Friday, October 31, 2014

Five on Friday: Halloween Style!

Happy Friday and Happy Halloween! We're quite excited around here. Owen's headed over to Nee Nee's this morning, and Lila is having "Pajama Day" at school (I don't blame them for not wanting all the kids coming in their costumes!). This afternoon, we'll pick her up and head over to Nee Nee's to trick or treat. Then after the kids are in bed, Papa and I are heading over to some friends' house for a low-key party. This will be a short weekend for me as I'm heading off to Chicago bright and early on Sunday morning for a work conference, so I'm soaking up as much family fun as possible in the meantime!

Here's what we've been up to this week ...

+ Zombies. In the spirit of Halloween, have you seen the Zombify app? Soooo creepy! It turns a normal picture into what you'd look like as a zombie. Lila thought it was hilarious ... so gross, but kind of entertaining at the same time! Here's mine ... lovely, isn't it? 

+ Pumpkin Bread. So festive and so delicious. Try this simple recipe I posted this week - it will not disappoint! (As evidenced by the missing loaf below ... gone before the rest were even done cooling!). 

+ After School.  After work, when I race home to pick up Lila and relieve my mom from watching Owen, I'm usually a little frazzled, have work projects still on my mind and am racing to get dinner on the table. However, even as crazy as it may be, it's one of my favorite times with the kids. They love to play together after school now and even shut me out of their games! Here they are in their little hut, with Lila's blanket over the entrance as the "door." 

+ Poll: Which is the best Christmas song? Buzzfeed has this fun little poll right now. As you may have guessed, I L-O-V-E Christmas music and listen to it as early as possible. The radio stations around here start playing it in mid-November and I jump right on-board! I have so many favorites, but I have to say I have two "non-traditional" favorites - "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey (duh) and "Mele Kalikimaka" (which you probably remember from my favorite Christmas movie, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation). I have so many others though. If you take the poll, tell me what you voted for! Be warned - they included a lot of random pop culture songs, like a vintage Nick + Jessica duet, and a Britney song! 

+ Owen. My sweet boy will be 10 months old on Sunday!!! I'll post an update on all the latest with Owen next week. 

+ Indian Food. Do you like Indian food? It's really popular in our area, and while it's never been my first choice, my husband really likes it. Tonight we splurged and got takeout from the place by our house, and I insisted on some cheesy naan. So delicious!!!!! Do you like Indian food? If so, what do you order? I need to branch out!

Have a great weekend!! I'm linking up hereherehereherehereherehere here, so check them out too! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself

I love the quote above. It's a good reminder not to worry about what everyone else does/has/looks like, etc.  and to be happy and thankful for what we have. 

I can't find the link now, but I read an article recently about how when your kids look back on their childhood, they will remember the quality time you spent with them, not what kind of car you had, what "stuff" you had, what clothes you wore, etc. It's so true. Some of my favorite childhood memories are events or things we did as a family. The article ended with the quote "Kids spell love T-I-M-E" and it was a nice little reminder. 

I've been bookmarking various quotes I really like lately and think they are a great way to stay positive when the day gets you down. Here are some of the ones I've been loving lately ...

love this! This is very much how I feel and why I have always taken pictures and made scrapbooks.

"Laugh as much as you breathe. Love as much as you live." #livelovelaugh | Limited Edition #CanvasPrint by @olivergal |

In der ersten Reihe leben #Vorn #Leben #Genie├čen ♥ stylefruits Inspiration ♥

Emerson quote typed on typewriter and framed by farmnflea on Etsy, $19.00

Be Right Now - Carolyn Gavin

I'm linking up with Thoughts for Thursday - check it out here!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Obsessed with: Turtlenecks

With the weather cooling down I'm definitely loving fall clothing, but I've been obsessed with turtlenecks lately! I don't know why ... maybe it's my nostalgia for the way I used to wear them at age 10 - covered with a giant oversized sweater and paired with clashing floral leggings. Do you like/wear turtlenecks? The nice thing is they can be easily dressed up or down depending on what you wear them with.

I love these cute outfit ideas...
images via Pinterest

I've worn a couple lately. This is a top I recently purchased from Anthropologie. It's more of a "mock" turtleneck, but I wore it to work with a tank underneath, dark jeans and boots.

This is an old Gap cowl neck sweater. I love the "camel" color. 

Here are some other options I like. I think any of the "tissue" turtlenecks would look really cute tucked into a pencil skirt for work, or with jeans, boots and a scarf for weekend wear.


What do you think? I'd love to know! I'm linking up herehereherehere and here, so check them out too!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Easy Mini Pumpkin Bread

one of four was eaten quite quickly ... 

I like easy, I like pumpkin and I like bread. If you're in the same boat, this recipe is for you! This is my twist on the classic "two ingredient" pumpkin bread recipe that's been floating around the web for years. I tried it before with just the spice cake mix and the can of pumpkin but it was a little bland for my tastes (excuse the pun!).

Mini Pumpkin Bread (makes four mini loaves)

1 box pumpkin spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin puree
1 "healthy dash" of nutmeg
1 "healthy dash" of pumpkin pie spice

Mix all well until completely combined. Will be VERY thick. Divide evenly among 4 "mini" loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 35ish minutes - check at 25 and go from there ... until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely, then top with powdered sugar. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Week!

Happy Monday! This week is even more exciting than most because it's a holiday week! Halloween is upon us! We had a fun weekend and were productive around the house, which is a win win.

Here's what we were up to ...

Friday night we got the kids' costumes in the mail (yes, the ones we already had for them were abandoned ...). Even though they are the super cheap kind that look like they could disintegrate at any minute, I think they'll do!

Here's Owen as Buzz Lightyear ...

And Lila as Jessie, although she insisted I wear the hat for the picture. 

Saturday we took the kids to the indoor pool at the local rec center (no pics, unfortunately) which was tons of fun, especially since it was POURING outside. That afternoon I made pumpkin bread while Lila (and sort of Owen) played Grant's new Xbox game that teaches you to play the guitar.

After the kids were asleep, Grant and I had an "at-home date" night. We made this linguine with shrimp scampi recipe from Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa. So easy and delicious!

Sunday we had friends over for brunch to watch our beloved Seahawks. They won, and we had Bloody Marys, so it was a win win!

The kids frosted Halloween cookies during the game ... such a fun "craft" activity for the kids - they ate it right up (haha).

I'm linking up today herehereherehereherehere, here and here so check them out too!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Weekend!

Happy Friday! I'm so glad this week is over! Grant's been gone all week and being a single Mama is no joke! I'm tired! We have no plans this weekend, so we may try to visit a pumpkin patch or do some other fun family-friendly activities. Fall is also in full swing here, with super windy and rainy days. The power even went off at my office for a brief second yesterday, zapping our Internet and phones. 

Here's what we've been into this week!

Birthdays. It was my birthday this week and I was made to feel quite special by my family and friends. I'm counting my blessings!! 

Pumpkin Sage Gnocchi. I posted this delicious recipe earlier this week. It's creamy, hearty and super easy. Plus, my kids gobbled it right up! With the pumpkin added to the tomato sauce, it's a nice little way to sneak in some extra "veggies" as well. If you aren't into pumpkin, don't be too worried, this doesn't have a bold pumpkin flavor but rather adds a nice texture to the sauce. 

Funny. Did you see this goofy video with Jimmy Fallon and Bradley Cooper? It's been making the rounds this week. What they are laughing about is not even really that funny, but it's totally one of those situations where you can't stop laughing and it just makes it worse when you try to stop. The funniest part for me is the "hair" visors they are wearing!! Grant and I saw those in a Sky Mall catalog a couple years ago and got into a laughing fit on the plane from how ridiculous they looked on the model. Who would buy those!?!? (Outside of trying to be funny of course...)

BFFs. Now that Owen has become more interactive and can follow Lila everywhere, they've truly become little besties! Lila will ask if Owen can come in her room and play, and then she shuts the door so I can't come in (oh dear...haha!). It's so cute though and they love to "play" together, which usually includes her bossing Owen around or having him watch her play.

Hair. I feel like I'm always in a "hair rut" ... this week I tried a new "part," which wasn't really that new but was just a deeper side part. For some reason, it made me feel like I had a new 'do! I look weird with a middle part (I have a widow's peak so it always looks like it's off center) and it's short enough that I can't do too many up-styles except the standard "top knot." If any of you have tips for keeping the same hairdo "fresh" day after day, I'm all ears!

PS - I've clearly been spending too much time watching the kids' movies because look at the toothbrush I just bought for myself ... I love Monster's Inc!

Have a great weekend!! I'm linking up hereherehereherehereherehere here, so check them out too! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Birthday Bliss

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday! I am truly a lucky gal and felt so loved and appreciated by my friends and family.

I didn't mention this earlier, but Grant is gone all week at a work conference. This is the first time we'll be apart for over a week since we've been married, and definitely the longest he's been away since we've had kids. I've never missed and appreciated him so much! He made sure I'd feel special though. He sent a gorgeous bouquet of flowers to my office (and those who know Grant that is NOT something he normally would ever do). He even had a cute gift hidden in his nightstand that Lila had helped him with and she proudly brought it out after dinner so I could open it with Papa listening on speaker phone.

And, my Dad arrived shortly after I got home with Lila (my Mom was already there watching Owen), armed with birthday cake, balloons, a flower bouquet and takeout dinner for all!!! It's just another simple reminder at how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family. I love them so much!!

Here's to another great year!


Linking up with Thoughts for Thursday! Check it out!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Costumes

25 Vintage Halloween Pin-Up Photos from Odd to Awesome

Do you have your Halloween costume picked out yet? (Do you even dress up?). I have honestly never really "liked" Halloween as an adult until I had kids. Now, I'm excited to dress up right along with the kids and we've had our outfits picked out for weeks. Although - there have been a few last minute switch-ups of course! Our dear sweet toddler, who SWORE she wanted to be a crocodile (haha) and has already been wearing her costume around the house, informed me last night she HAD to be Jessie from Toy Story. Then I realized Owen's Tigger onesie didn't really fit anymore. So, I ordered a few things so Lila could be Jessie and Owen could be Buzz Lightyear (haha!). I figure, the great thing about kid costumes is that since they love to dress up anyway, they are definitely more than a one-time use kind of thing.

Here's our sweet girl in 2011 as a Chicken ... (when you're 5 months old, Trick or Treating is going over to your grandparents house, and instead of candy you get teething toys!) 

And in 2012 as Raggedy Ann ... I seriously loved this costume and she shockingly left the wig/hat on most of the day!

And last year as Cookie Monster ...

And here's a little sneak peek at my Minnie Mouse costume! I got the little apron and ears on Etsy and can't decide if I'll wear a black skirt of black pants, but either way it was quick and easy. I'm sure it'll be fun dress up fodder for Lila too ...

I'm linking up herehereherehere and here!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkin Sage Gnocchi

I mentioned making this for my "fall" themed girls' dinner the other day. It was such a delicious seasonal dish - and not to mention easy (I made this after work with two crazy/hungry kids clinging to my legs). It also reheats really well. Unfortunately, since I was in such a rush to make it, I didn't get any great pictures, but hopefully the title alone will pique your interest! I was even thinking it might make a fun Thanksgiving side dish ... we shall see!

Pumpkin Sage Gnocchi adapted slightly from Country Cleaver

1 package gnocchi, prepared according to package directions (which is usually to bring salted water to a boil, and boil gnocchi until they begin to float, usually 3ish minutes)
1 lb ground italian chicken sausage
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie puree)
1 1/2 cup marinara sauce
3 gloves garlic
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBL dried sage
Parmesan to top
Basil finely chopped to top

Preheat oven to 375. In a skillet, cook your sausage until browned and cooked through. Drain and set aside. Prepare gnocchi to package directions and drain. In the saucepan that the gnocchi was cooked in, stir together pumpkin, marinara sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes, dried sage and half of each of the cheeses.

Bring to a simmer and heat through. Gently fold in cooked gnocchi and sausage. Top with remaining cheeses and parmesan. Top with foil and bake until bubbly and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Top with chopped basil before serving. 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Family Fun

Happy Monday! Hope you had a good weekend! We had a busy one, with lots of family fun to celebrate my upcoming birthday this week. It was a beautiful fall weekend and even though all of our sports teams lost (boo hoo), we had a gorgeous sunny/70F day on Sunday!

Here's what we were up to ...

Saturday morning we realized we were out of coffee (major crisis in our household), so Papa quickly made an early-morning grocery run and along with the coffee came home with the fixings for breakfast sandwiches.

Happy girls - me with my coffee, Lila with her play dough (haha). Waiting on Papa's delicious breakfast to be ready. And it did not disappoint!

Saturday afternoon we made the trek down to the lake for a delicious lunch/birthday celebration hosted by Vicki and Karl! Vicki knows the way to my heart - Mexican food and chocolate cake. Mmmm. We had a great time, but probably the most fun was had by Owen who was SQUEALING with joy at the sight of his "cousin," Howard the cat. 

Sunday my mom and I had our favorite day - coffee, followed by shopping, followed by lunch, followed by more shopping, followed by cupcakes. It was a gorgeous sunny day so we had our coffee and meals outside! My sweet Mama treated me to two cute tops at Anthropologie and two new fall-colored glassybabys (gingerbread and sweet patootie) I'll show them soon!

The best part is, Grant took both kids to the zoo by himself (yes), and not only survived but they all had fun!!! Owen gets restless in the stroller for too long now so we decided to try him in the backpack - he loved it! Grant sent me this pic while we were shopping ...

All in all it was a great time!! I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful family!! xoxox I'm linking up today herehereherehereherehere, here and here so check them out too!!

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