The Adventure Starts Here

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer Bucket List

Happy Memorial Day!  While we were supposed to be kicking off the unofficial start to Summer in Montreal, that trip will have to be rescheduled since Noah got sick.  Noah was diagnosed with the coxsackie virus earlier last week, and while he has been feeling and acting fine, we didn't want to risk infecting anyone (or get dirty looks from strangers).  So while our weekend was more low key than originally planned, it gave me some time to think about what I want to do as a family this summer!  I have so many ideas and think that at Noah's age (3.5), there's great potential to have our best summer yet!  

While this bucket list was made with our family in mind, it list can easily be adapted for anyone.  A mixture of excursions, outdoor (and indoor) activities, as well as some adult only fun (hello cocktails!).  


What do you have planned for the summer???

Friday, May 27, 2016

Rewind Friday - Travel Throwbacks

Happy Friday!  We should have been on our way to spend the long holiday weekend in Canada.  I was so excited to spend the 4 day weekend in Montreal, but then Noah got sick earlier this week.  What started as a one day mild fever, turned out to be the coxsackie virus (hand foot and mouth), resulting in us being home all week as to not infect anyone else.  While there's a chance he is no longer contagious, we didn't want to take any chances.  I also wasn't in the mood for the stares from strangers because of the bumps he has on his face.  So instead we will be spending the holiday weekend at home.  

Today, however, is our first ever Rewind Friday link-up! In case you missed it, Beth, Whitney, Stephanie and I are hosting this new linkup as a way to share your favorite overlooked content. As a blogger, we are constantly creating and sharing content that we are proud of, and that we've often put a ton of time and effort into. Sometimes a post that we love and worked really hard to put together doesn't get the kind of attention (comments, visits, shares, pins, what have you) that we think it deserves. Now's your chance to get some new eyes on these posts! So grab my Rewind Friday button and link up some of your favorite overlooked posts!  #RewindFridayParty

 photo Reward Friday Button_zpsvlv12xto.jpg



When I originally planned this post, I thought it would be fitting to share some of my favorite travel posts, since I would have been on my way to Montreal.  While that isn't happening anymore, I still thought it would be fun to reminisce, and maybe even live vicariously through some of my favorite past vacations.  

Turks & Caicos - March 2016 (our most recent family vacation) 

I am a huge fan of taking a tropical vacation in the winter months.  I loved the Beaches Resort in Turks & Caicos and would love to go back again! I shared everything from what we did, ate, what I wore, some traveling tips, and things I didn't expect to happen! 



Miami, Florida - February 2014

This was our first vacation with Noah and his first flight!  We had an absolute blast and this is when I realized we could actually travel with Noah!

Miami - Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4

Baltimore, Maryland - April 2015

We went for a long weekend to Baltimore.  While we had a lot of fun, we were also there for the riots, which was kind of scary!  I also shared some more traveling tips, because you can never be too prepared when traveling with kids!

Baltimore - Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

Beach with the family - Narragansett, Rhode Island & Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Each summer, we try to go to the beach with our families.  My family goes up to Narragansett Beach in Rhode Island since that's where my older brother and his family live.  Chris' family goes down to LBI for a week, so we usually try to go down for 1 or 2 days with them as well.

Narragansett Beach - 2015, 2014, 2013
LBI -  2015, 2013

California - September 2011 (pre-Noah)

For our first anniversary, Chris and I went to California.  We started in San Francisco, drove down the PCH, and ended in LA.  It was a wonderful trip that I hope to do again with Noah one day!  It's kind of funny to look back at how we traveled without kids ;)



Italy - September 2010 (our Honeymoon)

Chris and I went to Italy for almost two weeks as our honeymoon.  This was my third time in Italy and Chris' first.  We made sure to hit all the typical tourist cities and sites.  If we ever get back (which I hope we do) I'd like to spend more time in Tuscany and head to Cinque Terre.


So there you have it... A mix of new and older posts.   I can really see how this blog has grown over the past 6 years!  I can't wait to see what posts you link up! And don't forget... Each month we will feature the bloggers with the most clicked links, perpetuating even more views. Win win! 

Here are the dates of our future link ups! 
June 24th | July 29th | August 26th | September 30th 
October 28th | November 25th | December 30th


I'm linking up with The Farmer's Wife and September Farm for "Oh Hey Friday" and with A. Liz Adventures for "Five on Friday"!





Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Guy Behind The Blog | May 2016

I'm back again today with another installment of "The Guys Behind the Blog". I love that each month I get to interview both Chris (here) and Noah (with our new "The Kids Behind the Blog" link up.)  


This month, Betsy and Laura switched it up a bit with some Would You Rather questions, and I have to say the choices are pretty funny.    

1.  Would you rather have to wear your swimsuit to work OR have to carry around a large beach umbrella open all day at work?
Swimsuit to work. Considering I've worn shorts to work a few times in the summer and my office is very casual in the summer, no one would even bat an eyelash.

2. Would you rather play on an MLB team OR get to tour with your favorite band all summer?
Play with an MLB team. I think it would be so fun to play 81 home games plus travel all over the country visiting opposing stadiums and being on tv nightly.

3. Would you rather go to the beach and forget your towel OR go to the beach and forget your sunscreen?
I'd rather forget my towel. I burn if I don't have sunscreen.

4. Would you rather take a week-long vacation to anywhere in the world OR take a month-long vacation but have to stay within 100 miles of home?
Week long vacation anywhere in the world. Month long vacation is way too long and I'd miss too much work.

5. Would you rather get to have as much ice cream as you want this summer, but only be able to get vanilla OR only get to have ice cream three times this summer, but you can have whatever flavors you want?
I'd go for the vanilla as much as I wanted, since I like vanilla. I really wonder what Noah would say since he converted from vanilla to chocolate recently (ask him and insert it here as a follow up, lol)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Currently | Reading Link-up

I love "currently" posts because I love documenting what's going on at the moment.  I'm a huge fan of making digital scrapbooks (both for our family and for Noah) as well as using this blog as a scrapbook of sorts.  I've been doing "currently" posts for a while now, but recently changed up the format.  Here's what I've been up to in May...


Cooking:  new healthier recipes.  My favorites are chicken, rice, and veggie "bowls" using different seasonings to switch up the taste.  I also like that I can make it one night and enjoy leftovers for a few nights.  

Eating:  chips and guac.  I used to hate guacamole, so it's kind of funny how much I love it now!  Some of my favorite guacamoles are... Chipotle, Cheesecake Factory (their table side guac is so good), and Wholly Guacamole from Costco.  

Wanting:  this iPhone charging case.  I hate when I'm out all day away from my home or car charger and I just watch the battery drain.... especially when I'm snapping (@megflinn33)!  I heard about this new case from Erin

Looking:   to update my jewelry storage.  I have slowly been building quite the collection of long statement necklaces and bracelets.  As a result, I need a better way at storing and displaying them.  I'm hoping I can find what I need at Home Goods.  

Hoping:   I don't totally ruin my garden.  My peonies have been looking like they are about to bloom for weeks and I'm starting to get nervous that they will never get past that point.  We planted a hydrangea bush 2 summers ago and this year it seems to be a little delayed.  It is at least growing (just slowly), so I'm very hopeful it will be just as beautiful as last year.   I'm also very nervous about our vegetable garden.  Our seedlings aren't performing as I had hoped.  If we still hope to have a vegetable garden, we may have to get some veggies that have already been started. 


Enjoying:  the warmer weather and the new outfits that come with the change in season.  I don't know about you, but I tend to get bored of my closet when I wear the same things over and over.  I am really happy to be able to pull out my summer clothes and even add a few new pieces.  

Wishing:  Spring would last longer.  I'm a huge fan of sunny and high 60s/low 70s and feel like we didn't get enough of that this year.  I know Spring is also known for rain, but I personally feel we got more rain than was necessary ;)  And now, I can already feel the humidity rising and know the oppressive heat of summer will be here soon.   

Needing:   to schedule some "no plan" weekends this summer.  We have so many fun things that we want to do this summer, and as a result can easily overbook our calendar.  I want to make sure there are a few weekends on the calendar where all we do is go to the pool and hang out :)

Feeling:  proud.  I can't get over Noah and how good he is at writing his letters.  My favorite part is that it's totally self motivated.  Every day he wants to draw and write out different words.  He's mastered spelling Noah, Mom, and Daddy all on his own, and is constantly asking me how to write different words.  

Loving:  my new blush pink purse.  I have become such a huge fan of Old Navy recently and love that I can get such a cute purse at such an amazing price!

purse in brown

Wearing:  espadrilles.  They are my absolute favorite shoe for this in-between weather and are so freaking comfy!  I think I may have a slight obsession!

Watching:  lots of season finales but I'm especially loving Dancing with the Stars this season.  It's funny, cause Chris will often say at the beginning that it's going to be a dud because of the cast.  But honestly, I rarely like the bigger name celebrities. I usually end up rooting for someone I didn't even know before the show started.  I watched the finale dances from Monday night, but chances are I won't watch the finale results until this morning, so I don't know who won.  I love Paige and Mark (and wouldn't mind them winning), but I think Nyle and Peta should win... I can't get over that he's deaf and dancing the way he is!!!

Listening to: Justin Timerberlake's Can't Stop The Feeling.   I mentioned it before, but I really do love this song!

Drinking:  red wine.  In reality I'm not drinking that much red wine, or wine in general.  It's just that I didn't even used to like red wine, white was always my preference.  But recently I've found that I like Cabernet Sauvignon and have been ordering it more when out and even bought a bottle to bring to our last Mom's Night Out.  

Planning:  my outfits for our weekend away.  We are heading up to Montreal for Memorial Day Weekend... nothing says "let's celebrate our American troops" like going to Canada!  The weather forecast says warm but with random thunderstorms... which is the hardest to pack for in my opinion!  

Reading:   Eleanor & Park.  My goal at the beginning of the year was to read one book a month.  While I did read 2 books in March, I slacked off in April and May and only read one book.  And to be honest, I only finished it last night!  But it's not because the book wasn't good (it was), I just had a hard time finding time to read.  Maybe because the weather has been getting better, Noah's been going to bed later, or that I just let life get in the way.  Technically it's a Young Adult book, but I'm learning I really enjoy YA literature.  It's about an unlikely couple who meet when sitting next to each other on the school bus.  I'd rather not ruin the book, so I'll leave it at that.  


I'm linking up with Stephanie's "Reading Wednesday" and can't wait to see what books I should read next!  


What have you been up to this month?  

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

10 Things I Do Each Week to Stay Organized


1.  Meal Planning.
I'm not a crazy planner when it comes to dinner plans.  I know some people plan for an entire month and it works well for them.  For us, Chris' work schedule is so unpredictable that I find it's easier to plan for one week at a time.  On the weekend, I chat with Chris to see if there are any nights he knows he will be late or has a work dinner.  On those nights I try to plan something that can easily be heated up or plan to eat out with my parents or friends (think pizza and ice cream or Chipotle).  Once I know the nights Chris will be home, I like to plan a few meals that also give us some leftovers so that I don't have to cook every night.

2.  Take inventory and grocery shop. 
Once I have our dinners planned for the week, I check our fridge and pantry and make a grocery list.  I also figure out what staples and snacks need to be replenished.  I keep running lists for the grocery store, Target, and Costco.  I go to the regular grocery store on a weekly basis (and sometimes more for produce) and usually end up at Target and Costco once or twice a month.  While I get all of our meat, dairy, and produce at the grocery store, I try to get my baking supplies and snacks at Target since they are usually cheaper there.

3.  Add EVERYTHING to my iPhone calendar.  
Part of me would love to use an physical planner.  I've purchased a few pretty ones thinking it would inspire me to use one, but the reality is that I forget it at home and never get around to filling it up.  On the other hand, I always have my iPhone with me.  So I decided to give up on dream of having a pretty planner and instead just use the iPhone calendar to it's fullest and put anything and everything into it.  I love that I can add things to my phone or my laptop and they stay in sync!  Not only do I add Noah's activities, vacations, and family events to the calendar, but I also add important to-do items.  For example, if there's a craft I want to do or something I want to bake with Noah, I find a free afternoon and add it to the calendar.  This acts as a reminder as well as ensuring I don't overbook our days/weeks.  I even add some cleaning to my calendar to remind me to wash the sheets and clean the bathrooms on a regular basis.  Otherwise I constantly forget when I did it last!

I also use my calendar for blogging and meal planning.  At the top of the day, I enter in the blog post I have planned for that day as well as what we will be having for dinner.  For the blog, this helps me plan out the month.  Making sure I don't forget about linkups and sponsored posts, but also making sure I spread out my craft and mommy style posts.  For meal planning purposes, it's easy to look at my calendar and see what we are having for dinner each night.  It also helps me so I don't make the same dinners over and over!  I will even add "take out chicken" to the night before we are having it so that it's defrosted in plenty of time ;)


4.  Check the weather and our weekly schedule on Sunday night.
While many of our activities are the same each week (school, swim, soccer, etc), there are always random play dates scheduled and appointments for both me and Noah.  I guarantee that if I didn't write them down I would forget to show up to 90% of it!  Now that spring is here, many of our plans are outside and dependent on weather.   So on Sunday evening, I like to remind myself of the things we've committed ourselves to and see if anything that's going to be outside might be cancelled or could be moved to another day.  I also like to check the weather so I can start brainstorming outfit ideas for myself :)

5.  Make a to-do list.
I do this more on a daily basis, but based on my calendar, I then like to make a to-do list in the Notes app on my phone.  It's just a running list of things I want to get done the next day, like appointments to make or little things to do around the house.  I can't tell you how many times I will think of something when falling asleep, and if I didn't write it down I would have totally forgotten about it the next day.

6.  Make a Blog to-do list.
Included in my to-do list in my Notes app, I have a list of blog posts I need to write for the week.  I also make sure to note any photos I need to take or ideas I have for said posts.  This really helped once I decided I wanted to post 5 days a week.  Without my blog calendar and to-do list, I would totally run out of time or have no clue what to post about on a given day!

7.  Catch up on blogs and respond to comments.
In addition to having my own blog, I read and comment on a lot of other blogs.  While I try to stay on top of it on a daily basis, there are times when life gets busy and I don't get to read every post in my Bloglovin feed.  Since most people don't post on the weekends, I will often use Saturday and Sunday to catch up on all my favorite blogs.  I also try to respond to all the comments I receive on my own blog.  Lately I've found that I prefer to respond in batches as it saves me some time.  So every few days I sit down and clear out my inbox by responding to all my wonderful readers :)

8.  Stay on top of cards that need to be mailed out.
While I prefer to buy all my birthday and anniversary cards at the beginning of the year, I often need to remind myself on a monthly or weekly basis to actually fill them out and send!  I like to enter everyone's birthdays into my calendar (I told you I use it for EVERYTHING!).  That way, when I look at my week on Sunday evening, I can see which cards need to be dropped in the mail box.

9.  Stay current on my digital scrapbooking.
I take a lot of photos, and while I share a lot of them on the blog, I also create family scrapbooks (I do all my scrapbooking digitally... creating the pages in Photoshop and uploading them to Shutterfly).  I create two books each year... a family book that I will keep as well as one that is more focused on Noah and his milestones that he will eventually take with him when he moves out.  Obviously this takes a lot of work, so even if I don't find the time each week to actually create the pages, I like to get everything organized for when I do.  I already organize my photos in Photos by week, but many of them don't necessarily make the cut for being printed.  I go through my hundreds of photos and pick my favorites that represent that week and put into a separate folder.  That combined with all the notes I take in my iPhone calendar, when I have the time, I can easily add the photos and journal about what we did.

In addition to including photos in my albums, I also like to add videos (in the form of a QR code).  To do this, each week I pick a few videos I'd like to include and upload them to YouTube using the Capture app.  Then I can easily convert the YouTube link into a QR code using this website.  For all I know the QR code will be as outdated as a VHS tape by the time people are looking through my albums, but I like the idea of including videos in addition to the photos.

10.  Update my Collect and 1SE apps.
As if my photo albums weren't enough to update, I also make monthly photo collages and am working on a yearly video project.  I am most excited about the video project I'm working on since one of my goals at the beginning of the year was to take a video every day.  While I have missed a few days, I am in the process of putting together one second videos that will represent our entire year.  It's been really fun and so far is very manageable by working on it each week rather than letting it pile up.

So tell me, what are some things that you do on a weekly basis to stay on top of things???  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Birthdays X 3!

This weekend was a whole lot of fun, but boy was it exhausting!  Noah was invited to three birthday parties, two of which we were able to go to.   On top of some high energy 4 year old birthday parties, we also celebrated my MIL's (Nonna) birthday on Sunday.  Needless to say, we sang happy birthday multiple times and ate a lot of cake this weekend!   And there isn't much time to recuperate this week... in addition to our normally scheduled activities (school, swim, soccer, and nature club), I also have to get us all packed for a holiday weekend getaway.  Life is fun, but boy is it busy!  Noah's sleep schedule has been thrown off because of it too!  Last week, he took naps 3 days in a row, resulting in a super late bedtime (think close to 11pm!!!).  On Sunday, we were able to avoid a nap, but he was worn out and begged to go to bed at 5:30pm.  Let's hope we can get back to our normal routine this week before we head out of town.  

Anyway, back to our weekend of birthdays.  On Saturday, we had parties for two of Noah's friends that he's known since he was 6 months old.  It's been so much fun watching these boys grow up together.  Apparently 4 year olds like to jump, because both parties were held at these bounce house places.  If you don't have one near you, they are super cool.  It's basically a party venue set up in a warehouse where they have large rooms filled with bounce houses, obstacle courses, and slides, as well as a few arcade style games.  You go from room to room and then finish with pizza and cake.  While they were both jumping parties, they were in different towns and each location had something unique to offer.  Noah had an absolute blast at both!  

^^^There was no way we weren't going to take a photo with this sign!

^^^ "paint ball" American Gladiator style

^^^ I think the dads had just as much fun as the kids did!
^^^ such a cool Chuggington cake!  Noah specifically requested the cupcake under the green train.  You bet I told him that the random cupcake he was served was totally THAT ONE!
 ^^^ the sweetest birthday hugs I ever did see!

On Sunday, we celebrated another birthday, but this time without any bounce houses ;).  Instead, we headed over to Chris' parents' house for a casual birthday barbecue to celebrate Nonna's birthday.  Noah specifically requested that we bring over the Daniel Tiger Game and Looping Louie.  He then wrangled the guys (Noah, Daddy, Granddad, and Uncle Justin) into playing both with him, telling Nonna and me that it was a boys club :)  It was a simple and low key afternoon, just what Nonna requested.  The cutest part was when Noah sang her happy birthday and then proceeded to blow out all her candles.... you can check out the video here :)

^^^ Noah drew her a picture as well as this personalized painting


So tell me, how did you spend your weekend???

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mommy Style | Spring Fashion

Here are about two weeks worth of outfits.  The weather was kind of unpredictable here on the east coast again.  Within two weeks, I went from wearing long sleeves and sweaters to shorts, maxi skirts, and short sleeves.  With the change in weather, I found that I was wearing a few new pieces and having lots of fun putting together new outfits, which in turn inspired me to photograph more outfits.  But for full disclosure, there were many days where I didn't photograph my daily outfit because I was simply wearing sweats ;)

A typical Wednesday... Swim class in the morning and hosting a play date in the afternoon.  

I love this lightweight sweater because of the back detailing.  While not necessary when just running errands, I love adding a colorful necklace to an otherwise neutral outfit.  

sweater (Loft - similar, similar) |  jeans | soludos  | necklace (Limited - similar style)

Mother's Day at Noah's school

I normally wear sweats on Thursdays since I usually go home to clean the bathrooms after dropping Noah off at school.  But this particular Thursday the moms were invited to stay at drop off and were treated to a few songs, story time, and a few Mother's Day gifts.  I figured that was worth dressing up a little for.  

jeans | blouse - similar, pretty option for the summer

Mother's Day Lunch with my In-Laws

On Mother's Day Saturday, we went out for a somewhat casual lunch with Chris' parents.  The weather was kind of cool and cloudy, so I chose a simple navy top and added some color with this floral infinity scarf.  

shirt (Old Navy - similar) | scarf (Urban Cowgirl) | jeans | espadrilles watch 

Mother's Day

We had a busy day planned, as you can see here.  While we were going out for breakfast and dinner, both were at relatively casual restaurants.  I decided to dress comfortably but stylish.  Noah specifically requested I wear my purple watch :)


shirt | distressed jeans | watch (old Marc Jacobs, cheaper option)

School drop-off and a trip to the dentist.

We finally got some beautiful weather, and I was so happy to be able to wear short sleeves without adding a cardigan or jacket.  I prefer wearing this top on its own since I hate covering up the beautiful back.  


shirt - Loft, similar short sleeve sweater  | jeans | espadrilles | necklace

Swim school, some errands, and lunch with Nonna & Granddad

Since we were going to be out for most of the day with temps in the 70s, I opted for a simple t-shirt and maxi skirt.  In the summer months, I live in skirts and sundresses!  


shirt | skirt - in blue, similarnecklace - similar, similar | bracelets

MOMS Night Out

It's rare, but last week I went out to dinner with some lovely ladies from my MOMS Club!  The weather was so beautiful that we were actually able to eat outside, and it was wonderful.  I contemplated wearing a casual dress, but instead settled on wearing my new white jeans.  I love a classic black and white look and chose this silky black top and some gold accessories.  

white jeans | blouseespadrilles | necklace | watch 

Spending the day at the University of Delaware

On Saturday, we took a 2+ hour drive down to Delaware and then spent the afternoon wandering around campus.  The forecast called for 70 degrees and sunny (until the afternoon storm hit), so I knew I wanted something comfortable for the car and weather appropriate once there.   

shorts | shirt | shoes

Wedding

Saturday evening, Chris and I got all dressed up for a friend's wedding.  I'm so bummed this dress isn't listed online anymore because I love it and think it's absolutely perfect for Spring weddings!  Thankfully there are many other floral options available. 

dress - Banana Republic, no longer available - a pretty floral alternative
earrings - Loft, similarshoes 

You can see the rest of my mommy style posts here.

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