Friday, March 21, 2014

The Luscious List

1) Loving this open back top from American Eagle. And, it's only $30.
2) I'd love to try to make this for the girls for our backyard. It would be so fun even I would love to hang out in here!
3) I really need to figure something out for all our coats/shoes/hats, gloves, etc. It's been driving me crazy seeing all of it pile up on chairs in our front room (the room you directly walk into from the front door). We do not have a separate entryway (wish we did!!) so I need an alternative. I moved everything into our office and am planning to set up a bench and storage in there. I love this one from the Threshold line at Target:
Or, I may just go the Expedit route with lots of storage:
I like this drawer option, too, for smaller items that could get lost in a basket. Whatever can help us get out the door quicker makes me happy!
4) I'm addicted to the daily deal site, Jane. I've gotten some really great (inexpensive!) deals. I check it almost everyday because they do sell out of items. I ordered a pillow cover for only $12 a few weeks ago and it matches perfectly on the couch in our great room. The seller was just back on the site again last week so I ordered another so I will have a pair. She also has an Etsy shop you can check out here. This is a great price, especially when most pillow covers cost $40+. There were so many options it was hard to choose! Here were some of my choices. I chose "Sophie Steel."
5) Grapefruit is one of my favorite fruits and I came across this drink on Pinterest that looks so refreshing. Find the recipe here for this Grapefruit Mojito!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mother's Day, 2013
I could not ask for a better Mom. She is my role model and my best friend. I admire her so much more now that I have kids. She is a pre-school teacher so she is always singing songs to my girls and reading books. She is a runner and is very active so her idea of hanging out with my girls is going to the playground or to the library. I love this about her. If I ask Ellie what she thinks Grandmom is doing it's either "at the gym" or "cooking." My Mom is also the best cook. My parents have us over often for Sunday night dinners. Nothing better than a home-cooked meal with family. Yep, she is the whole package. I am so lucky to be her daughter. She is always so kind and generous and sees the best in others. Thank you for always being there for me, for supporting me and giving me honest advice, and for being a wonderful Grandmother to my girls.

Skinny Spinach Lasagna Recipe

My family loved this spinach lasagna recipe I made last night for dinner. Preparation was so quick and easy and takes less than an hour to cook in the oven. I love dinners with minimal prep that I can throw in the oven and do something else. Yesterday I made it after the girls napped, then let my husband take it out of the oven while we had a short play date with a friend and her two boys. It's so nice to get out of the house late in the afternoon and before dinner. It was a rainy day so the park and a walk weren't options. It was also nice to have some girl time.

Skinny Spinach Lasagna
(serves 12)

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
6 ounces fresh spinach
2 lbs. ricotta cheese (I used 1 lb. whole milk and 1 lb. nonfat)
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 24 ounce jar of spaghetti or marinara sauce 
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and thyme; saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach; saute until just barely wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, salt, and nutmeg. Add the spinach and stir to combine. Transfer some of the mixture to a food processor and pulse a few times to break up some of the spinach pieces (totally optional, but makes for a really nice texture).
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread a little bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Layer with 3 lasagna noodles, ⅓ of the spinach mixture, ¼ of the tomato sauce, and ¼ of the cheese. Repeat and pour ½ cup water over the two layers. Repeat once more, ending with noodles, sauce, and cheese. Pour ½ cup water over the whole thing again and cover tightly with oiled foil.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes; when the liquid is bubbling and the noodles have softened, remove the foil and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving so that the lasagna noodles can soak up all the extra moisture.
The water really helped with the consistency of this dish. It was delicious. Next time I will add in another vegetable and maybe a little less ricotta (it was a little too much for my liking). And, I love that this dish is not loaded with fat and calories as other lasagnas usually are. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Training for 10-miler

I submitted an entry to the lottery for the Broad Street Run and was accepted. This is a ten-mile race on May 4th. I like having a goal at the beginning of the summer to get me in shape. I have run this race once before- prior to having kids. I really haven't been running much because it's hard to find the time, but I have been making it more of a priority lately. One day last week I even got up at 5:00 in the morning to get to the gym by 5:30 for a run on the treadmill. I'm only up to 3 miles, but I know I can do it. I do wish the weather was warmer!
One early morning at the gym, then my usual breakfast of oatmeal, almond milk, and berries, then coloring with Ellie:

I just bought this Under Armour tee in neon yellow (above) and bright pink and this one in purple.
I bought this headband from Athleta and love that it stays in place:
I need a new armband for my iPod Nano and I like this one:
Since I'm still nursing I have to make sure I'm drinking enough water and eating enough calories. Before I run I will usually eat a half sandwich with peanut butter and sometimes a dab of honey:
Lately I've been snacking on Lara Bars. I love that they have minimal ingredients and all 'real' ingredients. My current favorite is peanut butter chocolate chip. I also keep Kashi Trail Mix bars in my bag. 
I don't have a specific training plan. I'm just running when I can get it in- early mornings, when my husband gets home from work, and weekends. I prefer running trails at parks instead of the street. I will use Map My Run or sometimes just drive the route if I'm in the car with the girls to measure the distance.

You can see more of my favorite workout apparel HERE. What are your favorites?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Summer's Nursery Reveal!

If you are new to my blog (welcome!) I turned my dressing room into her nursery. I was excited we were having another girl so she could have this room. The walls were currently hot pink- perfect for a little girl. Please note that the wall color below is not the true color!! See my moodboard below for the true color, Eros Pink. My vision was hot pink, gray, and aqua. I also added gold and brown accents. I stayed pretty true to my vision and worked within a budget. It's tough decorating in a room with slanted walls and minimal wall space. The one large wall is taken by my closet. I had a lot of fun decorating this room and took my time. Summer was five months old when she moved into her crib.
It's really hard to have a favorite in this room. I really love the wall with her name, tassel garland, and bookshelves. The books add a fun and educational element. I love seeing this first as I walk into her room. It makes me happy and the girls love pulling books off themselves. The small wall gallery includes some of my favorites: a pregnancy photo taken with Ellie, one of Summer's newborn photos (ten days old!), and the "S" print was a gift. The love print is by Made by Girl and colorful heart by Pearls and Pastries. The glider is where I spend lots of time nursing and holding Summer and reading books. This is such a comfortable chair- a necessity in a nursery. The personalized stool was also a gift. This is Ellie's spot. She stands here while Summer is being changed. The girls love to do the puzzle, too.
I have not yet installed the pendant light or purchased a mirror. I also want to add a mobile in the corner above her wall gallery. I added a curtain wire to conceal my built-in closet and hung sheer curtains. Summer's closet (see in first picture above) is big, but is being reorganized. Pictures to come.
Crib: Babies R Us
Crib skirt: Serena & Lily
Crib bedding: Clouds and Stars
Bunny: Jellycat
Dresser: DIY Craigslist find (see post here and here)
Tassel garland: DIY (post coming soon)
Letters: Babies R Us
Book shelves: Ikea
Roman shades: Babies R Us
Curtains: Marshall's
Glider and ottoman: Babies R Us
Storage ottoman: Home Goods
Wall gallery frames: Ikea / Home Goods / Michael's
Vanity: DIY (see post here)
Laundry hamper: 3 Sprouts
Tall dresser: Ikea
Chair: DIY (see post here)

Summer's Nursery Moodboard
See all links to products HERE

Friday, March 7, 2014

J.Crew Sale: Favorites

J.Crew is having a 25% sale on select women's and sale items online and in store until March 11th. Use the code 'HappyShopping.' Of course everything I want is on promotion, which makes it hard to narrow down. Here are my favorites:
Merino Zip-Shoulder Sweater
Chambray Shirt
Merino Swing Sweater
Straw Tote
Chambray Hat
Straw Hat
Heart Socks
3" Chino Shorts
Merino tunic sweater
Jewelry Tray
Camo Sweatshirt

Monday, March 3, 2014

Weekend Recap

I started off my weekend with a spa pedicure on Friday. My favorite nail salon had an unexpected 30% savings on manicures and pedicures so I upgraded when I used my Valentine's Day gift from my husband. They also gave me a free paraffin hand treatment that felt amazing on my dry hands. This place has the best chair massages and the women give great foot and leg massages and free shoulder massages while drying. Total relaxation. I chose a bright color, Fruit Sangria (the same color I wore when I gave birth to Summer). I was looking forward to this pedicure all week. My phone battery ended up dying before my appointment, which turned out to be a good thing. I wasn't distracted and no one could get in touch with me and I truly relaxed (that doesn't happen often with two kids) and enjoyed every minute.

Saturday morning I did boot camp. I got to class bright and early, but no one was there. I called my friend and she told me class was at 9. I was just there two weeks ago...mommy brain. I had planned to take Ellie to her first ballet class, but I rescheduled for next week. I stayed and walked/ran on the treadmill before class so I got in an extra workout. Again, it was actually nice to have quiet time since I was in a rush to get out of the house.

I just ordered these cropped workout pants with a recommendation from Caycee at Hangin' with the Hewitts. Love her blog. She looked amazing in these pants and I loved the bright pink. When I first tried them on they felt very form fitting and I didn't know if they would be comfortable working out, but they were. They didn't move or bunch and were so comfy. I want them in another color!
I rushed back home after class because Nick was working. The girls and I spent most of the afternoon at the playground. The ground was still snow covered, but the equipment was dry and it was a nice day. I wanted to get outside before we expected another snow storm. Reports initially called for 10 inches, but we've only gotten a few so far. I had hoped my husband would have off today, but he just got a 2-hour delay and I was able to sleep in an extra hour.
I was so excited to take Summer to her first swimming class yesterday morning. I've been looking forward to this for a while. I took Ellie at the same age and it is such a wonderful bonding experience. I was also looking forward to spending one-on-one time with Summer and doing something together. She loved splashing and kicking her feet. She also loved reaching for the toys. She held tight on my arm though and didn't want me to hold her away from my body. Maybe in a couple more weeks she will be more trusting. How cute does she look?! She is wearing Juicy baby (one of Ellie's). I love Juicy Couture for baby. The ruffles are so girly, I love it.
 I took this one as soon as we came in from the pool. So happy!
 Love those cheeks!
There were other baby girls her age in the class. It's nice for her to be around babies her age for a change. Hopefully we can schedule a play date one day for her, too!

The girls napped yesterday afternoon and I cooked: crock pot chicken tacos for dinner, zucchini noodles, a batch of pesto pasta for Ellie, and steamed and pureed carrots for Summer. My parents came for dinner, too. It was so nice having them over, especially since Nick was working late. My Mom always helps me with dishes even when I tell her not to. It really does help at the end of the night. It's nice though because then we can talk. My Dad was having picnics with Ellie in the playroom. Too cute.

And, Summer slept much better last night. She was up a few times before midnight so I ended up staying up to watch episodes of the Bachelor. I am not a fan of Juan Pablo, but it's entertaining. Good for Andi for speaking up for herself. I'm glad they aired their conversation instead of having her leave without saying anything. Between the final two I like Nikki best, but I definitely don't see the relationship lasting. I don't see Juan Pablo being in a monogamous relationship for long. It also really bothers me that I feel like he is using his daughter, "I'm just doing what's best for my daughter and I." We'll see what happens in the finale in two weeks. Lots of drama I'm sure!

We also had the bookshelves hung in Summer's nursery yesterday and looks amazing. Check back next week for her nursery tour! I'm excited to share her room with you!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Recipe: Pulled Pork Tacos

I made a delicious new taco recipe last week. This was our first time using pork in tacos and it was a nice change. It was super easy to cook since most of the cooking is done in the crock pot. This was the day I worked out while both girls napped so I felt very productive! The image above is via the website, How Sweet It Is. Her image is much prettier than mine. She has a ton of recipes on her website and they look so delicious. I can't wait to try more.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Sweet Chili Sauce
(serves 4-6)

4 pounds pork roast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces beer
2 cups sliced green cabbage
2 cups sweet chili sauce
1 lime, juiced
a bunch of (4-inch) tortillas, for serving (I used our favorite corn tortillas)
cotija cheese, for crumbling (I used shredded cheddar)
My beer of choice:

Cilantro Avocado Cream:
1 avocado, chopped
1 lime, juiced + zested
3 tablespoons sour cream or greek yogurt (I used 0% fage greek yogurt)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil
2. Cover the pork with salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder
3. Sear the pork on all sides just until it is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side
4. Remove the pork and place it in the crock pot
5. Pour your favorite beer over top, cover, and cook for 8 hours on low (ours took 5 hours, then I turned onto warm until we were ready to eat, about 2 more hours)
6. After 8 hours, remove the top and pull the pork apart with tongs or forks. Toss it well with the beer and cover it and let it cook for another 15 minutes or so. Taste the pork and season it additionally if desired.

Cabbage Slaw:
Add cabbage to large bowl. Toss it with the sweet chili sauce and the lime juice, adding in a pinch of salt. You can make this a few hours ahead of time and keep it in the fridge if desired.

Avocado Cream:
Add the avocado, lime juice, and zest, sour cream or yogurt and the cilantro to a food processor. Blend until pureed and creamy (my cilantro didn't puree well so it was a little thicker).
Assemble the tacos by adding some pork to each tortilla and covering it with a drizzle of the avocado cream. Add the slaw on top and crumble on a bit of cheese.

I first warmed our corn tortillas in a pan. The avocado cream was delicious and I will definitely use this again on other taco recipes. I used leftovers the next two nights and made a taco salad with the extra cabbage as the base layer, pulled pork, cheese, avocado, salsa, and crumbled tortilla chips.