Friday, August 17, 2018

five on friday

{1} Heather and Paul came over with their kids for dinner last Friday. Our kids all play together so well and their birth years perfectly coordinate - Lilly, Elden, Josiah, Edith, Abigail, Etta, and Dori. The kids didn't want the play date to end and neither did we!

 {2} Etta and Abigail are both the third child of their families. Their personalities couldn't be more similar and we both refer to them as our walking middle fingers because they do not care--they do what they want. It was no surprise they would connect and love spending the night together. 

 {3} Elden starts kindergarten next week and he's excited but also pretty anxious about it. He doesn't know any of the kids in his class but he's also been doing a much better job of asking kids to play or asking to join kids that are already playing so I'm hopeful he'll make some friends quickly.

{4} Edith is 100% all in on preschool. On Monday night she met her teacher and at one point we actually had to go retrieve her because she had cornered her poor teacher for about 7 minutes straight to talk her ear off. She cannot wait to start school.

{5} New shoes. Etta found Edith's gold glitter flats from Sally's wedding last fall and is always trying to leave the house in them, but they are way too big for her feet. I had a $10 off $10 promo code for Gymboree so I went to the store last night once the kids were in bed and found these flats (except they were only 6.99 in the store). They only had a size 6 and while she was able to squeeze into them she probably needs a size 7 so I'm guessing sucker me will be buying a bigger size online! Etta was SO EXCITED when she woke up this morning and found them, though.

Linking up with Katie, AndreaNarci and Erika!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

mixed diet aldi meal plan #5

I fell off the wagon for a hot second but I'm back!

Wednesday
Dinner: Homemade potato gnocchi in a butternut squash sage sauce
Groceries: none (already have everything)

Thursday
Groceries: avocado, cilantro, can of black beans (have everything else as our household staples)

Friday
Dinner: 'Chik'n' patty sandwiches, burgers for the kids, corn on the cob
Groceries: vegan chicken patties (on special buy at Aldi this week), buns, corn on the cob, ground beef

Saturday
Dinner: Vegan potstickers, edamame, brown rice
Groceries: pot stickers (on special buy at Aldi this week)

Sunday
Lunch: Sweet potato tacos
Groceries: sweet potatoes

Monday
Dinner: Leftovers
Groceries: none

Tuesday
Dinner: Vegan cream of broccoli soup
Groceries: broccoli, celery

Wednesday
Groceries: kale, can of chickpeas, pepitas

Thursday
Groceries: cauliflower

Aldi has several awesome special buys for our vegan / dairy-free family members this week so we are also buying vegan ranch and we will likely stock up on some of the vegan frozen items. Cantaloupe is 99 cents per melon so we will also be buying that because Jon and the girls devour it (Elden and I hate it). 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

our 8-year wedding anniversary date night

Our anniversary was in June, but I had managed to snag a pair of Hamilton tickets back in May for last night so we decided to put off celebrating. The tickets were our gift to each other and we decided we would make a night of it with dinner beforehand. Best laid plans and whatnot.

Upon figuring out the logistics, we decided it would be best for us to put Etta to bed before we left. That meant no dinner out. Instead, we got Lebanese carryout and ate at home surrounded by our shrieking children. I got fattoush and a beef shawarma roll and Jon got a baba falafel roll and len-chili. The food was so good and hit all the right spots.

After we got Etta to bed we headed downtown. We managed to find free street parking so that was a win. We found our way to our seats with just a few minutes to spare. 
And thus begins the part where I likely get burned at the stake. At intermission, Jon and I weren't very impressed. I mean - it was definitely good, but I think it had just been so insanely over-hyped that our expectations were maybe too great? The set was cool, the choreography was great, the music was good. But with the way people have obsessed over Hamilton, we just didn't get the hype. Then we took a selfie before Act II began.
For us, Act II was redemptive of the first act. We thought the second act was much better than the first. I'm not entirely sure why that is--neither of us could pinpoint it--but when we asked ourselves if we would see it again if given the opportunity, we both said "meh." Don't get me wrong--Lin Manuel Miranda is incredible and I absolutely loved the diversity of the cast and how different the show was, but it was kind of a bummer. When it was time to trek back to the car I took off my heels and walked the streets of Cleveland barefoot because a) I am a hippie at heart and b) my feet felt like they were about to fall off in my heels. Even though we were a bit disappointed by the show (though I would totally watch a show all about Eliza Hamilton's life following Alexander's death!) it was really nice to be able to spend some quality time together and talk about things other than our kids.

Monday, August 13, 2018

the magic of the internet

There are a lot of really bad things on the internet. There's always something in the news about what a dark place it can be. Not all things are bad about it though.

About six and a half years ago I joined a popular online message board for expectant moms. I hoped to connect with other women who were experiencing this stage of life. Within the bigger group formed smaller groups--one of which was called the "team green" moms because they elected not to find out the sex of their children before their birth. Since we were doing the same thing, I quickly connected with the other moms in that group.

We started our own private group where we discussed anything and everything. Eventually, we felt comfortable enough to add one another on Facebook so we could keep up with each other's lives and growing families in real time. We would chat, commiserate about certain challenges with our similarly-aged children, and cheer each other on.

That's how I 'met' Ali. I've talked about her and Ethan before, especially when Ethan needed lots of prayers leading up to, during, and after his surgeries. When we first started talking, Ali was living on a medical ship off the coast of Africa. With Ethan's diagnosis, she ultimately landed in New Jersey--still far away from Ohio. Over the past 6.5 years, we have kept up with one another thanks to social media and the internet.

Then the magic happened.

We had just put the kids to bed and I grabbed my phone to do some laps around the neighborhood in an effort to hit my step goal that day. As I was browsing Instagram, I watched Ali's stories about a hotel they were staying at and a park they were exploring. The park looked familiar but when I asked her about her hotel and she told me where she was.... she was 20 minutes away. The following ensued:
..as well as talk about nighties doubling as dresses and whether a bra would be required. I hightailed it back home to change and tell Jon my change of plans for the evening then headed out to get Ali.

We ended up at a local restaurant where we shared onion rings, drinks and about 3 hours of amazing conversation. Finally getting to physically meet someone you already know pretty intimately is such a crazy experience. I felt like we were old besties and we couldn't help but laugh when we asked one another questions about things we had never personally discussed but knew about from what we shared on Facebook. 
 The next morning Ali and her family headed to their next destination so we didn't get to see each other again, but I'm confident the opportunity will present itself. In the meantime, I was so grateful to hug someone who went from a rando stranger on the internet to a really great friend.

Friday, August 10, 2018

five on friday {and an announcement}

 {1} Edith thinks Elden is the funniest person on the planet. He loves his little audience at the dinner table and will do everything he can to make her laugh. He is always successful.

 {2} We used the delikatesse cucumbers we grew in the garden and dill from Babcia's garden to make this week's batch of refrigerator pickles. Mind bogglingly good.

 {3} With food being on the brain, I made this Mexican-style street corn dip. It's not really a dip so much as a corn salsa but it was so good and so easy to make! I will definitely be adding it to the rotation for entertaining.

 {4} Aunt Jacqui is currently in Maine with work. She has been sending the kids a care package from each location she goes on assignment to and I think it's one of their favorite new traditions. This assignment's package included salt water taffy and cute little lobster soap. They'd much rather have Aunt Jacqui here but I think this is a good consolation prize. :)

{5} It feels SO PRETENTIOUS to write about this, especially in this manner, but here it is. I had mentioned about a year ago some big changes coming and then never really mentioned it again because life happens and the timing wasn't right. So when my friend offered me a full-time job at his company this week it caught me totally by surprise. Jon and I talked about it extensively, made several budgets/financial scenarios, and prayed about it and decided to take the leap. I'll really miss my current company and coworkers, but this just seems like the right move for us right now.

Linking up with Katie, AndreaNarci and Erika!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

raising cane's chicken in northeast ohio!

Raising Cane's is a fast food chicken finger restaurant with quite the cult following. Up until this week, the closest one to Cleveland was in Columbus, but that all changed yesterday with Raising Cane's grand opening in Strongsville!

I was invited to the soft opening to give it a try and I totally understand what the hype was about now. The restaurant had a really great local vibe with decor from Cleveland hung throughout.
Their menu only has four variations of food items: chicken strips (which can be turned into combos, including a sandwich combo), crinkle fries, coleslaw, and Texas Toast--so you know they must do those items really well.
Jon--always the saint--came along depsite being vegan to check out the restaurant and help feed the kids. The kids happily sipped on orange soda (the bigs) and fruit punch (the littlest), though they also served homemade sweet tea and lemonade!
 When I brought the food to the table the kids couldn't wait for it to cool down so they could dig in.
Fun story - Edith grabbed this chicken strip and posed for me without me asking. I don't know if that's really awesome or really depressing and I think I need to take a break from my phone for a bit!
I got the box combo. It also came with Cane's sauce which - I don't know how to describe it exactly besides 'really really good.' The kids will often dip their chicken in ranch dressing so be warned that Cane's only has Cane's sauce and ketchup. That being said, neither of my bigs asked for ranch and didn't appear to miss it as they inhaled their chicken without any dip.
Etta was all about Cane's. Jon asked which I like more--Raising Cane's or Chick-Fil-A--and honestly that's a really hard question to answer. Their chicken is very different--the best I can describe it is Cane's is really light and fluffy whereas CFA is very dense. However, I was craving Cane's while at the gym last night if that's any indication as to my preference. If you're local to Northeast Ohio, Raising Cane's is located at 14356 Pearl Road. Their hours and more information can be found here.

Note: our family received complementary food and drink in exchange for this blog post. All opinions shared are mine.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

elden's 6th birthday recap

What a weekend it was celebrating Elden. I took Friday off work. He requested Mickey pancakes for breakfast and opened his gifts from us (a Nerf gun, a dinosaur and a Geckobot) while waiting for them to cook.
After breakfast we went to Build A Bear--we used the $15 off coupons from the pay your age day fiasco (and no--we didn't wait in line that day, nor go within 100 feet of the mall).
For lunch, Elden requested McDonald's. Our McDonald's was newly remodeled with a beautifully clean play area so the kids played and ate and it was actually quite lovely.

For dinner, Elden requested a specific macaroni and cheese he had picked out at the store. He's pretty easy to please :)

Elden's family celebration was Saturday. He picked out ice cream cake and Pizza Hut, and we were under strict no singing, no clapping, no cheering instructions when it came time to blow out his candles (fun fact - we haven't sung Happy Birthday to him since his second birthday because he hates it). 

He loved all his gifts and family (we FaceTimed my sister who's flight got cancelled so she couldn't make it) there to love on him. It was truly a sweet celebration of his birthday.