50 things to be happy about

Well, the snow day (actually it's not even the snow, more the temperature that is closing schools left and right) thing is getting a little old. I tend to get a little cabin fever, and was struggling with what to write about over the last 2 days. Maybe these things only apply to me, maybe they apply to you, or maybe you could seek them out and add a little cheer to your day. We could all use it this time of year!

1. Not having to wake up to an alarm

2. Movie time (The Help is up next for me!)

3. Making valentines, or really, all things related to Valentines Day

4. Watching Good Morning America in its entirety

5. Party planning! At least during my days off, I've had some fun making favors and decorations for Julie's shower and also picking the theme for Larkyn's third birthday.


6. Getting our taxes filed FINALLY (are yours always a huge pain? Ours are!)

7. Knowing what you are having for dinner and that you don't have to go to the store again (ribs and mashed potatoes tonight!)

8. When your toddler entertains herself and you get to hear all the conversations she has with herself and her lamp, her bird rug, etc. Hilarious.

9. Pigtails

10. Pharrel's ridiculous Grammy hat. I thought I was the only one who noticed it. Apparently not.

11. Texting, play-by-play style, about The Bachelor Wedding on Sunday with your nextdoor neighbor. We gave up on DB Juan Pablo a few weeks ago, so our Sunday was saved by Sean and Catherine! Perhaps could have done without the Honeymoon Suite cam and the lingerie shopping trip.

12. Thinking about Larkyn in preschool. She is going to have so much fun. And I can't wait to buy her a backpack. Hopefully there is a snack time that will require a matching lunchbox.

13. The Biebs getting arrested. Now if only he can be deported.

14. Cookie scoops. My favorite kitchen accessory ever.

15. The fact that my camera connects to my phone. Now if only I could upgrade my laptop for the 3rd time to make IT connect to the camera too. #macprobs

16. Mama and Daughter Hunter wellies. We wear them several times a week, and I can honestly say they've paid for themselves in this weather.

17. Land O' Lakes hot chocolate (especially classic chocolate, french vanilla, and hazelnut)

18. Looking through Larkyn's baby clothes. I'm sorting into give/keep/sell piles and recalling a little memory that went with each outfit!

19. Pinterest. Now that I've learned how to use it and not try to BE it, I'm good.

20. The early morning routine of checking Instagram and reading my favorite blogs

21. Husbands who shovel, scrape and salt. AND empty the dishwasher for bonus points:)

22. Shark Tank! Do you watch it? It is something I always seem to catch (9 pm Fridays, sad, I know) and I love seeing what these people come up with.

23. Being employed, and actually enjoying your work. My job will never be easy, but I am lucky to have it and proud of what I do each day. I hope you are proud of what you do too!

24. Getting out the baby gear for our little guy, who will be here in 7 weeks!

25. A mom who still does my laundry and dishes when she comes over to babysit. It is one day a week when I come home and (almost) fist pump out of excitement.

26. Snow Rollers. I was annoyed at the big fuss at first, but I almost drove off the road multiple times staring at them on my way home.
wikipedia pic since I don't photograph and drive

27. Cat paws. Just too much cuteness in one body part.

28. The Olympics. Though not as awesome as the summer games, I'm sure I'll get sucked in to the winter games. But seriously-- could we have picked a less secure location?! Why not North Korea?

29. Dessert. Next up, Sticky Toffee bundt cake.

30. Starbucks mochas and vanilla lattes

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32. The fact that we have electricity and heat. After watching the news and seeing all the people who have lost it, or whose states were unprepared (teachers spending the night at school with the kids!??! Pull it together, Atlanta!), I am grateful to be comfortable in my house in a state that is used to this.

33. When your child develops favorites and can express them. "Panera, yeah!", "Woody", "Monsters", "Fanshee Nanshee" and "makin' art togedder" are a few of our currents.

34. Anticipating a girls night!  Bravo + diapers + feeling loved = what could be better?

35. Stationary and pens that match

36. Babies in hooded towels

37. Netflix streaming, allowing us to watch a full series commercial-free all in a few weeks. After Breaking Bad, what should we start next?

38. A good historical fiction novel. My Thanksgiving read, Gone Girl, was a total disappointment for me. I'll have to take a walk through Barnes and Noble to actually pick up and look at a few contenders for my next read.

39. Friends who love your children

40. The Oscars are coming!!  I LOVE watching the Red Carpet and the entire show all the way through the Best Picture.

41. If you have to use a babysitter, it is the best feeling to drop off knowing that your child is loved and having a blast.

42. The trailer for Labor Day. Every once in a while, I love a good romance!

43. Happy Mail Days!  Today I received a package from Gymboree (Spring clothes for my girl), Baby Leggings (I die-they are so cute), and some fabulous crafting supplies that I can't share until after Julie's shower.

44. Fresh flowers. Any time. For any occasion or no occasion. Besides a newborn baby or animal, nothing is as perfect!

45. The fact that I (and hopefully you) don't have the Norovirus. Barf.

46. Fruit salad. I cannot wait for fruit season. Until then, Chick-fil-A fruit salad is the next best.

47. 50 Days until Spring!

48. That one photo out of every 50 that turns out to be fabulous

49. A great smelling candle. I don't dare pick one out for anyone else because smells are so personal, but when you find a perfect match (Bath and Body Works Vanilla Snowflake), buy 2!

50. There are people with a much bigger struggle than me. And you. Be thankful, find the good and the happy:)

1/26 Meal Plan for the week

We successfully ate at home 6/7 nights!  That has to be a record. With the exception of a Girl's Night Out at Natalie's Pizza (amazing), we stuck to the plan last week. I made some notes on the recipes to let you know how they went. So, what's up for this week?

Monday: Taco cups
These are my own creation and all 3 of us love them!
Tostitos Scoops + 1/2 lb ground beef, seasoned with taco seasoning + 1/2 can (or more) drained black beans + shredded Mexican cheese + taco toppings
  • Line a square baking pan with Scoops.
  • Cook beef and season. Add beans.
  • Spoon beef mixture into Scoops.
  • Top with shredded cheese and warm in 200 degree oven until cheese is melted.
  • Top each Scoop how you like them. We just dip ours in sour cream!

Tuesday: Teriyaki salmon (marinated at seafood counter) & rice pilaf

Wednesday: Slower Cooker ribs

ThursdayMac & Trees





I try to plan the meals a little meat-heavy at the beginning because I don't want the meat sitting in the fridge for more than 2 days. The chicken can be frozen and thrown in the crockpot for shredding, but frozen beef and pork? Yuck.


Currently...

Getting sick of this

Taking care of this one. Our first cold of the season. Last night's sleep was oh-so-fun. Actually it was funny. Every time I went in to my crying, stuffy girl, she requested something new without even opening her eyes:  "Mommy. sprinkles."  "Mommy. Toast crunch." She was out of it.
I kind of look like her mirror image, minus the Tangled nightgown
In the beginning stages of selling our home!  If you've ever bought/sold, you know it's never final until the keys are exchanged. But, we are pursuing the move this spring while I'm on maternity leave.  I figured it was easier to start getting little things out of the way NOW, so it is checklist time!

Thinking about tonight's Breaking Bad episode. We started it this week and are hooked. I'm hoping it'll start moving faster soon, but last night's cliffhanger of "Wanna cook?" made me want to prop my eyelids open for more!

Getting excited for Julie's baby shower next week. Here are a few sneak peeks from my Pinterest page. Julie and I often say "Pretend you are surprised" because both of us love being in on the action and planning, so...pretend you are surprised, my friend.

via
via
via

Planning room for Baby O. My Mother-in-law and I figured out a fabulous plan to get Larkyn's toys out of the living room and into her room for home showings while also giving Baby a changing table/clothes storage that looks like regular living room furniture. Meet our new friends that we hope to order soon:


1/20 Meal Plan for the week

Well, somehow or another, Blogger got rid of my last post. Sorry, there is no way I'm re-writing it. In a nutshell:

Pinterest + Mix and Match Mama + List-making = meal planning = sanity

So, here is our plan for the week. If it helps you, I'll post them each week. Maybe that will keep me accountable!

Monday: Goulash
Update:  I absolutely loved it the next day, and so did my co-workers. Matt sadly did not.


Wednesday: No-Peek Beef tips
tried and true favorite

tried and true favorite

I had no breadcrumbs, and making my own was a huge pain. Also, I'll use the large size next time.

Total grocery bill at Giant Eagle for all these ingredients (some were pantry staples we already had)
= appx. $70 ($14/day, including leftovers for lunch the next day and a fab BOGO sale on chicken)

All photos are from the links I included:)

Five on Friday


{1}
Make-ahead steel cut oats
 My friend Jessica introduced me to these at a staff breakfast this year.  I'm not into trendy foods at all, but have you tried them? They are so much better for you as the whole grain rather than the processed rolled oats. They are pretty time-consuming, but I now have a system for amazing oatmeal every morning!

  • 1 cup steel cut oats (get them from the bulk section) + 4 cups water + 1 cup dried fruit (I use bulk cranberries) + 1/2 cup half and half
  • Spray your crockpot with canola oil spray. Cook all ingredients in crock pot on warm (not low) for 6 hours, then high for 2 hours (I scrape the sides a few times because it tends to stick)
  • Put into small mason jars and refrigerate. Mason jars work because heating plastic makes me gag.
  • When ready to eat, stir up the oatmeal (it will have solidified) and microwave for 1:30
  • Add some milk, brown sugar, and pecans!  
{2}

Almost-free car seat canopy
Kristy sent me a coupon for a "free" carseat canopy. I have to pay $12.95 shipping, but for a "$50" product, whatever. I was too afraid to use a Bundle Me with Larkyn (you want me to zip her up in that?) The canopy just hangs over to protect from wind and cold. Which pattern do you like best? Chevy, Hayden, Jagger, or Kennedy?! And who came up with the word "minky?"

{3}
 
 Mom's One Line a Day journal
 I used to keep a daily calendar to write down little things Larkyn did or said. It ended at age 2, and I have been missing it!  I found this journal at Barnes and Noble and I think it'll be cool to look back over the next five years on the same date to see funny moments or milestones.

{4}
 
Gap supersoft (maternity) leggings
 I love leggings any day, but especially during pregnancy!  I cheaped out and got the Motherhood ones at first, but since Sebastian chewed a hole in the crotch (awesome), I upgraded and got these the second time around. So soft and much thicker than my last pair, which seem like hose (hose! remember those!?) compared to these.

{5}


Diaper Dinner invitation
As I mentioned earlier in the week, Jill (who designed this invite--sorry for the weird reflections in this photo!) arranged for a little Diaper Dinner in a few Fridays at one of my favorite restaurants. I can't wait to sit around the table with these loving ladies who will hopefully be a part of my son's life for many years. Though I wish I could partake in the wine, I'll settle for dessert!

Into the single digits and a helluva week

It is Wednesday and I am 31 weeks pregnant. I feel like Wednesday is too early to label this as a legendarily crappy week, but it's not. Every night this week has resulted in tears, yelling, or some sort of disaster. I feel like I am going to go into labor any minute from bending over to pick up the 678 toys that are all over the floor. This task, that normally takes only a few minutes a night, is taking me much longer and Larkyn has been more active (ie: hurtling toys across the room for fun, dumping out the entire contents of the toy box to play "boat") than normal. And this blog post has been stewing for three nights, only to be interrupted by some sort of chaos that needs immediate attention.

I am trying to stay up on keeping the house clean. Words cannot explain how badly I want a play room.

I am trying to fix a dinner each night. Resulting in time away from Larkyn, resulting in the messes mentioned above. And a bigass mess in the kitchen afterwards. Luckily she still finds it fun to help me unload the dishwasher, so there's that.

I am stressed by the mess, the lack of sleep, and the feeling that I am spending time on things that are NOT quality time with my family. What am I supposed to do?  If I leave a toy on the floor, it will be there indefinitely. Same with dishes in the dishwasher and whatever item Sebastian snatched off the table and took into our room. It ain't gonna pick itself up. So, what ball drops? Why does one have to drop at all? I am growing resentful of my time being taken away by this asinine stuff. My time to play tea party with my girl, to watch the news or a show with her, to write a blog post, to even look at my phone. I am not a stressed out person, I don't like being unnerved, and I don't like listening to complaining...so this is a hard post to write. 

But, I feel like Baby O is being cheated. My thoughts are often elsewhere this week. A baby should never be surrounded by negative feelings, and I have not had a lot of positive ones lately. Thank goodness for those positive lights in my life. Keeping that baby safe in a happy bubble is at the top of my priority list, and they get that. So....therapeutic rant over.

Let's talk about him for a moment.

1. He has a name. I woke up over the weekend and he had a name.
2. He is as big as a pineapple, which makes sense since I've been a citrus maniac.
3. He (and I) are measuring 31 cm at 31 weeks, putting us right at our due date of 3/19 as of now.
4. He kicked/punched me so hard last night that it woke me up. Squished? I don't know, but impressive.
5. Thanks to some amazing friends, he has some adorable hand-me-down clothes (thanks, Amber!) and 2 places to sleep (thanks, Mara!) He also has lots of caring aunties who are going to shower him with diapers during a girls night in a few weeks.

Thank you for giving me this space to let it out. 99% of the time, this will be a happy spot. Not tonight. I'd love your advice or happy thoughts sent my way, if you have any to spare. Hey, if I can avoid disassembling a urine-soaked car seat, hand washing it, and assembling it tomorrow, the day will be a little better.

10 on 10

I'm finally linking up with 10 on 10!  Document 10 little moments of your typical day on the 10th day of the month...
ten on ten button

{1}

Good morning! This little guy sleeps ON my feet all night. Making me stay in bed way too late today.

{2}

That FACE!  That was her stretching/squishy morning face. She dissolved into tears about 5 minutes later...

{3}

Awesome. Did not plan on the overnight snow. Add 3 more minutes.

{4}

To get her dressed and into the car (now running very late), I had to bribe with a graham cracker.

{5}

I put my makeup on in the car at red lights and our parking lot. By the way, eos lip balm? Not a fan!

{6}

Ugh. Not proud of this breakfast at work.  Just add water!

{7}

We got iPads today at school! I have no idea how to use one ipad with 20 kids, but still a nice little bonus on our teacher work day.

{8}

The bulk of my day was spent planning for the rest of January. This is one of my favorite parts of teaching. Especially when there actually IS snow to make the lessons more authentic.

{9}

At lunch, Ann and I hit up Babies R Us for some things for Julie's baby shower. I couldn't resist the 50% off rack and this sweet woodland set for my little guy. And of course we made time for Jason's carryout. Chicken salad sandwich, broccoli cheese soup, and sweet tea! 

{10}

After a few more hours of organizing, copying lessons, and catching up with friends in the hallway, it was time to pick up my sweetheart. Although she is pantsless, these boots never leave her body, even when emergency gluing the art she made at the sitter's today. Don't mind the muddy paw prints.

Hope you had a great day!

Nursery dreaming...

You probably already know that our baby won't have his own room until we move, which won't be until this summer (IF all goes as planned). But with a long winter break and 2 extra snow days, I have had quite the time on my hands. I have Pinterest pages going for Julie's baby shower, Larkyn's birthday, and the baby's nursery. In other words, I am very happy in planning mode right now.

After about 48 hours on etsy, trying to find custom bedding that was exactly what I wanted and contacting 3 different shop owners, I decided the price tag was not for me (appx. $400 for THREE pieces!). I took a step back and decided to go with more neutral bedding and accessorize the room with my favorite fabrics and colors.

The tone for his room will be calm, natural, and vintage.  The color scheme is gray with a few hints of foxy orange and teal. When searching for nursery items, especially animals, everything seems to be too cutesy or mod for my taste. I didn't want mustached and bespectacled animals, nor chevron and polka dots galore, which is what I kept finding.

But after many hours, here is what I hope to collect and create for our little guy in the coming months...


/1/ Graco Mason crib  /2/ Ikea Raksog cart  /3/ Benjamin Moore Stonington Grey paint with painted birch trees  /4/ Kacy Collection Madison Glider

We are going with an affordable crib this time around in a dark finish, since we can't use Big Sis' white furniture carved with flowers. This one gets great reviews and has a few coordinating pieces from Target.

I fell in love with this cart from Ikea a long time ago. I see myself using it for bibs, burp clothes, and binkies. Anyone making an Ikea trip soon??

This is the paint scheme I'd like to use. A warm, light gray with painted birch trees. I have watched a few tutorials and the tree painting doesn't look toooo daunting.

And last, we are getting a GOOD glider this time. I haven't settled on this one because I'd rather not pay $400, but I'm not doing the cheap-o wooden frame glider again.


 /1/ Oilo Sticks crib bedding  /2/ Birch Organics Woodland Party  /3/ Birch Organics orange dot /4/ Birch organics Abacus grey  /5/ Birch Organics Pool chevron

Originally, I wanted to use these 4 fabrics to create a bedding set, but like I said, it got out of control fast. So, I found this pewter bedding that I love. Natural and simple-looking, I think. I'd like to use these fabrics here and there: a pillow for the glider, inside embroidery hoops, maybe a banner, or maybe a torn fabric garland. The pool chevron and orange dots are very tiny and subtle, not bold.

And do you see the little fox hiding in the 2nd fabric?  That leads me to my favorite part...


 /1/ LuvKT Pair of foxes  /2/ TidwellHollowFriends Woodland fox /3/ Theletteredlane Wooden name sign  /4/ SweetMelodyDesigns Fox balloon print  /5/ Printable Wisdom ABC print  /6/ Katemaedesigns Aqua Clouds mobile  /6 again/ Pinwheelkids F is for fox watercolor  /7/ Catshy Crafts Embroidered hoop art


First of all, that is why I did not major in math. Oops. Second, knitted or "rustic" looking stuffed animals are expensive! I was happy to find these 3 little guys with a reasonable price tag, and I love that one is gray.

I want Baby's name over his crib, but a little different from the individual wooden letters. This sign might be at the top of my list!

The fox with the balloon is available in several different colors, and it was actually the inspiration for the entire nursery. He's so darn cute. Again, you can personalize colors in the ABC sign, so I will go more teal. And the dots mobile, I'd like to go a little less bright on the aqua, but I think it is a perfect compromise of having a mobile without getting too cheesy.

There are several "F is for fox" watercolor prints, but this one is just a placeholder. I'm actually going to ask Julie to make one for us (surprise, Julie!) 

And finally, you have to check out Catshy Crafts on etsy.  I want one for every kid I know. So sweet, and really embodies the whole feel of my nursery vision in one tiny piece.

What do you think?  What am I missing?  Besides a room, of course.

if you really knew me


Time for a random post, handed to me by fellow bloggers who seem to be having the same post-holiday rut. See, I am having a hard time finding anything to write about lately. So, without further ado....

that I need to work on that quote pictured above. I worry. A LOT. 100% of the time, it is about other people's feelings and why/if they are mad. And it is not my choice how they handle things; it's theirs. So I need to stop. Especially knowing that little man inside needs positive thoughts!

that if given an extra $100 a month, I would get a housecleaner

that I am up to the final pregnancy weight I was with Larkyn...11 weeks earlier this time. Ugh.

that I love linguistics, word-meaning, grammar, and kind of obsess over the way people speak

that I wish Matt was in charge of dinners. I hate planning them, cooking them, and about 75% of the time, realizing "that was a one-time thing".

that the idea of sleeping with socks on is torture

you'd know that I desperately want to be good at photography. Not like a professional, but just pictures that aren't blurry, dark, or just make me so mad when I look at them off the camera screen!  When I look at Kelle and Erin's pictures, I pretty much turn green with envy at their skills (and their adorable kids)

that the only show (besides the news) I regularly watch is the The Bachelor/Bachelorette. Not proud, but I LOVE IT.

that although I only "schedule" one show, Matt and I watch a movie almost every single night.  Movie time starts at 8:00 and often ends with one or both of us asleep by 9:00! Need movie recs? At your service.

that I wished Matt would cook our dinners, but the truth is that I wish we could have carry out (specifically Olive Garden and City BBQ) every night without the extra calories or empty wallet

that walking into Larkyn's room in the morning or after nap time is my favorite moment of the day

that I think my close co-workers know me better than anyone. They know my food weaknesses, what will hurt my feelings, what will piss me off, and don't BS me. Maybe it's that whole professional setting ;)

that I have a love/hate relationship with my dogs. I know, I bought them. I chose them. But, man they are a pain most of the time.  But I do love them.

that I miss my family and wish we all lived closer

that I love putting outfits together...but give me a year on that one, because I am sure I am about to hate it during post-pregnancy

Chobani yogurt + granola = my favorite snack ever

my car is constantly a mess. Not "gross", but just ridiculous things in it. Like Larkyn's Halloween costume and marshmallow roasting sticks from our HH trip in June. And doorknobs.

that there is a plaque in the Otterbein University Library with my name on it for having the highest female GPA. Shouldn't that have erased my mountain of student debt?

that the above may imply that I didn't know how to have fun. The sisters of Theta Nu can vouch otherwise. As well as the staff of Adobe Gilas from 2001-2005.

that I will watch any movie with Ryan Gosling or Rachel McAdams. Their break up was devastating.

Well, hopefully that didn't bore you to tears and you learned something useful today. Now, time to set the DVr for tomorrow night!
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