A Long Weekend Recap!

This past weekend was a three-day one for us, but it went by quickly!  On Saturday afternoon, SC and I arrived back from our trip to Florida, and our little family spent the rest of the weekend regrouping.  It was so good to be back to our little family and back to some routine.  The weather was beautiful here though, so on Sunday we ignored the unpacking and laundry we needed to do, and took an afternoon trip to the beach.
We also stopped by the park on the way home, so SC could spend some time in her beloved bucket swing.
On Monday we finally tackled as many chores as we could around the house and then went to a different park for all of us to enjoy.  Different park, different day, same bucket swing.
This park has a trail around a lake, and we made it a little ways before SC lost patience.
After almost two weeks of traveling it just felt so good to be home!  How was your weekend?  Anybody else experiencing springlike weather in February?  I'm ready to put away all of my sweaters!

A Little Visit with Grandma!

As I mentioned, my mom came to visit yesterday afternoon to keep SC and I company for the first night the husband is away.  It definitely helped distract SC!  Even though it was less than 24 hours, it was such a treat.  We enjoyed bubble time, a trip to the park, and a trip to the library. In addition, we enjoyed the usual play around the house, so SC was one busy little toddler!
Tomorrow SC has her 15 month appointment in the morning, so I'm getting things all packed up before  we head to grandma and grandpa's house for a few days!

Weekend Recap!

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great Superbowl weekend!

On Saturday, I drove up to Northern Virginia to go celebrate a friend's birthday. Even though it was a lot of driving that day, I have to admit that I enjoyed a break from toddler tunes and listening to NPR and podcasts instead.  It was also fun to go out to lunch without our toddlers in tow and to really catch up.  With that said, I also loved seeing her son; he is two and really talking now! And meanwhile back at home, SC and the husband had a fun day at the Children's Museum (although apparently SC was bummed when she found out she could not take home the toy groceries...).
This was wall art at the resauraunt we went to.  I love how they decorated for Valentine's Day!
Sunday morning was so relaxing.  We did go to church, and she did pretty well until the end, and then we stopped by the nursery in hopes she will associate that space as a happy one.
The husband is going to be traveling for work for the next two weeks, so we kept things nice and low key on Sunday night.  Although, he did decide to make some fried pickles for the game, which were actually really good. I gave him a hard time about it, but I actually highly recommend them-the flavors with the sauce are super tasty!
And here we are to Monday! My mom is coming to visit this afternoon for a day visit, so I better get to cleaning and prepping dinner before nap time is over!

Five for Friday!

Thank you for everyone's kind comments on Monday! SC is on the mend, and we have resumed our trips to the park, errands, and story time.  I didn't realize how attached I was to our little routine!

I guess to wrap up the month of January, I should mention the small progress I've made organization wise.  I finally decided to unsubscribe from a decent amount of retailers, and it has actually made a difference.  Before I thought I enjoyed getting those emails, but now I realize that they are just clutter in my inbox (or temptation for whatever sort of deal they are promoting).  I'm still subscribed to a few, but just getting off the list of about 15 retailers made a positive difference for the better! And I just checked out The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, so maybe I will make some more progress this February!
I also tackled organizing our spice cabinet and pantry.  While it isn't perfect, it is substantially more functional.  I store some of our medicine and vitamins downstairs, so just having two separate bins (one for us and one for SC), and getting them separated from the spices was a tremendous step forward.  While I know there are pretty containers elsewhere, I was excited that these from the Dollar Store serve the purpose.
These little narrow bins are awesome because they streamlined all of the bulky boxes and are the perfect size!
Last weekend we decided to watch Boyhood. I know it has been out for awhile, and I had been wanting to see it, but had just never gotten around to it.  I thought it was well done, but at times I wondered if the movie title was referring to the father's extended boyhood or the son's!
My mother-in-law's birthday was yesterday, and while we ordered a gift, I forgot to get her card in the mail.  That was a gentle reminder to make sure I get all of the birthday cards lined up for this month, so I stocked up on a few more.
And with February comes Valentine's Day!  I ordered a few of these to send out to relatives, but I need to get them in the mail soon, because Valentine's Day is going to be here before I turn around!
How have you been doing lately?  Anybody else feel like February is going to just fly by?

Four Things for Monday

Our weekend was pretty quiet as SC and my husband are still recovering from their colds (this darn thing seems to be hanging on forever).  I have to admit that I started to get a little weary of it all.  SC is a bit fussier since she doesn't feel well, all the current events are distressing to me, and we're still pretty housebound since we don't want to go around spreading the cold.  With that said, here are a few thoughts for Monday!

It's not all doom and gloom around here, as in two weeks SC and I will be heading down to Florida with my MIL to visit her great-grandma.  It should be lots of fun in the sun, but I'm a bit apprehensive about her first plane ride.  Any tips for an unwieldy toddler?
I was especially bleak on Sunday afternoon, so the husband suggested I might enjoy a quick jog around the neighborhood.  While I was dubious at first, I decided to jog until I felt regrouped.  A little exercise and fresh air really did the trick (and hopefully offsets the brownie I had that evening for dessert)...
My running shoes aren't very inspiring, but the sunsets around here sure are lovely
Our pantry is a bit of a mess, and I can't help but be inspired by The Home Edit's beautiful pantries.  While ours is never going to look like this, I'm going to try to hit up the Dollar Store this week and see if I can make it over a bit during nap time.
And finally, here are a few words from Shauna Niequist's Savor devotional that really soothed my soul this week.
I hope that they may uplift you too, friend.

Five for Friday

Well, this has been a long week!  SC's cold has dragged on, meaning that we were housebound for the most part.  The husband also got the cold (no surprise there), and I've been fighting it off the best I can with Airborne.  Parenthood is not exactly the most sanitary activity out there.  But the upside is that we all seem to be getting better and hopefully we will be up for something this weekend!
When I went home to visit my parents a few weekends ago my mom sent me back with my violin (it's finally time to get all of my things out of the perpetual storage that has been my parents' house!).  While I'm pretty horrible at playing, SC loves to hear Old MacDonald (honestly, I can't really play much else).  She goes into the closet where we store it and starts signing for more until I play.  Even though I think she might be just as enamored with the case as the actual violin, it's been fun to have this little distraction.  And yes, I not-so-secretly hope that maybe one day she might play the violin...or the viola...or cello!
Not surprisingly, I love Target's Cat and Jack line.  I had seen these adorable jackets a few months ago, but resisted since SC didn't need a jacket.  However, when I saw them on sale for nine dollars at my local store, I couldn't resist buying one for SC and my niece.  I love the little scallop edge and the polka dots.  So fancy for a toddler!
SC kindly modeled the 12 month one, so I could send a picture to my SIL
SC loves to pull books off of our bookshelf, and the other day she chucked my copy of Little Women.  I started reading the introduction, and of course then fell down the rabbit hole.  I've always loved Little Women (we even went and visited the Alcott home one summer), but one person in the family I had never really thought too much about is the mother, Abigail Alcott.  Truly, in the face of her husband's failed literary and Utopian society attempts, she was the practical partner who held everything together.  I'd really like to read her collection of  journals and letters, My Heart is Boundless.

To thank our neighbors for bailing us out when we locked ourselves out in the snow, I put together this little movie basket for them a few weeks ago.  I think The Life of Pi is one of the most beautifully done movies (not that I see that many!).
I picked up two Scoopback Ballet T-shirts at J.Crew last weekend for $5 a piece.  Considering SC will just be wiping banana on them, I was happy to update my wardrobe without breaking the bank. I did size up so they would be comfortable, but I do think they might genuinely run a bit small, as some reviewers were complaining that they were tight in the arms. Anyways, it's been fun to have something new to wear  around the house as SC attempts to catch the sun.
So that's what's new with me lately!  I hope everyone has a lovely (and healthy) weekend!

House Tour: Our Kitchen

Since we finally have a kitchen table, I thought I would share how it actually looks in our space as well as the rest of the kitchen.  While I wouldn't have necessarily picked out these finishes and such for the kitchen, it is a nice work area and so much better than what we had in our apartment.  Finally we have cabinet space and more than one work station!  It is also is very functional for us, and I love how it is connected to the living room. When we bought the house, it looked like this, and the only thing we have changed so far is the paint.  We will eventually get a new light fixture and figure out window treatments, but I doubt we will do too much more.

The differences aren't too dramatic, but here is the before:
And here is the after with our new kitchen table! We paired it with some chairs that my parents were willing to let us use, and I think it looks ok.  Eventually we might upgrade to upholstered chairs, but with SC's eating habits right now, these are the way to go.
SC's high chair is tucked into the corner by the table, and I enjoy eating my breakfast with her.  She loves looking out the window, and we talk about the squirrels and birds.  Exciting times!
 From this angle, you can see the layout a bit better.The sink and dishwasher are in the kitchen island, so even when you are doing dishes you can look out the window or into the living room.
 One thing I never would have bought is a double oven, but it is surprisingly handy, and we use it pretty frequently. Also, finally having a fridge with an ice maker and water dispenser has been awesome.
I had saved two wine bottles from our wedding along with a vase we received for our wedding, and it's fun to actually have them displayed in this little corner.
So there is our little kitchen tour!  While I may have originally dreamed of an all-white kitchen, I've definitely fallen in love with this one.  It is such a happy and functional space to work in, despite the fact that I'm not exactly a gourmet chef!

Two Weekend Recaps

Our computer was broken for the first part of last week, so I never got around to posting a recap of our trip to see my parents two weekends ago.   While we didn't really "do" anything, it was just really nice to have the time together.  My sister-in-law had fallen and fractured one of her vertebrae, so the trip home ended up being good timing, as there were extra hands to help with my niece.  My brother was also working 12 hour day and night shifts that weekend (I don't know how he does that with so little turnaround time), so in a weird way, I think it worked out as well as it could.
This was my dad's rocking chair when he was a kid!
My dad loves nothing more than holding his granddaughters.  Unfortunately, SC is a little wiggly now, but my niece thinks grandpa's lap is the best place to sleep!

Even the husband got in on the newborn snuggles. I really don't think there is anything better than a sleeping baby.
Of course, SC was living the good life with her doting grandparents, aunts and uncle.

My niece is getting so much more alert, but SC still isn't quite sure what to make of it all. We had a great trip and really enjoyed having a long weekend together.

This past weekend wasn't quite as fun.  While I did get to go shopping on Saturday morning,  poor SC came down with a cold Saturday afternoon, and everything kind of came to a standstill after that.  She didn't really sleep Saturday night except, but she seems to be doing a little better each day.  I'm pretty sure she just has a cold, but we are going to check with the doctor to make sure an ear infection isn't lurking...she is also teething, so it is hard to know exactly what is going on!  If she wasn't so miserable, I'm sure she'd try to pretend she was sick every day because I'm afraid that we've coddled her as much as we can possibly think of with bottles, Baby Beluga and extra bath time.

Five for Friday: My favorites at Trader Joe’s

So last Friday, I mentioned that I felt like a Trader Joe’s run needed to happen soon for some reasonably priced flowers. The truth though is that when we lived in Arlington we were about one mile away from one, but I didn’t go there that often.  But there are a few things that Trader Joe’s sells that you just can’t get anywhere else.  So after five months of living down here, I decided to finally take the thirty minute trip there, and it didn’t disappoint!  The store is spacious and SC seemed to enjoy the trip herself (I didn’t waste any time like I do at Target).  So even though I know you are not curious, here are the things that I love at Trader Joe’s.

Everyone loves Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken.  It took me a while before I discovered it, but it is good and an easy meal paired with rice and broccoli. It is their top selling item for a good reason!

My husband and I are obsessed with this kettle corn.  I think we probably just like kettle corn, but for some reason this stuff seems especially good. As a side note, I also got their white cheddar popcorn, and it seems better than what I usually buy too.
I became obsessed with the dark peanut butter cups last year for some reason (well, I don’t think it’s any mystery;  I love chocolate and peanut butter).  They are not a health food, but definitely a decadent treat. I had to arrange the last few pieces for this picture, so probably shouldn't be buying these again anytime soon.
I love their red Thai curry sauce.  I’ve blogged about how yummy the red Thai curry recipe is before, but it is one of my favorite meals to make in the fall and winter.  It is a comforting meal that is somewhat healthy and so easy to make. I seriously bought three jars. Another customer asked me if it was good, and like a crazy person I gave her the recipe while we were standing in the aisle.
Like everyone else, the real reason I would wander up to Trader Joe’s is for the inexpensive flowers.  You can get a beautiful orchid for under $15 and roses, tulips and hydrangeas for $5.  I bought two orchids last Tuesday, which may have been a bit crazy, but it is so much cheaper than Harris Teeter (the closest grocery store to us).
So thanks for bearing with me as I shared my list!  I definitely looked a bit bonkers as I filled my cart full of flowers and other frozen treats, but I think I’ve gotten my Trader Joe’s fix for a while! Is anybody else as obsessed?