The Adventure Starts Here

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Never Ending Laundry!

There are some things in life, especially as a mom to a young child, that seem so repetitive and never ending.  As soon as breakfast is made and cleaned up, it seems a snack is being requested and then it's time for lunch.  Crumbs are constantly being vacuumed off the floor and from inside the couch.  Even the simple routine of brushing teeth, washing hands, and reminding him to go to the bathroom before we leave the house.  And the laundry, it never ends!  Between the washing, folding, and ironing, it seems that by the time I have one load completely done, another has already piled up in the hamper.  

I can't say that I hate doing laundry as much as some people do. I actually do find satisfaction in having all my clean clothes folded and put away and love having an empty hamper, even if it's only for an hour!  When Noah was a baby and spit up often, it felt like I was always throwing a load on.  And I try to block out the time in our life when Noah was leaking through his night diapers and I was changing his sheets on a daily basis.  Now that we are in a more predictable stage of life (at least when it comes to laundry), I've found that creating a loose laundry schedule has helped a lot.  I wash all of our clothes on Mondays and Fridays.  I usually end up doing three loads since I like to wash Noah's clothes separately and often have to wash my tops on gentle cycle.  Barring there were no middle of the night accidents, I wash sheets on Tuesday.  And all the towels (bath, kitchen, and swim) are done on Thursday.  As for ironing, this is a work in progress.  Right now, Chris picks out 6-7 shirts for the week and I iron on Tuesdays.  Ideally, I would like to have all of his shirts ironed and hanging in the closet so that I just iron as I do the laundry.  That way he wouldn't have to plan out his outfits in advance and we will be more prepared if something comes up last minute. 

^^^ we have three of these laundry baskets (old from Crate & Barrel) in our house.  One for Chris and me, a second for Noah, and we use the third in the basement to store Noah's stuffed animals!  I love the divider so I can keep my "gentle cycle" items separate from the rest.  

When we were looking at houses, I was very torn with whether I wanted the laundry room on the first or second floor.  I knew I didn't want one in the basement (two sets of stairs didn't sound fun), but other than that I didn't have a clear preference.  While having it on the same floor as our bedrooms sounds convenient, I didn't love the idea of the loud washer and dryer waking Noah if he was sleeping.  And I kind of like being able to switch loads throughout the day while Noah is playing without having to go up and down the stairs.  In the end, the house we ended up buying had a laundry room on the first floor, and so far I really like it.  It's not huge by any means, but it's much better than the "closet" we had in our apartment.  In theory, I love the idea of front loaders which then give you a work space above to fold.  But in reality, I didn't love our front load washer in the apartment.  It was constantly getting mold in the rubber front and I never found a way to fully clean it.  So while I miss the extra work and storage space, I was very relieved to have a top load washer again.  

When we moved in, the laundry room had a small linen closet as well as a hanging rod above the machines.  I knew I would need more storage than that, so we hung a simple wire shelf above the machines.  In the future, we might upgrade to actually cabinets, but for right now this works well.  We use this room to not only store our laundry needs, but also to store some extra bulk items, like tissue boxes, sponges, ziploc bags, and cleaning supplies.  Chris loves buying in bulk, and as you can see from the photos, we are very well stocked!  While I don't think I'll be buying sponges or detergent any time soon, I'm always amazed at how quickly we go through tissue boxes!

In addition to extra cleaning supplies, I also keep Noah's swim bag in the linen closet.  I find it easy to just empty Noah's wet towels and swim suit into the washing machine, and then refill the bag as soon as everything has dried.  It's so much easier knowing I'm prepared for the next week's class.  

I thought I'd share a few helpful tricks that really work for us.  First, is having an extra hamper that I keep in the laundry room.  Noah prefers to get dressed for school downstairs after he eats breakfast.  So every morning, his pajamas get thrown into the laundry room hamper instead of having to run back upstairs to his room.  It also comes in handy when Noah inevitably takes off his socks or I have a dirty kitchen towel.  My second trick is so new that it isn't even shown in the photo. I recently added a small trashcan to the bottom of the linen closet.  While I haven't really had a problem emptying pockets (yet), I do use it for cleaning out the lint.  I used to avoid this for way too long because it was a pain to have to take the lint trap to the kitchen (even though it was just around the corner).  But now that I have a trash can right there, I empty it out more often.  When it's full, I empty it into the large kitchen garbage.  I love when super simple additions make a big impact!

Drafting this laundry post reminded me of a conversation I had about 10 years ago with some coworkers.  Somehow we started talking about how often we wash our jeans.  Most of us, including myself, said that unless we spilled something that we wore them a couple of times before washing.  One of my male coworkers was shocked at this and told us that he washed them after every single wear.  This memory made me curious to hear how often people wash other things.  For instance, I wash our towels and sheets on a weekly basis.  As for clothes, other than jeans, I'm a wear once and wash.  Everything from pajamas, to bras, to sweaters.  But I really am curious what you guys all do, and I promise there will be no judgment!  I've seen some posts on Pinterest on how often you should wash and clean things, and I'm always convinced that people just don't live that way.  Are there people out there that really wipe down their toilets and sinks every single day?  Maybe there are, but I'm definitely not one of them! 

So tell me, how often do you wash your clothes (jeans, pajamas, bras, etc.), sheets, and towels???

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Our Valentine's Day

Being that Valentine's Day was on a weekday this year, it felt a little different.  Not that we necessarily go all out when it's on a weekend, but I have to admit that Chris and I really do like to shower Noah with love and treats.  So while Chris and I had our "Valentine" date over the weekend, we still tried to make the day special for Noah, even if Chris had to work.  Our Valentine's Day was filled with festive food, a craft, and a few gifts.   

On Valentine's Eve, we went over to our friends' house for a play date and made some heart shaped mini pizzas with the kids.  Some sauce spilled over and more cheese went in their mouths than put on the pizzas. But the kids had fun, and the pizzas still resembled hearts when they came out of the oven, so I call it a huge success!

Noah had so much fun doing the "Buddy the Elf" scavenger hunt, that I knew I wanted to do another one for him for Valentine's Day.  After he fell asleep, I hid some heart shaped clues all over the house while Chris blew up a bunch of balloons to hide in the basement as the "treasure" at the end of the hunt.  The clues were things like "your favorite drink", which led him to the chocolate milk in the fridge and ended with "where you and Daddy play on the weekends", which led him to the basement to find the balloons!  He got every clue really fast, and was only confused by the last one, guessing that he and Daddy usually play in living room, not the basement.  He loved the scavenger hunt and I definitely think this will have to be a new tradition for us!  

And even though Chris had to work on Valentine's Day, he still managed to surprised Noah and me when we came downstairs in the morning.  Balloons, roses, and lots of sweet treats greeted us when we walked in to the kitchen.  While I had originally planned to make Noah some red pancakes for breakfast, as soon as we saw the donuts, those plans changed! 

We then quickly got ready and headed out the door to meet up with some friends.  I was a little bummed he wouldn't wear his Valentine's shirt, but he did promise me he'd wear it to school the next day for their Valentine party.  We went to our local environmental center where the kids learned about birds, and then made a Valentine craft AND a bird feeder.  It was so sweet when Noah decided that his craft was going to be for Daddy when he got home that night!  We then went to lunch with his friends before heading home to just hang out.  It really was a great way to spend Valentine's Day! 

Once we were home, it was all about the gifts.  Chris and I kept it simple by giving Noah a new construction Lego set and some alphabet stamps.  He loved them both and was ready to start building, that is until Grandma arrived with even more gifts!  This boy is definitely loved (and spoiled!).  

Grandma and Papa gave him Guess Who, a Batman Lego set, a few books, and even more candy.  I think it's safe to say that Noah was basically surviving on an all sugar diet at this point!  After reading Wacky Wednesday, playing multiple rounds of Guess Who, and building his Batman Lego, it was time for dinner.  Noah wanted to eat at home, so my mom went out and picked up Chipotle for us, getting an extra bowl for Chris for when he finally got home from work.  I was so relieved to see the sugar didn't affect Noah's appetite and he inhaled his quesadilla, rice, and cantaloupe!  

Grandma went home, and we were lucky enough to have Chris home on time (which still isn't until 6:45).  Noah helped us exchange cards and open our gifts.  We were cracking up to find out that we both used the same photo in our personalized cards!  Chris took my hints and got me a few things I mentioned in this post.  I was a happy girl :).  As for Chris, I got him some beer a little 6 pack cooler we can use when we go to BYO restaurants.  I had put the beer in our basement fridge a few days ago, knowing there was a good chance of him seeing it.  He kept quiet but admitted that he had already seen it.  I got him Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and he was convinced that I bought it after asking his friend what his favorite beer was.  We don't really drink much at home and I really know nothing about beer. When we are out, I usually see him order a Miller Lite, or prefers to try something new that they have on tap.  But since this was a gift, I wanted to get something a little nicer than Miller Lite.  So I went to our local liquor store and just started looking at all the different beers.  I ended up with the Cherry Wheat because I remembered he liked the seasonal Sam Adams and he's always down for trying the fruity flavors.  Chris was shocked that I just happened to pick out his favorite beer without any help.  We couldn't get over how random and fortuitous my beer selection was!  

So that was our Valentine's Day.  An otherwise typical Tuesday, that was made special and full of extra love!  

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day?

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Year of Dates 2017 | February - Once

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 went on our February date, and unlike last month's movie at home, this one required a babysitter, aka my mom.  

Three years ago when we first did "A Year of Dates", one of Chris' favorite dates was in March when we went to see Rock of Ages at the local theater in town.  We didn't live in a huge town, but this theater got some pretty decent shows, everything from comedy shows, to kid productions, to shows that used to be on Broadway.  So when planning the dates this year, I was pleased to find that the Broadway show "Once" was coming to that same theater.  We never saw the show on Broadway or even knew that much about the story, but I had heard such great things about the music.  Since this was not only our "February date" but also our Valentine's Day date, we decided to make an event of it all and grabbed lunch before our 2 pm show.  

Before I get to the details of our date, let's talk about my outfit.  It was a cold and dreary Sunday.  If we didn't have plans, it would have been the perfect day to just stay inside all day.  While I had originally thought of wearing a dress, I really just wanted to be comfortable and warm!  This sweater with the floral back detailing was perfect.  It kept me warm but had an extra feminine touch to make it a little more special for our Valentine date.  A sparkly necklace and a bright pink lip completed the outfit.  Not only was it cold, but there was freezing rain on top of that.  Thankfully the roads were fine for driving, but the sidewalks were a different story.  Some of the restaurants and stores had done a good job salting them, but there were quite a few patches of super slick sidewalk, causing me to have to hold on to Chris to keep me up.  While these boots are super comfortable despite the heel, I learned this weekend that they don't have much traction.  I felt like I was ice skating!  No worries though, I still love these boots!

sweater (now 40% off), similar (more sizes) | necklace (similar) | jeans
brown boots - I ordered up half a size and in wide width based on reviews. 
lipstick (Smitten) and gloss (Kissyfit)

Since the show was starting at 2pm, we opted to grab lunch before.  Since living in Morristown, a few new restaurants have opened.  One of which is a second location to a restaurant Chris' family has been going to for years.  We knew we liked the food, so we were eager to check this location out.  The funny thing is, it replaced a restaurant that we had gone to for our 2nd anniversary.  We really loved that place and it's vibe (it's still around, just in a new town), so we were excited to see if the inside decor would be changed.  They made some slight changes from the last restaurant there, but it definitely resembles the old restaurant more than it does their other location, which is a good thing. 

Since we went on a Sunday, they were serving brunch rather than their normal lunch menu.  We laughed when the waitress asked us the time when we ordered a glass of wine and a beer, since they can't serve alcohol until after 12.  Not sure if that is a New Jersey thing, but we are used to this rule and already knew it was past noon before ordering ;)  I think we both wanted warming up, I ordered the french onion soup and Chris ordered the chili... both were delicious.  We then each ordered a grilled cheese, mine had short ribs in it and Chris' had avocado.  And since we had some time to kill before the show started, and had no desire to waste time outside in the elements, we opted to splurge and get some dessert as well.  A small sacrifice indeed ;) 

I was a little nervous about the slippery sidewalks for our walk back to the theater, but thankfully the rain had stopped and the sidewalks were a little better.  Still some icy patches, but at least I didn't feel like I was ice skating the whole way ;)  While I usually prefer Orchestra seats, for this performance I was able to get some really good seats in the Balcony.  My general rule is that if I can't be in the first few rows of the Balcony, that I'd rather be in Orchestra, even if it's the last row.  We had 3rd row seats and on the aisle (which Chris loves).  And we just so lucked out that there was an empty seat next to me, giving us a little more room to spread out.  

The show takes place in Dublin and a lot of it is set in a pub.  As we were waiting for the show to start, the stage acted as an extra bar where the audience could actually go and get a drink!  It was pretty cool that you could go and really see the whole set up close.  Since we were already in our balcony seats when we learned this, we opted against going up, but we still thought it was cool.  And before the lights dimmed and the actual show started, the ensemble cast played some really fun Irish music as a pre-show.  Chris and I kept asking if this was the real show and were so confused why the lights were still up.  If you get a chance to see Once, I would definitely recommend it!  The show, and especially all the music, was really amazing and makes me want to go to Ireland.  You think I could get away with planning a trip to Ireland as one of our "dates" ;)

Stay tuned for next month's date.  March is my birthday month, so I'm sure Chris can guess what our date will be ;)

Does your town have any good local theater?  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Little Letters | February 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.  Here are my Little Letters for February...

Dear Noah's Art Enrichment, I am amazed at the things you do with a bunch of 3/4 year olds!  Noah stays after school once a week for an art class.  While we do lots of art projects at home, I'm constantly impressed with the things Noah brings home from this weekly class.  They teach the kids such cool techniques and do things I would never even think of!  

Dear laid back weekends, I love you!  The majority of the year, we fill our weekends to the brim.  While most of our plans are super fun, we don't set aside much time to just sit back and hang out.  But in the winter, there naturally aren't as many plans, meaning we have more weekends spent at home in our pjs/sweats, just playing and hanging out.  And I have to say that I'm really loving it.  I may need to build more downtime into our weekends going forward!

Dear Dad, please get better soon!  My dad has been sick (with a cold, nothing crazy serious) for over a month.  And while I want him to get better just to be better, I also have a rather selfish reason as well.  He's the one who hangs all my frames and shelves.  I've been accumulating a very long list of things for him to hang since before Christmas.  Back then, we decided to hold off until January when things weren't as busy.  And now it's February and I'm still waiting.  I guess I could learn to hang things on my own too ;)

Dear Costco, you sure do know what you're doing the day before Super Bowl.  The samples you put out are delicious and perfect for the big game!  The store may be super crowded, but it's totally worth it.  We learned this last year by accident and this year Chris purposefully scheduled our trip for the Saturday before the Super Bowl just so we could try all the yummy food!

Dear photography class, thanks for helping me shoot better in low light!  I loved learning about composition and all that other good stuff, but the whole low lighting thing really helped me this time of year.  I feel more confident taking photos of Noah inside our house during the winter now!

Dear Lunch Bunch, I think I'm gonna like you.  Just a few weeks ago, Noah started staying after school a couple days a week for lunch.  Not only does Noah staying for lunch give me a little extra time to get stuff done, but Noah loves it!  He loves packing a lunch, finding the notes Chris and I leave him, and eating with his friends!

Dear Noah, thank you for trying some new foods lately!  For a while now, Noah's been a pretty picky eater.  While he likes lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, he can be pretty picky and not willing to try new things.  He also has a thing against most meat.  But just recently he tried English Muffin pizzas and rotisserie chicken and liked both!  He also tried my Chicken Francese (and didn't like it), but the important part is that he tried it!

Dear tree that fell down in my backyard after a windy storm, you made me a little worried.  When I saw a huge tree down in my backyard, I immediately saw dollar signs.  Having a tree removed is not cheap!  Thankfully, since we live in an association, and the tree was on the back part of our property, the association is responsible for removing it.  I'm also really relieved that the tree didn't hit our house or our deck... that would have been horrible!

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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What I Wore | Mommy Style

It's been a while since I've shared my every day outfits.  I have to admit that I started wearing sweats more and more during the week.  The cold weather combined with not many plans made me a little lazy with my fashion.  And even though it's still winter here, we have been having some nicer days thrown in here and there.  And slowly, I'm getting back into the routine of actually getting dressed and actually taking photos.  I've been trying to limit my spending, so most of outfits include old pieces that are no longer available.  I did however link up similar pieces when I could. 

 wool coat (currently on sale!) |  sunglasses  

similar peplum top | jeans (Stitch Fix) | boots (similar)

similar sweater | jeans | necklace 

Plum shirt (similar) | sweatpants | slippers 

top (similar Lou & Grey) | jeans (Stitch Fix)

sweater (old Loft) | leggings | boots (similar

top (similar) | jeans | similar necklace

top | jeans (Stitch Fix) | booties

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Kids Behind The Blog | February 2017

I can't believe we are already into our second month of "The Kids Behind The Blog" in 2017!!!  This is technically our one year anniversary for this linkup, and it's still one of my favorites!  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 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?

1. Not really sure what I thought he'd say.  But I do think it's adorable that he asked "you allowed to tell me?".
2. While I have a few more fun things planned for Valentine's Day, I really love his ideas!
3. I have to admit that I would have loved if he said I was his Valentine, but I guess if I'm not, I'm glad his daddy is!
4. Noah still has no concept of time ;)
5. And Noah really does give the best hugs!
And once again he wanted an extra question.  This time he came up with it before hand and told me to ask it.

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 March 8th

March Questions:
1) What's at the end of a rainbow?
2) What do you like to do when it rains? Jump in puddles or play inside?
3) If you found a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow what would you do?
4) Tell me three ways you know it is spring time.
5) Do you wear green on St. Patrick's Day? What happens if you don't wear green?

We really hope you will follow along and link up going forward!  As always, it will be on the second Wednesday of each month, on the following dates:

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Teacher Gifts for Valentine's Day

Only one week left until Valentine's Day.  While I do think it's a Hallmark holiday, I love that it's an excuse to show some extra love and treat the special people in your life.  Valentine's Day lands on a Tuesday this year, and that just so happens to be our "free day" where Noah and I don't have any set plans.  I have some fun things planned for the day, including lots of heart shaped and red foods as well as a few fun activities to do with Noah.  While we will be home on the actual holiday, Noah will be bringing some paper valentine cards into school for his classmates the day before.  I thought it would be nice for him to give a little something to his teachers as well.  We have some amazing teachers that really deserve some extra recognition. When giving gifts, I try not to go overboard and prefer something practical with a little extra treat.     

I knew Target was the place to go, as their holiday selection is always on point, and found these really cute mugs from the dollar section.  I knew I wanted to fill them with a gift card and some chocolates. My favorite chocolates are Dove, and I chose the traditional milk chocolate as well as the caramel filled ones.  These are definitely my favorite, so I hope they like them too!  While at Target, I also grabbed some cute metallic gift bags and tissue paper to tie in with the mugs.  As for the gift card, I continued on with the mug theme and got some Dunkin Donuts gift cards.  Even if they don't like coffee, they have to like donuts right???

When it came time to assembling the gift, I added some tissue paper in the bottom of the mug.  That way I didn't need as much chocolate to fill it to the top and the gift card is visible as soon as they open it.  I really hope they enjoy this simple Valentine gift and know how much we appreciate them!  

Do you give Valentine gifts for your kids' teachers?

Beth at Our Pretty Little Girls | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Crystal at Hall Around Texas | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram 

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