The Perfect Swimsuit

I always laugh I when I sit down to blog about weight/shape what have you while I'm simultaneously stuffing my face. These mini packs of Trader Joes trail mix are rocking my world. It has almonds AND dark chocolate in it, so, health health.

Anywho, it's May first (and I do my daintiest little chuckle when I see the NSYNC meme about how it's gonna be May. Every time), and Summer is creeping up on us. So let's talk about something that will make you cringe : swimsuits.

Let me be frank and say I wasn't rocking a two piece pre baby, so nothing has changed there, but an appropriately ruched bathing suit is more critical than error. I rely heavily on bathing suits that will suck me in, push me up, and hide that super sexy extra skin that's lingering around my middle for a taste of the trail mix headed its way.  Fortunately, I've discovered La Blanca swimsuits and they're a game changer. I feel personally responsible for making sure everyone owns one.

I pulled this vintage snap from last year off my Instagram (@willowcrowns).


I love, love, love these strapless suits so much that I have two. The red and a navy and white polka dot. I've linked this red suit from Nordstrom (and the hat is J Crew) but before you go running off to put this amazing, flattering, and somehow still age appropriately sexy (ugh) suit in your shopping cart, check TJ Maxx or Marshalls first. I find these exact suits there constantly and even sent one to Steph a couple months ago when I found it calling her name from the rack. Nordstrom Rack also tends to get these in often, so check there too!

update: Tiffany was kind enough to comment below with a link she found to TJ Maxx online where you can grab a La Blanca! The link is here , thanks for being so awesome, ladies!

So stop worrying about swimsuits, grab one of these bad boys knowing it will hold your tummy in and show off the impressive mom guns you have going on from hoisting a 30 lb toddler around all day!

Loving Long Distance

With Mother's Day just a couple of weeks away, I've been little homesick, like I usually am when holidays/special occasions roll around. I like to think I have a fair amount of experience with long distance relationships, but it's still hard sometimes.

The two years before we got engaged, Ryan and I lived in different states, and I haven't lived-in the same state as my family for the past six years. We keep moving further away and while sometimes it seems like it's harder the more miles we have between us, we seem to keep finding more ways to stay connected. Liv knows exactly who my parents are and the day they came to visit last month, she greeted my mother at the door with "MY GIGI!!" so I'm a big believer of the power of technology.

We have a little book with everyone's photos in it, we FaceTime almost every night with my parents, and most recently my mom has set up something pretty darn cool. She created a private YouTube channel where she posts videos of herself reading O's favorite books. My sister and dad just recorded videos as well that will soon be added to what we're calling "Gigi's Library".

When I say that the nugget L-O-V-E-S it, I'm not exaggerating. She asks for "Gigi, book - boom boom!" when she wants to watch Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. This has really helped her disinterest in books and I think it's just about the cutest thing ever.


Finding special ways to keep O connected to my family is really important to me and I just loved this particular way so much that I had to blog about it! I'm anxious to know if you all have any fabulous ways you stay connected!

Weekend Wrap Up

Well. A wild weekend we did not have.

We managed a brunch or two, planted some flowers, and worked around the house.

What am I leaving out....?

Oh yeah, we started potty training, otherwise known as my greatest parental sanity test to date. 

I'll spare you the details and just send some photos your way...food, what I wore, and some pretty flowers. Then I'll be up late googling "potty training tips" on my phone. 


Cuteheads Romper | Nordstrom Rack Boots

piko tee | white denim (Old Navy) | tote is TJ Maxx | Lilly for Target wedges



My new favorite weekend dinner is chicken and shrimp tacos minus the tortilla with poblano sauce. Completely delish and our Sunday go to!

I'm just realizing this is basically all photos of my feet...which is weird. So note to self for the next post. 

Hope you had an awesome weekend!

Maxed Out

A fashion blogger I am not, but a lover of comfortable clothes? Heck yes.

Maxi dresses rank high on my list of favorite clothing items, right behind yoga pants and just in front of piko shirts. I love how simple they make getting dressed in the morning and the risk of flashing your fellow citizens when you bend down to retrieve your toddler (who is layed out on the floor of the grocery store) is pretty much zero. 

I've collected a few favorites over the years that I'm here to share today! 


I'm an equal opportunity buyer when it comes to patterns and solids, but they're all banded at the waist. I like a little definition to help out with the area of my body I'm least comfortable with and maxi's with no shape make me look like I'm wearing a potato sack. 


Almost all of these are old, but here are some similar options:

- Black and White Maxi - Fraiche By J Printed Maxi $92
- Blue Patterned Maxi - London Times Printed Blouse Maxi $99
- Blue Maxi - Gilli Inc Adore Maxi Dress $55


My current favorite is new and is the Verda Maxi from Anthropologie. The best news? Dresses are 20% off at Anthro now, so this would be the time to pull the trigger. 

I usually throw the dress on, slip on a pair of flat sandals, grab a straw tote, and put my hair in a quick braid and head out the door. I love an easy Summer look and maxi dresses are where it's at!

Bookish

While I can't claim to have done any particularly impressive reading lately, I do love to read. I'd love to rattle off the snooty title of my most recent scholarly read, but my most recently devoured books, I Heart My Little A Holes and I Just Want to Pee Alone really reflect where I'm at right now.


My mom loves to read and it's something we've always shared since I was a kid. My very first chapter book was one of the Pee Wee Scout books and on Saturdays my dad would take me to the bookstore to get the next installment. It was my favorite.

Sadly, O doesn't share my love of reading. I used to read to her constantly as a baby and then the day she turned 9 months old she learned to walk and it was game over. She just can't sit still long enough to be interested. The girl even eats on the run, so reading just isn't happening. I haven't lost hope though, and am collecting some fantastic books for her in the hope that she'll take a breather from her nonstop marathon and take a look.


I've got some that are great for little kids and then I've been collecting some of my childhood 
favorites for when she's a little older.


The top 10 in her room currently:

- Make Way for Ducklings (I've blogged here about why I love this book)
- On the Night You Were Born (bought this the day I went into labor and her first photo and birth stats are taped on the inside front cover)
- The Daring Book for Girls (not intended for small kids, but I really love it)

There are more in her room, but those are definitely my faves.


These books are full of sweet stories and gorgeous illustrations, so you can't lose. I only hope someday she'll take a break from running through the house with no bottoms (potty training, you vicious B) while screaming her war cry to let me read them to her. If not? Next kid, maybe?

Another set of books I've enjoyed collecting is these Rifle Paper Company versions. You can get them at Amazon or Anthropologie and they're a little pricier being hardcover and all, but they are my absolute favorite books from when I was a kid (next to the Little House on the Prairie series which will never get bumped from the number one spot). The covers are just gorgeous and I hope she'll love them like I did when I was pre teen. 


(candle is Capri Blue Volcano from Anthropologie)

Any faves we need to add to our library?

Online Privacy and Protecting Your Kids

Holy heavy blog title, right?

I've blogged before about protecting O's privacy when it comes to the blog and Instagram and how we approach that. It's an issue that's been on my mind even more lately, since Stephanie and I have been talking about this incredibly freaky new concept of baby role playing. Have you all heard of it? It's chilling.

In addition to that, people are stealing photos left and right (how easy is it to just screen cap something and claim it as your own?) and with social media sites like Instagram and Facebook getting bigger by the day, I'm really conscientious about the content I'm putting out there.


Now, not everyone needs to take the same stance, do the same thing, or even agree with how I choose to handle this, that isn't what this is about. It's about knowing what's going on and what's available to help you protect your kids (and your hard work - blog content and your self taught photography shouldn't be someone else's to take credit for).


So a couple of different thoughts on the topics. 

Don't use head on face shots.

This is my strategy, but I know it's not for everyone. I spam my family and friends multiple times a day with photos of my kid via text and call it good. I figure that no one but my family is that interested in what my child is doing anyway, and they don't mind that the majority of my photography is laughably poor. It scratches the itch I have to share my little toddler tyrant with someone.


I used to show photos of Liv's face as a baby because I thought "oh, well all babies kinda look the same and she looks different now" but come to find out, infant photos are the most desired for these sick online games. So I deleted those (and the first 10 months of this blog) real quick. My decision is based on wanting to keep her photos from being stolen, but also because I'm not sure what photos she'd appreciate having me post for the world to see and creating a digital footprint for her without her permission. Since my profile isn't private, it's what I'm comfortable with and try not to post even non-face photos too too often. You can read more about that here, but if you don't - won't hurt my feelings. I get that one ramble is enough for the day.

 Watermark

An awesome way to keep your images from being stolen is to use a watermark. Apps like Marksta, iWatermark, Photomarkr, and eZywatermark lite are all great options for adding a small watermark to your photo. Putting it close to the face of your subject is the best route so it won't get cropped out. I know it doesn't make for the best, most instaworthy photos, but trust me, you'll feel better looking at a watermarked photo than a photo of your child that someone else is using and blasting to their followers. I'm not currently watermarking since I'm not showing her face, but I have a bunch of friends who love it and swear by it. Steph is actually writing about it today, so her post is a great resource for watermarking info.

The internet is an awesome place - I would never have started my business, met my best friend, or connected with all kinds of amazing women without it, but it can totally scare the crap out of me too. I try not to Instagram in real time, make sure to crop out my house number, or advertise when my husband is out of town, because I have enough trouble sleeping as it is. I know that there's a lot of information available about me out there, but I try to control what I can within reason.

That being said, putting a privacy filter on the photos I share of my daughter has made for some really fun photography learning. I've had a blast playing with different angles, capturing tiny little details, and focusing on capturing her in play, rather than trying to pose her for the perfect shot (which is officially impossible at this age). 


Taking the focus off of her also encourages me to find other things to write about, which has really helped me explore my own interests, something that can fall to the wayside once motherhood rolls around. 


So my apologies for a heavy post on a Monday, but I like to think that this space is the virtual place where we all sit down for coffee in the morning and dish, like friends. Favorite mascaras, teething remedies, and the ultimate pair of boyfriend jeans are all fair game, as well as hilarious stories about the time your kid pantsed you in Target when you had your laundry day undies on. It's where we share our frustrations, our passions, and yes, our worries for our kids. Tomorrow I'll be back to some inane ramble about the lash extensions I got over the weekend (and trust me, they good) but for today it's a girlfriend heart to heart about the ones we love most - our babies, and how to keep them safe. 

So...What Do You Do All Day?

Whenever someone asks me this question, I have to try really hard not to roll my eyes so hard that they get stuck up near by brain. Sometimes I say "nothing" just to see their reaction.

Kidding, I'm only that brave in my head.


However, this isn't actually a post about what I do all day as a stay at home mom. Disappointed? I know you thought that was going to be riveting. I am going to talk about things I do with Liv, though. Entertaining a toddler isn't always the easiest and with long Summer days on the horizon, I'm digging through my arsenal of toddler entertainment tips and laying 'em out here...like the non expert I am. 

I like to get out of the house as much as possible with her, so that's what the majority of these are geared towards.

1. Bounce Houses

There's nothing like an indoor bounce house/inflatables venue to kill some time, wear out your kid, and provide some cheap entertainment. We have a bunch nearby, they're usually in the $6 range and she just goes bonkers in there. The best part? Come July when it's 110 degrees here, the AC is free.

2. Water Tables


What is it with kids and water? They love it - at least all the kids I know. I 'grammed a shot of our backyard setup recently and all you need is a water table (I got ours at Target for $30) and a chair for yo self. I fully anticipate that my mom friends and I will be found here the majority of the summer. That is if we aren't at the splash pad.

3. Splash Pads

They're rampant in Texas since Summer here is like living on the sun, but it's a great alternative to swimming. Some kids don't dig the pool like my fearless toddler (hello, swimming lessons this summer) and the splash pad is especially awesome for toddler moms. Getting to sit on the side and catch up with friends while your kid runs wild through 10 glorified sprinklers? Perfect. My friend with a new baby claims that splash pads were invented for moms with babies so they could sit on the side and nurse while the toddler runs it out. You can be the judge of that since I'm not currently in the process of nursing a babe (although I did accidentally buy a nursing bra and kept it because it was so comfy).

4. Bookstores


I never understood why my mom always wanted to take my younger sister to the bookstore, but now I get it. First thing: Starbucks. Second thing: lego tables, train sets, a tiny little stage for tiny little divas to twirl on. Books to read, snacks to be snacked, other kids to side eye. We killed 90 minutes there this morning like it ain't no thang.

5. Bowling

Think your toddler can't bowl? Think again. Many places have special lightweight balls and a little ramp for them to roll the ball down. That plus bumpers = a solid hour of nonstop fun for my kiddo. She just tosses that thing down the ramp, runs for another ball, and does it again rapid fire. This is my new rainy day favorite. It's usually dead during the day and the kids have the place to themselves.

6. Music Classes/ Gym Classes

When O was 1 we did the Little Gym and really loved it. It was like a mix of music and gym class and it was something to break up the middle of our week. My friends with younger babies really love music class as a way to get out of the house, meet other moms, and keep the kiddos more entertained than they might be at home. Basically, we all need to mix it up.

6. Whatever the activity, shoot for the morning

Whatever activity we happen to choose for the day, I usually try to schedule it for the first half of the day. I figure she can run out all her energy and that bodes better for nap time. Good naps = better afternoons. You get where I'm going with this. If we get an errand like groceries and 1 toddler activity in before nap time, we can usually whittle the rest of the afternoon away with nap, bikes, bubbles, some Little Mermaid, dress up, and just straight up pandemonium running around the house.

I know that absolutely none of this is particularly ground breaking but sometimes I like to see what other people are doing with their kids since we definitely get stuck in our own rut/routine and forget/are too lazy to try new things.

And with that, friends, I'm out. I took 2 Benadryl an hour or so ago to help battle these relentlessly vicious allergies so I'll be unconscious soon.

Around Here

So, what's been happening over here in suburbia?

Just the usual, plus a serious case of toddler with 'tude. The past couple of weeks with O have been pretty interesting, since she's challenging us constantly and has perfected this really fantastic public screech, but we're about to turn the corner. I'm sure of it. Ish.

Since she's comfortably tucked in bed with her Frozen backpack, two lambs, one unicorn, one elephant, and three blankets (while wearing her full Elsa costume) it's time for me to scroll through the old camera roll, throw some super high res iPhone pics on here, and fill you in on what's been happening.

Let's start with the search for white denim. My favorite, favorite pair (from the Gap factory store) left me pretty thoroughly traumatized last week when I squatted down to retrieve a jettisoned bath toy and they split from the zipper clear to the back of my butt. It's safe to say that's the harshest thing that's happened to my self esteem in quite some time. Since a trip to the outlets requires more stamina than I currently have, I've been searching TJ Maxx and Old Navy for a substitute pair.

reversible tote (Target, $30) | sweater (H&M $20)

Pants searching requires lots of Diet Dr. Pepper and the reluctant acceptance that I'll probably have to size up in order to avoid treading into that awful territory where white pants + a slim fit leg = sheer enough to see cellulite through. Anyone else know what the heck I'm talking about?

I've already mentioned Liv's testy little temperament, but in other news, the girl is obsessed with her accessories. I bought a grown up version of this Laura Cox necklace a couple weeks ago and ended up getting one for Liv as well once she stole mine and wouldn't give it back.

Dress (Gap, $35) | Bag (Target, $22)

 If I said I wasn't having a total blast with this girly stage I'd be a big fat liar with ripped white jeans. I totally love it and am painfully aware that it probably won't last, so I'm taking advantage now.

Speaking of girly girl, check out those pins.

sneakers (J Crew $80)

I've had sneakers on more in the past few weeks than in my entire life. The weather is Houston is at that sweet (albeit, slightly rainy) spot where it's warm but not hot yet, so we're outside pretty much constantly, running laps around the cul de sac, blowing bubbles, chasing the neighbor's dog, and even hitting the bowling alley on rainy days (the little toddler ramps for bowling are the coolest thing ever and the kid loves it).

The Easter bunny (aka her Gigi and Papa) bought her this Radio Flyer Tricycle and we've easily put 10 miles on that bad boy. We bought the brightest, tackiest, most princess covered helmet we could find and fortunately she thinks its dress up and is wearing it like a freaking tiara. Between the bike rides and trips to feed the turtles, we're pretty tapped out come nap time.

I almost never (never, never, never) take naps when she does. I usually work on WC, clean the house, and lately it's been when I do a lot of dinner prep, but today I vegged out (and eventually passed out) with my laptop, a great big iced coffee, and my celebrity gossip websites.


It's the little things.

So now we're onto the second half of April. For Ryan it means wrapping up his current job and prepping to start a new one on May 1 (same company, new role) and we're pretty psyched about it. We haven't seen a ton of him over the past couple of years since we moved here and this new position is going to mean a lot
 more time at home. Yay!
As for me, I'm getting ready for the WC Summer '15 launch (first week of May, get ready!) and trying to squeeze in all my appointments (dentist, eye doctor etc.) before O's Mother's Day Out program wraps up and I lose those 10 hours a week and we start traveling all Summer.

That's it for us so right now - nothing too exciting, just doing our thing!


Neck and Neck

I don't wear lots of jewelry and I usually stick to simple stud earrings and hardly ever wear any bracelets. The only exception is necklaces. I especially love delicate, dainty necklaces and long tassel pieces and rely on them to make my mom uniform slightly less mundane. I've rounded up a few of my current favorites (including a few from my favorite Etsy shops) for you to take a peek at!


First I'll talk about this gorgeous natural and gold wood bead necklace from Laura Cox Designs

Steph blogged about Laura and her shop a couple weeks ago and I quickly hopped over to her site to snap this up. O loved it so much that Laura was nice enough to make a mini version for me to purchase and it arrived yesterday, much to one little lady's delight. "Mama, our nek-a-ses!".  It's perfectly neutral and is giving my plain tees and sweaters the perfectly understated finishing touch.


The pink tassel necklace is from a local boutique called Anything Bling Boutique and is enough out of my comfort zone to be fun and different without being so far out there that I'm afraid to wear it.

The Kendra Scott Rayne necklace is another go to tassel piece for me (I have the Mother of Pearl color) and is a tiny bit dressier, so it's often found on date nights. 


 Now for the dainty ones!

I truly love small gold necklaces and layering them is my favorite. I've worn my "O" charm necklace every day since Olivia was born and like to add different pieces to that depending on the day/my mood/what I'm wearing. The charm necklace is a 16" length and I buy the others in 18" so they'll be slightly longer. 


The druzy bar necklace is from Dolce Ave, and the gold circle and triangle necklaces are from Mia Earrings. I love shopping small and these ladies all deliver big time! 

So those are my faves! Don't be surprised if you see these popping up nonstop on Instagram or again on the blog because I'm always wearing one of them at any given time!

Lip Favorites

I don't hoard much, but lip products are my exception. While I like to keep most areas of my life pretty streamlined, I'm an addict when it comes to lip balms, glosses, lip sticks, lip salves, whatever. So to give you a full look at the crazy today, I'm sharing my favorite lip products!

The balms:


Move over Chapstick, I've got Baby Lips. The first two are colorless and tend to live in my nightstand in case I should need a 2 AM application. Dry lips are a nightmare in and of themselves. The other two are lightly tinted and ideal for tossing in my purse by the dozen. Little bit of color, whole lotta lip smoothing goodness. I'm linking these at Ulta but they're all over the place - Target, the grocery store, wherever! These are a bargain at $4.50 and I love to stock up.

The glosses:


My perfect pinky nude is the Naked lipgloss from Urban Decay ($20) and the Smashbox in Pout ($20) is a super baby pink that I usually reserve for date night. The Naked gloss has an amazing smooth texture that I prefer to the stickier texture of the Smashbox gloss, but they're both keepers. These are both Sephora or Ulta buys!

The salves:


Used almost as heavily as my Baby Lips are my Smith's Rosebud Salves ($6) in every flavor. Original, Strawberry, and Mint. Personal fave? The Mint. Barely, barely tinted, immediate moisture, and I love the applicator. I always snag these at the checkout of Sephora or Anthropolgie.

The lipsticks:


I don't use many lipsticks as I feel like they tend to look cakey on my lips. I also tend to do a pretty dramatic eye most days (winged liner fo life), so doing a heavy lip is always out of the question. These two, the Julianne by L'Oreal and Dior Lip Glow, are the only two that I've ever repeat purchased. The L'Oreal is a bargain buy at $8 and the Dior is a definite splurge at $33. I love the translucent yet bright aspect to the Lip Glow which allegedly doesn't color your lips, just brings out their natural color, and the soft pink from the L'Oreal is perfect for everyday. I get the L'Oreal at Target or Ulta and the Lip Glow is widely available at Sephora!

The fun and pretty:


This is the newest to my lineup and I'm luh-ving it. This is Royal Apothic Tinties Lip Butter in Pink ($14). I got this at Anthropologie and the sweet little pot it comes in is to die (sucker for packaging) and the color is the brightest in my collection - almost a fuchsia - without being too much. It applies like a balm, isn't sticky at all, and I'm going to have to try the other colors.

The selfie:


Faves Around the House

We're at that point where the house finally feels like ours, not the former owners' but we aren't quite at the place where we'd call it done....

Hold on, I'm just dreaming about the day the house will be "done". I look about 60 in this dream. Anyways.

Regardless of the state of our house, there are five things in and around the house that really make me feel settled here and really help me ignore the tiny pile of crushed cracker on the floor. God forbid I pick that up the first 10 times I walk by it. I'll wait for pass number 11, thank you.

1. Candles


My mom always burned candles when I was growing up and I guarantee you that if you walk into my parents' home unannounced that a. my mom will probably have a stroke ("this place is a mess!") and b. she'll be burning candles and my dad will be cooking. So obviously, good smells are tied to some happy memories for me. While I'm working on filling the house with good smells from cooking, I'm doing a fantastic job of filling it with good smells from candles. I usually keep one in the kitchen and one on my dresser in the master. They're both up nice and high, out of reach of curious little hands and I tend to rotate between a couple different scents. 

- My absolute favorite is Anthropologie's Capri Blue Volcano candle. It's on the pricey end, though it's longevity helps ease the financial sting. It packs a punch in the fragrance department and is heavenly.

- Target has some awesome, big candles for $10. My current living room choice is Sweet Blush and Agave since they've discontinued my old fave, Blonde Woods and Musk. Jerks. Just kidding, I love you, Target.

2. Flowers


I usually grab whatever's under $10 at Trader Joe's and am always happy with what I come home with. Tulips are on heavy rotation right with it being April and all, but I'll take anything, especially hydrangeas. I like to keep them in our entryway and if it's an especially big bouquet, I'll split it up and put some on the kitchen table. I feel like they say "someone who has their crap together lives here, not someone who will pass by a cracker dust pile ten times". 

3. Special photos


Yeah, everyone has photos in their house, big whoop. They matter to me, though. When I've got my favorite family photos hung and displayed, I feel at home. I tend to go for black and white in our master, and color in the living room. All the important moments in our lives are on display and I like to think they tell our story.

4. A Catch All


We have a lot of junk. Junk mail, junk from Mother's Day Out, junk from the bottom of my purse (whoa nelly, it's like a black hole in there), you get it. The organization lover (needer?) in me feels better when there's a place to put bills, backpacks, and spare keys. I got this little shelving unit at Target and between that and the calendar, we stay pretty organized. 

5. Pretty Hand Towels

towel from Target

Totally unnecessary and unnoticed by most, pretty hand towels is what separates me from my current "grown up" life and when I was  living in a 400 square foot studio apartment outside of Boston after I graduated from college. My hand towels then were really just the 10 pack of washcloths you can buy for $3 and some change at Target. I also spent $40 a week on groceries and often had to call my parents for gas money to get to my first job, but that's a whole other sad (and character building?) story. Surprisingly, I look back on the whole time with a certain fondness, although I'm almost positive I didn't enjoy being broke as a joke at the time.

Anyway, those are the five things that have really gone a ways towards making this a home, not a house ; the personal touches I've added that didn't require paint, spackle, or a trip to the ER with a broken toe.

Our Easter

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Easter (or Passover!) with your loved ones! This was our first holiday spent just the three of us and it was really low key and lovely. We had the chance to start some new (hopefully) traditions of our own and enjoy lots of time together.


O loved her Easter basket and about 30 seconds after she ripped into that bad boy we left to get some brunch.

When we got home we did a little Easter egg hunt, the nugget and I snuggled up to watch Sleeping Beauty for the first time (for her, it was about the 1000th time for me), I had a mimosa, and then we all took naps. By nap I mean lay in bed on the phone checking Instagram, and then falling asleep 5 minutes before little one woke up. I will never learn.


I thought it might be sad to be away from family, but we ended up really enjoying our day, even though we missed them! The house was full of flowers, I made seafood chowder like my grandmother does for holidays, and a restful day was just what the doctor ordered, especially for Ryan. He had Friday off, so a three day weekend with him was the icing on the cake and I think we spent more time with him this weekend than we have since we moved to Texas!


We wrapped up the day with a walk to feed the turtles and burn off a teeny tiny fraction of the calories we consumed.


Spending all this time together, starting traditions, and watching her really understand and enjoy a holiday does a lot for my willingness to add another baby to the mix. While I don't think we're quite there yet, it was so fun to think about Easter next year or the years after and filling our house with our own family and adding even more insanity to the equation. Now that I've said this, I can almost guarantee some kind of toddler episode tomorrow that will make me rethink the whole idea, but for now, it's nice to imagine.

Some links from today's post, just in case you're interested!

Liv's Dress: J Crew Factory
Liv's Purse: Target
Radio Flyer Bike: Amazon

So I Decided to Start Cooking...

You may recall that one of my New Year's resolutions was to cook more often. I think we all know how that went.

There are lots of reasons why I don't cook much - Ryan's almost never home for dinner, I'm a little intimidated by cooking, I'm lazy about food prep (that's 95% of it right there), the list goes on.

Lately we've been spending way too much on take out and restaurants and it's motivated me to get back into cooking more often, and trying to stick to restaurants on weekends.


So on Sunday I hit Pinterest with a fervor I haven't had since I first learned about Pinterest and found some recipes that I thought would work for us. My requirements:

- Easy to make. I'm not using some fancy tool I'd have to go buy, I'm not mincing anything, and I'm not going to spend an hour wandering the grocery store for some obscure ingredient. At least not until I successfully execute the new plan for a few weeks and build up my confidence.

- Can be made in advance and warmed up later.

- Toddler friendly

- Can be made in small batches. We're two and a half people - if it serves 8-10 it's too much, even if I eat leftovers for lunch (which are actually a favorite of mine).


So here's what I made this week:

Monday: Baked Spaghetti with the recipe from The Gunny Sack. Served this with mixed veggies on the side (Frozen Foursome from Trader Joe's)

Tuesday: Stuffed Peppers. I didn't follow a specific recipe for this, but the inspiration came from A Beautiful Mess. I used marinara sauce, ground turkey, quinoa, shredded mozzarella, and leftover Frozen Foursome veggies.

Wednesday: Skinny Chicken Fried Rice from Skinny Mom.

Thursday: Honey Mustard Chicken from Simply Recipes with Garlic Ranch Roasted Potatoes (from Damn Delicious) and Salad. I'm really enjoying the Zoe's Kitchen dressing for salads - simple and delish.

I was able to prep part if not all of these around 10 in the morning while Liv was watching The Little Mermaid (every. single. day.) and then Ryan would text me when he left work and I'd get things finished up. He did his part by really making an effort to leave work earlier and I did the menu planning aspect. It worked really well and for four meals it cost $50, an amount we'd easily spend on two takeout dinners ( or one even), which gets a little crazy.

So now you need to tell me, what are some of your favorite (and easy!) recipes to make for your family?

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