Friday, February 28, 2014

The Luscious List

I've been a little MIA lately so here is what's been going on:
1) I have been so exhausted by dinner time lately that I have been getting to bed much earlier this past week. The girls were also up more often- if it wasn't Summer awake, then it was Ellie, and vice versus. I feel like I've been moving non-stop and my body needed rest. Two days ago while both girls were napping at the same time I worked out on our elliptical for 45 minutes. It was great. I haven't done that since Summer was born because Ellie stopped her naps (and just started again recently) so I never had time off. I have been feeling much more rested in the early mornings when Ellie gets up and I've still been productive through the day. So, that's an incentive to keep up with my early bedtime.

2) I can't believe Ellie will be 3 in just over a month! She wants a mermaid birthday party. Actually she really wants Ariel, but my plan is to incorporate a few Ariel items (maybe invitations) and keep it neutral. I'm keeping it small this year. Just a few close friends and family. Especially, since Summer will be 1 in May and since we did a big party for Ellie's 1st we want to do the same for Summer. In the future we'll have the option of a combined party, which would be fun until they get older and want their own special party (I totally get this). I'm loving this invite from Tiny Prints. They are having 30% discount on all orders until March 4th with the code "BDAY10." I love their address labels (I have these) and I'm thinking of ordering this monogrammed notepad.
3) I scored two awesome pieces of furniture on a garage sale online. These were the pictures posted and they are now being stored in our garage until I can paint them (I need some warmer weather). They are wood with laminate tops. The drawers are all in excellent condition, but they need new knobs. I can't wait to give them a makeover!
4) I bought these 2 adorable pink flower hooks for the girls bedrooms from Pottery Barn Kids last week. One for each of their closet doors. I had a $10 coupon for making a purchase over the Holidays so I used it towards the hooks. The flower is sold out online, but the butterfly are available and are on sale.
5) I bought this new kitchen rug from Kohl's. I don't shop there often, but my cousin had one in yellow in her entryway and I loved it. I love the color (it's more turquoise) and it's softer than our previous chevron one. Kohl's has a huge selection of patterned rugs you can check out here.
I also checked Home Goods first and found this one, which would be perfect for an entryway. I wish I had a place for it! I love the color, quality, and price at only $50.
6) I want this side table I saw at Home Goods yesterday. I'd use it for a bed side table, but it's a little pricey for me at $120. Plus, it would look much better with a twin!
7) I pinned this cocktail last week and it's been on my mind since then. I may try it tomorrow- my reward for getting up early for boot camp. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Recent Buys + Wishlist for Girls

I ordered these two Roxy items from Amazon a few weeks ago on major sale for Summer:
Dress / Top
I just ordered Summer another pair of these gold moccasins in a bigger size. I love the gold. They are so pretty and match everything. She is wearing a Gap Chambray top I bought months ago in 6-12 and this is the first time she is wearing it. It's still big so she will get a lot more use out of it. The skirt and tights are attached and it was Ellie's, also Gap. Such a cute outfit!

I love this adorable hot pink star dress from Gap for Ellie:
And, these pink daisy Toms (and I'd probably get Summer a matching pair):
Also, love these Botas Toms for Ellie!
Loving the ruffle on these J.Crew shorts:
 I love this heart locket. It would make such a special gift for a little girl!
Ellie loves wearing dresses and skirts, especially the same days Summer wears them. She has a lot of skirts that still fit her from last summer in a 2T since her waist is so tiny. She only has a few dresses though. If I buy her a couple spring dresses she can wear a cardigan over top until it gets warmer. Her white jean jacket also still fits her from last summer and will look so cute over the pink dress above. It goes with so much and is adorable. I definitely recommend it for the spring! I really want this one for Summer, but it's sold out online in her size. I'm hoping I can get it in the store.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekend Recap: Birthday Celebrations!

Yesterday was my husband's birthday. Usually it doesn't land on a Saturday so we took full advantage of spending the day together. We went to one of our favorite brunch spots- Cake in Chestnut Hill. If you have never been (and you live locally) you must try! It is a converted greenhouse with delicious, fresh foods and a small bakery. We shared a warm chocolate croissant to start, then I had Brioche toast with sauteed spinach and an over easy egg on top with a side of the best hash browns ever.
Then, we walked down the Avenue to the playground. It was still full of snow, but it was nice to get some exercise and go on the swings.
After we all napped in the afternoon we went to Velvet Sky Bakery for a birthday cupcake. Ellie picked the one out with sprinkles.
A few pictures from our day. How cute are these two with their sunglasses?! Ellie actually has a genuine smile for the camera. She has been wanting to take pictures lately and it's the cutest thing. She also picked out her own outfit today.
My world!
Summer's gift to Nick was saying "dada" for the first time. She said "mama" a week ago and I've been working on dada. A special day!

My parents babysat while Nick and I went to dinner last night. We had a casual dinner at Anthony's Oven Fired Pizza. Seriously the best wings and pizza. We sat at the bar and I had my first cocktail since before pregnancy. An apple martini with a sugared rim. So delicious! We expected Ellie to still be awake when we got home, and she was. My Mom was reading her the tenth book. Ellie told my mom she "didn't want to sleep" and my Mom said she looked like she might cry so she gave her a framed picture from her bookshelf of the three of us (Ellie was about five months). When I got into bed with her the picture was next to her and I thought it was just the sweetest thing. Ellie still doesn't like sleeping in her big girl bed by herself (more on that in another post) so I told her a Cinderella story and she fell asleep on me.

Today is also my Dad's birthday. We went to my parents for dinner. My Mom cooked a filet roast and enjoyed cake and ice cream for dessert. I love my Dad. He seriously is the best father, father-in-law, and the best grandfather. My girls are so lucky. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ikea Shopping Trip + Favorites

Ellie and I went to Ikea yesterday morning to buy the white picture ledges for Summer's room and a few frames. It was 10:00 in the morning and I treated her to an ice cream cone. Lucky girl! That does not happen often at all. I'm usually pretty strict with treats so this was a very special occasion.
I could have spent much longer in the store browsing at all of the showrooms, but Ellie was with me so I had to make it quick. She would much rather have me carry her than sit in the cart, but if you know Ikea shopping carts they do not steer very easily so I need to push with two hands. She did a great job walking and staying with me. Sometimes you will find her running through aisles of stores while putting on a show singing and dancing for everyone. It's fun to watch, but not convenient when I'm trying to get things done!

Anyway, I got what we needed, but I also saw so many things I loved. First, I saw this small Lack table on the showroom and it's so cute. Such a great price at only $15. It is advertised as a TV table, but I could see it in a closet to hold shoes or a kids room as a bookshelf.
This pillow looks like a design from West Elm and only $10:
The Lack side table now comes in a glossy hot pink. Perfect for a girls room or to add color to a living room:
I love these colors and the pattern for a duvet in a girls bedroom:
And, a fun, patterned way to add storage to an office or closet:
Now I just need my husband's help to hang the shelves and I will post pictures of her nursery. My productive day was cut short yesterday as I developed a migraine later in the afternoon. Luckily I was able to rest while my husband was with the girls. We are getting a few more inches of snow this morning so I'm going to take the girls on a walk and hopefully play in the snow with Ellie while Summer naps. Have a great day!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine's Day Recap + Easy Brussels Sprouts Salad Recipe

Thursday I mentioned I was taking advantage of my husband being off work to get some crafts and cooking done. I made the heart wreath, which didn't take long at all. I used one-sided scrapbook paper, but two sides would've looked a little better (as shown in the tutorial). But, it was cute and festive.
I replicated this footprint art (read post here) with the girls for Grandparent gifts:
I was hoping my husband would have off on Friday, but he just had a 2-hour delay (benefits of being a teacher). I made everyone pancakes, including a heart one for Ellie. Summer even ate some for the first time and loved it.
We didn't do much during the day for Valentine's Day because Summer had her 9 month well appointment and Ellie spent the afternoon with my Mom. My husband brought home a dozen pink roses for both Ellie and I. He also got me a gift card for a pedicure- what I had asked for. We fed the girls dinner and I put them to bed while my husband cooked me dinner. He cooked his annual Valentine's dinner- filet and lobster tail. My favorite. Complete with three mini amazing desserts from Whole Foods. Here are some photos of our day. By the way, it was so hard to get a good picture of both girls looking at the camera. Ellie's smile is hit or miss and Summer is always on the move.

(Both girls are wearing Gap outfits)
Ellie: top / skirt / tights
Summer: one-piece
We gave the girls their presents at dinner. A Fancy Nancy Mermaid book, mermaid stickers, and M&Ms for Ellie and a book for Summer. Oh, and my husband bought me a card- and Ellie from himself. Who does that?! We both laughed about it. I had already gotten two cards for the girls (from both of us, of course), but had to give Ellie my own card. That's why she has two!
I also made a Brussel Sprouts salad. I was inspired by this one. Ellie and my husband both loved this, too.

 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bag of shredded Brussels Sprouts (Trader Joe's)
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in pan
2. Add Brussels Sprouts and saute about 3-4 minutes
3. Remove from heat
4. Add hard boiled eggs and top with Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper

Saturday morning I took a boot camp class with a friend. It was an awesome workout. I was sweaty, out of breath, and sore. It was a full body workout using body weight resistance. I will definitely be going back. I also won a $100 gift card to my favorite local kids store, Hatch! I am so excited to shop!!

We really didn't do much the rest of the weekend. My husband worked all day today. I got to sleep in an extra two hours, then talked to my sister via Face Time. She is living in England, but it was just like she was at my dining room table having a conversation with over coffee. Thank goodness for Face Time. It makes living in different countries not as bad. I still miss her a ton though!

Tomorrow my husband has off. Ellie and I are headed to Ikea for a few things in the morning. Here is my to-do list for tomorrow:
  • Book ledge shelves at Ikea
  • Pick up corner shelves (Craigslist find)
  • Finish Summer's wall gallery
  • Finish upstairs hallway gallery
  • Take apart Ellie's crib and take out of her room
  • Laundry, clean

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day Agenda!

Ellie and I were up at 7 this morning and I let my husband sleep in. We watched an episode of Dora and read books until Summer got up, then they played while I made coffee and got all of our breakfasts ready (waffle, yogurt and strawberries for Ellie, oatmeal for me, and yogurt for Summer). It's 9:30 now and my husband is doing puzzles with Ellie and I just put Summer down for her morning nap. Hooray for time to write a blog post!

We are getting about 10-12" today and I know it is snowing all over the East Coast. I don't mind another snow day. It means my hubby is home to help out and I can cook and work on some projects I've been wanting to do. I went to AC Moore last night and picked up a few things: more paint for crafts, mini glue dots to make a paper heart wreath, and fabric scraps.
How cute is this wreath?! You can find the tutorial here.
The past couple days I stocked our fridge with ingredients to make healthy meals. I bought more zucchini and basil to make a zoodle pesto dish. I bought cauliflower to try cauliflower rice. I usually roast it and eat as a snack, but want to try this dish. I have shredded Brussels Sprouts (from Trader Joe's) to make this salad for lunch today:
Of course, we will also make a sweet treat. I love this cake idea for Valentine's Day:
I'm going to finally start on a wall gallery for Summer's room. I have her "S is for Summer" print, as well as this tall pile:
Besides cooking and checking projects off my to-do list, I also want to start reading this book. My Mom gave it to me months ago.

Update: Nick is now outside shovelling and Ellie is watching The Little Mermaid so I'm going to join her before we go downstairs to her craft room. Stay warm and safe if you are out in the snowy weather today!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos: An Easy and Delicious Recipe!

I have made this often in the last couple years and have finally found the perfect combination of ingredients to make this one of our favorite family meals. I have tried a lot of different taco seasonings and salsas. It is not too spicy so it's kid-friendly. Ellie loves them plus she has fun adding the toppings. I also found the best corn tortillas at Whole Foods. I've tried others and this dish wasn't the same so they have to be good! The key is to warm them in the pan before serving.

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
 (serves 4)

 2 lbs skinless/boneless chicken breasts
1 jar Trader Joe's chunky salsa
1 packet southwest taco seasoning (Whole Foods)
Corn tortillas

Mix all ingredients in the crock pot. I will usually use 3/4 of the seasoning because I don't want it to be overpowering (this is based on past experience). Cook on high 4 hours or until the chicken can shred easily. Warm tortillas on both sides in a frying pan. Add toppings of choice (I use shredded cheese and avocado).

Our favorite tortillas from Whole Foods:

I have been keeping extra jars of salsa and seasoning in my cabinet because we love this dish so much. It has become my go-to meal for busy days.