Tuesday, September 19, 2017

weekending

This weekend was amazing! Friday night was low key. Jon put together our new bunk bed that we managed to snag when it was on sale for $89. Elden and Edith had a sleepover in it Friday night and were totally in love with it.

Saturday morning was Edith's first dance class of the season.
This was also her first dance class without me participating. It was okay--she really struggled with me in the room and when I left the room she freaked out. I brought her out to have a discussion (she could either participate with me right outside or we could stop taking dance classes) so she asked to go back in where she participated probably 75% of the time (the other 25% was spent lying on the floor covering her face). 

Saturday afternoon my friend, Alli, came over to meet Pip and hang out. We ended up going to Ulta to return a few items I had ordered online that I wasn't crazy about. We brought Elden and Edith at their request and...
...they got into the sample products. Please note Edith's foundation hobo goatee. 

I ended up buying this lipstick and this eye shadow palette. I gotta say--I am crazy impressed with the lipstick. It is pricey but I put it on before church yesterday and after breakfast, coffee, lunch and a nap it still looked like I had just applied it. 

Sunday morning we went to church. After church we had to return some items to Gap so we brought our lunches and ate after the service then headed to the local mall to make the return / let the kids play in the play area. The rest of the day was spent visiting with my mom and Jon's parents. 

We also noticed that Pip and Etta are very similar--whenever the fridge or dishwasher are open, both of them will make a beeline for them. It's so funny to see them both trying to climb in at the same time!

Monday, September 18, 2017

DIY clothespin picture frame for wedding guest book

Since I am on the DIY train, I figured I'd share the other project I did for my friend's wedding. They are doing a photobooth / guestbook combination using these little instant cameras and she really wanted a large frame for guests to hang their photos on. I set to work (with the help of many!) to cut down some old fence posts I had.

Unfortunately, I didn't take steps of the process. My fence boards were too wide for my liking so they needed to be cut down to 4" using a table saw. (Humongous thanks to my friend Alli's boyfriend, Chad, for serving as my saw operator on this and for both of them allowing me to storm their home last minute late at night to utilize their power tools! I love you!). We then cut 45-degree angles where the four boards would come together.

To join the boards together, I used two of these corner braces on the back on each corner.

To attach the twine, I just measured every 4" on the inside of the frame and made a mark where I hammered a nail in. I tied the twine around the nail and glued it with wood glue to make sure it wouldn't fall off easily. I used these clothespins and they really had the rustic vibe I was going for--plus they were the perfect size! Between Alli, Chad, and Jon, I had a lot of help for this one but I was so happy to see it come to life. I can't wait to see everyone's photos on it at the wedding!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

DIY spray painted dollar store fairy wings

Elden and Edith are going to be "flower fairies" in one of my best friend's wedding next month. She is getting them floral crowns and was asking what color fairy wings I thought she should get them. Since I've only ever seen neon-colored fairy wings at the dollar store, I suggested attempting to spray paint them to make them more wedding-friendly.

I did a little research and discovered that this brand of spray paint is the best to use for fabrics. I didn't want to spend $12 on spray paint so when I discovered Michael's had some (and, at the time, a 50% off coupon) I stopped on my way home from work. With a few easy coats I went from this:
{image source}
To this:

This project was SO easy! For such a cheap / easy project (it cost about $7 total for both pairs of wings and paint and took maybe half an hour total for all coats) I really think the paint made a world of a difference!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

spaghetti baby

If I've learned anything about Etta's personality over the past ten months, it is that she knows exactly what she wants and she gets very unhappy with you if you do not figure it out at lightning speed.

She had been struggling with meal times lately and rejecting basically everything we would offer her. Jon speculated it was because she was sick of people feeding her and she wanted to do it herself.

Well, he ain't wrong.

 Spaghetti night was a yuuuuge hit. The biggest. Better than any other dinner ever.
Etta ate more food than Edith. She was so content to feed herself and as an added bonus I was able to feed myself before mine was cold. Her highchair needed to be hosed off (literally) and it is now permanently stained orange, but Etta ate and was the happiest little peanut ever. Now taking suggestions for dairy-free finger foods.

Friday, September 15, 2017

get qurious review

I am a biomedical engineer and obviously have a passion for science. I am also not artistic in the least (Jon 100% dominates that arena) so when it comes to fun hands-on activities with the kids I usually serve as a helper or observer. Elden is definitely my artistic little guy--last year his teacher had to limit her class' access to paper because Elden would tear through a whole ream in a few days--but lately he has shown a major interest in science and doing "experiments." When Get Qurious reached out to me and asked if I'd like to try their Explorer Box, I jumped at the opportunity.  

In a nutshell, Get Qurious utilizes an augmented reality app with physical game pieces that encourages curiosity and imaginative play. It is designed with kids ages 4-8 in mind and you do need iOS v10 (or above) for the app.

Each Explorer box includes 16 build a story cards, 16 build a spaceship cards, 4 role-playing masks and 4 treasure hunt worlds.
The kids immediately gravitated towards the build a story cards. To use this portion of the app, you take a photo of the different specified object (a person, a problem, a planet, etc.) and it will change the story.
Once you have completed the storyboard, the app will play back the story for you with animations and narration.
Edith was definitely a little young for this box, but even she managed to work the story portion of the app.
The box contains treasure hunt worlds where you color in a map and take a photo of it to take you to the appropriate world.
 There are treasures hidden throughout the 3D world that you need to find.
 A third section of the app contains masks where you can record your voice and you become the character whose mask you are wearing.
The last section lets you build a space ship that will change based on which cards you pick. We didn't even get to this section the night we opened the box because the kids were so enthralled with building their stories. 

Elden absolutely loved the box. I loved how interactive it was. If you're interested in trying it, you can order a free Get Qurious mask play kit (seriously - no shipping, the app is free and the mask is free) by clicking here. The folks at Get Qurious are also developing an Ocean Adventure Box and if you know my boy at all you know he is obsessed with all things ocean. I can't wait for it to come out so we can give it a shot!

Note: we received the Explorer Box free of charge in exchange for a honest review of the product. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

introducing...

Pipsqueak - aka Pip - our newest family member!

My work had an adoption drive and I knew I shouldn't go outside to see the animals because I am weak and Zoloft gives me a very laissez-faire attitude.
The kids are obviously thrilled. They woke up this morning and instantly asked to play with him. Marsala is currently not speaking to us and spent the majority of yesterday and last night in the basement.
Pip is playful but not aggressive and overall pretty laid back for a kitten. I am praying Marsala comes around soon!

Friday, September 8, 2017

five on friday

{1} Elden figured out how to blow bubbles yesterday! He had been asking us how and trying to figure it out for ages. While we were grocery shopping he managed to figure it out and blew bubbles nonstop the duration of our time at the store. So proud!

{2} I attempted my first ever vegan baking foray yesterday by making these vegan red velvet crinkle cookies. Honestly? They were okay. Elden liked them and I was indifferent to them. Edith and Jon were not fans. They made the house smell great though!

{3} Our kids are always obsessed with dressing up. Jon's parents brought Edith this Batgirl costume earlier this week. She wore it to Target and was a happy little camper.

{4} ...and of course, Elden received this skeleton costume that he also wore to Target.

{5} We finally got a new kitchen table set! We chose this one from Overstock. Jon spent a few hours assembling the chairs. When it came time to assemble the table, we took it out of the box to find this huge chip and some scratches on the table top. I am waiting to hear from Overstock how they will resolve this issue. Right now it is listed as out of stock on their website. We are praying we don't have to take the time to dis-assemble all the chairs and that they can just replace the table top. 

Linking up with KatieDeanneAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

glorious weekend

This weekend was perfection. The weather was nice - we had what was likely our last day of 2017 in the 80's yesterday - the kids were in mostly good moods, and we had a ton of family time.

Friday:
Elden and Edith had begged to try sleeping over Jon's parent's house, so Friday night was the night! Realizing that we would only have Etta, I quickly arranged to drop her off at my parent's house so Jon and I could go on a date. We had a Yard House gift card to cash in and it is relatively close to my parent's house.
After work I headed home, then we dropped the big kids off at my in-law's, dropped Etta off at my parent's, and headed to the restaurant. I got chicken lettuce wraps and Jon got a vegan rice bowl. After dinner we headed to Trader Joe's (we rarely go due to proximity and I love perusing the aisles to see what fun items they have) then to my mom's work to pick up her iPad that she had left. After getting Etta, we headed to my friend, Alli's, house. Alli was able to resize and re-plate my wedding and engagement rings so I could wear them again! I haven't worn them in probably a year and a half because I have a nickel allergy and they were making my skin react. I was so happy to get them back on my finger!
Miraculously, Elden and Edith spent the entire night away! This is huge and was the first successful night away from us ever (except for one time Elden slept at my parent's when I was pregnant with Edith). I cannot wait for more sleepovers so that Jon and I can get an overnight break.

Saturday:
On Saturday at 3 am, one of my best friends, Sam, texted another amazing friend, Kristina, and me to see if either of us could come over. Sam was very pregnant and both she and her husband's families live in California. They have three other kiddos so Kristina and I volunteered to hang out with the kids while Sam had her baby. Unfortunately, Sam lives about 30ish minutes from me so I knew I wouldn't be able to get there quickly. Kristina was able to so I headed over around 8:30 Saturday morning to relieve her. After Jon got the kids from his parents he brought them down so we could all play.
Baby Jonathan arrived around 7 am and David came home around 1 to get the kids to meet him so we headed home. At lunch, I decided to use the tomatoes we grew to make bruschetta and it was heavenly. 
I also made this Weight Watchers recipe and it was pretty good! I didn't add any actual beef to it and it was still great.
After dinner we ran to Aldi. It was chilly so we made sure Etta was warm.


Sunday:
Since Saturday was kind of crazy we decided to skip church on Sunday. I made the kids pancakes. Edith was very upset that I could not cook and hold her at the same time. She insisted I take a photo of her sadness.
I drank coffee and eventually got ready. 
I also decided to try avocado toast for the first time ever.
Honestly? I don't get the obsession. I love avocado, but this was just meh to me. I added lemon and lime juice, as well as salt and pepper. It was good but it wasn't something that I would eat at any and every opportunity. I guess I'm millenialing wrong. Sunday afternoon we headed to a cookout at our church. It was so much fun and the weather was perfect for it.

Monday:
On Labor Day, Jon's parents came over to see the kids. I indulged on some vegan TJ's chocolate:
This chocolate was only $1 and each wedge is just 1 WW's point! One of our awesome neighbors invited us to a cookout at her house so went there for lunch. After lunch, my parents came over to take Elden and Edith to the neighborhood pool. I can't believe it's closed for the year now! When it was time for dinner, I begged Jon to make tofu lettuce wraps. We used tofu, mushrooms, bean sprouts, carrots, green onions (for me) and brown rice (for him). We also used this sauce to cook it in. Totally hit the spot! I'm not 100% sure of the point value of this meal, but since the only oil used was 1 tsp of sesame oil, I can't imagine they were particularly high in points.
After dinner we headed outside. Knowing it was likely the last warm day of the year, we wanted to soak it all up. At one point I looked down and saw this and wanted to cry:
I'm not prepared for fall! We ended up putting the kids to bed early because they had sleepovers every night (with each other Saturday and Sunday nights) and skipped naps to go to the pool. Jon and I binge-watched Friends. We are officially on the last season! I need recommendations of shows to watch once we finish this!

Friday, September 1, 2017

five on friday

September!? That in and of itself isn't so surprising, but what is surprising is the weather here. It isn't even supposed to hit 70 today! Leaves are starting to change! I am not prepared. I've never seen an episode of Game of Thrones in my life but I am privy to some of the catch phrases and all I can think of is winter is coming and it elicits terror in my heart.

Onward!

{1} My family reconnected with distant cousins of ours who live in Germany over a decade ago. The story of our families is actually pretty interesting so I am planning on doing a little interview with my grandma to make sure I get all the details right. I haven't seen them since I was in middle school but they came for a visit a few weeks ago so we got to spend some wonderful quality time together! Edith kept calling them "the Germies" and Elden was so sad when they left - especially Vivi. Now we just need to get over there for a visit!

{2} Sigh. I restarted Weight Watchers because - as has been my experience with all my children - once I stop breastfeeding I notice the scale slowly climbing up. It was a spur of the moment decision yesterday just before lunch but since I had already packed my lunch that didn't leave many low-calorie options for dinner. I ended up making a salad with a little feta, roasted pepitas and sesame seeds, and avocado with this dressing. It was actually pretty great! If you've never had a salad with roasted pepitas and sesame seeds on it I HIGHLY recommend.

{3} This one has a BIG personality. Jon and Elden went to the library last night and I had a Walmart grocery pickup scheduled at the same time. Edith is not one to be away from me if she doesn't have to, so we made it a girls trip to the store. Jon asked me to run in and check for some local apples that had been on sale for $0.68 a pound, so we did. Please note that Edith is very specific about what she wants to wear. Even though it was chilly she insisted on a tank top dress. As we were getting out of the car she grabbed this hat, put it on, and informed me it was so her hair didn't get cold. Love this kid.

{4} I was trying to make the grocery stop a quick one because we were approaching Etta's bedtime and she had a rough day in terms of naps. As we were walking towards the registers Edith yells, "but I want to look at those clotheses!" and darted over to the intimates section. She promptly walked up to a display of bras (which, when I informed her they were called bras- she kept calling them "brases" and I was dying) and informed me that "these breast straps are for mom!"

{5} I'm working on a small project for my friend's wedding. I am reusing old fence posts that are quite weathered but I wanted to frame them out with some nice trim. Since I didn't have anything weathered I enlisted the kids to help me beat some new trim up with rocks and I have started 'staining' it with balsamic vinegar. So far so good! I want to do a few more coats to really darken it up. Huge shout out to Alli and Chris for helping me cut all the wood!

Linking up with Katie, DeanneAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

what's up wednesday

Linking up with MelSheaffer, and Shay!


What we're eating this week:

Since Etta can't have anything with dairy, it is often a challenge finding store-bought snacks she can eat. Aldi had blueberry puffs on special buy last week. She was skeptical at first but decided she liked them.

As for the rest of us, this week we are having vegan stuffed cabbage, leftover slow cooker Italian chicken with potatoes and carrots, and pizza. With school starting up this week I did a pretty shoddy job of planning dinners!

What I'm reminiscing about:

Two and a half months ago, my postpartum depression was so bad that I needed to take time off work so I could get the help I desperately needed. I started going to therapy once a week and began taking antidepressants. I cannot believe what a difference those two things have made in my life. I was able to space therapy out to every other week and as of this last week I only need to go on an as needed basis! I feel better than I've felt in ages - the depression was a result of untreated anxiety - and I am so thankful for all the support I received during such a dark time.

What I'm loving:

I'm a grandma! On Sunday night we realized Big Guy's eggs hatched. There are at least 5-10 of these baby shrimp in the tank. We also have at least one other pregnant shrimp. We might be giving shrimp away pretty soon!

What we've been up to:

Jon and I went to the eye doctor on Saturday morning. My vision remained the same and his changed slightly. He was due for glasses and couldn't decide between two frames:
The sunglasses actually magnetically clipped onto the frames. The doctor had a special where you'd get half off a second frame and since our eye insurance is really good I told him to just get both. Now he has a backup pair in case something happens to his main pair. Also? My husband is hot.

What I'm dreading:

Winter. Seriously, it fills me with so much dread when I think about snow and being cooped up inside for months on end. I am doing everything I can to focus on the now so that I don't let the next two months get away without appreciating them but it is a challenge.

What I'm working on:

Edith requested a princess cake for her birthday this year. I found a tutorial to make cakes with the doll in the center and I am trying to figure out whether I am capable of such a feat! I definitely think this mold will make it possible!

What I'm excited about:

Seeing the friendship of our kids and our best friend's kids blossom.

What I'm watching/reading:

Jon and I are almost through all seasons of Friends. We haven't really watched anything else but I'm excited for our fall shows to start up again.

What I'm listening to:

I haven't been listening to anything lately... Etta is a very loud and demanding child so in the moments where I'm free to listen to music I have been enjoying the quiet.

What I'm wearing:

Clothes from Swap! I'm seriously addicted. I ordered these four shirts - all Lauren Conrad either New with Tags or Like New condition - for less than $35.

What I'm doing:

Cleaning and sorting and purging junk!

What I'm looking forward to next month:

Nothing! We don't have much on the calendar for September and I'm actually really excited to do a whole lot of nothing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

spitting image

A lot of people tell me Edith looks just like me. My mom also tells me that she is a spitting image of young me. Over the weekend, I went and dug up the scrapbooks my mom made for my high school graduation so I could look at the pictures of me from my childhood to compare.

I was not prepared.


I also did a side-by-side with Elden. There are definitely some similarities, but not nearly as strongly as with Edith.


And well... Etta doesn't look anything like baby me! Jon's mom said she looks a lot like Jon did as a baby so one of these days I hope to do a comparison of them