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

Monday, August 28, 2017

elden's {last} first day of preschool

Today Elden started his last year of preschool! He missed the cutoff for kindergarten by 3 days, but even if he had been old enough we likely would have had him do one more year anyway. We are in no hurry for him to grow up and he still struggles quite a bit in social situations so we figured it would be best. Edith is technically old enough to start when she turns 3 in October, but we are going to wait until next year to start her.
Elden has the same teacher, same classroom and many of the same kids in his class from last year, so we are hopeful the transition will be pretty smooth for him!

Friday, August 25, 2017

five on friday

{1} I can't believe our pool is closing in just over a week. We definitely visited more this summer than last and I continue to be so grateful that we get to live in a neighborhood with amenities like this. The kids are pretty darn happy about it, too. I hope to visit at least two more times over the next week.

{2} This sweet girl is a force to be reckoned with now that she is mobile. She still exhibits stranger danger and prefers me holding her over everyone else, but she is starting to allow others to grace her with their presence.

{3} I've seen some videos about those foot peels on Facebook recently, and since I am a total picker I wanted them. Then I looked up the specific brand on Amazon and it was about $20. I didn't want them that badly. Around the same time, I fell down the Ulta rabbit hole because my skin was going crazy thanks to hormone changes. I was surfing through their Korean beauty products and found the Tonymoly Magic Foot peels for $6.50. After reading the reviews I decided to give it a shot and I AM SO HAPPY. My feet have been peeling a disgusting amount and they are seriously SO soft. I am definitely going to be buying more of these. If you use my referral link and sign up for Ulta's free rewards program, you will get $10 off your first purchase of $30 or more.

{4} I have been searching high and low for this coffee creamer for weeks to no avail! Stores either didn't carry it or have been sold out with no replenishing shipments and all hope seemed lost until my mom sent me this photo the other night. As soon as I finish my current open creamer I am busting into this one!

{5} I know I've talked about doing Christmas on a budget (here and here, for instance) before, and please forgive me since it isn't even September yet, but I have Christmas gifts on the brain. Ever since I discovered Swap I have been planning how to use it to our advantage for gifts for the kids. Since they have so many new with tag items and are seemingly always running 30-50% off sales, it isn't unrealistic that we can get at least some of the gifts for our kids from there this year, especially for our accessory-obsessed Edith.

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

updated beauty routine

Much to my dismay, I recently realized I was aging. I also realized that I was probably supposed to change my beauty routine to be more proactive against things like wrinkles. Along the same vein, ever since having Etta, my skin would break out like crazy at specific points during the month thanks to hormone changes. Despite my lack of beauty knowledge, I was aware that Korean beauty products are amazing and all the rage right now. Thankfully, Ulta had a whole Korean section on their website. I spent a fair amount of time reading about the different products and combing through their reviews to find what was most likely to work for me. Since it has been 4 years (!!) since I wrote my 5-minute beauty post, I figured I'd update here.

The great news is I still take a very small amount of time to get ready on a typical morning. My beauty routine is as follows:

At night:
1. Take a shower. I still use and love this shampoo and conditioner set. My fine hair was a hot mess near the end of my pregnancy with Etta and was always greasy no matter what I did. This stuff saved me a lot of headaches!
2. Wash my face with this face wash. My skin is very sensitive and dries out easily and this stuff does a good enough job of cleansing without drying me out.
3. After my shower, I use this blackhead power liquid. Multiple reviews pointed out that it really helped reduce hormonal acne so I decided it would be a good fit. I've been using it for over a week and haven't dried out from it! So far, so good.
4. Let my hair air dry.

In the morning:
Before I started my morning routine. This girl is usually right there watching / participating.
1. Wash my face with this face wash. Once again, it leaves my skin feeling fresh without drying me out.
2. Moisturize with this moisturizer. It dries after about a minute and leaves my skin dewy.
3. Use this powder, this lip gloss, and this mascara.
This picture has the undereye concealer on my left eye (so the right one in the photo) but not on my right eye.
Of note: if I used eye liner/shadow during the day, I use these face wipes to remove the eye makeup prior to my shower. Also, if I have particularly heinous dark circles under my eyes, I will use this concealer to help cover them.
All done!
If you haven't ever signed up for the Ulta rewards program, you can do so for free. If you use this referral link, you will get $10 off your $30 purchase. Even if you don't buy anything I recommend signing up because you get a free gift on your birthday. Last year it was an Urban Decay shadow similar to this and it was full size - so a $21 value for free!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

my experience with swap.com

I recently stumbled upon an online consignment site called Swap. They were having a half off everything sale so I decided to give it a shot. Based on the pictures of the items, I honestly had low expectations. However, I filtered out everything except new with tags / like new clothing and figured I'd probably be okay. The shipping was fast, the clothes were way cheaper than Thredup, and I was honestly blown away by the quality for the price.
 This peacock costume for Etta was new with tags for $10.
 This bumblebee costume was for Etta (but Elden commandeered it) and was like new for $5.
 The skirt Edith is wearing was new with tags for $2.50.
 Another shot of the bumblebee.
The skirt Edith is wearing in this photo was also new with tags for $2.50.

I'm seriously a believer. Right now they are having a 40% off sale using the promo AUGUSTGET40. I believe if you use my referral link you will get an extra 20% off. I will be getting the majority of the clothes for our kids from this site now. I highly recommend it!

elden's first robot

Elden was given a Barnes and Noble gift card for his birthday. On Sunday, we headed over after church so he could pick something out. I thought for sure he was going to get a book because he recently used his birthday money to buy a Disney princess book and has been taking it everywhere with him.

Once we got up the escalator he immediately spotted the toys. He initially picked out a magic kit and a slingshot but then we stumbled upon a table filled with items that were 50% off the lowest ticketed price. When we saw this robot for the exact amount he had on his gift card it felt like fate. He walked out a very happy kid and has been playing with it every day since.

If you're in the market for a robot for your child, we definitely recommend it. It is very easy for Elden to operate and it's actually really high quality for the price. It also comes with different games and accessories, which is a nice touch.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

buffalo cauliflower tacos

Yesterday Jon texted me that he was going to make lentil tacos for dinner and asked if I'd eat them. While I totally appreciated the gesture, lentils are the bane of my existence. I've tried them on a few different occasions (prepared differently) and each time I wanted to hork. 

Anyway, I was left racking my brain and then it occurred to me that we had a head of cauliflower in the fridge that probably wouldn't last much longer. Since tacos were on the menu, I figured I would go the buffalo cauliflower route and they did not disappoint.


Preheat the oven to 425F. Cut the cauliflower into florets and place in a large bowl. Lightly toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until tender. Place in a taco shell with cheddar cheese, lettuce, ranch (or blue cheese) dressing, avocado and/or black beans and drizzle with hot sauce.

You guys, this was seriously the bomb. The best part is since I didn't add the hot sauce until the taco was prepared, Etta was able to enjoy the roasted cauliflower also and she absolutely devoured it. In terms of prep, this was one of the easier dinners we've made and it was so satisfying. I will definitely be making these more often.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

first big screen movie

Cleveland is home to the second largest theater district outside of NYC. While we can't afford to take the kids often, we really want to expose them to different forms of art as we are able.

We also haven't taken the kids to the movie theater yet. Jon and I aren't huge movie buffs (the last theater experience we had was for Ender's Game...so 4 years ago) so it isn't high on our priority list, but we also weren't sure whether the kids could really sit still. Elden also struggles with loud noises sometimes so we weren't certain he would enjoy it.

Last weekend, a friend invited us to Cinema at the Square to see Charlotte's Web. She had free tickets so I figured it was a great way to get our feet wet and see if the kids could handle it.
Elden did great. He fidgeted a lot in his seat, but he remained seated the entire time. He did periodically cover his ears, but it was without drama.

Edith did okay. About halfway through the movie she crawled into my lap where she remained the duration of the movie. She kept saying she wanted it to be over and to go home, but when it actually ended and was time to leave she cried her head off because she wanted to stay. I'm not sure whether she's just a bit too young for a movie or if it was because we skipped nap time to go, but I probably wouldn't take her again for a little while. There is a My Little Pony movie coming out in October that we will probably take them to.

The most interesting part of the experience? Probably when Edith silently handed me something and I inquired what it was. "A booger!" - thanks, kid.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

the things we do for our children


I need to talk about this. 

I continue to take the kids fishing. Over the weekend, Jon's parents came over to visit. They brought Edith her own fishing pole and got a tackle box for Elden so naturally they wanted to go to the pond that night. I cut up hot dog (because I still can't bring myself to sacrifice worms) and off we went.

Last trip, it was the swallowed hook incident that left me unsettled. 

This trip, it was the ole hook through the eye socket incident.

CAN WE NOT HAVE A FISHING TRIP WITHOUT INCIDENT? IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?

I'm not going to lie: I hate everything about this. Jon keeps telling me he thinks I should be vegan because when he tries to discuss the awful reality of the meat and dairy industry I immediately shut down and yell at him to shut up. The problem with me being vegan is that I greatly enjoy meat and dairy. More so dairy than meet (I would probably willingly join a cult whose entire religious existence revolved around cheese where I would quickly rise through the ranks to be the Queen Cheese due to my sheer devotion to that moldy goodness), but I just don't have the willpower to avoid it all together. That took a weird turn, but my point is that I feel immensely guilty that we are hurting these fish in the name of sport.

But my children greatly enjoy it and I greatly enjoy seeing my children happy, so I do it.

But it sucks. More for the fish than for me, but still.

I hate it. Why can't my children enjoy crocheting? Knitting? Anything that doesn't involve piercing flesh when done properly? How can I atone to the fish for my sins against them? 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

tried and true chick-fil-a copycat recipes

This blog post is dedicated to the driver sitting hopelessly in the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru line on Sunday. Because we've all been there:

--

Over the weekend, I decided to try a couple of Chick-Fil-A copycat recipes I had found: one for the nuggets and one for the honey roasted BBQ sauce. I'm here to report that they were delicious!


In my humble opinion, the nuggets were basically identical to the real thing. The sauce wasn't 100% spot on, but I'm guessing a lot of it had to do with the barbecue sauce I used. In any case, they weren't difficult recipes at all and will certainly meet any craving you might have. The biggest thing to remember is the chicken needs to marinate for half an hour so make sure you give yourself enough time!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

quarter life crisis

Over the weekend, I decided I wanted to dye my hair a super light pink. I guess I was feeling ~edgy~ so I hit up a Sally Beauty and bought this stuff. Naturally, the kids caught me in the act and wanted in on the action. Since I've always viewed hair dye (especially demi-permanent) as a form of expression, I wasn't about to say no.

This is what the color was supposed to look like:
This was the color (along with the purple next to it) on the kids' hair:
Aaaand this is what it looked like once we waited the recommended time and washed it out:
Naturally, we were all totally bummed. So then I went and busted this out. 

Let's just say my days of being a remarkably skilled hair dye novice are fin.
So the first time I used the Splat, I tooootally missed the entire back of my hair. I ended up having to do a second round the next day. Even then, it was horrible. Not uniform, just looked a hot mess. The kids loved theirs though:
So after less than 24 hours I had the "what was I thinking?" and "I am not 19 anymore" realization. Saturday night, I ran to Walgreens to buy some dark brown to cover it up:
Jon asked me if it was fun while it lasted, the response to which was a resounding no. I used to love playing around with hair dye but I forgot what a pain in the butt it is to remain committed to the color. I'm hoping to avoid having to dye it again but I may have to do a light brown once my blonde roots start to come in. I told Jon I think I was having a quarter life crisis or something because the whole thing was SO impulsive.

If hair dye is the worst life crisis I have, I guess I have it pretty good.

Monday, August 14, 2017

etta (39 weeks old)

Etta is officially 9 months old. Over the weekend, she decided she wanted to start crawling. To be honest, I'm shocked at how fast it happened...she went from having no idea how to crawl to cruising across the entire first floor in about 2 days. Etta is also trying to pull herself up on things now. She seems to be weaning herself from bottles and greatly prefers table food over formula. She's warming up to new people better than before but she still has a great deal of stranger danger (especially regarding men) as evidenced by the fact that she burst into hysterics when a male Costco employee started to talk to her the other day. Etta signs 'more' but doesn't seem to know what it means. She continues to love trying new foods. She is such a joy and we absolutely adore her.

Friday, August 11, 2017

five on friday

{1} Our kids are still fishing machines. Unfortunately, our last foray resulted in catching a lily pad and therefore breaking the hook, sinker and bob free from the line. On the same trip, Elden caught one fish that swallowed the hook. I was freaking out because I saw a pink something in front of the hook and I thought we were certainly ripping its stomach out through its mouth. I may have almost cried. After about a minute of closing my eyes and tugging at the hook, Elden said, "Mom, I think that's just the hot dog [we used as bait]." THANK GOD, the child was right! I was not ripping out the fish innards but was merely peering at the bait we used to catch the fish. Suffice to say, mama may not be able to keep these antics up.

{2} The weather (kind of). It has been unseasonably cool here the past few days. While I do not like the notion that summer is quickly coming to a close, I absolutely love logging into my Nest app and seeing multiple No Usage days. We open the windows at night and close them once it starts warming up so the cooler air gets trapped inside. It's perfect!

{3} Mama shrimp. I shared our exciting news about Big Guy on Wednesday. Jon got this awesome shot where you can see all of the blue eggs in the abdomen.

{4} This dress. Sally's wedding is in just a few months and I had originally planned on getting a dress from Rent the Runway. However, most of the dresses I liked were more expensive than it would have been to just buy a dress, so I had been scouring the net for something for a few weeks. When I saw this one on Zulily, I knew it was the one! Not only did I love the style, but it was cheaper than renting a dress.

{5} These joggers. The only sweat pants I currently own were Jon's that I stole. As such, they are not feminine or form-fitting at all. I've wanted joggers for a long time so when I saw the $10 price tag I snagged them. They came in the mail and they are the softest, most wonderful pants ever! I bought the black pair and have every intention of getting a purple pair also.

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

so our family is expanding...

A little background: Elden got 10 shrimp for his birthday. There was 1 big one (that he promptly named Big Guy) and 9 little ones (that he referred to, collectively, as Little Guys). Why did we get him pet shrimp? Because we are lazy AF and did not want to have to care for something high maintenance. And then... PLOT TWIST:
So now our low maintenance pet is turning into lots of low maintenance pets. At what point does this no longer remain low maintenance?
You know what I learned in the span of 30 minutes thanks to this website? Way more about shrimp reproduction than I ever thought I'd know. Some highlights:
*the pregnant shrimp is sometimes referred to as being "berried," with her eggs acting as the "berries"
*the pregnant shrimp sometimes literally kicks the babies out of her
*shrimp eggs have eyes
*female shrimp are usually larger than males (should have been our first clue about Big Guy)
*for a creature named for its small size, male shrimp "appendages" are shockingly large

So now we wait and see. One thing I did not learn is the gestation period for shrimp. Just kidding, I just searched that and the answer is 20-40 days. 

So within two months, I'm gonna be a grandma.