Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Favorites

Good morning friends! I know I speak for all of us when I say this week felt more like a month. Whew!

Today I am sharing a random mix of things we have been loving lately:
Thursday, March 26, 2020

Baked Potato Bites

I was craving a loaded baked potato the other day but didn't want to eat a whole one, so I decided to make "bite sized loaded baked potatoes". I was all proud of myself until Devin pointed out that they are essentially a smaller, healthier version of "Loaded Potato Skins" that you can get at many sports bars across America. 😂 Hahaha, whoops! So much for being innovative! Regardless, I liked the fact that I could have a smaller and healthier version, that wasn't super greasy. If that sounds like something you'd like too, the recipe is below!
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

What's Up Wednesday

Hi friends! I am looking forward to catching up with all of you today... this mama needs a little more social interaction-- even if it's through the internet!! I've had a couple Zoom Happy Hours with friends and they're a fun way to catch up with everyone while still staying at home. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it!!
Now, on to What's Up Wednesday...
What We're Eating: Umm... does "everything in sight" count as an answer for this?! The bad thing about being home all day every day, is that we keep finding ourselves eating all day every day. Devin and I keep joking that by the end of this we will have gained the "Quarantine 15". In all seriousness though, we have been trying to eat as much take out as possible from some of our favorite local restaurants. We all know what a difficult time this is for the restaurant industry so we are trying to do our part to help support our favorite places.
What I'm Reminiscing About: Not to be Debbie Downer, but I've been reminiscing a lot about being able to go places without thinking twice about it. I didn't realize how much you take things like running errands for granted, until you can't do them anymore.
What I'm Loving: I honestly am loving all this good quality family time we are getting right now! 
Monday, March 23, 2020

Our New Brick Paver Patio

Good morning friends! I know we have all been hoping and praying for the end of this to be in sight. Praying for our healthcare workers, praying for our government (and the governments of other countries) to find an answer to how to stop this, and of course praying for the people who have been infected or who have family members who've been infected. It feels so weird to be writing a post about "normal life", but at the same time, I find myself needing something that isn't a discussion on this virus. Last week I found myself getting consumed by the news and felt it was having a noticeable effect on my overall attitude and demeanor. By no means am I trying to "pretend this doesn't exist", but I do need to try to find a balance of normal life again.

Over the weekend we got to knocking a big project off our to-do list: a new brick patio. Our patio in our backyard is one of the places we spend most of our time. We play with chalk out here, do art on this patio, play with the kids water table/water toys, etc. It's also a great place to sit with a cup of coffee in the morning and listen to the birds sing while the kiddos aren't up yet. The one problem with it? It was made of concrete and kind of an eyesore. 

Devin and I first bought this house when we were newlyweds and as many of you know, newlyweds aren't typically swimming in a whole bunch of cash. We were fortunate enough to buy a big house in a wonderful area of Charlotte, but in order for that house to be in our price range... it came with some things that were less than ideal. It would've been a great house for Chip and Joanna Gaines to come in and "Fixer Upper" for us 😀. Over the past 6 years we have been chipping away at some of the projects but still have quite a lengthy to-do list. One of the few benefits of being quarantined for weeks on end is that we HAVE to be home, with a lot of time on our hands. Meaning, it's time to check off some projects on the to do list! Several Youtube tutorials, articles, and a friend who's done this before (multiple times!) led us to believe we could tackle building our brick paver patio... so we did!
Friday, March 20, 2020

What I've Been Priming For Our Isolation

Hey All, I'm assuming most of you are in the same boat as I am: stuck at home and already wondering how many more days we have to do this. We aren't supposed to go out of our homes, but there are some things that we can do in-home that can make our self-quarantine easier. 

If your kiddos are anything like Lily Grace, they are struggling with this isolation. Lily Grace is almost 3, very energetic and a social butterfly. She has asked daily "when can I go back to school/church/swim class/the YMCA/etc.?" I'm trying so hard to remember that while us adults are having anxiety about all of this, so are our kids, even the really young ones. LG may not understand WHY we can't go out, but her routine and the structure she so desperately craves is gone, and it's doing a number on her. 

That being said, the rules are the rules for a reason. I completely understand why we are staying at home for the unforeseeable future and we are doing our best to make this situation as bearable as possible. We are trying to stay busy, and keep things around the house light and fun. Here are a couple things we have bought on Amazon to help us fill up the endless amounts of time we have:
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Manchego, Roasted Garlic, and Parmesan Roasted Green Beans

Good morning friends! Today I am sharing just one of the super quick and easy healthy recipes I whipped up recently. I use this prepackaged seasoning mix in order to make things simpler. You can pick this up on Amazon, or from World Market, Walmart, or other stores. I promise you that once you taste this seasoning mix, you'll be buying it in bulk! I grabbed 4 packets the last time I was at World Market 😀
Here's What You'll Need:
1/2 pound of fresh green beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine green beans, olive oil, seasoning mix, and one tablespoon on Parmesan cheese. Mix until seasoning evenly coats all green beans.
3. Spread green beans onto an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and top with additional two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, stopping halfway through to stir green beans.
Since we bought a giant bag of Costco green beans I think we will be having these a few times this week... I'm not mad about it, they're delicious and easy!
See you tomorrow 😀
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Six Months with Our Little Man!

How is our sweet baby boy already 6 months old? It's amazing to think that in just a matter of months we went from this:
to this:
Monday, March 16, 2020

How Are You Doing?

Hi all. It feels like a full year has gone by since we last "chatted", yet it's only been a few days. I'm not sure what life looks like in your neck of the woods right now, but things are definitely crazy here. All schools have been cancelled, many businesses are working from home, stores are closing... it's nuts. It's easy to get anxious and worry about everything going on/all the changes, but we are trying to do our best to stay sane over here and keep life "as normal as possible".
Friday, March 13, 2020

My Top 5 Parenting Books (So Far)

Happy Friday everyone! I've had several friends have babies recently and a couple of them asked me if there were any parenting books I'd recommend. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you know how much I love to read. I read roughly 40 books a year, and I try to include a variety of different parenting books. They may be about varying parenting styles, how people raise their children differently in other cultures, something that focuses on one specific area (i.e., sleep training), or something completely different and unique.
Thursday, March 12, 2020

The "Goddess" Salad

This is one of my favorite go-to salads to make. My girlfriend Katie originally introduced me to a different version of this recipe years ago, and I have just tweaked it over the years to fit our taste more. I love the combination of the sweet and salty with the nuts and dried cranberries!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Life Lately

Good morning everyone! I wanted to just hop on today to share a few pictures of this sweet stage of life we are in at the moment. A couple weeks ago I was playing with the kids around the house and had one of those "this is my favorite stage so far" moments with both kiddos. I know I'm going to want to look back on these moments and remember them forever, so I figured I'd share a little bit of what has made these past few weeks so sweet 😀
 All of a sudden Lily Grace's imagination has just taken off. I love that her vocabulary has just exploded at the same time and when she is playing with her toys, she is explaining what's happening. In this picture LG was playing "mommy" and Elsa was her "baby". She was changing Elsa's diaper here, and was walking me through the different steps as she did it. Listening to her little voice tell me how to change a diaper was so incredibly sweet. 
 Then Elsa got hungry after her diaper change, so she had a bib put on her, was put in the highchair, and was being fed baby food. Apparently it was sweet potatoes.
 We had a surprise little bit of snow a few weeks back! When I say "little bit", I'm not kidding. You can see how little it on my car, right?
 Here is another picture. You can see roughly an inch on the grass and absolutely none on the roads. Would you believe it if I told you that school was cancelled the next day over this?! I teach at a Catholic school and we only had a 2 hr delay, but CMS (Charlotte's public schools) and several other districts were out for the full day. Being from Ohio, it always make me laugh at how much people in the South freak out about snow. 😂
 Meanwhile, we spent our snow days inside doing puzzles. Lily Grace did this puzzle all by herself and was so proud!! As she should be!
 And this little guy just kept smiling and snuggling and stealing everyone's hearts. 
 Another day, same puzzle. Now that she knows she can do this one on her own, we have to do it at least twice a day. It makes me so happy to see how much she loves puzzles, because you all know I do too!
This squirmy little guy is getting harder and harder to get a picture of that isn't blurry! He is always on the move. 
 Our little celebrity here woke up from her nap and came out of her room looking like this one day. 
 And then we picked up some new goggles for her swim lessons and this girly thought she was "big stuff". 

That's just a quick look at what's been going on around here lately. See you all back here tomorrow for another healthy recipe!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Not Just a Mom... Self Care

Good morning and welcome to the 3rd installment of "Not Just a Mom"! First of all I am so blown away by how many of you ended up joining us last month. THANK YOU!!! Blogging is much more fun when you have a little community of women who are all in it together. I am looking forward to reading all of your posts for today about self care!
Friday, March 6, 2020

Getting Our Garden Prepped and Ready!

Good morning and happy Friday! Today I am giving you a snapshot into what our weekend is going to look like. We have a plans over the next few days to turn a corner section of our backyard into our new vegetable garden and I could not be more excited about it! 

I put together a little drawing of what our backyard currently looks like, but then added our new garden beds in the upper left corner. In case you want to try making one of your own backyard, I found this free garden planner here.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Citrus Beet & Mozzarella Salad

I am so excited to share one of my new favorite salads with you today. Several weeks ago Devin and I went out to eat at a new restaurant here in Charlotte and I ordered a "beet and burrata" salad. The description made it sound similar to a Caprese salad but with beets and burrata rather than tomatoes and mozzarella. I was really looking forward to it, and then they brought it out to the table. 😐 It was not at all like I expected it to be, it was an actual salad (with spring mix), and one or two bites of beets and burrata. So Devin and I said to each other "okay then, let's just make it OUR way at home this week". Thus, this recipe was born. 😃
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Monthly Goals-- March

Good morning everyone! I hope that wherever you live you are starting to get a break from the winter weather and that spring feels just around the corner for you. We are soaking up the beautiful warmer weather here and trying to spend as much time as possible outside.

It's the beginning of a new month, which means it is time to set some new goals. But first, I wanted to take a look at my goals for last month:
Monday, March 2, 2020

What I've Been Priming

Good morning friends! I hope you had a nice weekend. The weather here was absolutely beautiful on Sunday and we got a little taste of the Spring weather to come. 
Friday, February 28, 2020

February Books

Hello friends! It's the end of another month meaning it is time for my monthly book review-- woohoo! I really liked all 3 of the books I read this month, but one stood out more than the others. Let's get to it!
Thursday, February 27, 2020

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Green Beans

It's Thursday, which means it's time for another healthy side item recipe. I am LOVING adding another post each week and am really happy that I decided to start blogging my healthy recipes. It causes me to make something different every week instead of having the same side item 3 weeks in a row 😉. This week's recipe is one that I saw on Pinterest several months ago, but then tweaked it a little to make it more our taste.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

What's Up Wednesday

Good morning and happy What's Up Wednesday!! These posts are some of my favorites for the whole month. I love feeling like I get to "catch up" with some of my favorite bloggers. Here's a look at what's been going on around here lately:
What We've Been Eating: We have been eating a lot of healthy side items around here lately, including: 
Tonight we are having Andrea's Southwest Bowls (one of our all time favorite recipes!).
What I'm Loving: Liam is in the sweetest stage of nonstop smiles/giggles and I don't ever want it to end!! I am trying to take as many videos as I can of his sweet little laugh so I can watch them in the future when we are having a rough day.
What I'm Working On: Decluttering!! I wrote a blog post a few weeks back about decluttering this month and I am almost done-- whew!! I have donated/thrown away/recycled/repurposed almost 400 items from my home. Isn't that incredible?? And I was not a pack rat/hoarder to begin with! I knew we had some things to go through and get rid of, but 400?! And the shocking part is that it really hasn't been that hard to find 400 things to get rid of. 😳
What I'm Excited About: Liam's Baptism is next month and I am so excited to have our friends and family together to celebrate our sweet boy. I am currently on the hunt for the perfect christening outfit for him. LG wore my Baptismal gown from when I was a baby, but there is NO way this big boy will fit into it! I wasn't super into the idea of him wearing a gown anyway, so I'm not going to push it 😀
What I'm Watching/Reading: I will do my monthly reading post on Friday but my favorite book so far of the month has been Lock Every Door
I joined a new Facebook Book Club called "Read Between the Wines" and so far the first book (Lock Every Door) was a hit! I can't wait to see what next month's book is. 
As for watching, of course I'm watching the Bachelor. I have to say, I am really disappointed that Peter has kept Victoria F. around. What on earth does he see in that girl?? I mean yes, she's beautiful... but so is every other girl there. I guess Peter is into "crazy"?
A coworker recommended "Call the Midwife" since I told her I loved Downton Abbey, and so far I love it! It's about nurses, midwives, and nuns in 1950's and 1960's England and it's adorable. 
What I'm Listening To: I've been on a big country kick lately so I just have Pandora play "Top Country Hits". When I'm cooking though I still love "French Cooking Music".
What I'm Wearing: I just bought a ton of clothes on Amazon last week and did two posts about them here:

Here are a few of the outfits:
 Green Dress (I thought this would be perfect for St. Patrick's Day!)
 I found this outfit on Pinterest and tried to recreate it. I am LOVING these pants! The shirt has a cute little tie at the bottom, you can't see in this pic because it's tucked in.
What I'm Doing This Weekend: One of my best girlfriends is having a baby in April and I am helping to throw her baby shower. I am so excited for this sweet baby girl's arrival and know my friend Allie is going to be an amazing mom. The theme for the shower is "Winnie the Pooh" so I bought little honey jars to give away as favors and I think they will be adorable when they're finished. I just need to add the honey (I bought giant jugs from Costco) and add some ribbon to tie the dipping "spoon".
What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month: I said this earlier, but Liam's Baptism!

Thanks for stopping by to catch up with me today! Can't wait to see what all of you are up to as well!! See you back here tomorrow for another healthy recipe!
Monday, February 24, 2020

Amazon Fashion-- Spring Part 2

Good morning and happy Monday! It feels funny to be posting "spring" outfits when we had snow last week, but that's how wacky our weather is around here. We will have snow one week and 60+ degree days the next! Here are the other half of my spring Amazon purchases:
Friday, February 21, 2020

Amazon Fashion-- Spring Part 1

Good morning and happy Friday!! Last week I purchased a bunch of clothes from Amazon and wanted to do a quick try on haul for you. I had spring and summer on the brain when purchasing and think all of these outfits scream "WARMER WEATHER HERE WE COME!" Can you tell I'm ready for spring?! I grabbed a lot of stuff so I'm going to break this post up into two parts, one today and one Monday.
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Garlic Ranch Roasted Broccoli

Yes, you read that right. Garlic Ranch. Those two words together are enough to make my mouth water 😋. A few weeks ago I made a recipe that included a packet of dry Ranch seasoning and went ahead and bought multiple packs since I knew they would eventually get used. Fast forward to last night when I was looking for a new way to add some flavor to roasted broccoli. I was browsing our spice cabinet and stumbled across the packets of Ranch seasoning and thought "why not give this a shot?". Add a little garlic and BOOM! It was delicious!!
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Lemon Parmesan Artichoke Hearts

Good morning! I am playing catch-up on my recipes over here since I took the end of last week off. Over the weekend Devin and I were looking through some of our old Italy pictures and stumbled across one of the most delicious meals we had... baked artichoke hearts. I am now on a mission to recreate those heavenly artichokes and won't stop until I figure it out! This recipe is a twist on the one we enjoyed in Italy. If you like artichokes, give it a try!
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Tuesday Talk-- Keto Diet

Hi all! I am so happy to be joining up with Erika and Ashley for Tuesday Talk today because I am DYING to know your thoughts on today's topic: the Keto diet. 
Monday, February 17, 2020

Weekend Highlights

Good morning friends! I am SO happy to report that we are all feeling well again around here. There's nothing like feeling sick to make you appreciate feeling well again, right? The flu knocked us on our butts but we are back up and seizing the day!

Since we were actually all feeling well this weekend we tried to squeeze in as much family fun time as possible. I've had a couple realizations this week that my babies are not going to be babies forever and even though this time can be hectic and stressful, I want to try to see the good in all of it and soak up as much of it as I can.

Here's a look at our weekend:
Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Flu

Hey all, I wanted to hop on today to let you know I'm taking a brief break from blogging the rest of this week. The Darrell family has been hit with the flu and all my extra time/energy is going into getting us all back to feeling 100%. Thanks for understanding! 
Monday, February 10, 2020

Not Just a Mom... Date Nights

Good morning and welcome to our second installment of "Not Just a Mom"! I'm so happy you've stopped by to read today and if you're a blogger, I hope you've linked up with us.