5 for Friday

Hi there!  Let’s jump right in with five things I’m loving this week!  I’m linking up with these ladies…AndreaNarci and Erika for their Friday Favorites Link Up!  I am also linking up with April for Five on Friday!


I’m loving that my son is loving soccer camp!  It’s been a day camp from 9-12 each day this week.  He’s enjoyed meeting new kids plus the fun games they play.  He does comment at pick-up that it’s so much fun and so much running.  I’ve also been loving a little extra one-on-one time with this girl!



I’ve been loving green smoothies for a mid-morning snack this week!  Here’s my recipe:

1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. no sugar added vanilla almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana and a handful of frozen spinach.  I’ve also added in a fiber supplement plus probiotics.  Yum!



I was extremely cautious while pregnant and breastfeeding about what food I ate, medicines I took, and personal care products I used.  It’s been nice to have a little more flexibility in that department since I weaned my daughter back in April.  I recently started using a Retin A product prescribed by my dermatologist and have seen a big improvement in some acne issues as well as skin smoothness.  I typically use it once nightly and apply a rose hip oil over top.  I love this stuff!  Here’s a link to Amazon to buy.  Here’s a link to an article written by LIVESTRONG.COM about the benefits of rose hip oil use.  



I have continued my on again/off again relationship with Wal-Mart.  Isn’t it just a necessary evil sometimes???  I do like the online ordering and curbside pick-up for busy weeks and big, specific orders.



I’m loving finalizing and preparing for our last few trips, special days, etc. this summer.  I  want to make the most of the month we have left!  Our plans include three family trips, lots more pool & library days, beach visits, and more!

I hope you have the best day!




5 for Friday

This week has been me lounging about a bit…don’t get me wrong.  I still got some things accomplished, but I really tried to take it easy, not freak out over my dirty house, and eat some desserts with Holden {and Helen as she looks on longingly}.  Here are five things about my week!



A successful 4 month well-check!  Yay for Helen Belen (<- a nickname I’m not sure she will appreciate down the road)!  Sidetone:  Holden’s nickname was/is Holden Bolden.  What can I say…I like rhymes!  Back to the doctor’s appointment, I was a little worried over Helen’s weight gain or lack thereof since she is such a spitter-upper.  However, the doctor reassured us that she is growing just fine on her little 25th percentile growth line.  She remains 25th for head, weight, and length – this is what she was at birth.  I confess that I’m having a little difficulty staying calm and trusting that the transition to daycare will go smoothly.  I know I will be upset to be away from her during the day, and I think I may possibly be more upset than I was when Holden went to daycare.  Not sure why…I think we bonded more initially?  Either way I’m super thankful to have had 4 months and a couple weeks home with this little girl!  I was a lucky duck with Holden as well.  We were home 5 months and a couple weeks together.  I am really going to stick to a set time to leave work each day, so I can get home to my sweets!  Although the beginning of the school year is so busy, I know where my priority is.


Children’s Clothing Shopping – I hate it!  I just do not get a thrill out of shopping for my clothes or my children’s clothes.  I thought I might like it more having a girl, but this doesn’t not appear to be true.  I’d rather just buy a bunch of stuff, get it over with, and avoid it until they grow out of stuff!  I lucked out and ordered Holden lots of pants from The Children’s Place when the site was doing its 50% off and free shipping.  Helen is more of a challenge due to her little peanut status.  She’s still wearing some 0-3 month stuff, but I’ve been buying some onesies, leggings, etc. in 3-6 month stuff.  The other frustration is “What will the fall weather in Virginia be like?!?!”  It could be hot as blazes or breezy and chilly.  I mean, I can barely dress myself appropriately!  Rant over!  I am thankful that I have the moola to buy clothes for my kids.  I guess I should stop whining then!


Alternate Vaccine Schedule – This is a heavily debated topic – vaccinations and kids.  I (I guess I should say “We” since the Mr. usually agrees with my stance on this) decided with Holden to fully vaccinate but on an alternate schedule.  This can mean lots of different things.  For us, it means that Helen will get half of the recommended shots at her well-check.  Then, I will bring her back during the office’s shot hours for the remaining ones at a later date.  I like to do it on the odd month (example:  go back for shots when she is 5 months), but we will be only waiting a week this time.  This way her shot record will be up-to-date when I turn it in to her daycare provider.  How do you feel about this?

You can read this review of Dr. Sears’ book here.  There is also a PDF to help the parent keep straight the vaccines.   More info from Dr. Sears’ website here.  



A “What you got in the pantry?” Cookie Recipe – After lunch today, I really wanted something sweet.  I knew we didn’t have a lot to pick from but the rainy weather and thunderstorm just seemed to be begging me to make cookies and color with Holden.  We poked around the kitchen until I found enough ingredients to make some almond butter + raisin cookies.  They turned out delicious and were the perfect companion for some coloring.

Almond Butter + Raisin Cookies (yields 9)

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking powder

5 tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 cup raisins

Mix all ingredients into bowl.  Plop on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake about ten minutes.  Check for “doneness” and let cool for two to three minutes on cookie sheet. Enjoy!



Pre – K Art Day at MOCA – On Thursday, we went to our very first Pre-K Art Day at MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I figured why not for the $7 fee.  It lasted an hour and started with a read aloud.  I confess that I missed what exactly the book was about.  Helen and I were swaying and checking out art on the walls in the reading room.  I think it was something about looking at things in new ways/fresh perspectives.  Then, we did a “gallery walk”  – – aren’t we grown up and fancy?! – – -to see a mask.  The mask would be the inspiration for the kids art time.  Finally, we got to do some art!  Holden got really into his mask-making.  I just helped him cut out the eyes, mouth and nose.  The rest was all him.  I did notice a lot of people really forcing the kids to do a very similar representation of the mask examples that the presented displayed.  It kind of made me sad as some of the kids were much too young for that.  I saw a lot of caregiver/grandmas/etc. doing most of the work.  Sadly, I think the kids missed out on an opportunity to be creative and do the work!  Personally, I would much rather see what my kid can come up with versus copying a model.  Okay, all done!

How has your week been?

Any favorite art activities for kids?

What are your thoughts on clothes shopping?  Rather shop for you or for kids?


5 for Friday

Wow!  These summer weeks are flying by!  I officially have three weeks left until the end of my maternity leave/summer vacation.  I’m linking up with Andrea, Shay, and Narci for Friday Favorites.


I’m also linking up with April, Christina, and Natasha for 5 on Friday.


Can’t forget about this link up too!  Amy and Karli


Here’s 5 things going on with me this week!


Books – I’ve done it!  I’ve conquered fiction (I’m a die hard nonfiction) and read 1 book in entirety!  I really enjoyed it too.  😉


Basically, the book is set on Nantucket during the summer.  The three step/half sisters have to live together for one summer to be able to sell (and get the $$$) from their father’s vacation home.  Lots of drama and characters!  A great summer read!

Then, I read another nonfiction!  I really enjoyed this book although it didn’t impart any earth-shattering knowledge.  It did reiterate things that I already know/have learned from other books.  One interesting thing was the really overwhelming damaging impact of TV and video games on young minds.  Kind of scary.  P.S.  I had no idea that the American Academy of Pediatrics had issued a statement saying NO TV for kids 2 and under.  Personally, we followed this rule for Holden and plan to do the same with Helen.  I do let Holden watch occasional TV, and he definitely has been loving his one nursing time/one TV show this summer.



I’m so so so excited about my sister and mom visiting this weekend!  We are celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday about a month early due to a trip that she will be taking.  I have a few surprises that I’m super excited about.  It will be so good to enjoy both my mom and my sister’s company.  The only thing I really dislike about where we live is that family isn’t right around the corner.


Yummy Recipe to Share – Mix and Match Mama’s Shrimp Tacos – I love this lovely lady’s recipes!  I plan to make two over the weekend.  She uses simple ingredients (and not 5,436 of them either!) to make some yummy food.  I especially enjoyed the avocado corn salsa that goes with the tacos.  I had leftovers for lunch, and I could definitely tell the salsa tasted even better the next day.



sorry so blurry!  dinner is fast and furious around here!


Running/My Foot – Well, it was somewhat better.  I enjoyed about a 4 mile run on the treadmill yesterday morning.  Very minimal foot pain…However, my calf felt very tight and somewhat sore after I hopped off.  There also was a bit of a “creaking” sound in my foot.  I know…yikes!  I plan to rest it and stretch today.  Fingers crossed for a decent run tomorrow!  12 miles!



Playdates – I need to be a little more intentional about scheduling some playdates for Holden.  He definitely wants buddies around to play with, and I am usually up for some playing.  This summer has definitely been a different pace since my time/arms/attention are occupied by Helen.  I’m hoping we can see one of his friends this week!  We’ve also been trying to get out there  and bike ride with our neighbors more often.

Here’s a few cute ones from the camera roll this week!


Hope you have the best weekend!


5 for Friday

Hi there!  Wow…this week has flown by!  I think we have Independence Day to thank for that!  I hope you’re ready for another weekend and a hot one at that.  Here’s five things on my mind this Friday…


Helen Elizabeth is three months on Sunday!  She is getting to be such a big girl!  Here’s a run-down of her stats…

  • Sleeping from 9PM to 5:30/6:00AM without any feedings!  Hip hip hooray!
  • Naps are better during the day with longer ones in the morning and short (1 hourish) in the afternoon) for a total of 5 naps
  • Breastfeeding continues to be great – Miss Helen does NOT like a bottle!  We are working on that.  🙂
  • Weight – She weighed 10lbs 14oz at her two month check-up mid-June.
  • She’s a happy baby most of the time!  We’ve seen lots of smiles and heard lots of baby talk recently.
  • Helen loves baths, fans, and looking at books…even big brother’s!

She is so much more alert these days!  Here we are doing a little water play with her.  She promptly spit up in the water after this picture and grossed out her big brother!



Running – I’m really enjoying running again.  Hallelujah!  Also, it has been pain free except for that feeling of tiredness that makes me think I’m slightly crazy to be planning to run 13.1 miles in Virginia’s hot and humid weather!

I have been fortunate to do lots of outdoor runs in the past two weeks, but I got a late start on Thursday.  I had to do my 3 miles on the treadmill.  It was a pretty fast one!  First mile was 7:46.  Second mile was 7:11.  Third mile (+.1 – I actually pretended it was a 5K and ran the extra .1) was 7:29.  Overall time…



Family Visits – We’ve been so blessed to see lots of family over the last several months.  The trend continues with my sister-in-law and her fiancee coming to visit this evening.  They’ll be staying with us this weekend and enjoying some of our hot and humid weather!  I think it will make for a very early beach day tomorrow!  I’ve got lots of good food planned and can’t wait to see them!  Here are two recipes that are guaranteed good (aka I’ve tried them before!).

Chicken BBQ Sandwiches

Key Lime Bars


Groupon – I love how Groupon can inspire you to do something you haven’t before.  It might be a new restaurant, a day at a paintball park, or even a massage!  I bought three Groupons in the past couple months.  One was for a local Lego place that allows kids to visit and build.  We’ve been before, and Holden really loved it.  I also bought my Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon entrance fee from Groupon for some percentage off.  Another one I bought with Holden in mind was the Color Me Mine visit.  We went this week.  The Groupon covered the studio fee.  Holden picked out something to paint, and I had to pay that additional cost.  He picked a crab mug!  Must be inspired by his recent fishing trip!  We had such a nice, relaxing time painting together (Helen was snoozing!).  I can’t wait to pick it up next week after it has been fired.


Love this sweet boy!  He has so much to say and wants to learn/take in everything!  I hope his curiosity continues.  🙂


A couple cool quotes I saw on Pinterest this week…3ac40d475b8901bf25e1545ce9f5ece5.jpgtumblr_o23ds6S4gI1s8zgc6o1_500.jpg


Have a great day!







5 for Friday

This Friday is a little bittersweet.  It is the last day that it will be just me and Helen…or so I thought!  Actually, Big H was with us until we dropped him off around 10:30.  He had to go in for a doctor’s visit due to some swollen lymph nodes in his neck.  Thankfully, the doctor checked him over very thoroughly and pronounced him in good health {with a bumpy neck!}.  She advised us to keep an eye on them, but they should go away over the next several weeks.  It was a little crazy trying to get there and having our last day of girl togetherness horned in on by a little boy, but I’m so glad that we know all is well.  Doctor’s office pics below…Holden was being a turkey and wouldn’t take a pic with us!


Speaking of which…little girl is my number one!


Helen is becoming a little person, and it so great to interact with her.  She’s been trying on lots of new outfits.  This lasts about an hour or until the next spit-up occurs!


So precious, right?!?!?


Run work-outs – I’m so, so, so thankful to be running again.  I stopped when I was about 35 week pregnant.  Little Girl arrived at 38 weeks and 2 days.  I remember jealously watching runners in the neighborhood just jogging along.  Babies are such gifts.  However, they take a lot out of you including your plans {i.e. going for a run}!  I’m also so thankful for our treadmill.  I was going to go into the gym today, but the little girl had the hiccups and needed extra help going down for her first nap.  Therefore, the window of time was lost.  Enter the treadmill.  🙂


I am really looking forward to getting to the gym this weekend.  P.S. I always walk the first two minutes at an incline and speed of 4.0.


Greens!  We have been eatings lots of greens.  Arugula, spinach, kale, romaine…you name it!  I went a little crazy in Sam’s Club one day this week with produce.  I mean, who doesn’t need 6 heads of romaine lettuce for three dollars and change!


The fruit we currently have:  apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries!  Veggies are:  shrooms, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, kale medley salad mix, romaine lettuce (x6), celery, and more kale.  🙂  It makes it so much easier to avoid after-dinner desserts when there’s lots of fruit choices.  However, I believe animal crackers and popsicles are all the desserts we have right now.  We had beets earlier in the week.  They are so crazy!  Look how they dyed my hand for hours afterwards!



HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – I’m loving youtube workouts!  I did this one by Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up.  Wow!!!!  I was sweating big time and about to fall over on some of the moves.  It was only 19 minutes long!


I took the picture above when it was a beautiful day, so I had to improvise and do my own HIIT workout on the deck.


Salads for Lunch – I’ve been eating a salad every day for lunch for about a week and a half.  The more variety the better!  A big change I’ve been doing with it is using one tablespoon of hummus as the “dressing.”  Try it!  Even better if you can add a bit of avocado.  My avocados are as hard as concrete.


This salad includes kale, celery, cucumber, corn, a bit of leftover roasted broccoli, one hard boiled egg, pepper, 21 Seasoning Salute {salt free from Trader Joe’s}, and hummus.  I had this with a slice of toasted bread with almond cheese {yes, fake cheese.  It was surprisingly good and had a nutty flavor.  Obviously!}.

Well, that’s it for me.  I’m so excited to pick up Big H from preschool this afternoon.  I’ve got a few balloons for the car plus three new books from Goodwill to celebrate the end of the school year.  Plus, we are headed to the “fro-yo” {H’s name for our local frozen yogurt place} to continue the celebration.  Have a great weekend!


5 for Friday

Hey there!  What a busy week!  This week shall be titled “We Get Our Mess Together.”  Dirty floors and dirty clothes were tackled along with a slightly bushy yard and some daily swimming lessons for the little man.  Let’s jump right into “5 things” from this week!


Nice customer service – I mean, it really can improve your day!  Since we had NO FOOD in the house, we had to make a trip to Trader Joe’s.  I love how friendly they are and how they also take the time to have a little conversation with Holden.  We spotted Shelby, the Trader Joe’s turtle, hiding amongst the oranges, so H got a lollipop.  We also had to pick up some dry cleaning this week at the local cleaners.  The couple that run it are so friendly and always take the time to chat.  She even offered H a blue Spiderman lollipop.  🙂



New Recipes – I tried two new recipes this week, Summer Vegetable Pie and Cauliflower Crust Pizza.  Well, the first was a huge success!  It was so satisfying and loaded with good veggies.  Here is the recipe.  I highly recommend it.  The Mr. and the little one loved it too.  The second was so-so.  The crust was not crispy at all, and I had to eat it with a fork.  However, the taste was right on.



Summer School – We are continuing our hit-or-mess summer school which basically just involves working on letter identification and letter sound knowledge.  We have studied J, T, M, R, S, and B.  I decided to follow the letter study order outlined by the word study program my school uses in kindergarten/first grade.  In the picture below, H is “fishing” for the letter I say or the corresponding sound I give.  This could also be a fun bath activity.  I let him use my tongs as they will work his hand muscles more for fine motor development.

IMG_2322 IMG_2323

We also have been doing some painting.  This is how H feels about painting…


Ha!  He’s a good sport though and painted with me for…oh, maybe five minutes tops!

IMG_2337 IMG_2343 IMG_2339 IMG_2340 IMG_2342


Clothesline – This week I finally got the supplies from Home Depot to make our own clothesline.  I put on eye hook into our deck post and the other in the tree.  Later, I felt really bad about hurting the tree, so I took it out.  I plan on using H’s swing set to help hold up the other end.  I bough 100 feet of clothesline (yes, it is really called that).  The Mr. is none too thrilled as his clothes did dry a little stiff.  🙂  I, however, really liked it.  I’m hoping to get home from our adventures today in time to do another load and hang them out to dry.  IMG_2329


Swimming – We’ve been going everyday this week so far to swimming lessons for 50 minutes.  H is having a blast!  Yesterday, he went off the diving board (with a helping hand)!  I’m hoping to see him take a jump all by himself by the end of lessons next week.

IMG_2334 IMG_2336



I love my husband.  He is definitely my #1 in all ways, and I know I’m his.  Our days are busy as they are for most people.  It is so nice to take the time out to really let your feelings out.  If you haven’t completed the online Love Language quiz, I urge you to do so.  More importantly, be sure your husband/wife takes it too.  My love language is “words of affirmation.”  If I’m remembering correctly, the Mr. was pretty split between “physical touch” and “quality time.”  I think he may have even ranked high in “acts of service” too.  Armed with that knowledge, you can be sure your special person knows how much you love him/her by “speaking the language,” and flowers are always a safe bet.  Thanks darling!


Happy Friday friends!


5 for Friday

Happy Friday!  What a crazy night of summer thunderstorms we had last night!  The dog was up.  The kid was up.  We were up!  The electricity was off.  I’m happy to report that it wasn’t off for long, and the kiddo decided to wise up and sleep in this morning after last night’s craziness!  Here are five things on my mind this Friday…



If you are near a Trader Joe’s at any time, I highly recommend picking up this inexpensive dessert.  Then, do not share with others.  Just kidding!  I totally didn’t share with the boys though.  Sorry!  These are delicious, but there aren’t a ton in the container.  I think it was $1.99 a box.  It says NOT to let it defrost, but I think letting them sit out a minute or two before eating is best.


The Mr. and I have been enjoying watching one episode per night of the series, “The Men Who Built America.”  It was a Father’s Day gift.  I confess that I’m learning a lot of information about this formative time in our nation’s history that I didn’t know.  The Mr. feels that as a history major I should know EVERYTHING.  Ha!  I took a lot of specialized history like American women’s history (P.S.  no one was investing any money in women’s ideas back then!), modern European history, and Asian history.  I also learned a lot about African politics 1950s-ish.  So…this leaves a lot left to know!  Link to buy from Amazon.  



Yesterday, Holden and I went to Cloud 9 trampoline park in Chesapeake.  Well, we were having a good ole time with some minor boy drama – an impromptu one-sided game of dodgeball.  I even jumped into my teacher role and laid down some rules since a few parents seemed to be MIA.  Towards the end of our time, Holden lost his footing on the trampoline and landed funny on his legs.  This resulted in a big, loud scream that scared me to death!  Holden will typically cry for a few moments and then move on especially if there is something going on that he wants to take part in.  Well, this was not the case today.  He didn’t want to jump anymore.  He walked funny on it and cried after every few steps.  I’m the first to admit I HATE to make judgement/parent calls on illness or injury.  I’d much rather see a professional and let them tell me it’s all going to be OK.  I tried to get his mind off of it by changing the subject and even bribery!  Nothing worked, so off to the doctor we went yesterday afternoon.  When I woke him up from his nap to go to the doctor, I could tell he was already on the mend.  The doctor confirmed that she thought rest, meds, and some more ice would be the ticket.  However, she gave me a dr.’s order for an X-ray just to have if things don’t look promising today.  Whew!  We may never jump on a trampoline again!  The people working at the park try their best to blow their whistles when things aren’t safe.  I’m just surprised by how wild the 6 and under hour is.  I can’t imagine what 6 and up is like!


Popsicles!  We made some homemade popsicles using a cheap $1 popsicle mold from Target.  Well, they were delicious!  However, they were very hard to get out, and we broke two of the handles plus on actual mold.  Bummer!  I’m not giving up on this project!  Here are some tips from Mix and Match Mama for better popsicle success.

1. Spray the inside of the molds with cooking spray.
2. Don’t fill the molds to the top with liquid (allow about an inch).
3. Wait 45 minutes after they’ve been in the freezer before inserting the wooden sticks.
4. I think freezing them at least 7 hours is ideal (if you remove them too soon, they get stuck).
5. run the bottom of the mold under very hot water for about 30 seconds and then the popsicles slide right out.
IMG_2093 IMG_2094 IMG_2096
Love sharing popsicles with my boy!
Swimming!  We need to swim more!  it has been so warm here this week {except for our rainy day today!}.  Holden and I met friends at the beach on Monday and played in the itty bitty pool in the backyard with Daddy.  The pool was a freebie from another teacher at my school.  It was all the Mr.’s idea to make it a part of a water slide.
IMG_2097 IMG_2098 IMG_2099 IMG_2100
Aren’t they cute?!?!?  Not too long after this picture, they ganged up on me and Roscoe!  We were wet!  I was not a fan, but I think Roscoe kind of liked it.  He even hopped in the pool too.
ONE BONUS NOTEWORTHY FACT – It’s our five year anniversary!  I’m so thankful to get to hold hands and walk through life as husband and wife with this man.  Best day ever!
Well, that’s it!  I hope you are ready for a great weekend!  We are beyond excited to be visiting family and hopefully have some beach/boating time this weekend.