tuesday things

AEThis weekend was full of fun, friends, and family, complete with celebrations for our favorite Dads and very short naps all around. We celebrated my Dad’s birthday on Friday night, and our boy is still talking about Gramps’ birthday cake and “the best ice cream he ever had”. That kid loves dessert. My sweet husband got to spend his first Father’s Day as a daddy of two at home with us, which is a rare treat this time of year. We took the kids out to a late lunch, and finished the day with an afternoon swim with friends.

I’m not going to share our menu every single week, because I am no chef and I’m pretty sure I can hear you all yawning from wherever you are. But I will be continuing to meal plan. I will get organized this year if it kills me…and at this point I think it might. I am planning on making these Disneyland Dole Whips. They look amazing! Other meals for this week include these Creole Salmon Cakes and the Pioneer Woman’s chicken mozzarella pasta.

Bedtime is a disaster at our house these days. After dinner and baths, I wrestle the baby to sleep (literally wrestle…the girl does not like to sleep), I spend the next hour or two trying to convince our boy that he is in fact tired, and then reading books and laying in his bed while he clutches my arm and begs me not to go downstairs. He is such a little night owl, but a 9:30 pm bedtime for a two-year-old is ridiculous. You’d think I’d have this bedtime thing figured out almost three years in, right? Nope.

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I started watching “The Americans” this week on Amazon Prime and I love it. Summer TV is the usually terrible, and it’s so nice to find new-to-me shows that are good. Are there any other shows I need to add to my summer watch list? I would love suggestions!


our weekend and meals for this week

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How is it Monday already? It is so true – time seems to pass much more quickly when you have children. We had a pretty lazy weekend. We made it to the pool for the first time this year, and Ann Ellis absolutely loved her first swim. It was such a nice surprise, because Max Henry would rather play with tractors than get in the water, and you never know how babies are going to react to new experiences. Despite the look on her face, she was quite the little mermaid.

We also did a little Father’s Day project for Gramps (my Dad). He collects classic cars, and everyone’s favorite is his 1967 Corvette convertible. We have pictures of my brother and me in it as kids, and we’ve continued the tradition with the grandkids. Getting a picture of all three kids looking at the camera and not crying was a joke, but we did get several good pictures of the big kids together and a couple of solo pictures of each of them. Gramps is going to be thrilled when he sees them! Seriously though – can I make him stop growing? This looks like a senior picture.

Monday means meal planning, and honestly – I’m feeling pretty unmotivated this week. However, having a game plan for dinner last week made things so much easier, so I’m going to try to keep it up.

Here’s our menu for this week:

Monday: Breakfast for dinner- blueberry pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs. Mama is feeling lazy today!

Tuesday: Chicken enchiladas with green chile sour cream sauce. This is one of those Pinterest recipes that has a million repins, and they are totally justified.

Wednesday:  Spaghetti with Italian sausage, balsamic brown sugar green beans, and cheesy french bread. We have this a couple of times a month because our picky toddler will actually eat it.

Thursday: Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta. I’ve been obsessed with the Damn Delicious blog for awhile now. Every recipe I’ve tried is easy and fantastic.

Friday:  Grilled pork tenderloin, grilled asparagus, hash brown casserole and fresh tomatoes with Italian dressing and feta. I’ll share the recipe for the hashbrown casserole soon!


friday favorites

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I love Fridays. I don’t work on Fridays, so when I get home on Thursday afternoons, my whole body relaxes when I walk through the door. Three full days with my littles stretch out in front of me. Endless possibilities, although we usually end up staying home most of the weekend.

Here’s what I’ve been loving this week!

Orange is the New Black, Season 3 is available today. Yes, please. I can’t decide if I want to binge-watch all of the episodes, or try to spread out the joy over a couple of weeks. Decisions, decisions.

These rugs. I ordered them for my kitchen to replace the boring brown sisal runner and doormat that I bought last year and never loved. Under $50 for both!

Kidizen. I set up my own little store last month so I could start selling the kids’ outgrown clothes that I don’t love, in an effort to reduce the huge amounts of hoarder clutter in our basement.  It’s super easy, and I’ve had really good luck with it so far. It’s all done via iPhone and takes minimal time to set up and post to. The hardest part is keeping the kids away from the packing tape.

This swimsuit. Cute but has good coverage…very important when you are chasing slippery children at the pool all summer. I don’t think it screams “mom suit”, does it??

I’ve made variations of this Hawaiian grilled cheese sandwich several times and I keep thinking about it. I’m obsessed with variations on grilled cheese lately. Delicious!

And finally…these two. Our boy would go to work with Daddy every day if he could, so when he gets a chance to go to the farm, he is beyond happy.

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Happy Friday, all!


monday | meals for this week

What's for dinner?

What’s for dinner? Parsley.

At our house, chaos is the norm rather than the exception, especially on the days that I go in to the office. As any mama knows, the hours between 5 PM and bedtime are insane when you have small children. Playtime, feeding the kids, baths and lots of goodnight snuggles consume every last bit of time in the evenings. I don’t manage to cook many full meals these days, and my sweet husband has to forage for his dinner some nights. Wife FAIL. I’m usually happy to stand at the counter and eat a bowl of cereal after I get my little night owls to bed (10 pm last night for my two year old – completely ridiculous), but he needs something more substantial than that. Overall, our eating habits could really use some work. The key to making a change? I’m pretty sure it’s meal planning.

My brother-in-law gifted us three meals from Blue Apron, which is a delivery service that provides recipes and the fresh ingredients you need for each meal. I made the first meal last night – seared pork with smashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. Start to finish, it was done in 30 minutes and it was delicious. Miles better than anything I’ve been able to throw together on my own recently. I have two more Blue Apron meals to prepare this week, and I have high hopes for them too.

Last night’s Blue Apron meal – Seared Pork with Sautéed Spinach and Smashed Potatoes.

Here’s my game plan for this week:

Monday:  Mexican Chicken Casserole (new recipe from a co-worker) with Roasted Broccoli

Tuesday:  Turkey Steam Buns with Quick Cucumber-Radish Kimchi (Blue Apron)

Wednesday: Shrimp Scampi (recipe here) with Kale Citrus Salad

Thursday: Pan-Seared Cod with Curried Basmati Rice, Snow Peas and Mint (Blue Apron)

Friday: Cheeseburgers on the grill, Sweet Potato Fries, and grilled Squash / Zucchini with Blue Cheese (my absolute favorite summer side – recipe to come soon!)

What are your strategies for making sure your family doesn’t eat complete junk (or nothing) for dinner on busy weeknights? I’d love to hear your tips for making weeknight dinners happen – recipes are welcome too!

 

 

 

 

 


friday favorites – summer bubbles

Hello, Friday! I have summer clothes for the kids on the brain lately.  After a long winter spent hibernating indoors with a stir-crazy 2.5 year old and a new baby, we are more than ready for fresh air and sunshine. I’ve started scooping up clothes for both kids as the spring / summer items have started to appear in my favorite stores, and most of what I’ve gotten for baby girl are variations of the classic bubble romper. Is there anything cuter than chubby baby legs? I can’t wait to see our baby girl’s pudgy little thighs hanging out this summer. I find myself looking at more “trendy” kid clothing options since I have a daughter to dress now, but I keep coming back to this style – cute, comfortable and appropriate for pretty much any occasion I can think of.  Here are a few that I’ve added to her closet recently, plus a pair of sweet Sea Wee sandals in silver that will go with everything! What are your go-to’s for your littles this season?

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chambray | yellow | coralaqua stripe | blue seersucker | silver sandals from J.Crew Baby


the best excuse.

Here she is…the best excuse I have for completely neglecting my corner of the interweb since last July. She is a little ray of sunshine, and has added more joy to our lives than I could have ever imagined.

photo courtesy of Bella Bambino Photography

photo courtesy of Bella Bambino Photography

Ann Ellis arrived five weeks early, after a fairly easy but completely exhausting pregnancy. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, as every pregnancy is exhausting. But the last couple of months before she arrived, between work, chasing my very busy two-year old and trying to get the upstairs renovations finished, I was in bare-bones survival mode.  I have so much respect for those mamas out there that seem to do it all – juggle multiple children, keep up lovely homes, and maintain the wonderful blogs that I look forward to reading every week. I don’t know how they do it.

Our sweet baby girl is four months old today, and I finally feel like the baby fog has lifted enough to allow me to get back to some non-essential activities…i.e. the blog, wearing makeup when I leave the house, etc. I have lots of big plans for this little space. Thanks for sticking around!

 


{at home} baby girl’s nursery

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We confirmed last week that baby girl is indeed a girl, so Project Nursery is full speed ahead. Well, the project is moving as fast as anything else moves for me these days – snail’s pace at best. As of this week, we have four months to make it happen.

I am not big on themes or the idea of pink walls, so I just chose an assortment of things I love and hope that the room doesn’t look like a design disaster when I’m finished. My color inspiration came from these beautiful crib sheets from Candy Kirby Designs. I’ve had my eye on them for months, and they are frequently sold out. When we found out new baby was a girl, I started checking the website obsessively until I caught a restock.  I bought both the Evie and Watercolor Ikat sheets and matching blankets, and plan to switch them out. Both fabrics go really well with the aqua paint samples, and they are even more beautiful in person than they are online. Obsessed. I may have also gotten the matching beanie hats.

We’re going to use our existing dark wooden crib (Pottery Barn Kendall Low-Profile; highly recommend it if you’re a shorty like me), and a tall, dark wooden dresser that was mine as a little girl – it just needs some fun glass knobs. I decided against a changing table in the nursery for this baby. I have used the changing table in the nursery maybe two times. We will also be using our existing nursery rocker – a light yellow velvet swivel glider from Best Furniture Co. So cozy, and looks brand new after two years of use. We’ll be hanging a small beaded chandelier in the center of the room…if Pottery Barn ever stops changing the backorder shipment dates.

Paint colors are always my biggest source of indecision. Should I use a more saturated color that will really stand out against the white woodwork and white curtains, or do I stick with a more muted version of the same color? Today I’m leaning toward the lighter shade but we’ll see.

I can’t wait to see how this sweet little room comes together. I want it to feel clean, cozy and fun, with soft textures and pops of bright colors. Girly, but not over-the-top girly. Pictures of progress coming eventually…I have closets to clean out first!


{At Home} Big Boy Bedroom Plans

MHBBRoomBed – Crate and Barrel | Bedding and Sheets – Pottery Barn Kids | Dragon Throw Pillow – Land of Nod | Aqua Triangles Rug and Navy Book Shelves – Pottery Barn Kids | Monster and Tractor Prints – Etsy | Zinc Letters | Anthropologie

I’ve completely neglected the blog lately, but for good reason (at least in my mind). All of my spare brain power has been directed at the three rather complicated home improvement projects we have in the works right now – big boy bedroom, transforming our boy’s nursery into a darling little girl nursery to accommodate the new addition we are expecting in November, and making a fun play space for the kids out of an attic room we have been using as hoarder storage for the last five years. I am probably going to have to stop going to bed at 8:30 p.m. to make all of this happen.

The big boy bedroom is the first project on my long list. My goal is to have our boy firmly established in his new room a few months before baby sister arrives so that transition doesn’t make the big brother transition even harder on him.

The soon-to-be big boy bedroom in our house is a blank slate. It’s much larger than the nursery, with a huge walk-in closet and a bank of windows.  The walls will be neutral, and I plan to add fun pops of color with the rug, bedding and a wall gallery of mixed pictures, art prints and canvases. My inspiration board is above. I’ve been working on this for so long that we’ve already purchased everything in the picture except the book shelves, some of the frames for the wall gallery, and the white room-darkening shades I need for the windows. Next on the list – choosing a paint color. Brown gray? A variation on contractor tan? Darker? Lighter? I’ll keep you posted. Right now, I’m off to start slapping sample paint colors on the walls. Our painter hates me but it’s the method behind my madness. Updates to come!

 


Copycat Rendezvous Meat and Cheese Platter

RendezvousFor anyone not familiar with Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous in Memphis, TN, you are missing out! Stop what you are doing and go immediately. Best barbecue ever, and as a barbecue lover, I don’t make that statement lightly. The restaurant is famous for ribs, slow-cooked in a charcoal pit. Just typing this brings up memories of that amazing charcoal smell and the amazing meals we’ve had there.

We try to make it there at least once a year since we only live a few hours out from Memphis. We usually get ribs when we visit, but we always, always get the the meat and cheese appetizer platter…or two of them.  My sister-in-law introduced us to her copycat version of the meat and cheese platter several years ago, and it’s a family favorite for appetizers or an easy dinner.

Ingredients

1 lb kielbasa (turkey or beef)

8 oz block cheese (sharp cheddar or havarti – we like havarti best)

Rendezvous sauce and seasoning

Pickles and saltine crackers for serving

They sell the Rendezvous’ own barbecue sauce and dry rub seasoning at our local grocery stores, or you can order it online if you can’t find it.

Slice the kielbasa thinly at a diagonal. Toss it in a skillet with a couple tablespoons water (or beer), and sprinkle liberally with Rendezvous dry seasoning. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the kielbasa is browned and the seasoning sticks to it.

While the kielbasa is cooking, slice your block of cheese into thin slices about the size of a saltine cracker or a little smaller. Arrange the cheese on a platter, and add the kielbasa. Sprinkle everything with Rendezvous seasoning. We like to eat ours with saltines and Wickles sweet and spicy pickles.

Not exactly like the Rendezvous version, but close enough to satisfy a craving when you don’t have time to make the trip. Enjoy!


Easter Basket Happies

I had so much fun picking out happies for our boy’s Easter basket this year.

Last year, he was only six months old at Easter so he got a Berenstain Bears Bible, sippy cups, Ella’s Kitchen cookies and a bath toy. He was less than excited about the basket contents and posing for Mama, or maybe he was less than excited about his Easter outfit…a smocked bubble that his Daddy and cousins insisted on calling a dress.

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This year’s haul is much more interesting, and I can’t wait to see his sweet little face when he discovers all of his treats!

The Easter Bunny is bringing a Corduroy Lift-the-Flap Easter book, a DVD of  The Chipmunks Big Adventure (my favorite movie as a kid so maybe this is more for me), bubbles, a tiny bubble gun, an Easter Bunny Mr. Potato Head, Easter Play-Doh, and a toddler-sized monogrammed baseball cap.

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Happy Easter!