Friday, October 28, 2016


I'm not sure I've made the statement Thank God It's Friday and meant it more. This week has been bananas. Nick has been out of town all week and we've had a huge amount of obligations/appointments. I had some big work deadlines and a mouse wandered into our house. (It was a baby and after a lot of psyching myself up, I was able to take it back outside where it belonged.) The weather has been really chilly and my kids decided to take turns waking me up every couple hours each night. BUT... my parents arrive today and I'm so excited to spend a long and (hopefully) restful weekend with them and the kids. So enough whining. 

Here's a few things I've been loving this week:
I've been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat this week while working or working out. I listened to it a few months ago for the first time, but it's been getting me through this crazy week (well that, and Reese's peanut butter pumpkins). I love it and hope that someday we get the opportunity to see the show.
Have you seen the Gilmore Girls trailer?! I can't wait! I was not a religious viewer when the show was on, but I would often have it on the background during college. I have been watching it from the start on Netflix for the last couple months and I'm hoping to finish before the new one comes out.

I got a coupon code for $25 off and a free 30-day trial for Amazon Fresh. I've never ordered groceries online before I have to say I could definitely get used to it! Our delivery window was before 7 am on Monday morning and all the groceries were there and ready to be unpacked by 5. Everything was very fresh, they had tons of organic options, and we got a giant pumpkin for $0.01! I'm not sure yet that we will continue using it after the free trial but I'm very pleased so far!  


Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Favs

The countdown is on- my parents are visiting in one week and we're all excited! I've been planning out our Halloween schedule and all the fun things we'll do with them while they are here!

Hayden has been really (really) into the Lion Guard/ The Lion King recently and is insistent on being a lion for Halloween. I found the cutest lion cape for him on Amazon. I felt like this would be used more than a full body costume post-halloween. He was actually a lion for his first Halloween. He found the costume hanging in his closet and tried to squeeze into it and got stuck the other day...
I found these adorable little candles in copper tins in the Target Dollar Spot. They burn well and were only $3. To add to my growing pumpkin candle collection.... 
Thanks to Apple Music, I found The Civil Wars and their mellow music is perfect for having on in the background at home.
How cute are these little duck boots?! I have some gap cash that I can use next week and will be getting these for Charlotte. She's pretty particular about her shoes, so I'm hoping these with the pink accent will be a welcome addition to her closet.  

*affiliate links used for your convenience 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

weekly pinterest roundup

It's been forever since I did this, but Pinterest has been by BFF lately and here are a few things we've been inspired to complete. 

We made 2 of these copper and wood planters and the project was easy and fast and inexpensive. I love how they turned out! 
Hayden LOVED this money sorting activity and played for a hour and half independently. (I added our play cash register to the mix)  
I've made this chili twice and it's a big hit with all members of the family. Nick said it's probably the healthiest chili he's eaten (quinoa, sweet potatoes, turkey!) but I promise it's really delicious and flavorful.  
We printed out all these Room on the Broom puppets to go along with our current Halloween fav and the kids love them.  
I am hoping we can make this shelf this week. We are so close to finishing up the guest room and this would be the finishing touch!  
What are you pinning lately??  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

taking stock

Making:  Decisions on Halloween costumes...
Cooking: homemade bread... we made it 3 times last week
Drinking: coffee and wine. Standard mom fuel. (don't worry not together and not at unacceptable times of the day) 
Reading: Hawaii by James Michener and loving it. I love a good 1000 page epic novel (seriously)
Wanting: A solo vacation with Nick... someday...  
Looking: at Pinterest for all the fun fall-themed activities  
Playing: with fall leaves. Hayden collects them at all time and is always trying to take them in the house, car, etc.  
Wasting: time thinking about home decor... (always!)
Wishing: for no more sniffles, coughs, or late night sick calls from the babies 
Enjoying: Quiet mornings to work while everyone else is asleep 
Waiting:  for three separate visits from the west coast contingency in the next month. 
Listening:  to the new Head and the Heart Album on repeat
Loving: Snuggling in bed with a pile of books and my babies 
Hoping: this fall weather sticks around for an unseasonably long time
Marveling: at this beautiful season and the trees that seem to transform overnight 
Needing: all the coffee, especially everyday at 2 pm  
Smelling: a pumpkin and spice candle. It's the coziest scent and makes me want to cuddle up with all the blankets and babies. 
Wearing: flannel... tis the season  
Following: lots of inspiring mommas on instagram. I love seeing how each person approaches motherhood in their own way and love that we have the ability to share activities and advice with each other in this medium. 
Noticing: new words Charlotte is learning daily and how she seems less and less like a baby each day 
Knowing:  Hayden is happy and well adjusted at preschool. Love this happy boy and his friendly little self. 
Thinking:  about painting our dining room... all white probably. 
Bookmarking: Christmas gifts for everyone (trying to get my shopping done thoughtfully and early)  
Watching: Breaking Bad. It took me a while to want to watch it but now I'm hooked.  
Organizing: All the closets, all 8 of them are done as of Sunday afternoon! Now I know my husband would like me to move onto the attic that we don't speak of but... no heat, so no dice. 
Giggling: at the way Charlotte puts a B in front of most words (think Fish with a B or Witch with a B...)  
Feeling: peaceful 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pumpkin Patchin'

Like everyone else with young kids, we did the pumpkin patch thing this past week and had such a great time. We've always enjoyed the pumpkin patches in California, but visiting a farm with the leaves changing and the cool weather here in New Jersey really made the experience even better. The farm we chose is about 2 miles from our house and has the cutest little grocery store. When it's not mobbed with fellow pumpkin-patchers, we plan to go back and check out their produce and baked good again.
Anyway, we took a hayride around the whole property that dropped us off at the pumpkin patch. They had little pumpkins set out so the kids got to each pick out a pumpkin that was just their size. 
Hayden started lining up the contenders all in a row to make his final decision. Charlotte just wanted to bring home a "lock" (rock) instead of a pumpkin.
We also got to do a hay maze, enjoy some fresh donuts, and play in a giant corn pit. A good time had by all!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Favs

Another week passing by way too quickly! We are really enjoying this fall weather (have I mention that before ;) ??) With Hayden in school now, it seems that the kids have been taking turns being sick with colds since early September. Currently, Charlotte is the one with the sniffles.  This weekend we're hoping to visit the pumpkin patch and finalize Halloween costumes for all. Hayden wants to be a lion but is unsure about the mane, so we're still undecided. 
Here are a few things that we are loving this week:
Room on the Broom: Hayden has loved this book every Halloween and now it's one of Charlotte's favorites too. Netflix also has an animated version which both kids love. It's the perfect not-to-spooky-Halloween show.
We made these salted caramel pecan pie bars last week for our playgroup and they were amazing. (Also a super easy recipe to follow!)  
I loved this read this week.
Here a few of my favorite home decor pins as of late. White + metallics + vintage rugs + wood tones will always win in my book.

Enjoy your weekend! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

cheap original art

Compared to our last house, this one has a lot more wall space- it's a bit bigger and less open concept, so we have more places to hang art. I've painted a fair amount of pictures for our house over the years, but to diversify a bit, I've started using Etsy as a source for art. There are so many talented artists and graphic designers out there. My favorite way to get a large, piece of art for a good price is to click on digital prints on Etsy. There are tons of these (typography, photography, abstract painting, watercolor, etc.) and they are usually $5 - $12 for the digital download. 

After downloading it, you can upload to Snapfish or Staples, or some other printer. (I like using Snapfish because they have promo codes all the time and the quality is good.) They have large print options where you can choose a size and have the item shipped to you or you can pick it up. 
Once it's printed, you can frame it yourself (Ikea has some well-priced poster frames)- and voila, art that looks a lot pricier than it actually is. 
Here are a few of my favorite large prints around the house:
Stay Awhile Print

Cactus Print 

CA Landscape Print

What are your favorite sources for art? Do you spend a lot or find affordable ways to fill your walls? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

taco monday

I know, I know it's supposed to be Taco Tuesday, but we've instated Taco Monday about 5 weeks ago and haven't turned back. After reading this post, I bought all the ingredients to recreate this Trader Joe's hack: pulled pork, pineapple mango salsa, pepper jack cheese, cilantro, and corn tortillas. (Seriously, read the original post and buy the ingredients on your next Trader Joe's run, you won't regret it!) We've been having this same meal every Monday, and I have to say we all love it. It's super easy and takes about 5 minutes to pull together. It's perfect for a Monday night since those tend to be our busiest days of the week. Counting on the same meal each week has been really helpful.
bonus points for a Monday Margarita ;) 

Both Nick and I remember some "standard" meals in our houses growing up. We were talking about what our kids will remember about our family dinners and right now we've decided that these tacos, spaghetti, and chicken tortilla soup are the meals in heaviest rotation around here. What are your go-to easy meals?? 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sunroom Updates

I last shared our sunroom just over a year ago and it was looking a little sparse. It's still our favorite room in the house and we spend the majority of our time at home in the kitchen/sunroom area. We've added a few side tables, our old dining chairs, and changed out the art. The result is a happy room that feels much more finished these days. Do we still have plans? Yes! I don't feel like our TV table really matches, but it's low on the priority list to switch out because we have other things we'd like to spend money on!

Our other major change is paint. We want to look into getting certain rooms in the house painted. Some of it we can do ourselves but this room has lots of intricate moulding so it feels like a job to leave to the pros.

The light pours into this room in the morning and it feels so cozy and lovely. We definitely don't take this room for granted and are happy to have such a happy place to gather as a family!
If you're interested in any of the pieces in our sunroom, I linked similar (or the same) pieces in the picture below- just click on it to see more! 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Apple Activities for Toddlers

This school year, we've been *a little* more structured with our activities at home. The former-kindergarten teacher in me loves thematic units and my kids seems to be really invested in the theme too. Naturally, we started with an apple theme, because fall. Hayden went apple picking with Nick and we're planning to go again soon. So here are our favorite apple activities (most courtesy of Pinterest!) 

Marble Painting with Apple Shapes

Other Activities that we enjoyed: 

Some Other Apple Books: 

*affiliate links included*

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hayden at 4 years

I can't believe I have a 4 year old. He's such a sweet, easy child and I love this friendship that we have. He is very social and friendly and is always chatting up someone at the park. 
He has an active imagination and is often in character (a dog, cat, Simba, Gaston, Eric, a wizard, a superhero, an owl, etc.) He doesn't nap very often anymore and now has quiet time each afternoon in his room. I love to see what he comes up with in that time spent alone. Sometimes he builds a lego invention, sometimes he sets up an elaborate play world for one of his characters. He calls his inventions "conditions" and loves to share them with us.
He loves to help out and has recently started making lunch (with supervision!) for himself and Charlotte.  He helps with other little chores around the house but hates picking up his own toys. 
 He is now in school three days a week and seems so grown-up. He loves school and made the transition very easily. He also goes to a Sunday School Montessori class each week, which has been another fun thing to look forward to. With school, play dates, and Sunday school, he has a full schedule! We decided to opt out of any sports or other extracurriculars this fall, instead of overloading him. 
Hayden loves learning and seems especially interested in math and numbers! He loves playing the app I work on (Todo Math) and count, recognize numbers, and do simple addition. He is also really into naming letter sounds and rhyming. It's so fun to have such an inquisitive child. I feel like I get my fix of "teacher activities" that I miss since leaving the classroom. We like to do a few little homeschool activities each week (nothing too amazing). 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Top 5 Soup Recipes

We are huge soup fans at our house and I find that it's one of the easiest ways to make a complete healthy meal with all the food groups. Hayden loves to eat soup and we've found that if we strain out the liquid, Charlotte will eat up everything else without making a huge mess. We make it year round, but it's on heavy rotation in these cooler months. I try to find recipes for the crockpot, so that I can make it in the morning in a big batch and have dinner and leftovers for the coming days.

Here are my 5 favorite soup recipes:
1. Chicken Tortilla Soup: Our favorite! I could eat this everyday for lunch for a week straight. It's easy to adjust the spiciness with little kids and our favorite black bean quinoa chips from Trader Joe's are the perfect complement.
2. Minestrone: Minestrone + homemade bread = the perfect fall meal 
3. White Chicken Chili: This one is another one that is so so good. It's really filling and a different take on traditional chili.
4.  Chimichurri Lentil Soup: This is one that we've only made once so far, but Nick and I both agreed that it needed to be a menu staple. Also, since the Chimichurri goes in at the end, you can adjust the spiciness for kids. 
5. Chicken Noodle Soup: Making your own noodles is a game changer and makes this soup amazing. I reserve this recipe for the weekends when there's a bit more time to make dinner.  
 As a soup addict- I'm dying to hear about your favorite recipes. Please share! 
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