The Adventure Starts Here

Friday, January 20, 2017

Winter White

I got my first pair of white jeans just last year.  I haven't even owned them for a year.  I had been interested in owning a pair of white jeans for a long time, but struggled to find a pair that fit well and didn't have see through pockets.  I was thrilled to find these at Old Navy last year, since they looked great and were really affordable!  I figured even if I only wore them a few times they were worth the cost. Fortunately, I ended up wearing them quite a lot last year, but all in the warmer months when white is very popular! And while white jeans are becoming more acceptable to wear all year round, I'm still hesitant about wearing them out in public in the winter.  There's just something about them that scream warmer weather to me.  But the more I peruse fashion blogs and Pinterest, I'm seeing that "winter white" really is a thing.  So here I am today, giving white jeans in the winter a try.  I'll be honest that I have yet to wear this out in public, but the idea is definitely growing on me.  

I decided to stick with neutral colors and made sure that my top and shoes were very winter appropriate to offset the more summery white jeans.  I also like that the riding boots means that I don't have a full white leg showing.  It minimizes the amount of stark white, which in turns makes me more comfortable with the outfit.  

And now that I've styled this "winter white" outfit, I'm tempted to try other options as well.  I'd love your feedback and more outfit ideas if you have them!  

I'm excited to be linking up with Whitney today for the first "A Year of Color"!   

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Noah-isms | January 2017

I love sharing the funny things Noah says.  And since I haven't done a "Noah-isms" post since November, I thought it was time to share some of my recent favorites!

When picking out his shoes or who he wants to do something with he often does "Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe".  But with Noah it's... "Eenie, Minie, Moe. Catcha Catcha Moe. Eenie, Minie, Moe".  Chris and I literally laugh every single time!  

Noah and I were sitting in the living room and Chris was in the kitchen.  Chris and I kept talking back and forth, and finally Noah says...
"What's all the commotion??"

For some reason, instead of saying "can", Noah says "allowed"
"You allowed to open this for me"
But the best is that I can make your hands clap song... "I allowed to make your hands clap"!

One day we were coloring a Doc McStuffins coloring book.  Instead of coloring each character, we instead would take a marker and color everything of that color.  Noah was doing pink, and I told him he forgot to do Lambie's bow.  He so sweetly said, "thanks for reminding me".  He's been saying that a lot ever since.  

One morning he told me...
"I love you and grandma the same amount" Not sure whether to be hurt by that or not lol
So then I told him I loved him as far as space and back.  To which he replied...
"That means it's "41".  41 to get to space and 40,000 to get back."  Umm, okay!?!

Noah is still very into the bathroom humor...

He told Chris to close his eyes for a surprise.  Chris was very hesitant.  
Noah said, "I promise it doesn't have to do with tooting"

"I know it was you that tooted because I didn't feel it in my butt" LOL

While it didn't end up happening, Noah was very adamant that he wanted to help take down the Christmas lights outside.  I told him it was kind of hard getting them off the bushes so we would have to help.  So he came up with a plan...
"I've got an idea... Daddy takes the lights down, hands them to you (me), and then you hand them to me to put in the box".  
I love that he's really thinking these things through ;)

After watching a Daniel Tiger episode about "differences", Noah started listing differences between him and me.  
"I have short hair, you have long hair"
"I like to play, and you don't" (Again, should I be offended?)
"I pick my nose, and you don't" HAHAHA

Noah has always played with my hair for comfort.  When he's tired or hurt or just needs some loving. He will randomly come over to me sometimes and just say "I want to play with your hair".
One night I was out at book club and didn't get home until 10.  Chris wasn't able to get him to sleep and when I walked in to his room, Noah immediately started crying saying "I missed your hair".  

Chris often gives Noah his bath before bed time, but if I'm home he only wants me to take him out and dry him off.  It can sometimes be annoying.  So one night, I'm drying him off and he tells me that I'm hurting his hair.  I told him that maybe he should have daddy do it instead if I'm so horrible at it.  He said, "No, I want you to do it, just not horribly".  

One day we were talking about something and asked if he knew what it was.  He said "Yes, it's like we did on holiday".  Umm, when did my kid become British?  I can only assume he picked it up from Peppa Pig.  

Chris one day took Noah to school and by accident missed the turn.  Noah thought it was hilarious and couldn't wait to run in after school and tell me what happened.  He said, "I like telling mommy things daddy does wrong!"

You can read more Noah-isms here.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Year of Dates 2017 | January - Movie Night at Home

For Christmas, I gave Chris "A Year of Dates".  That means that each month, I have planned out a date for the two of us to go on.  Each month, he will open that month's envelope to find out what the date is.  We did this back in 2014 and really enjoyed going on a date each month.  Since then we have found it easy to push date nights to the side when we don't have them planned out.  That's why I knew it was time to do "A Year of Dates" once again.  This past weekend, we had our first date of 2017!  

I decided to plan a pretty low key "first date".  With weather being unpredictable and the high probability of getting sick this time of year, I figured it was safer to plan an at home date for January.  Chris and I used to go to movies a lot before Noah was born, averaging 3 a month!  Since Noah was born, getting to the movie theater, especially for an adult movie, is pretty rare.  So we have missed quite a few movies over the last few years.  We've recently started watching a few shows (Gilmore Girls and Fuller House) on Netflix, so I thought it would be fun to stream a movie after Noah went to bed.  I had a hard time remembering what movies we wanted to see, so I started browsing through lists of movies released in 2015 and 2016.  I was very surprised to find out how few of the movies we were interested in are available for streaming.  One of the movies on my list was The Intern, and Chris just happened to notice that it's been playing on HBO a lot recently.  So we scrapped the Netflix plan and instead recorded it on our TiVo one random afternoon for us to watch this past weekend.  

I'm happy to report that our at home movie date went really well.  I always worry that when we plan to do something after Noah goes to bed, that he will either be up later than we want or he will wake up multiple times, disrupting our evening.  Thankfully, Noah fell asleep early and quickly and stayed asleep the entire evening, no problem!  I brought down the monitor just so we wouldn't be paranoid over every little sound we heard.  It allowed us to snuggle up on the couch and enjoy the movie with a glass of wine in hand.  

Last time we tried to watch a movie at home, we attempted to do it through Amazon Prime on our TiVo.  Our internet was so slow that we maybe got 10 minutes into the third Hunger Games movie before it stalled and kept saying "buffering".  Our movie plans were ruined that night and we ended up just watching random shows on our TiVo instead.  Watching a recorded movie was definitely a better plan!  And we both really enjoyed The Intern too!  I am a big fan of both Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro and the two of them together was really cute.  If you haven't seen it, I definitely recommend it.  

Stay tuned for our February's date.  I offered to let Chris open the envelope at the end of our movie date, but he opted to wait until February 1st.  So while he doesn't know what we will be doing, I'll give you a hint... it will require a babysitter :)

Have you seen any good movies lately??  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Winter Fun | Indoors & Outside

Winter is here and in New Jersey that means it is pretty darn cold.  For us, that means that we are spending more and more time inside.  The only time we really play outside from January to March is when there's snow on the ground and we are actually playing in it.  The rest of the time I'm counting down until Spring arrives from the comfort of our heated house.  While Noah would be fine just playing with his toys and watching TV all day, I feel like I need some variety to keep our days inside a little more interesting.  So while it helps that Noah is in school 3 mornings a week, I decided to come up with a list of fun activities for us to do when we are at home.  I did include a few snow related activities for us to do when the weather "cooperates", but for the most part, they are things we can do inside.  We've already done a bunch of these things, like building with Legos, baking, and even having a picnic lunch in our living room. And with almost ten weeks left of "winter", I'm pretty confident that we will accomplish everything on our list... and I'm pretty excited about it!  Keep reading, because at the end of the post I've shared my list in case you are looking for some fun activities to do with your kids this winter as well.  

And while I know there are many people who don't experience cold and snowy winters like we do, the great thing about this list is that it is so versatile.  For instance, if you can't make a snowman outside, you could easily make one out of playdoh.  And while our picnics will be reserved to our living room, if you live in a mild climate, how about head to a playground and have a real picnic lunch outside.  And since Noah loves playing hopscotch on our driveway in the summer, I think I will surprise him and make one inside with painters tape so he can hop around all he wants.  Maybe it will help tire him out for bedtime!  No matter what your winter looks (or rather feels) like, you're sure to have fun with your little ones!

Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram

Monday, January 16, 2017

Recent Recipes

Happy Monday!  Chris has off for MLK Day, but Noah still has school.  So while it will be nice to have Chris home, we are kind of back to our normal routine today.  Ever since the new year started, I've made it a point to get back to my meal planning routine.  As a result, I've been cooking a lot more the last two weeks.  First off, Chris has actually been getting home somewhat on time and we've been spending more weekends at home.  Secondly, Chris wants to lose some weight, so I'm trying to make some healthier dinners around here.  I still make pasta on the nights I know he will be working late and package up the leftovers for me to enjoy the next night or for lunch.  Here are a few of the recipes I've been making.  Three are new to me and one is a favorite from last winter that I haven't made in a while!  

Chris was searching for healthier recipes and found this Shrimp and Asparagus stir fry.  While shrimp isn't cheap, this was a really nice and light dinner to enjoy on a Saturday night.  Super simple to make and I always view shrimp as being a little more special than our typical weeknight chicken dinners.  

Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry

1 pound raw shrimp
1 pound asparagus
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (I didn't have, so I seasoned the shrimp with cayenne pepper instead)
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to the pan, then season with ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper. Cook until the shrimp is pink. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.

2. In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and add asparagus. Add ginger and garlic, then season with ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir frequently and cook until the asparagus is tender-crisp.

3. Return the shrimp to the pan, then add soy sauce. Stir until the ingredients are well combined. Just before the dish is ready, add lemon juice, stir once more, then serve while hot.

While this meal is super healthy on it's own, I decided to serve it over brown rice.  I love Uncle Ben's microwavable brown rice since it's so convenient!  

I've been using my crock pot more and more lately.  Even though I am home all day, it's nice to be able to prep for dinner when Noah's at school and have it all ready come dinner time.  I've made a few shredded chicken recipes, but this Apricot Chicken was new for us.

Crockpot Apricot Chicken 

1 pound chicken breasts
1 cup apricot preserves
1 cup Catalina salad dressing
1 (1-oz.) packet Lipton onion soup mix

Put everything in the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  
Shred the chicken when done and serve over rice.  

This next recipe is not new to us, but these stuffed tomatoes are still one of my favorites.  Using my favorite vegetable chopper makes this recipe so much easier!  I also love that I can make a bunch and then just bake the tomatoes as I need them.  This way if Chris does have to work late, I simply bake mine when I'm hungry and save his for when he gets home.  I usually just pop it in the oven when he gets off the train and it's ready for him when he gets home.

Stuffed Tomatoes

1 lb ground beef
4 tomatoes, hollow out insides of tomato
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrot, small diced
1 green pepper, small diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
sprinkle of breadcrumbs (either italian or almond meal)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place olive oil in sauce pan on med/high heat.
Saute carrot, onion, pepper, celery, and garlic for 10 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of chicken stock and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the ground beef and cook through, for about 8-10 minutes. Halfway through cooking the beef, add 1/3 cup of chicken stock, salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and Worcestershire sauce.
Stuff the tomatoes with the meat mixture. You will most likely have meat mixture left over. It's really good the next day either on it's own, with some tostito chips, or over white rice.
Sprinkle each tomato with breadcrumbs and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are browned.  I like to make a few extra and refrigerate to eat as leftovers the following day.  If you do this, I would bake for an additional 5 minutes to make sure it's heated through.

And finally, I made this Chicken Francese for our "Movie Date at Home" this weekend.  My good friend made it on New Year's Eve and I knew I had to try it myself.  I served it with some plain pasta but kind of wish I had a salad to go along with it... next time.  

Chicken Francese 

1lb chicken breasts (I used the breast tenderloins)
1/2 cup flour plus 5 tsp
2/3 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup dry white wine 
4 TBS butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 large eggs beaten (or egg whites)
1 lemon juiced

Heat oil I large pan in medium high heat.
Dredge chicken in flour, then shake off excess and dip in eggs.
Drip off excess eggs and transfer chicken to hot oil and cook until golden brown, about two to three minutes on each side. 
Transfer chicken to a paper towel lined plate. Cover and keep warm.
Discard remaining oil, then add butter and return to heat.
Add the 5 tsps of flour to the chicken broth and mix with a fork.
To the melted butter, add chicken broth (with flour), white wine, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened.
Return chicken to the pan and coat in the sauce.

Serve with pasta and/or a green salad.

Any new recipes you've made recently that I should add to my meal planning?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Little Letters | January 2017

I was recently introduced to a new linkup that really sparked my interest.  Taz and Belly hosts Little Letters, where you basically just write a series of letters to anyone or anything you’d like.  I love reading random tidbits about other people's lives and I think this is a great way for me to do the same thing.  While this could be a really easy way for me to just vent and complain, I'm going to try to include just as many good things as I do annoying things.  Here's my first take on Little Letters...

Dear Resolution Exercisers (you know the people that made the resolution to exercise, lose weight, join a gym, etc.),  While I'm all for your new healthier life style, I can't stand how busy our local YMCA is now because of you.  I used to be able to get a decent parking spot when taking Noah to his weekly swim class.  But now, I have to park so far away I feel like I'm in the next town over... the Y actually is close to the town borders ;).  It feels even further away since Noah isn't the fastest walker.  And when class is over, I'm constantly worried he's gonna be freezing after just being in the pool.  And if you think about it, if your resolution is to exercise more, shouldn't taking a further parking spot help with that too???

Dear iPhone updates, I avoided you for as long as I could, but finally had to give in.  And you know what, while I love many of the new features, I just can't get used to not swiping to unlock!  I know in my head that I'm supposed to tap the home button twice, but muscle memory is really working against me with this one.  I keep swiping out of routine and getting aggravated when it doesn't work.

Dear Hibachi manager, I kind of have a love hate relationship with you at the moment.  When you made my son a balloon animal sword while we were waiting for our table, I thought that was really sweet and thought you were great.  Noah was entertained and I figured that you knew the probable outcome of giving a 4 year old boy a play sword in a restaurant, so I let him have fun.  But now that we are back home and Noah is adamant I don't throw it out, my fondness for your sweet gesture is on the decline.  Noah is now obsessed with knights and practice sword fighting.  I'm constantly worried I'm going to lose a lamp!  Here's hoping this "sword" pops or deflates sooner than later!

Dear remote car starter, I'm not sure how I feel about you right now!  I was so excited when we had you installed.  I had great expectations of starting you from the inside of my warm house.  But then there were a few times when I clicked the button, assuming you started, and went on with my business of getting Noah and myself ready for the day, only to walk outside and find out that the car was not warming up for the last 10 minutes.  I didn't realize I could get so annoyed at a simple key remote!  We brought it back in to where we had it installed and hoping it's now good to go!

Dear gas station attendant, You really are the best!  In the summer, you saw that my son had a mini meltdown when I didn't let him ask you to "fill it up with regular" and hand you the credit card.  Instead of giving the side eye to my irrational 3 year old, you let us "do it over".  You handed him back the credit card and asked him what we wanted.  Not only that, but since then, you by some miracle have remembered us and make a point to go straight to Noah every time asking what he can get for us.  You make my son feel special and important, which is huge in my mama book!

Dear Kings (grocery store), Thank you for thinking of the little kids who have to go grocery shopping with their parents.  Not only do you have the mini shopping carts that my son loves, but you have a little mailbox filled with lollipops for them to take.  And one day the mailbox was empty and you went right away to the shelf and got a new bag of lollipops just so my son wouldn't be upset!  You seriously make Noah excited to go grocery shopping!

Dear Kings, While I love your shopping carts and lollipops, I'm not a fan of your price of shrimp!  I mistakingly got a pound of shrimp from you and then found out it was $10 cheaper (!!!) at Shop Rite.  I really do love your meat and fish selection, but at that much of a price difference, I just can't rationalize it, especially to my husband!

Dear bug sitting on my kitchen faucet, You really gave me quite a shock the other morning!  I am absolutely petrified of bugs.  If someone else is home, they will immediately be called to kill them.  In fact I've even been known to beg my mom come over (who lives 10 minutes away) just to kill them for me!  This bug, that kind of resembled a grasshopper ???, wasn't even really moving, but for some reason I was freaking out over the idea that I had to kill it on my own!  I texted Chris and called my mom for support and killing strategies, and in the end decided to suck it up with my dust buster.  And then I had my mom empty the vacuum when she came over later that day.  Yes, I'm that big of a baby when it comes to bugs!!!

Any " little letters" you need to write at the moment?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Kids Behind The Blog | January 2017

I'm so excited that we are continuing "The Kids Behind The Blog" in 2017!!!  We even got a new graphic for the new year... and I'm loving it!!!  It really is one of my favorite link ups!  I really love recording our interviews on video and documenting his personality, growth, and speech development.

As much as I love asking Noah the questions each month, I also have so much fun reading what your and my co-hosts' (CrystalBethJessicaStephanie) kids have to say each month! And in case you are new to the linkup, here's a little background information. We came up with this idea because we are such huge fans of Betsy's "The Guys Behind the Blog" (which I've heard rumors will be brought back very soon by some of my favorite blogging friends!) and wanted to create something similar to do with the "kids that made us mamas".  Each month, we have a set of questions to ask our kid(s) and we will share their answers on our blogs. We sure hope that you will do the same and link up with us each month! We can't wait to read what your kids have to say!

This month's questions were:

1.) What's your favorite thing to do or play inside?
2.) Have you ever seen or played in snow? If so, what's your favorite snow activity? 
3.) What was your favorite Christmas or holiday gift you received? 
4.) What's your favorite winter vacation you went on? Why? 
5.) Would you rather live where it's warm all year round or have the seasons?

1. Board games... not at all surprised since we play them a lot!  And his favorite board game... absolutely cracking me up!
2. This was funny since we had just come inside from playing in the snow. And yet he couldn't remember that we just went sledding!
3. I love that he had to show off his favorite new toys!
4. This definitely required some prompting, so who knows what he would have come up with otherwise.
5. This answer shocked me!  Especially since he always says winter is his favorite season!

And he wanted me to ask him an extra question.  I was definitely not prepared, but I liked his answer :)

I'd love for you to share what your kids had to say this month. Just grab our button and link up at the bottom of the post! Also make sure to stop by CrystalBethJessica, and Stephanie's blogs to see how their cute kids answered!

And as for next month, the link up will go live on February 8th

February Questions:
1) What does the word love mean to you?
2) Kids choice! How do you want to spend Valentine's Day?
3) Do you have a Valentine? If so, who?
4) How many days are in the month of February?
5) How do you show someone you love them?

I'm so excited that we will be continuing on in 2017 and really hope you will follow along and link up!  As always, it will be on the second Wednesday of each month, on the following dates:

February 8 | March 8 | April 12 | May 10 | June 14
July 12 | August 9 | September 13 | October 11 | November 8 | December 13

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