Five on Friday // 1.12.18

I’m back, baby! I have a few minutes to squeeze in a quick FOF post, so let’s save the “so sorry I haven’t blogged in months” post for another day.

1. these pants

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Have you heard of Agnes & Dora? It’s one of those brands you have to buy directly from a rep. Some styles are similar to Lularoe, but they have better prints, prices, and style… in my opinion. I was lucky enough to snag a pair of BLACK distressed jeggings from my local gal Courtney and let me just say, they rock.

The 2″ elastic waistband that is mid-rise is a life saver for my mom belly that never got quite right after pregnancy… not that I’ve tried.

All in all, I think these jeggings would flatter all body types, and they come in a few colors and sizes. I am not a fan of colored jeans, but I do have my eye on that denim-ish gray pair.

At $44, these are a great buy!

Shop her site here: shopcourtneyargo.com

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2. so happy the bachelor is back!

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Yep, we are Bachelor junkies! My husband and I totally look forward to watching on Monday nights and joke that it is the best part of our Mondays. I am not familiar with Arie, as I didn’t watch the season of The Bachelorette he competed on. So far, I really like him and think he seems pretty normal. Well, as normal as you can get for being on a reality dating show!

3. scents we are loving

Back in November, my husband had oral surgery and while he was in the middle of that I took a quick trip over to Target for some solo browsing. *praise hands*

The Gaines’ Hearth & Home with Magnolia line had just launched and I was dying to see what was in stock. I came across this lovely scent and it wasn’t like anything I had smelled before. It is subtle and one of those ‘barely there’ warm scents. Why is describing scents so difficult?

Next time you’re at Target, give this candle a sniff! I am happy with how slowly the soy candle is burning, and I will definitely repurchase this Christmas gift.

In case you were wondering, this is our favorite Christmas evergreen scent and this is our favorite year-round wax melt scent. While I do love Scenty’s Mochadoodle and Pumpkin Roll in the fall, I always come back to the Soft Amber Cashmere and it is so cheap and easy to find.

4. online shopping… for eye glasses?

As I was squinting as hard as I could the other day to read the computer screen I came to the realization that my vision may not be as great as it once was. I was prescribed glasses for reading when I was 8 years old… I have vivid memories of my glasses fogging up in the afternoons in second grade. My classroom was upstairs in a red-brick school building with no air conditioning. Wouldn’t people riot these days if schools didn’t have air conditioning?

Anyway, from that point on I usually had an exam and got new prescription glasses every 2 years or so. I would wear them any time I was doing extensive computer work or reading. Fast forward to now… and I think the last eye exam I had was 5+ years ago. Yikes! So my glasses are 5 years old and I’m afraid it’s time for a new prescription.

Online eye glass retailers seem to be super popular these days. I’ve heard good things about Warby Parker & Zenni Optical.

Actually, the last time my mom got a new prescription, her optometrist suggested she go to Walmart and find a pair of frames she likes and he would order her lenses. I think she said her frames were under $20!

If you have purchased glasses online I want to hear about your experience!

5. date night

The past 4 weeks have been fairly hectic for our family, because besides all the hustle and bustle of the holidays… our little Samuel has been sick. A few days before Christmas he was diagnosed with his first ear infection. I told the nurse practitioner, “Well, it was a good run” and she thought was pretty darn funny. It’s so true, he had only been to the doctor a couple other times other than for his well checks. Those two times we were just told he had a cold, and took him for peace of mind.

With his first ear infection came 10 days of amoxicillin. He started acting better within hours of his first dose, it seemed. I threw the bottle of amox away on New Years Day after we were done with our 10 day episode… and I found myself back at the pediatrician office on January 5th to be told that he had “mild pneumonia”.

I was feeling so frustrated and defeated. I do my absolute best to Clorox wipe, GermX, Thieves, and wash my hands so many times a day they are literally cracking. And, I can’t beat the germs! Ugh!

More antibiotics, of course. I am so thankful that he did not require chest x-rays or any intense diagnostics.

But man, having a sick kiddo is exhausting… for mom, for dad, for grandparents, and we all hate the fact that little man isn’t feeling well.

Saturday, my husband and I are rewarding ourselves with a date night because we need it. So badly. We can’t even remember the last time we had dinner at a restaurant together, alone.

I picked this new-ish Italian restaurant to check out. The reviews are fantastic and honestly, I am just looking forward to having quality conversation and a glass of wine… or 3.


Cheers to the weekend!

Andrea

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Five on Friday | 6.23.17

Finally, we’re at the end of what seemed like the longest.week.ever!

I’m excited to have a chance to post on Five on Friday, because I’m seems like it’s been forever.

I’m linking up with other fabulous bloggers, listed above!

Lovin’ Lavender

This past week, I had family in town visiting from Ohio. One thing we wanted to do is hit up a local lavender farm that has recently opened up the the public. Lavender Falls Farm is a cute little farm in the middle of nowhere (Jamesville, MO to be exact). You can read more about the farm here and here.

My cousin Jenna, Sammy, and myself

One thing that surprised me about Lavender Falls was the smell. Of course, we all know what lavender smells like… but this was different. When we got out of the car, the fresh air was a lavender and cinnamon-spice swirl! Really cool, and I would totally want to bottle that up.

The farm has a natural waterfall, small cafe serving lavender infused dishes and drinks, and a small area to walk around the lavender field, pictured above.

The drive to Lavender Falls was very scenic… we even came across a huge Holstein cow in the middle of the road!

Note: I also learned that my brain wants to spell the word lavendAR instead of lavender. I keep struggling to spell it correctly.

Summer Swim Lessons

We were very excited to enroll Samuel in swim lessons at our city pool again this year. Last year he seemed to really enjoy it and progressed over the 4 sessions.

This year was a different story… He just wasn’t into it. He wanted to get out or sit on the steps. Or get out and hang out with daddy, as pictured.

He did not want to attend the last 2 sessions when I asked if he wanted to go. But, we stuck with it.

Sam is really experimenting with independence right now and everything is “me! me! me!”. That phase along with the class time (7:20-8 p.m.) is just rough on a little guy.

Now we are searching for the best lifejacket/floaty/suit with floaties in it for our boy so he can go to our neighborhood pool and still be independent. Please email me your suggestions! andreagraddy1@gmail.com

What we’re baking this weekend

Cookies! Our neighbors just added a sweet little girl to their family and I want to bring them some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies  to their doorstep. This is my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

Our Best Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies

I baked a lot as a kid (and teenager) and used my mom’s Better Homes & Gardens cookbook 99% of the time. That’s why their recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and almost anything, is my favorite!

Yes, I do think the invention of Pinterest has been phenomenal for DIYers and those who like to spend time in the kitchen but I certainly think there is a lot to be said about opening up a cookbook with splattered-on pages and dog-eared corners.

The BHG recipe makes floury, cake-like chocolate chip cookies that are so stinkin’ good. Our grocery store had a 2 for $3 deal going on so I grabbed a bag of semi-sweet chips along with a bag of butterscotch chips. I think I’ll mix both of those together and deliver them to the new parents (are you still new parents if you already have a toddler, because they do?) and maybe Old Man Andy next door.

Keeping your neighbors on your good side is a good thing… especially when you’re too busy to mow the grass. Eeek!

 

Going Barefoot tonight

I told the hubs we were having a date night at home tonight after the little one goes to sleep. I’m picking up groceries after work, and added a couple bottles of wine to our online grocery order. White Zin for me and Cab for him!

Image result for barefoot wine zinfandelWe’re having a “big salad” for dinner, and wine for dessert. We just might bust out some of our favorite 2-person board games. I always tell engaged couples to add board games like Trouble, Stratego, Mastermind, Etc. to their wedding registry because nothing tops a date night at home with a little booze and a little friendly competition!

I told him of my plans last night, and I think he’s really excited. We’ve had one thing after another in the evenings the past 2 weeks it seems, so we are both looking forward to being home and just relaxing.

We don’t have anywhere to be in the morning either, so maybe just maybe Sammy will let us sleep til 7:30. That would be a real treat!

 

Coming up…

There are a few posts I’ve been working on (mentally) that I plan to share in the coming weeks. Topics I want to cover: Extended breastfeeding, decorating our guest bedroom, and goals for the second half of 2017. Anything you’d like me to write about?

I hope you have a restful weekend! XO

Five on Friday | 4.7.17

Happy Friday, folks! I am SO happy that here in Missouri we have sunny skies and warm temps. It has been such a yucky past several days… rain, rain, rain. Surely these gloomy skies will pay off in May!

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1. If you’re a sucker for kids in overalls…

Denim Shortalls - Union Wash

I was so excited when I saw these adorable Osh Kosh denim short overalls on the rack at TJ Maxx this week! I love the darker wash and am already picturing what tees I will pair these with. And, I just know Sammy will love the pockets. At $12.99 there was no way these weren’t coming home with me.

For my fellow overall-lovers, Osh Kosh is having a 50% OFF sale right now! Here’s the link to shop their site to find the perfect pair of overalls for your little.

2. a new favorite cookie recipe

I had a hankerin’ for homemade cookies the other day and did what anyone else would do and took to Pinterest to find something that was both easy to make and delicious.

I present to you: BROWN SUGAR COOKIES

  • 1 1/2 sticks of real butter (I never said they were healthy)
  • 1 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c mashed banana
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • White sugar for topping

Combine flour, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and set aside.

Cream butter til soft then add brown sugar. When combined, add vanilla and banana. Beat on high for 1 minute

Gradually add dry ingredients. Mix til incorporated.

Roll into 1″ balls, and roll in white sugar, and place on ungreased cookie sheet. I use a silicone baking mat. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Rest for 3 minutes before moving them to cooling rack.

These cookies are seriously good, and Sammy approved. I mean, look at that pot belly! Oh, and now he knows what the KitchenAid is for and keeps pointing at it and saying “mmm!”. Needless to say we have made this recipe twice in a week. Yikes!

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How can I deny him cookies? Especially when he signs for “please”!

3. FREE prints!

Did I have you at “free”? Good.

Shutterfly is offering FREE prints on their app! Yes, FREE! This offer is good for 4×4 and 4×6 prints, and doesn’t even require entering one of their annoyingly long alpha-numeric codes.

There isn’t a momma I know that has a good handle on regularly printing iPhone photos, so this is your chance to get caught up.

I ordered 250+ prints, and only had to pay $22ish for shipping. What a deal!

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4. coconut oil + lavender oil lotion

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I passed down the super-dry skin gene to my little boy, and we have tried for… well all 19 months of his life… to get it under control. You see, we’re really good about greasing him up with Aquaphor after bathtime, not changing bath soaps, using free & clear detergent for his clothes, and limiting how many baths he has a week to try to retain some kind of moisture in his skin.

Recently I purchase CeraVe baby bath + shampoo and am hoping that it makes a difference for Sammy’s skin after bathing. Also, I whipped up a batch of Lavender Coconut Oil Lotion, because why not? We had the ingredients (only 2 things!) and I am willing to try anything to keep from putting steroid cream on his young skin.

We are 1 week in, and I think it’s working. I have noticed less itching and his skin seems less bumpy overall. Time will tell! If you have any kind of home remedy or product recommendation for dry skin/mild eczema that is toddler-appropriate I am all ears. Shoot me an email at andreagraddy1@gmail.com.

I searched for Cetaphil for Babies and didn’t see it at the store. It is the next bath wash product on my list if the CeraVe is not effective.

The lavender oil sure makes him smell yummy, too!

5. finally feeling like spring!

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I am SO ready to leave the office and head home to open the windows and let the fresh air in!

Oh, quick note, if you have little ones you have got to try my easy and cheap trick for baby-proofing your blinds!

safe blinds

Cheers..and Happy Weekend-ing to you!! XOXO

Linking up with other fantastic bloggers for Five on Friday

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five on friday

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Happy Friday, folks! It’s junk show weekend and time change weekend.

*insert all the praise hands*

It’s been forever since I was able to steal a couple minutes away from work to type up a Five on Friday – so here you go.

1. let the christmas shopping begin

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51 days til Christmas! Wow!

We are feeling SO jolly in our house, SO jolly in fact that we have listened to Christmas music in the mornings and while cleaning house on the weekends.

Any tips on keeping a toddler out of the tree? I’m all ears.

I am DEFINITELY going to make or buy one of these felt trees for Sammy to decorate over and over again. I think I’ll put it on the back of the front door.

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In regards to shopping, I’ve already purchased a few gifts and am really trying to think/plan ahead to lessen the financial blow in December. Because let’s face it, budgeting sounds great in theory but in actuality it never happens in our house. #newyearsresolution

2. let the love for art begin

Sammy has shown lots of interest in coloring with jumbo crayons, markers (ColorWonder for the win), using stickers, and playing with Play Doh lately. He tells me when he wants to color by walking over to his art supplies area and pointing. Such a smart boy!

Here’s a quick pic of his concentrating hard on his stickers.

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He seems to have an affinity for his red crayon this week. Loves red just like momma!

3. move over olive garden

I found a GREAT recipe for our favorite OG soup, Zuppa Toscana! And believe it or not I was able to follow the recipe (almost exactly!).

Here’s the recipe. My only change was to use 3 cups of chicken broth instead of 2. I used Better than Bouillon chicken paste to make my broth versus beyond canned broth. I’m loving that paste, but I still think traditional bouillon has it’s place. Oh – and a couple other details… I bought Jimmy Dean Italian sausage and thought it was perfect.

We totally recommend you try this soup. you won’t be sorry!

4. backpack? ya!

Black:Gianni Bini Izzy BackpackI am totally into the purse backpack trend and am loving this Gianni Bini bag that is on clearance on Dillards.com.

Because let’s face it, I need all the free hands I can get when we go out and about.

Maybe the Christmas fairies will magically make my husband read my blog so he’ll see this 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. my challenge to you

With the arrival of fall comes November and social media posts about being thankful. Yes, I think it is important to show grace & thanks, but I am also about action.

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I want to challenge you (yes, you! person reading my blog) to do something in the coming week that is out of the norm for you. Random Acts of Kindness can be as simple (and free) like holding open the door for a stranger, offering to pick up something off the highest shelf at the grocery for a stranger, or paying for a stranger’s coffee in the drive thru.

Maybe you need an idea to get you moving in the right direction. If so, click this link to read more about how people are doing random acts of kindness in their communities and neighborhoods.

A few of my favorites:

  • baking banana bread to share with a neighbor
  • be a big tipper! give a generous tip that makes the waiter do a double take
  • send a ‘just because’ card in the mail to a family member or friend
  • help someone with yard work

Lets face it – sometimes the world is not a happy place. It is hostile (hello, it’s officially election week), sometimes grumpy, and a filled with people who can use a pat on the back, smile, or a card in the mail to let them know they are thought of and loved.

Just a thought!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Confessional Thursday | Spray Tans, Dunkin…

Here’s a super quick Confessional Thursday, while I have a moment…

  • I got a spray tan on Monday evening. Well, long story short… it rubbed off on Sammy, our 11 mo. old baby. Oops! A bronzed leg and toes never heard anybody… BTW, it’s an organic spray tan so he’s not absorbing any harsh chemicals. But still, I don’t feel like the world’s BEST mom in this moment.
  • 3 – That’s how many donuts I’ve eaten today.
  • We’ve been out of diaper genie refill bags for a couple weeks now and I just put the dirty diapers in a little pile on the dresser and when another one won’t fit I take them out to the dumpster.
  • My husband refers to our laundry room as my second closet because I hang clothes to dry on the rack and then don’t take them off until I need something to wear. Oops!
  • I’m the worst with travel coffee mugs. There are SEVERAL dirty ones sitting on my desk that need to go home with me. If I do remember to take one or two home, I usually forget them in the car because my hands and super full when I get home… baby, dirty bottles, keys + phone, whatever else… Anyway, taking in the coffee cups are at the bottom of my list.
  • Leftovers are on the menu tonight and I’m totally looking forward to keeping the dirty dishes at a minimum.

Today is a special day because I’ve been lucky to be this man’s wife for 4 years. Love you forever, Jeremy! XOXO

What’s Up Wednesday

Woo Hoo! My first What’s Up Wednesday post – linking with these (The Larson Lingo, Shaeffer Told Me To, and Mix & Match Mama). I saw this style post for the first time on The Slaughters.

I’ll be blogging about these things:

What we’re eating this week:

My grandma is still in town visiting, which means I’m scoring lots of free meals at my parent’s house and lots of eating out. My new chalkboard menu in the dining room has these meals listed: Mississippi Roast, Quinoa Chili Soup, Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes & Broccoli as sides, Zucchini Beef Dish, and Spaghetti.

What I’m reminiscing about:

My sweet baby. Yesterday he turned 11 months old, so I watched some of the very early videos of him that I have on my phone. And I cried. In my car. sleeping love

What I’m loving:

Give me all the chocolate!!! Last week I hit up the local chocolate factory with the fam to take a tour, sample the goods (duh!), and buy some locally made and responsibly-produced chocolate. Let me tell you, this chocolate bar is life. According to the Askinosie Chocolate website, the A Beautiful Mess collab bar is described as “Rich, lightly refined dark chocolate with a light, cool crunch of mildly sweet coconut and sugar crystals, finishing with lingering notes of toffee and caramel.” And, the cocoa beans are sourced from Tanzania. Groovy!

Just buy it.

Local friends – Go for a tour if you never have. It’s $5 each Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

What we’ve been up to:

Lots! And not a lot at the same time! We’ve entertained my family that came to visit from Ohio. That included the chocolate factory tour, a wine tasting, shopping, eating out… real tough! 😉

Jeremy’s been busy wrapping up an online knee course, writing a book review that he was asked to do, and trying to keep up with work.

What I’m dreading:

Part of me wants to blurt out, “SAMMY TURNING ONE!”, but I know it’s nothing to dread and nothing to be sad about. We will be celebrating our son who is healthy, smart, and so much fun!

What I’m working on:

How about, What I should be working on! Decorating and organizing our house. I did hang 2 new things on the walls within the past week, so that’s a win in my book. More progress was made in 10 minutes that I’ve made in several months. Ha!

If I had $500 I think I could make some serious progress when it comes to finishing our bedroom and living room/kitchen/dining area. I should start buying scratchers tickets more often 🙂

What I’m excited about:

5 Saturdays til college football kicks off!! Go Bucks!

What I’m watching/reading:

The only show I consistently watch is The Bachelorette. And if you’re a Bachelorette fan you should absolutely read these recaps. Hilarious! I think I would still find them funny even if I didn’t watch the show.

Also, the only thing I consistently read are blogs. Some of my faves that I keep up with on a daily basis are:

These are just a few blogs that I never miss a post!

What I’m listening to:

I am trying to get in the habit of turning the TV onto iHeartRadio on Saturday mornings and allowing us to go about our breakfast, playing, laundry, and whatever else with the sweet sounds of Cool Oldies in the background.

What I’m wearing:

Today I’m wearing this dress (similar) from Target. I really like the way this fits! I bought this without trying on, because with a baby in tow, the fitting room is a NO-WAY-IN-HELL ZONE. I picked up a medium and prayed it would be big enough. Happy Dance… it fits like a dream! Surprisingly it had enough room in the boobs without being too baggy in the waist hips. All in all, this is a post-baby body win!

What I’m doing this weekend:

Work event. Birthday party. Laundry. Snuggling my boys.

What I’m looking forward to next month: 

  • Back to School sales and the tax free holiday!
  • Hosting a casual pizza party for a bride-to-be
  • Throwing a fun 1st birthday party to celebrate our boy’s big day
  • Celebrating our FOURTH anniversary – how is that possible?!

What else is new:

Nothing much!

in three words | vol. 1

What’s the best way to break my little blogging hiatus? With a photo dump of course! 
I saw an “in three words” post by another blogger and want to give it a try as a way to update my readers on our life lately. 

Recent Wayfair purchase 

Still going strong 

Dickerson Park Zoo

First fudge bar

Zucchini beef dish 

Sweet little feet

Perfect summer evening 

Sammy’s second haircut

Messy blueberry ninja

Those upper teeth

GG is here

Curling Vines Winery

I thought I had taken more photos throughout the past couple weeks. It’s hard to find a balance between keeping my phone out of my hand and being present, and snapping photos to have as memories. 

Have a great weekend!