Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Favorites

Hello Friday!  The little ladies and I are flying solo this weekend.  Griff is on his annual "Man Trip" with some of his best buddies.  He went to the store the night before he left to stock up on some supplies.  He came home with stuff like beef jerkey and bullets.  Lord, have mercy.


ONE.  Have you guys ever heard of a "John Wayne Casserole?"  Is this actually a thing?  I found the recipe on my mom's Pinterest board, so I'm going to make it tomorrow and take it over to Mom and Dad's for dinner.  Excited to see how it turns out.  Check out the recipe (from Six Sisters' Stuff) here!

via sixsistersstuff.com


TWO.  I ordered these pens from Amazon the other day.  I saw that Andrea from Momfessionals raves about them, and I'm kind of a sucker for pens, so I decided to try them out.  I love them so much!  Griff made fun of me for being so excited about pens.  Until he tried one.  He literally wrote two words with one of them and said, "I need a set."  Apparently he is going to use them to "Audit stuff."  Clearly, they are highly recommended by this family.  You can find them here.




THREE.  I got a little carried away yesterday.  There may have been some obsessive template making.  I am wanting to add some picture frames to a wall in my dining room, but I'm not sure of the exact layout I want.  I spent an embarrassing amount of time online shopping for frames, going back and forth to my dining room wall, measuring tape in hand.  I'm a visual person, and I can usually just imagine how something will look, and I could imagine all of these scenarios.  The problem was, I couldn't imagine which one I liked best.  Commence obsessive measuring, cutting, and taping.  Is this normal?  This can't be normal.  Here are the options I came up with.

Option 1

Option 2


Option 3

Option 4 - use your imagination to complete the 3x3 grid.  The template making was getting out of control.

Options 1 and 2 would be hung like this, with the knobs:
via Houzz.com
I think I've narrowed it down to option 2 and 4, but I would love to hear your thoughts!



FOUR.  Can we talk about Little Debbie Donut Sticks for two seconds?  I have no idea why I brought these into my home.  I thought the girls would like them, and that they wouldn't linger around too long to tempt me.  Well, neither child likes them (what is wrong with them??), but guess who has been eating one a day for the past week?  Yep, this girl in the elastic waist pants.  Ugh.




FIVE.  I could not be any happier with our decision to wait another year for Kindergarten (see that post here.)  Izzy is LOVING school this year.  She comes home singing new songs every day...songs about the five senses, directions (right, left, etc.), even her street address.  She finally wants to sit down with me and draw shapes, practice her letters, cut and paste, etc.  This.  Is.  Huge.  I love that learning has become fun for her.  She's been at her new school for 3 weeks, and I can already see huge growth.  And, more importantly, she is excited to go to school every day!  Such a blessing.

photo credit: www.sabrinagebhardtphotography.com

Linking up with Andrea again this week, and also with September FARM.  Cheer's to the weekend, friends!
Momfessionals

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Office Before and After

How about a little before and after action on this lovely Thursday, shall we?  I posted about these bookcases that we painted and brought into our office a few weeks ago.  (You can find that post here.)  We finished up just a few days after that post, but I have been obsessing over tweaking the shelves since then.  I'm sure the tweaking will continue, because that's just how I roll.

The After

This room is right off our entry way, and I hated that it was one of the first things people saw when they came over.  I can't believe we didn't do this sooner.  I mean, look at that poor pathetic room.
The Before
I can't lie...I'm feeling pretty fancy about this before and after pic I made in Photoshop.  As you can see, in addition to painting the bookcases, we also painted the walls a nice and neutral gray.  I love how it looks against all the white.


And just as a reminder of what the bookcases originally looked like.  The power of paint never ceases to amaze me.  Overall, I am so pleased with these bookcases.  It's probably my favorite DIY project to date because we got such a big bang for our buck.
The Way Before

Paint colors:
Wall - Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray
Bookcases - Sherwin Williams Simple White
Inside Bookcases - Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday

Oh, Monday.  You always have something up your sleeve.  I got to the gym this morning, only to realize I had forgotten my gym locker lock, and more importantly, my earbuds.  Ugh.  Gym - earbuds = torture.  But I soldiered on, bored out of my mind.  Got 40 minutes of cardio in, plus some weights.  Not to shabby for an unprepared Monday.  It would have been oh, so easy to turn around and drive home, but I'm really trying to make a point to get a good workout in on Mondays.  I have found it sets the tone for the rest of my week.  I've kind of made a mental goal of getting 4 workouts in per week, plus a walk on Fridays, so checking one off right off the bat really helps.



I went to the grocery store today with a list that would make Martha Stewart proud.  It was organized by categories and everything.  I know, who do I think am I?  Don't be too impressed, though.  I neglected to add spaghetti sauce to my list, so the Crockpot Lasagna that was on the menu for tonight will not be happening.  I'm going to give Turkey Enchiladas a try instead.  It's a new recipe, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it is edible.  By the way, I think I've finally figured out the winning combination for grocery shopping with Harper.  For the past two weeks, I've been bringing along the iPad and a plethora of snacks.  That keeps her satisfied for the majority of the trip.  Today, she got out and walked, aka hopped and twirled to the older shoppers' delight, but she was happy to sit back in the cart and play the iPad while I paid.  I know I probably get the side eye from judgy people who disapprove of my "electronic babysitter" and to those people I say, "Kiss it."  Girlfriend is likely going to be a track star, and ain't nobody got time to chase her around the grocery store.


You take away the iPad, and mama will for sure need a cup holder!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Favs

Oh, hey Friday.  I'm so happy to see you again.  We have a pretty open weekend ahead, which is a lovely change.  Linking up with Momfessionals to share some of my favs today.

Momfessionals


ONE.  These babies were delivered last week, and I am obsessed.  I opened them up, put them on and wore them to dinner, if that tells you anything about my excitement level.  They were so comfortable and easy to wear.  Love, love, love.  
via Nordstrom

TWO.  I am so pumped about the Scandal and Parenthood season premiers next week!  Griff and I watch Scandal together, but Parenthood is all mine.  I was super late to the game, so I started binge watching it on Netflix last year, and it is probably my favorite show.  I'm pretty sure I've cried at least once during every episode.   



THREE.  One of my best girlfriends moved to Midland in January, and she is going to be in town this weekend.  I am having breakfast with her and a few other fun girls tomorrow morning, and I can't wait to catch up!


FOUR.  Last night, Griff and I went to the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction in Cowtown.  We've been going to this event for about 4 years now, and it has become one of my favorite nights of the year.  Chefs from some of the best restaurants in Fort Worth are there to prepare a signature dish.  There were nineteen food stations and two drink stations this year, and everything was fantastic.  My favorites of the night were the beef wellington and sweet potato casserole from Ruth's Chris and the TX Whiskey Pecan Pie from Stir Crazy Baked Goods.  Umm...hello, elastic waist pants!  The live auction was a huge success and a ton of money was raised to save sweet babies like our Izzy.  Such a fun way to support a cause so dear to our hearts.  


FIVE.  Izzy called me into the playroom the other day to see what she had made.  She was so proud, and said, "Look, I made a picture of sister."  I was confused about the green circle magnet, but I didn't question it.  "Oh, good job!" I said, trying to encourage her sweet little creative mind.  She pointed to the magnet in question, and said, "That's Harper's poop."  Annnd, there it is.   




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Family Command Center


Welp, that didn't take long.  It seems I have picked up some sort of sinus/head cold that has drained me of every last bit of energy.  I made it to the gym yesterday, but only lasted about 30 minutes.  I decided I would stay home and rest today, and try to get back at it tomorrow.  The girls are in school from 9-12 today, and this is the first time I've had to myself at home in months!   They just started school last week, and I've been running errands (aka shopping) like a mad women whenever I don't have them.  The house is eerily quiet.  As soon as this is posted, I'm turning on HGTV and curling up on the couch in hopes of a nap.  Who am I kidding?  I may never make it to the gym again.

Ok, so to the point of this post.  I've been wanting to create some sort of family command center in our mudroom area.  It is right by the garage door, so we are in and out of this space all day.  It's where we drop our bags, jackets, shoes, etc.  It is definitely the hardest working space in our home.  We had a big empty wall that was begging for some function, so function it got.





The memo board and B are both from Hobby Lobby.  The chalkboard was a simple diy project using a Hobby Lobby picture frame and chalkboard vinyl.  The calendar is a Target purchase, the black frame is from Aaron Brothers, and the print is from a gallery art pad I picked up at Michael's.  



Have y'all seen these?  I think they are so smart.  I wouldn't necessarily use them all together in a gallery, but breaking them up and using them here and there is perfect.  They didn't have as many options at Michael's as they do online, but you can use your 40% off coupon in the store.  They are regularly $14.99, so with the coupon, it's less than $9 for a ton of cute prints!  I have purchased single prints from Etsy for $20.  This is blowing my mind.  




So, all of our activities for the month are on the calendar, and we use the chalkboard to jot down things as we run out of them so I can remember to add them to the grocery list every week.  I plan on using the memo board to display cute photos of the girls and post invitations for any upcoming birthday parties, weddings, etc.  Also in the works are reward/behavior charts for the girls that will be displayed at their height right under this gallery.  Nothing fancy, but it makes me feel a little more organized, and sanity trumps fancy any day.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Randoms

Happy Friday, friends!  I'm linking up with Andrea again this morning.  This isn't necessarily a list of favorites as much as it a bunch of randomness, but just go with it.

Momfessionals


ONE.  Both of my babies started school this week, and they are loving it.  Read about their first days here and here.



TWO.  I will admit that I'm kind of loving this two-kids-in-school thing, too.  Harper only goes two days a week, so I get a total of 8 hours to myself, but it has been so nice.  On Tuesday, after I went to the gym, I stopped by Loft.  Alone.  I even tried on clothes.  It was heaven.  At the register, the lady in front of me apologized for taking so long.  Are you kidding?  No children were pulling at my clothes, screaming my name, handling every piece of jewelry in the store, or demanding fruit snacks.  I could have happily stood in line all day.  It's like a whole new world out there.




THREE.  As another result of school being back in session and getting back into our routines, I've gotten back into the groove of things at the gym.  I've been going sporadically all summer, but it's just so much easier to get there when I'm already leaving the house every morning anyway.  I hope the momentum lasts because I love the way a good workout makes me feel.  




FOUR.  Oh, hey.  Speaking of the opposite of working out and feeling good, I sure did buy my first bag of candy corn and candy pumpkins this week.  Griff is just as weak as I am in the face of candy corn, so he said I shouldn't have bought them.  Hey, if you want someone to blame, then blame Target.  I didn't go looking for candy corn.  The candy corn found me.  They know what they are doing placing those little bags of crack right at the register.  Damn you, Target.




FIVE. Izzy asked me to help her find Harper this afternoon.  Apparently there was a game of hide-and-seek happening.  I obliged, and this is what we found on Izzy's bed.  I'm not sure if it's the hider or the seeker, but someone needs to step up their game.




Thursday, September 11, 2014

Harper Goes to Preschool

Harper started preschool on Tuesday, and she had a great first day!



She never cried when we dropped her off, but she looked so sad as we were leaving.  When we turned to walk out the door, she closed her eyes and put her head in her hands.  Right through the heart, I tell ya.  I didn't see this part, but Griff said he turned back to look, and Harper's teacher walked over to her and tried to tickle her to make her smile, and she pushed her hand away.  Ummm, looks like business as usual...let's run!




She was all smiles when I picked her up.  Her teacher said she had a great day, and that her class was a really fun group.  Harper is at such a curious stage, and she retains new information like a little sponge.  She is learning to spell her name, and now whenever she sees a pen, she'll pick it up and say to me or Griff, "Make an H?"  Oh, sweet girl.  


She will only be going to school two days a week this year, but I think it will be so great for her.  I'm praying this year not only sparks a love of learning, but also helps her navigate the rules of engagement.  To say she has a little sassy streak would be quite an understatement.  This kid is a boss.  I posted a cropped version of the photo below on instagram with the caption, "Lord, please bless this child's teacher with a sense of humor and buckets of patience."  


Seriously, this girl kills me.  Oh, my precious child, how mama loves you!  Get ready world.  She's comin' for ya!




Monday, September 8, 2014

Why Kindergarten Can Wait

Izzy is off to her first year of Pre-K as a five-year-old today, and I am so excited for her!





We had plans up until March to send her to kindergarten this year.  Griff and I had a conference with her teacher around that time, and she expressed some concerns about Izzy that we were also seeing at home: not transitioning well between activities, getting her feelings hurt easily, etc.  Well, this caused a few days of full-on stress mode.  We didn't want to hold her back from something we had been preparing her for, and from moving forward with her friends.  We also didn't want to push her if she wasn't quite ready for kindergarten.  It may sound silly, but I was a complete mess over this.  I called my pediatrician in a panic, and he was so kind.  He went above and beyond his job description and performed a quick counseling session for a mama who basically just needed to hear what she already knew.  If in doubt, wait.



We've talked to a few friends who have had similar situations, and they said that extra year made such a huge difference for their children.  My biggest fear was that Izzy would struggle, become frustrated, shut down, inevitably fall behind, and continue to fall.  I was a teacher before I was a mama.  I know how hard it is for kids to catch up and break away from the labels they are assigned early in their education.  I just want to give my children the best opportunities to be successful.  As our pediatrician pointed out, nobody ever says, "Man, I really regret holding my kid back that extra year."  If anything, it's the opposite.  After considering all factors, there were just no negatives to waiting an extra year.  I realize now that this whole idea of her "missing out" was my issue, not hers.  Sometimes us mamas just need to get over ourselves.



The second the decision was made to repeat Pre-K, I felt a huge relief.  I know it is exactly what she needs.  More than anything, I want Izzy to be confident.  There are soooo many things she will experience as a girl that will make her self-conscious, and I never want school to be one of them.  I want her to be a kind friend, a good listener, a helper, a self-motivator, a leader.  I don't want her to get by.  I want her to thrive.  I'm praying this year fosters a deep love and excitement for learning that will stay with her forever.  Now excuse me while I go cry in the corner.

The little one starts tomorrow.  Heaven help her teachers.

Friday, September 5, 2014

5 Fall Essentials



I think I am in agreement with the rest of Texas when I say, "Bring on Fall!"  The calendar tells me it's fall, but the weather tells me otherwise.  That doesn't stop me from dreaming of crisp, cooler temps.  When I think fall fashion, these five pieces come to mind.  They are so versatile, and this is the kind of stuff I will wear over and over again all season.  What are your fall essentials?


Linking up with Momfessionals today!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Grilled Salmon That Will Change Your Life

You guys, I found the best recipe for salmon.  It is seriously so good.  And until the past few years, I didn't even think I liked salmon.  I just always assumed it would have a strong fishy taste, and I had no clue how to prepare it, so I just steered clear.  This recipe has been a major game changer.  I really think even if you are not a fish eater at all, you should still give this a try.  It's that good.  And so, so simple.  I forgot to take a photo, which is probably a good thing.  My food photography skills are severely lacking, as are all of my photography skills, but that is neither here nor there.

Recipe from Honey Bear Lane, originally adapted from allrecipes.com:

1-3 Salmon fillets
1/4 C brown sugar (I only use 2 tablespoons)
2 T lemon juice
1 t black pepper
2 t salt (I only use 1 teaspoon)
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C olive oil
1/8 C water
2-3 cloves minced garlic

Dump all ingredients in a plastic baggie, add in salmon, and marinate for at least an hour.  Make little foil packets/boats for the fillets (we make individual boats) and pour on remaining marinade.  Grill for about 20 minutes.  The recipe says to take the salmon out of the foil packet and put it directly on the grill for the past few minutes, but ours is always falling apart too much to survive directly on the grill, so we just skip that step.  I didn't say it was pretty.  I said it was good. 

I haven't tried this in the oven, but I'm guessing it would have similar results.  We use the frozen salmon fillets from Costco, and they work great.  I like serving broccoli with this, and a little macaroni and cheese never hurt anybody.  Let me know if you try it!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gone Crazy

Y'all.  I don't know what is wrong with me, but I am losing it.  Last week I wore two different shoes to the gym. We had an errand to run afterward, so I was out of the house for several HOURS wearing two different shoes.  Didn't even notice until I took them off and went to put them in my closet.  Awesome.  And then yesterday, the girls and I went to TJ Maxx after dance.  When we left the dance studio, I pulled my sunglasses out of my purse and put them on.  We parked at the store, I got out to open Harper's door, and saw my reflection in the window.  Not only was I wearing sunglasses, but I had another pair on my head.  I have officially gone crazy.



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Painted Bookcases

Happy Tuesday, friends!  Can all weekends last 4 days?   Pretty please??  Griff took Friday off, and we packed as much productivity into the weekend as we possibly could.  There was grocery shopping, major house cleaning, a birthday party (for Griff and Izzy), a MOPS meeting (for me and Harper), baking, grilling, hosting friends for dinner, a visit with Meme and Great Auntie, approximately 45 trips to Home Depot, and LOTS of painting.

When we moved into the new house in December, Griff's parents gave us some bookcases that they were no longer using.  We happily accepted them, thinking they would eventually end up in our gameroom.  They have been living in the garage for the past 8 months.

As I mentioned last week, we have been working on our office/study.  It was in serious need of some storage and function.  I would love to have some built-ins made for that room, but we are saving for a bigger project, and those built-ins ain't cheap.  That's when I got the brilliant idea to refinish our gifted = free bookcases and put them to work in the office.

The Before

We did not go the chalk paint route for this project, so there was some sanding and priming involved.  We sanded everything lightly with a pretty fine sandpaper, then used two coats of primer, and three coats of paint.  The bookcases are not solid wood, and they just soak up the paint.  It actually went a lot quicker than I thought, and wasn't as huge of a beat down as expected.  We made a ton of progress, and all that is left is putting two coats of paint on all the shelves.  For the shelves, we did three coats of primer, hoping that we can get by with only two coats of paint since we have more primer than paint left, and nobody wants to make a 46th trip to Home Depot.

We used Sherwin Williams Simple White and SW Urbane Bronze (matched at Home Depot)


I posted this yesterday on Instagram #laborday


We moved the bookcases into the office, and I am just giddy with excitement.  I love how they turned out, and I can totally see the vision coming together.  Mama is doing her happy dance!  

At first, I thought I wanted them pushed together like this.

Then we tried them apart, and it made the room looked so much bigger!  But what to do with that space in the middle?



Ahhh, yes.  Perfection.


I'm so excited to finish the shelves and get them installed.  And just so you know, there is little in life that brings me more joy than styling bookshelves.  So pumped.  I'm a day late at this, but I noticed that Momfessionals link-up yesterday was "What's on your...Project List," so I'm linking up with her today.