Sephora or the makeup department at Bloomingdale's anymore. I love that Ipsy sends products based on your profile. I got six items: a nude lipstick, an eyeliner, bronzer, eye shadow, nail polish, red jumbo lip pencil all in a metallic gold clutch. The eyeliner is silver-a color I don't use so I will give that away. I like all the other products, especially the two lip products. I have lipsticks everywhere- the car, various bags, jacket pockets so these add to the mix. The nail polish is a bronze color, which will be a fun color for the holidays.
2) I borrowed the juicer we gave to my in-laws for Christmas years ago. Actually, they admitted they never used it. We bought it when they first started getting healthy and we thought they would enjoy using it. I guess it's one of those things you want to use, but it's a lot of work to buy the ingredients and learn to use it. Since Ellie and I first had the "green juice" at Green Soul a couple of weeks ago (and again last weekend) I wanted to re-create it. So my in-laws gave us the juicer (a nice one, too!) and I already had the ingredients: green apples, kale, spinach, and lime. I watched a you tube video to learn how to use it. It was easy! Putting the plastic bag in the pulp container was a great idea (less clean up). It tasted just like the one we had at Green Soul and I felt very healthy after having it with breakfast. I'm looking forward to trying new recipes.

3) As I mentioned this week we moved Summer to her crib in the nursery. She's been doing pretty well (better than Ellie did at that age- so far). That's the reason I was absent from blogging in the beginning of the week. I usually blog at night or early in the morning, but I was either with Summer or catching up on sleep. We have decided to set up Ellie's big girl bed in her room. She will still sleep through the night in the crib, but we can read her books at bedtime and she can fall asleep in her bed and then we will move her into her crib. Right now she is still falling asleep in our bed before moving her to her crib. This will be a nice, slow transition into her bed when the time comes. This is a weekend project. We have a full bed (that matches her dresser) and I'm picking out big girl sheets. These are my picks (all from Pottery Barn Kids):
4) The Holiday trains are arriving at Morris Auboredum this weekend! I've talked about this place before- it's one of my favorite places to visit. It's beautiful. We are planning on taking the girls for the opening tomorrow.
5) Nick is off Sunday so I am finishing decorating Summer's nursery! I have tassel garland to make, letters and frames to hang, and a curtain to put up to conceal my (open) closet. Now that she is sleeping in her room she deserves to have it finished! Pictures will be up next week.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Recent Purchases

I was able to go to the mall tonight after the girls went to sleep by myself. It was great to go in and out of stores and be productive. I bought new pajamas at Victoria's Secret and love them. They are so soft and comfortable. I already want them in another color. They would make a perfect gift, too. I also bought a pair of Pink thermal pants similar to the Juicy Couture ones I wanted, but a lot less expensive. Cute for lounging around the house.
I had to exchange this pink lion sweater at Gymboree for a 3T for Ellie and I picked up a few other things, too. Everything was 30% plus I used a 20% coupon. They always have such great deals and I love that you can mix and match their collections. I have gotten some really cute pieces here for the girls recently. In my previous post Ellie is wearing a polkadot shirt from here (with Matilda Jane leggings) and Summer is wearing polkadot ruffle pants from here (with a baby Gap top).

The first two tops are for Ellie. I love the peter pan collar. It will look so cute under dresses. I also got her knee high socks. So adorable. I wanted to order her ones from Mini Boden, but never placed an order. These were 3 for $10 (and even less with the coupons).
The items I bought for Summer are all from the same collection. I love the pink and metallic gold skirt and the ruffle and star detail on the bird top. I figured she could wear her metallic gold moccasins with these outfits- they will match perfectly. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Girls

Ellie, 2 years, 7 months:
Gosh, this girl amazes me everyday. First of all, she speaks so well and in full sentences. I love watching and listening to her communicate with her friends. I love asking her questions and hearing her funny answers. The mind of a 2 year old!

I also love watching her with pretend play. Something she is so good at. Playing in her kitchen- cooking dinner and having picnics. She flips an egg in her frying pan pretty darn well. And, she is the cutest pretend eater I've ever seen. I think there is a video on my Instagram of her pretending to eat her play doh creations last summer. She is such a great mommy to Snowy (her white teddy) and her babies. She always makes sure the sun shade is down on the stroller, her baby is warm enough, and has toys to play with. She always remembers her diaper bag.

She has become very attached to Snowy. We must have him with us at all times. The other morning when I went in her room to get her she was rocking him, wrapped in her blanket, and she was singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to him because he "bumped his head." Oh my goodness. So cute! She sang the ABCs for the first time about a month ago. We were in bed at night and she started singing it to me, Nick, and Summer. We told her how proud of her we were a million times. She was so proud of herself, too. She is always singing Twinkle, Twinkle these days. She is right on tune, too. Much more than I am. She still makes up her own songs and dances to them.

She still has shown no jealousy towards her sister and is very gentle with her. I've always trusted her with Summer. Maybe I shouldn't have (I mean Summer was just a few weeks old when I would be in the bathroom and ask Ellie to put the pacifier in her mouth). She has always been so good with her. So comforting when she is upset. So loving. I love how affectionate she is. Not just with Summer, but with me and her daddy. The other day we were taking a walk and out of nowhere Ellie grabbed my hand and said, "I love you, Mommy." Then, "I love your pretty ring" and kissed it. She is so excited to see her daddy when he gets home from work and always runs to give him a big hug and kiss. She will do the same to me even if I've just been out for an hour. 

Ellie is also our little athlete. She loves to run and to play outside. She has had an arm since she was 9 months old when she threw a ball across the room. No joke- this girl can throw a ball. You better be ready to catch or duck. That's how hard and fast the ball will go. She definitely gives me a workout at the park. She loves to race. I'm definitely a kid when I'm with the girls. Last week at the park I was doing handstands and cartwheels! They are!

Summer, 6 months:
Summer is not only sitting up, but she is bouncing while sitting, which makes me so nervous that one day soon she will propel herself forward and be off crawling. Slow down baby girl! She watches her sister and just wants to keep up with her. She loves to be on her belly, too, but is also pushing up on her hands and scooches backwards. No more putting her down and running to the bathroom. I have to have her contained (excersaucer or jumperoo).

She loves when I clap. She will now grab my hands and motion me to clap my hands. She has started to imitate me. And, she loves my kisses. When I go in for a kiss she knows and will open her mouth to accept my kiss (and give me wet one). She is so happy and so smiley. She giggles when I smother her with kisses and she is very ticklish. The cutest little giggle! I love that sound.

She loves books and tries to eat them so I have to use the trick of giving her something to play with so she doesn't grab at the pages. Hard books are great for letting her hold and look. She loves sitting and playing with all of her toys and has mad love for Sophie the giraffe. She chews the heck out of that thing. Teething? Yes! But, no teeth yet.

She watches every move her sister makes. Luckily, Ellie will include her and show her things. She always makes sure Summer has a toy, too. We love music. Ellie and I use my lint roller in the morning (while getting dressed) to sing the ABCs or Twinkle Twinkle. In the evening we almost always have a dance party- the three of us. Sometimes Daddy, too. Usually I'm holding Summer, but Ellie loves when I pick her up and dance with her, too.

I just started Summer in her crib on Monday. She's been sleeping in her co-sleeper and my bed. It's been convenient that way so I can get enough rest to take care of two kids. The first night she slept awesome in her crib. 7pm to 2am. Up to nurse, then back to sleep, and up again at 5 and 8. Last night was difficult. She was definitely teething and after two hours of being up I brought her into my bed for the night. She has been napping well when we are home, which is great. It gives Ellie and I one on one time. Today when Nick got home he stayed home with Summer while she napped and Ellie and I met her cousins at the playground. It was nice to play with just Ellie and with Nick working less hours these next few months I'm looking forward to having dates with just Ellie and also just with Summer.

Ellie hasn't napped since Summer was born. It started to become a struggle with getting her to take one. She did not want to nap. I tried to tell her that Summer was napping too and she wasn't missing out on anything. It didn't work. But, Ellie wakes around 8:30-9 and goes to sleep around 7:00 and will sleep all through the night. So I really can't complain. Yes, it would be nice to have some quiet time during the day, but I get that time at night. 

I'm always thinking to myself how lucky I am. How lucky and thankful that I get to be the Mommy of these wonderful little girls. I'm not saying that everyday if perfect, but I can find happiness in every day. Some days are definitely more stressful and tough than other days, but usually one moment can make everything better.

Love this: