3.28.2017

Weekly Menu & Crock Pot ?s

Right now, I'm shooting to make about 4 or 5 meals at home. Since we moved, we haven't had a totally "normal" week, but both Joel and I always feel so much better when we're cooking at home more frequently than not.

 We try to keep the carbs low for dinners at home, and last week we had a few really great dinners.

Monday: Natalie's Thai Meatballs with a pre-bagged Asain salad  - These will be a staple for us. So easy and so good! Next time I will double the recipe to make sure we have leftovers for lunch.

 

Wednesday: Yellow Curry (typically made in the CrockPot, butttt...see below...so I made it in my Le Creuset and it worked just fine.) 
 

I also picked up this awesome wine from Costco last week. I think it's about $20-ish dollars but its a really, really nice bottle that tastes double the price.


Also....last week....my CrockPot died. I need to order a new one this week, I use mine at least 1/2x a week, and wanted to see if you guys had any recommendations? I really liked my Calphalon, 6qt, but I'd like to find an even bigger one if possible.

Image result for 8 qt slow cooker

3.27.2017

Weekend Report

The weather this weekend was really gray and wet, but we found a way to make the most of it. Friday night, I joined a few new friends for a birthday dinner. It was such a blast - and when I got home on Friday at 11pm, I stayed up a little later to hang with Joel too. 

Saturday morning I was moving slow, but it was a big day in our house. Leo got his first hair cut!!!!


I was fairly certain that he was going to lose his mind as soon as I sat him in the flying chair, but he was SUCH a pro! I was armed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the ipad, and a container full of mini marshmallows, and Leo did fantastic! 

 

Joel and I were so proud of him, and we were both holding our breath a little as the hair stylist just clipped, and clipped, and clipped....but, actually, she did a fantastic job and his hair is still long and curly.

 
He looks too damn cute!!

We decided to go out to lunch as a family to Duke's Ale House to celebrate the occasion - and we had a great lunch.


Once we got home, we put Leo to bed and I joined my mom and and some neighborhood friends for another birthday party at The Cottage. We had a few beers and I was back home by 5pm to hang at home with yummy chili that Joel made and lots of basketball.

On Sunday we had planned to go to Church, but Joel woke up with a scratchy throat, so I left the boys at home and headed to the grocery store (with my dad!) and the gym - which, alone, both felt like a treat! 

After my errands, I took Leo to nap at my parents house so Joel could relax and my mom and I could get caught up on Big Little Lies. Leo took almost a three hour nap so we got in two episodes and a round of scrabble.



I'm super rusty, but I am happy to report that I only lost by 2 points against my mom who very rarely loses.


We had a great dinner with my parents, sadly watched Kentucky lost, and were home in time to relax and get to bed early to start a fresh week.

Hope you had a great weekend too! 

via @alfiewildkids #love #coffee #weekend:

3.24.2017

Leo - Month 18

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and stripes
 
 
Weight: 23lbs-ish? Doctors appointment is in 2 weeks

Nicknames: Leeman, Lee-Lee, Wee-whoa
Clothes: 18 months clothes, and we have gotten away with a few 18-24 month shirts from Gap if I roll the sleeves once. Pants are 12-18mth, still a size 4 diaper and we started wearing size 5 shoes
Sleep:  Overall you are a great sleeper but this past week you were up at 4am twice. You couldn't put yourself back down, so after 10/15 minutes of screaming bloody murder, I would go in a rock you. I have to be honest, I actually loved it. We sat and rocked and it was so sweet and lovely. I put you back into your crib awake, and when I left, you only cried for a few minutes before you fell back asleep. I'm hoping this is it as far as middle of the night wake ups even though it was pretty lovely.

Schedule: 
7:00am - Up and Bottle
8:00am Breakfast- you looove waffles!
9-12am play
11:30am/12pmish- lunch
1:00 pm nap
3:15pm snack & playtime
6:00pm dinner with a cup of milk
6:30 pm bath
7:00 pm  bed

Health: You've honestly had a runny nose for like the last 6 weeks? We take a few days off here and there and then you wake up in the morning out of nowhere with another one. I know it's because we are spending more time at the gyms kids daycare, and I'm trying not to feel totally guilty about it. Your doctor told me that now is the time, and its good for you, but it does break my heart a little bit.

Crying: I do have to say I've been so proud of you, speaking of that gym day care. You used to cry and cry and cry and the only way you would be happy was there "magic stroller". Now, we go in, you cry for a minute or two (but they don't have to pry you out of my arms), and you go find toys and friends. It took us about 6-ish weeks, but I am so impressed!
 
Feeding:  You are a big eater, but getting more and more praticular in your old age. Some days you'll love blueberries, the next day you won't touch them....that that goes for just about everything. You keep me guessing.

Likes:  You are such a happy, joyful little boy. You love being the star of the show, you love being around people, and you play so nicely with friends. You loooove to be outside, you love to look out the windows for deer, or buses, or cars and you get so excited when we spot one. We were downtown Crystal Lake on Sunday after church when the train went by and you almost lost your mind.
 
Dislikes: You don't like being told what not to do. You may have a bit of your mama in ya.
Milestones: More and more words pour out of your mouth everyday. Dada filmed a little video of you repeating "I love you" last night, so we may even be working on putting words together, but what I think it the best milestone this month is your understanding of things. If we are in the living room, I can tell you to go to your playroom and grab a few books for us to read, and you will march your little booty and come back with a few books. It blows my mind.
 
Places You’ve Gone: We've been home this month just exploring our new town.
 
Visitors: You met cousins from Minnesota this month, a new baby cousin that came into the world in January, and lots of family that you haven't seen in a few months time.
 
Roscoe: The same is true.....You two are truly the best of friends. You want him to chase you all day long, you ask for RoRo as soon as you wake up, and you laugh when he runs up and down the stairs like its the funniest thing you've ever seen.  And most of all (MUCH to me and dad's dismay, you love to throw your food off your highchair to him).
 
---
 
Leo, I cannot fathom the fact that you are 18 months old, and cannot fathom what life was like before you either. You are our treasure and we love you to the "mooon" and back sweet baby. 

3.21.2017

Recapping

This is going to be just a steam of my thoughts, because that's honestly what I'm working with in all aspects right now...

::: I think Leo is going through a little 18 month sleep regression. Leo's always been a fantastic sleeper so on Friday night when he woke up at 4am, I thought it for sure had to be an upset stomach, he dropped his lovey...something. But all he wanted was to be rocked and after I set him back in his crib after 10/15, he fell asleep. I was hoping it was a one off but the same thing happened last night. This time though, I only rocked him for 8 minutes...trying not to create a long term habit for a short term problem. Any tales from the wise?

::: I just about died for Leo's St. Patrick's day outfit this year 

  

::: Friday night we hosted a bunch of family at our house. I love to host people at my house, but sometimes it sends me into a tizzy of - is everything clean? is everything perfect? We cannot use paper plates. Is everyone's glasses full...etc etc etc. Joel pretty much wants to kill me. And, while I will host parties like that, when I have twenty family members over every other weekend.....I'm going to just enjoy it. Everyone knows where the booze is.....I'm going to ask people to bring things so that I'm not prepping all day....paper plates are going to be used...and I'm going to have as much fun as I did on Friday every time I host. 

 

:::: The weather is turning a bit more into spring and so not only did I open my first bottle of Sonoma Cutrer over the weekend, but I also went out for my longest outside run in a while. Both were incredibly enjoyable.

 

::: By far, the best thing about being back in Illinois is the amount of family we have here, and how easy it is to see them. Most of my cousins now have kids and we all live in the suburbs, about an hour from anywhere, so it's been a real treat. Leo had a great time playing with all things girl when we went to visit our cousins in Wheaton yesterday. 

 

::: Sunday we had dinner at my parents house and took Leo out for another walk in this wagon. The wagon is really smooth (it's from Costco), really fun, and can load a ton. I only wish it had some sort of belt to strap Leo down in, but otherwise, it's a really good use of $50 if you're on the hunt. 

 

::: Thanks for all of the feedback on our patio. I'm pretty sure you've convinced us to stay away from gravel and stamped concrete. I think stone or brick is what we're going to end up with - which were my two front runners! 

::: I saw Beauty and the Beast last night with my neighbor, cousin and mom (our Monday night Bachelor group, and we needed to find something fun to do this Monday) and we were all completely blown away. I'm pretty sure we all cried, but the entire movie was beautiful, sweet, and spot on. Emma Watson is pure perfection.  
Image result for emma watson as belle

::: Was hoping Leo would give me at least an extra half hour of sleep this morning.....but, no such luck. He's up! Have an amazing day! 

 :

3.17.2017

Five on Friday

Image result for smidge of this five on friday blog button


::: 1 :::

In the nick of time, we finally got a snow storm that actually left some snow for us to play with! We were probably the only family in Illinois that was actually excited to see snow, but I would have been so bummed to have spent the entire winter snowless! We spent 45 minutes outside which was just plenty enough for me, and now spring can officially come on over! 


::: 2 :::
This week the goal was to eat super clean, get to the gym 5 times, and just try and stop the crazy......and that good intention lasted until about Tuesday. We're still operating on "celebration" mode, and it seems constant that people are coming to stay, dinners are being had out, and it just feels like so much food, alcohol, and lack of routine. The reality is, those things aren't going to end, so I really need to cut the constant excuses to indulge. 


The three nights that we did stay in and keep it healthy - were all excellent. I made white chicken chili, paprika crusted salmon over pre-bagged Asian salad, and a chimichurri steak with baked asparagus. 

::: 3 :::

Image result for big little lies

Have you been watching? I'm on episode 2 and I'm just not loving it. Also, am I the only person that CANNOT STAND Nicole Kidman??? I couldn't put down the book, but the show has me cringing in a way that I am eager for each episode to wrap up and be over. It's not a show I want to just binge watch constantly like I anticipated it being. What are you feeling about it? Does it get better after episode 2 or should I just throw in the towel since I know how it ends anyhow?

::: 4 :::
My cousins from Minneapolis are visiting Chicago for a few nights for their spring break, and last night my mom made these sandwiches from a Tasty video she saw on Facebook and O. M. G....they are so good. They're honestly like candy. They're sweet, addicting, and before you know it you will have consumed WAY more than you should have! 

::: 5 :::

Happy St. Patrick's Day from this little nugget last year!! I have a 2017 outfit lined up, but I can't believe this picture was taken a full year ago. Time is truly at warp speed for me right now. 

 :

Tonight we have a big family dinner planned, tomorrow Joel wants to watch basketball and just hang at home, and then Sunday we will be going to church and sadly, attending a memorial service of a long time, dear friend's father whom passed away this week


3.15.2017

Spring/Summer House Updates

Not going to lie, we have loved every bit of this March snow storm, but my eyes our on the spring/summer house updating prize!

We have a pretty long list of things we want to do to the house....some small...some big...but this summer we have three main projects.

1. Find a couch for the living room.
I can't believe I don't have better pictures of our living/dining room. I actually love the space, so hopefully I'll capture a few before pictures but if this gives you any idea...I'm looking for a new couch (and table for between those chairs). 

 
I have alluded to what I want (a bold, navy, textured couch.....less than thousands and thousands), but I haven't found the perfect one (although I'm determined that it exists. I've mainly done online browsing, and I'm hesitant to buy a couch we haven't touched and sat on, so I think we're going to make our way to Macy's furniture in Oak Brook in the coming month and try and find what we are looking for there. Or, maybe just risk an online buy.....time will tell...but I have a specific idea of what I want and I want to find it soon since furniture can take forever to ship.

Classic living room space:
Interiors Trend: Navy:
10+Insider+Tips+an+Anthropologie+Stylist+Knows+(and+You+Don't)+via+@MyDomaine:
2. Back splash (and new cabinet hardware)

 We have our contractor coming in April to finish up some outside painting, and since he is a jack of all trades, we're going to have him quote us to do a back splash install. I'm curious if its a job we (Joel and his dad) can DIY, or if it's just easier (on our marriage) to have a professional. I don't want to spend tons because the kitchen will likely get a face lift in about 5 years. I really think this will make a big difference and warm up the kitchen a bit - plus its necessary. We had the entire house painted only 8 weeks ago, and already I'm seeing wear and tear behind our sink with paint chipping off. 
 kitchen mockup inspiration:
I love this subway tile with dark grout. Looks so good with the white cabinets and black counters!:  
 
LOVE the top glass cabinets...will be adding something similar to ours someday:

3. Patio space
This is the current place we want to create a patio. I'd like some kind of area from the steps down to around the fire pit.  We may stain the patio this summer but this is a pretty good idea of the space we are hoping to update.

 this picture was when our contractor's crew was hoping to move the swing set but it was frozen into the ground. I'm hoping this serves as a good "before" picture

This one is going to be the trickiest (HOA and probably going to need to consult a landscape architect) as well as the biggest project, but I think it will be a really fun space. We still haven't totally narrowed down what we want (brick (where I'm leaning), stone (where joel is leaning), gravel, or stamped concrete), but, these are the types of spaces that I'm loving.  We've talked about having our deck screened in down the line, so I'd like this to be a non-screened in space where we can have a water table, fire pit, and just have some non-grass space. Again, we are going to have our contractor quote us, but it's also a project that could possibly be done by ourselves. 

As summer days wind down, look forward to enjoying fall days and nights around…:  
Herringbone brick patio with black iron furniture.:  
Image result for stamped concrete patio

 circle-firepit-area-woohome-5:  
This is what I want when a I walk out my back door.....house on a lake.....a girl can dream!!!!:  
 
Photo Gallery - Epic Land Design    .......beyond the ordinary:

Funny that a lot of these patios are circular, I don't think I'd do that, but, clearly I'm drawn to it so who knows... 

Please throw your two cents in! We're still pretty sway-able on all of the above and would love some input!