The Adventure Starts Here: February 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Our Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday and Leap Day!  Not sure if anyone actually celebrates Leap Day... I know we don't (it's probably the only holiday I don't make a big deal out of!).  Instead, we will be getting back into our normal routine today.  We had another fun weekend with Chris home.  We spent Saturday running errands, tackling our to-do list, and relaxing at home.  Chris took some photos of me for a future fashion post and Noah was eager to join in on the fun.  I let him pose with me a few times and then I tried to find something to distract him with.  I ended up telling him to go pick up a sticks and pine cones ;)  Then it was off to run some errands.  We stopped by a jewelry store to get my watch battery replaced and I couldn't help but smile at the sign in the parking lot.  I was also very pleased to find out that they didn't charge us for the battery :)  Then it was DSW for some new shoes (to wear to a wedding), TJ Maxx (just because it's fun to browse), Loft (for a return and so Noah could pick me out the shirt he wants to get me for my birthday), and lunch at Chipotle.  Then Chris and Noah spent the afternoon playing while I banged out a bunch of blog posts... it was a very productive afternoon.  

Chris surprised me Saturday night by assembling the new Trofast shelves that I picked up at Ikea to store all of Noah's Duplos.  Originally I had planned to sort the Legos by size.  My theory was that when looking for a piece it's harder to differentiate size versus color at a quick glance.  But Noah wanted to help Chris put away his Legos and wanted to sort them by color, and who can argue with a 3 year old that wants to help :)  I was spoiled the rest of the day with beautiful weather and some early birthday celebrations.  My birthday isn't until Thursday, but we had brunch with Chris' parents and then went over to our good friends' house for a birthday dinner.  The kids got to play while we got to socialize and enjoy a glass (or two) of wine.  While 32 feels like kind of a blah birthday, friends and family sure do make it feel special.  I'm looking forward to some more celebrating (and cake) next weekend too :)

We were so exhausted by the time that we got home that I didn't even watch any of the Oscars or the Red Carpet!  I guess I'll be catching up on all things fashion this morning!  

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Five on Friday - Ikea Edition

Happy Friday!  This week, Noah and I headed out to Ikea with my mom.  I like to bring my mom with us whenever we go during the week... the extra help is always nice.  It's a 45 minute drive, using a shopping cart and a dolly is easier with two people (duh), and this way I don't have to lock up my purchases while getting my car.  Plus, I just really like her company :)  We didn't have too many things to get this time (at least compared to other visits), but I thought I would share some of the things we bought and some of my favorite things about Ikea.  


When we go to Ikea, we usually try to plan it around a meal.  I love their meatballs and this time Noah got their eggs and breakfast potatoes (we timed it that they were still serving some breakfast as well).  I just wish they had straws... Noah drinking chocolate milk out of a glass cup made me nervous!  We often get an ice cream cone while there too, but Noah asked for cookies instead this time.

I also love that they have miniature sinks that are the perfect height for little kids!  Noah was able to wash his hands all on his own!  I don't know about you, but it can be hard to hold your child up in a public restroom just so they can wash their hands!  


The main reason we went to Ikea was to get one of these Trofast systems.  While we didn't get this color combination, we did pick up two of these "towers" with a ton of shallow bins.  The yellow bins did tempt me (since it's Noah's favorite color), but I really didn't see how I'd work it into our current decor ;)  I plan to organize and house all of Noah's Lego Duplos in here.  Our current situation worked when he didn't have a ton of sets, but his collection has definitely grown.  Hopefully I will find some time to assemble it soon so I can share the finished product :)


While we were there I was also excited to look for some spring decor to put on our mantle.  I found these metal pots and fake grass and thought they would look great!  I love how it will work for Easter but could be kept up through the summer if I wanted to!  


We also picked up a few stools.  We already have two of the larger ones (second picture, but can't find online) that Noah uses when he helps me in the kitchen and in the downstairs bathroom so he can wash his hands (and now reach the toilet).  This trip I got two of the shorter stools for him to use in the upstairs bathrooms to help get on the toilet.  I also love that it just happens to match our green potty seat and the shower curtain!  I also picked up another tall stool for my dad since he loves the ones we already own.   I just love that they are the perfect height, they are slip proof, and light enough that Noah can move it around to wherever he needs it.  We joke that you'll be cooking and up pops Noah... have stool, will travel!  

^^^ I guess I should take the sticker off!


While these are the things we got this trip, I'm also obsessed with the Kallax bookcases (we have a bunch of them) and their frames.  Chris has told me I'm not allowed to buy anymore frames because we are basically running out of wall space.  But really, how can you beat the prices and they look great hung on a gallery wall!  But enough about what I love most about Ikea.  Noah's favorite part was the blue maps they had scattered throughout the store.  He was so excited when we'd find one and even wanted me to take a photo of it on my phone so that he could look at it the entire time.  I wonder if he expected it to be interactive and see the red dot moving with him!!!

Are you an Ikea fan?  Do you have one nearby?  What are your favorite things to get there???

I'm linking up with The Farmer's Wife and September Farm for "Oh Hey Friday"!

I'm also linking up with A. Liz Adventures for "Five on Friday".

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Guys Behind the Blog | February 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.)  

Since there will be 29 days this month, Betsy came up with questions that all have to do with Leap Year.

1. This year is Leap Year — what are you going to do to celebrate?
Since it's a Monday, nothing. I'll be working.

2. If you could create an obscure holiday, what would it be and why?
I'd create "act like a kid" day because I don't think enough parents out there act silly and goofy like a little toddler.

3. Have you seen the movie Leap Year? If not, tell us about another romantic comedy you have seen.
No I haven't seen Leap Year. All romcoms that I've seen in the last few years have usually been date nights and not my choice of a movie, so I don't remember much from them, unfortunately.
Me: Would you consider Trainwreck a romantic comedy, because I think that's the last movie we saw in the theater :)

4. Tradition has it that women are supposed to propose to their men on leap day. Would you (or did you) say yes if your girl popped the question?
Sure, I'd say yes if Meghan popped the question.

5. If you had to have a special event take place on leap day, what would it be (ex: wedding, birthday, birth of your child, etc)?
I wouldn't want any special events take place on leap day because I don't think it's fair for a child to have that day as a birthday and only get to truly celebrate it every 4 years.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Currently | February 2016

I'm kind of surprised to say that this is my first "Currently" post of 2016.  I used to do them every month where I shared 5 things that Noah and I were into each month.  While I've switched formats for the time being, I'm happy to be back sharing some random things I am currently doing.  

Cooking: Meals that can be easily reheated.  Chris has been working late so often that I avoid making dinners that aren't great warmed up.  It leaves me with a lot of pastas, casseroles, and crock pot meals.

Wishing: That Chris won't have to work late for much longer.  Noah and I both miss having more time with Chris during the week.   

Eating: Pears.  I've always loved pears, but recently I started buying Bosc pears and I've really loved having them with my lunch or as an afternoon snack.  

Wanting: Warmer weather!  With all the spring styles being sold in stores, I can't wait to be able to start wearing short sleeves and sandals.  

Looking:  Forward to planning another visit with our Massachusetts friends!  

Enjoying: My time while Noah's in school.  I try to do things that I can't do when Noah's home with me.  Usually it's cleaning/organizing, working on blog posts, or watching one of my own shows.  Noah's really good at running errands, so I rarely do that while he's away.  

Hoping: We get some nice weather for Easter.  My brother and his family are talking about coming down and I hope that snow doesn't mess up that visit like it did at Valentine's Day.  I also wouldn't mind to wear a pretty spring dress and not freeze my legs off!  

Needing:  To start tracking our expenses again.  It's easy to forget that all those under $100 expenses can add up really fast!  

Feeling: Like potty training Noah has so far been a little too easy.  I hope it's just because I waited until he was ready, but part of me thinks we're still not out of the woods yet. 

Loving: Noah's Swim School.  While I didn't really mind going in the water with him, I admit that it's much nicer to stay dry and watch from the sidelines.  It makes getting Noah dressed after class that much easier too.  

Wearing: lots of scarves and colorful socks.  As you can see here.  

Watching: Pretty Little Liars.  I'm pretty excited it's back and curious where they are going with it now that they've flashed forward 5 years.  I admit that I am pretty bummed Hannah and Caleb broke up :(

Listening to: Lots of kid show theme songs.  Right now my favorites are the ones from Sheriff Callie's Wild West and Miles From Tomorrowland.  They are so catchy that I find myself singing them randomly throughout the day.  

Drinking: Smoothies.  Ever since we added the Carnation Breakfast Essentials to our smoothies, Noah's been asking for the powder every single day.  He's also been requesting spinach to be added to our daily smoothie as well... won't argue with that!

Planning:  What restaurants we are going to eat at while in Turks & Caicos.  We are staying at the Beaches resort and it's all inclusive.  We are trying to figure out how to try out as many restaurants as we can during our 4 night stay.  Can you tell food is super important to us?

Reading: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  It's my first book by this author but it definitely won't be my last.  I've received so many recommendations of her books and can't wait to add a few more to my must read list!  This book was longer than the YA books I've been reading recently, so while it took me a little longer to read, it was great and kept my interest the entire time!  I don't want to give anything away, but it's basically about three different women, who's kids are all in the same kindergarten class.  We learn all about their secrets, big and small, as they interact with each other and the other moms in the class.  I'm also super excited that they are making into a limited tv series on HBO starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley as the main characters.  We may just have to get HBO simply for this! 

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?  Read any good books that I should add to my "must read" list?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Our Weekend in Photos

While nothing earth shattering happened this weekend, I have to say that I loved it.  The only real things we had on our to do list were to hang our new blinds and to try a new restaurant in town.  My dad helped us hang 5 sets of blinds on Saturday morning and we went out to dinner on Sunday night. In between, we really just took it easy.  I stayed in my sweatpants, didn't wear makeup (except for when we went out to dinner), and we continued to work on potty training with Noah (he's doing exceptionally well!).  After another week where Noah didn't get to see daddy, he was stuck to him like glue.  The weekend was filled with choo choos (regular and Lego), puzzles, blocks, board games, walks to look at diggers (again and twice this weekend), and even two bubble baths!  We were fortunate enough to have a random mild weekend, with temps in the mid 60s!  While the boys played, I put on my domestic hat and ironed, vacuumed, and washed the floors.  When the mood strikes, I find it's best to act on it, because chances are it won't last for long ;)  But the most exciting part of our weekend was that Noah went the entire weekend (except for when he was sleeping) in underwear.  And on Sunday night, he even wore underwear to the restaurant without any accidents!  We did make two trips to the bathroom for false alarms, but I'd much prefer that to an accident!  I'm still in shock as to how "easy" this potty training thing has been so far.  And now here's some photos... 

^^^ I'm embarrassed to say how many crumbs we had behind the couch since we've lived here less than 2 years!  

^^^ looks like a pretty fun train... Mickey, Peter Pan, and MERC (from Miles) all on the same train!

^^^ Noah is going through a measuring phase and wants to measure EVERYTHING!

^^^ crazy hair and he doesn't care ;)

^^^ the easiest and most delicious kale and white bean ravioli from Costco!

^^^ maybe Noah can finally fix these doors... no one else seems to be able to do it!

^^^ Chris teaching him the finer things in life... like cleaning off your shoes in the snow ;)

^^^ he FINALLY likes bubble baths!!!

^^^ my mom got Noah one of these sticker books, and since then they have become the way we entertain Noah when we go out to dinner.  He gets so excited to find the sticker for each "outline". 
my shirt (similar) | Noah's shirt

Monday, February 22, 2016

Random Act of Kindness with Fruit, Nuts, and Chocolate! | #LoveDoveFruits

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveDoveFruits #CollectiveBias

At the beginning of the year, I chose joy as the word I would focus on, reflect on, and live by for the entire year. Not only did I want to focus on the joy in my own life, I also want to bring joy to others by performing random acts of kindness throughout the year. So when I learned that one of my mom's goals is to eat better and exercise more, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to use one of my "acts of kindness" to help her.  She's been having knee pain, and while she will need surgery, she figures a healthier lifestyle can never be a bad thing when it comes to joint pain.  While I want to help her eat better, I also had to include some yummy snacks to reward herself with.

I came up with three things I could do to help her on this new journey...  

1.  I wanted to provide her with some tools so she'd be more inclined to make more meals at home.  She's the first to admit that she's been eating out a little too often.
2.  I also thought I could encourage her to take more walks by creating a new music playlist.  
3.  Finally, I wanted to gift her some delicious treats.  When making the goal to eat better and exercise more, I find it's crucial to reward yourself every now and then.  In my experience, eliminating treats completely never works, so it's best to have some "better for you" treats in your arsenal.  

First off, helping her cook at home more.  I wanted to compile all of her recipes in one place and make it easy for her to add any new recipes she finds.  Originally I thought I'd make her a recipe binder filled with printouts of my favorite recipes.  But then I realized that everyone has their own preference on how to organize their recipes and I remembered that my mom has switched over to the electronic method.  My mom uses her iPad for everything, even when following a recipe.  So I decided to make her a stand for her iPad when she uses it in the kitchen.  I am by no means handy, but after searching for some designs on Pinterest, I came up with a plan to make my own.  Since I definitely don't own a saw or have the skill set, I relied on the experts and had all my wood precut.  Then I just had to do some sanding and glue the pieces together.  While I didn't think it was a super important step, let me warn you that a clamp is in fact crucial for this project ;)  After I was confident that the stand wasn't going to fall apart, I stained it and voila, my mom now has a place to put her iPad when making dinner :)

Piece of wood - 9.25" W X 10.5" H X .75" D
Two pieces of trim (about .25" D) - 9.25" W X 1.5" H
Sandpaper (depending on how rough the wood is you may need to use a sanding drill)
Wood Glue
Stain in your choice of color (I used Carrington)
A stain brush
A 4" clamp (not shown)

After sanding your pieces of wood, putting the stand together is really easy.  You simply put a thin layer of the wood glue onto the side of the trim and attach to the bottom of the large piece of wood so it's perpendicular to it.  This acts as the base for your iPad to sit on.  Hold the pieces together allowing the glue to set a little.  Then take your second piece of trim, and with another thin layer of wood glue, attach it to the first piece of trim.  This will be the front of the stand that keeps your iPad in place.  Then lay the stand flat (on it's back) and hanging a little off the table so you can attach your clamp.  It's best to leave it like this to set for at least 30 minutes... at least that's what the label on the glue told me ;)  Once the stand is secure, you are ready to stain.  It's best to start with a little bit of stain as it's always easier to add more than to take away.  I stained the front of the stand first, let it dry for an hour, and then did the back.   It really is that simple!

I chose a design that stands straight up because my mom wanted something that didn't take up a lot of counterspace.  Even though the stand is at a 90 degree angle, the iPad itself leans at a slight angle when in the stand, so there's no worry of it falling out.

Not only did she need a place for her iPad, she also needed an easy way to access all her recipes.  Currently, she just looks up recipes online and often asks me to send her recipes that I have made and loved.  While I don't mind sending her recipes as she needs them, I thought it would help to have them all in a central location for her.  I decided to make a shared Pinterest board with all my favorite recipes that the two of us can also add to in the future.  I taught my mom how to access the board, search for new recipes on Pinterest, and how to add to the board as well.  We can now share recipes with each other in a  super easy way.

To encourage her to walk more, I made her an iTunes playlist with some of my favorite songs at the moment.  We have very similar taste in music, so I knew she'd like the songs I picked.  

But the best part, are the delicious treats I gifted her. We are both huge fans of fruit, nuts, and chocolate, so how amazing to find a treat that combines all three. I found these new bags of DOVE® Chocolate Fruit & Nut when shopping in Walmart and was immediately sold.  When you are shopping in Walmart this month, keep an eye out for the special DOVE® Chocolate Fruit & Nut product displays! Don't they just sound amazing?!  I immediately knew they would be the perfect treat for my mom to indulge in while trying to eat better.  Not only do they combine the wellness benefits of dark chocolate with fruits and nuts, but they will also help satisfy my mom's craving for something sweet. I personally have found that the best way to help stay on track with a goal to eat better is to incorporate and plan for rewards.

DOVE® Dark Chocolate Blueberry & Vanilla Cashew, DOVE® Dark Chocolate Strawberry & Cocoa Almond, 
DOVE® Dark Chocolate Raspberry & Honey Roasted Almond
DOVE® Roasted Almonds covered in Dark Chocolate, DOVE® Dark Chocolate Cranberries, 
DOVE® Dark Chocolate Cherries

^^^ Here's a coupon for you to use when buying these bags of DOVE® Chocolate Fruit & Nut at Walmart

And while this was meant as a treat for my mom, she has a generous personality and shared some with me. After trying them all, our favorites are the DOVE® Dark Chocolate Raspberry & Honey Roasted Almond, DOVE® Dark Chocolate Cherries, and the DOVE® Roasted Almonds covered in Dark Chocolate. But honestly, every single one was delicious, it all depends on your preference!  We were also impressed that just a few pieces satisfied our sweet tooth and filled us up just the right amount.   It truly is the perfect indulgence.   

  How do you stay on track and reward yourself when trying to eat better?
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