Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monday Momfessions: November 23 Week

The Mommy's Sick?! Version:
1. The day you realize you're sick, the children will bounce on your bed to ensure that your capability to stand upright really doesn't exist. Arm, leg and possibly hair pulling may also occur. Potentially a tummy smack (aka: "big hug). Ensure a bucket is near by if nausea is your culprit.

2. You can hide out for awhile, but once the toddler recalls that you actually reside behind that closed door, he will immediately go into "Walking Dead" mode and groan, moan and bang until he can reach the Mommy flesh and blood to continue his lifeline.

3. Starting around age two is the perfect time to introduce Lysol spraying as a core competency. Hey - it's going to take a village to shlep this mess.

4. Sickness will not be a solitary recovery effort. Dogs, cats, small children and their toys will constantly be available as bed nurses. Daddy maybe not to much - he's curled in the fetal position downstairs. To be fair: Hulk Hogan and Seth Rollins have actually been pretty decent helpers. They're quiet, small and seem to like the SATC reruns as much as I do.

5. Visible sickness will require much education. If you can talk among the porcelain and tiles, prepare your 90-minute lecture for the students who have many questions.

6. A party will be thrown in your honor on the other floor of your home. Pot banging, play kitchens, John Deeres with backup noises, toolboxes and a full on wrestling match will be rehearsed at extreme decibel levels all in anticipation of your soon-to-be arrival to the main floor.

7. Your husband may say something like: "Hey! It looks like you're losing some weight though like you wanted!" This is not helpful, but is appreciated for the silver lining effect.

8. This same husband will be accountable for navigating three birthday parties when he's been off the circuit for a few years. And he'll flat out refuse music class. So go ahead and toss that $25 down the toilet, flush and then pray the birthday children received the actual intended gift vs. something from a passion party mommy attended last month.

9. You're brood will stare at you - be prepared. But don't look yourself - it's because you actually look like one of those zombies as described earlier.

10. When it's time to emerge, don't look around and panic. Simply delight that your beautiful family has been "making memories." Then slap on some lipstick, grab a bottle of bubbles, put on your booty kickin' boots and skinnies that fit better now and get back at it. Then schedule a mani and massage. You deserve it from all that laying around...

'Tis the season! Wishing you and yours wellness.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Get Your Shrub On!

"Shoot, I can't meet you at 10 - L has music and we have two kiddo parties to hit. I'm going to try and squeeze it in around noon!" I reported excitedly to my girlfriend via text, my fingers gliding quickly over the screen in anticipation of the event I had missed the last few years.

For several seasons, Mom and I attended the Family Tree Nursery Holiday Open House, the glitter and joy of the season lining every single wall with Christmas goodness. Little did I know until spotting the perfect potted plant on my girlfriend's front porch, that during this event they host a Holiday Container party.  Here, you grab a planter, stuff it full of green lush goodness, and sprinkle in some holiday cheer of ornaments, pinecones, birch and more. In the end, you walk away with an affordable piece that lights up your entire front porch and lasts until nearly spring. Swoon!
Even with the best laid plans, it didn't work for me to attend this year, courtesy of a nasty stomach bug. But thanks to one incredibly awesome friend, this little beauty will adorn our holiday porch:
Here's her work for art for her lovely home:
Thank you, A for getting your shrub on and for being the giving, thoughtful friend you are. We can hardly wait to plunk this container of goodness down among our already sparkling lights.

Stop by Family Tree tomorrow 11-4 and one of these can be yours. Happy creating!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pre-Holiday Fun!

"Oh I don't know. I'm not sure about that whole seeing Santa before Thanksgiving portion of the whole deal," I chatted to my husband over a boiling pot of spaghetti. The mister, an avid proponent of keeping holidays within their rigid boxes of timelines, just shook his head. But the kids had already heard the words "cookies" and "Shrek," so it was either go to the event or find 3,468 new ways to manage whining.

Mid way through the week, the desire to hang with friends and try a free kid event prevailed, and thank goodness it did. The Shrek Experience is an absolute blast! Located outside of the downstairs Dillards of Oak Park Mall, it's an interactive playground of imagination and holiday joy. Even the big man himself (not Santa), who is incredibly hard to impress, has asked multiple times to return. Stick it on your holiday bucket list!

High level, here's how it works, noting ours was the soft opening, VIP event (thanks S!):

You check in with some of the friendliest gals around. Poised and professional, they get you ready for what almost feels like a Disney-esque experience. In groups of eight or less, you enter, immediately placed with "Candy" who gives clear instructions and points children to iPads on the wall. Here, they receive strategies on how to fly a sleigh and even get some practice in, all the while the flashes of light and beautifully decorated walls dancing around them.

Next you go and have the flight experience. Unsure of what our "spidey sense" kiddo could endure, we perched near the back of the sleigh and awaited our adventure. The kiddos and adults were all smiles as we floated across star lit skies, delighted in the room's changing temps and cascaded down hills of ice, only to finally land in the North Pole. It felt authentic, unique and like a little piece of amusement park without actually moving. Even this motion sickness mama had no trouble!

The next holding room couples kiddos with more iPad fun, engaging them in building a gingerbread cookie. All I know is that our big guy walked away with a topless gingerbread woman with a lea, purple cowboy boots, floral shorts and pigtails. I'm not even going to ask...

Finally we land on the lap of Santa, who is joyful and fun and plays little tricks with the candy canes to capture that perfect smile on film. The walls behind him are glorious, feeling just as if you had entered his personal study just to share your wish list of the season.

Walking away with a candy cane, jump drive and the opportunity to donate was just a delight.

So go ahead and see your regular Santa, but add this one too. It's worth it...even 50+ days before the big day.

Happy pre-holidays!

Oh The Things We Found

Ok, ok, I'm ashamedly late on this - the texts from loyal readers reminding me they were waiting for my Holiday Mart finds post before the ventured out themselves - sorry! Perhaps you can have similar luck when you attend Holiday Boutique in OP in less than two weeks?!

This year, the Junior League gals brought their A-game again this year with a plethora of adorable booths, fun music and festive scene. Though parking was a nightmare with many closed streets and garages, valet was made easy and affordable (even for the gal who lost her valet ticket by end of night - eeeek). Here's what I walked away with:

Food! One can't attend HM and skip the cherry tasting session or
delighting in some dips!
Our first nephew's first Christmas souvenir
Edgy glitter in rose gold

Gotta nab the KC and Royals gear in the middle of all this excitement
Some glitter for the neckline too
My shopping buddy walked away with an amazing personalize platter, some gear for her tiny, darling frame and some KC stuff too.

Another great weekend of kicking off the most wonderful time of year! Two of two national shopping holidays - check, check!

In Stitches Over This Fix #8

"Who knows what will be in the little box of delight?! I didn't provide any purpose this time around - it's a complete surprise!" I shared with my boss, who know fully understood the anticipation of a Stitch Fix box. With no real direction to my stylist other than pure delight, I was happy to find:
Pixley Split Neck Print Blouse: pattern is to die for and one my eye was
constantly drawn to on the Fix boards. I was super bummed to find it gathered
at my waist due to my "substantial bits" and didn't flow like I'd seen on the
thinner others. It was also tight in the chest. Darn!!!
Kut Jonathan Skinny Corduroy: to die!!! Plum cords?! I didn't know I
"needed" these in my life until this moment. Super versatile and soft as pajamas,
they are my new go-to for work to weekend. Swoon!
Skies are Blue Kendy Detachable Faux Fur Sleeveless Cardigan: a super fun piece with
a detachable faux fur, but I a) will never hit the cleaners b) am not young and hip enough to
layer this correctly and pull it off c) can never find quite the right pieces to go underneath.
Great for the fashionista though!
Also included was the Loveappella Madeon Sparkle Doman Knit Top, which was really drab coloring on me and was too tight in the arms (had some fun sparkle in it though!) and a RD style Calvina Side Slit Cowl Neck Knit top I almost kept but felt it resembled too many of my basics.

Super fun and holding my breath for the next one!

What's been in your adorably branded box lately?!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Am I Losing You?

"Mom: I don't wanna hug anymore before school."

"Are you going to wear your Halloween costume to my school party? I'd rather you...not."


"I hate talking."

"NOBODY wears pants, therefore I'm not either. Shorts it is."

"None of my friends' moms do that."

"You're a mean mom. The worst mom ever."

"Grumpy count: Mom = 3, 072."

And don't even get me started on the "vocabulary" he's learned from fifth graders in before and after school care.

On that first one, we compromised after a heartfelt chat between fall's leaves and the glow of our neighbors' Halloween decorations. It was to be a quick hug and "love you" at home and a simple fist bump on the sidewalk at school drop off. What never reached agreement was the sign language for "love you" incorporated into the fist bump.

These days, it just seems like love is off the table.

It's been said a thousand times before that they grow up too fast. That once they hit Kindergarten it's a blink of an eye and you're waltzing them down the aisle, only to be heard from on major holidays. That they'll let go of your hand but never your heart. That they'll break your heart a million times over.

Damnit - they were right.

And certainly like everyone else I thought I had more time, that likely those nasty teen years you hear about are the first bought of embarrassment, brush offs and peers becoming family.

But my friends, I definitely thought I had more time than six.

I want to meet him halfway. I want to let him become whatever it is his heart is telling him to be. I want to believe people when they say this is a phase, that this is a normal part of development and is just happening a bit faster with an "advanced" child.  I want to be grateful for the incredibly kind, witty, bright young child he is in every moment, even the tough ones. I want to support him in this transition. I want to be less self-centered and know in deep down he does love and appreciate. I want this to be organic vs. the budding romance novel I've built in my mind. I want to laugh, share, experience joy, rinse and repeat. I want to feel more confident in faking a smile when someone says something like "you love them to let them go." I want to believe that this is love too, it just feels different than it did before.

And everyone once in awhile I want to hold his hand. Share a glance. Spend a quiet moment alone in which he shares something about his new world. Giggle until our sides hurt. To feel like it did when he never left my shadow for those first four almost five years.

So I'll keep trying. Because buddy, I miss you. And though I know it's selfish and not entirely true: I feel like in some ways, I'm losing you. It's not all the time - not even the majority of the time - but it's even the smallest amount of time I'm going to notice.

But I know you can't tell me if it's true. So for now I'll swallow my blue and do my best in quiet, confident ways that feel good to you too, that I love you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dip Into This Dough!

"Wait, what?! Is that a...dip?!"

Yes, yes it is. And it's without raw egg, just how some of the particulars like it.

Whipped up for a birthday tailgate, this was a hit of the party. With 10 ingredients and 10 minutes, this too can become a show-stopper for you. Serve it with apples, pretzels or graham crackers and wa-la, you're set!

Did I mention it's not too shabby right off the spoon? Particularly for the emotional eaters and the hormonal. Or just people with great taste.

It is DVR season after all.

Happy dipping little monsters!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fall's Here

"Mom, mom - there's a skeleton, let's get it!"

Perusing the aisles of Target (where else?), I felt a bit lost. I mean, where were the pool toys that were just lining the end caps? The swimsuits? Sun hats? What is happening?

Lately it feels as if we're always chasing time, a feeling I like a lot less than being in the moment. Regardless, fall is here and we're going to make the best of it. After all, there's nothing quite like the smell of fireplaces back in action, colored leaves lining the walks and the crispness of early morning over a warm drink.

Someone else is also ready for fall, apparently, given I found this little gem on his desk the other day:

To this we'll sprinkle in a few date nights, some of our favorite KC events, dance parties and maybe even some hibernating. We've already started with our Friday night, catching "The Great Pumpkin," lining our front door with webs and mums and securing our Halloween costumes.

What's on your fall bucket list?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Swooning for Swift

"Um, I'm starting to get concerned. Red lips, her perfume, fewer jewels and more sparkle, and the looping album?! I mean, you went to Walmart at approximately 7:07 a.m. the other day just to score 'Wonderstruck. Are you going to get an awkward cat next?!"

Since my husband had started his sentence with "red lips," I just went and ahead and broke into song as a response to his question. I also was curious as to how he knew so much about the pop diva as I did...

His concern's legit: I want to be her. Be her best friend. Have her as my daughter. Whatever it takes. Taylor Swift is the bomb diggity dawg.

Since losing our voices with lust last week at her concert, "1989" has been a constant in our house, the boys learning the words and moves as if they had been in all of her rehearsals. As I battle the commute each 8 or 5, I recall the concert fondly, noting it brought that feeling of being in high school all over again. The sparkly signs, sense of freedom and empowerment, adrenaline and fun. Guys who still had six-pack abs, lyrics that told of precious heartbreak that you feel so deeply but don't tear apart a family and late nights gabbing with girlfriends talking about nothing at all. It felt like being chauferred by my friend's super cool mom all over again, a mini van full of toilet paper and joy. Pure innocence, fun and bliss. It was one of the best concert's I've ever been to.
At one point I was surprised to be almost moved to tears, Taylor's words so genuine and heartfelt as she used them to inspire the crowd that was 99% 15 and under. She spoke of belonging, authenticity, love and all that seems to matter in the world in a gentle, human way. To see the look on these girls' faces was so moving. It was a nice break from all the headlines, posts and stories you hear that seem to be representative of young women today. Ok, the spell was a bit broken when the gal dressed as a cheerleader behind me shouted "SHE'S SO WISE!,"but I was glad to hear her using this for Taylor versus a Cyrus or something...

Awkwardly, I could go on for hours about all I adore, but let's just condense it into a short list, shall we:

1. Girls' gear: these females came out with a PLAN. Girls dressed as Taylor's cats, or perfectly crafted ensems to match her style, sporting her Keds, etc. Best of all were the littles in her souvenir tees with unique cuts and tied at the waist with shoes cuter than mine and pleather leggings.
2. Boomin' bracelets: attached to each chair was a clear bracelet that looked like a FitBit. Start up the music and find that multitudes of colors match the beat of the music the whole concert long, plus work with motion when you get home. Taylor said she likes to see everyone - even at the tippy top.
3. Flawless style: just the right of sparkle, black, white, heels I will never forget those "Shake It Off" pink sparkly heels. It was like Peaches and Cream Barbie got a current makeover and won and grammy.
4. Minimal sheek: the girl didn't have on a single accessory. All she needed was her badass self, some red lips and a killer outfit. To be that much with so little...awesome. But I guess if you look similar to a runway model you don't need to use accessories to cover all the wobbly bits like the rest of us.
5. Seeing stars: she literally spreads light. She was aglow with all of her sparkles and ignited the same in everyone else. Plus the sighs, oh the signs. So much fun!
6. All-inclusive stage: the thing rotated high, low, left, right and everything in between. Everyone had a good seat in the house
7. Chippendalesque dancers: gyrating, ab flaunting and straight up stage talent. Better than Vegas.
8. Real media: video vignettes played between sets illustrating how real TSwift and her friends can be. They asked her real-life, silly questions you always want to and she answered. Plus some killer B roll. Super fun.
9. Goofy faces: she has a series of facial expressions that would be nerdy but from her seems cool: the sexy chic, awkward 90-degree lean in and bait face. Classic.
10. Taking it in: even after all this success, she pauses to take it in and it seems legit. That doe-eyed-pause seems to truly be of appreciation and wonder, my friends.

A girl-powered, living' in the past while desiring the future is one I'll never forget. Thank you, Taylor: I'm a Swiftie for life!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday Momfessions: The WWE Version?!

Let's just start with this truth, shall we?: my kid's obsessed with WWE. That's right, the World Wrestling Entertainment industry. You know, the scantily clad, spray-tanned, faux-fighting situation that now has its own network?

Yeah, that one. Le sigh.

Don't even ask me how we got here (yes this is the same compliant, always reading, budding artist kid), but here are some of my mom truths related to the shenanigans of it all that run through my head when I'm forced to hear it from other parts of the house. Not even the "mom cave" (aka the laundry room?!) is safe.

1. The hair: listen, under all *that,* you're kind of a good-lookin' dude. Was the blonde streak, length, dripping in oil situation part of the contract or something? Can we have coffee sometime when you rock the new man bun or go short for the summer just so I can check it out? Intrigued. PS: good job on the rest of the manscaping though.

2. What are their sick day policies? Do you still have to go out there and do horrible acting and throw themselves around the ring like a crazy people? I imagine that things like bodily fluids will only add to the drama that is the WWE, so maybe it's just incentivized or something. They straight up played John Cena's broken nose for a good three weeks. Imagine the FLU.

3. Speaking of John Cena: I.just.can't. After seeing the movie "Train Wreck," that boy gets in the ring and I immediately turn red and want to tell my son to look away. But then I'd have to explain why and I think that's a convo for, like, age 15.

4. Why just reigning champion for a year and how is that interesting? I'm half tempted to get one of those "shut up" shirts for Roman but now my kid can read, so that's out. I mean, our children are getting trophies for just showing up. Does the belt really need to be just one man's?

5. How OLD are some of these dudes and HOW did they get started in this career?! Enough said.

6. The girlfriends on the show: lowering all that females have fought for one tanned leg, short skirt and ridiculous comment at a time.

7. Dolph: what are you on man? If it's just 5-hour energy or something, let's talk. If I had 1/25 of that spring in your step, a lot more sh*t would get done around this house.

8. Who lets their young kids watch this stuf....oh wait.

9. Are their "uniforms" the equivalent of "Pink" ensems and do they wash them in between? How many do they HAVE?

10. Because I'm in marketing: cameraman....good angles, dude. You got this. Except on the days you don't and it's all fists 6 inches from faces and falls that happen 4 seconds too late. But hey, taping gymnastics has to at least be as difficult as getting your toddler to smile for one photo.

Don't even get me started on the "Total Divas" (wwwwhhhhaaaaa?!), who even as I'm switching the channel (boys not allowed to watch the hair pulling), have already flabbergasted me on their way out. Or why the announcers are seemingly decent, hot athletes. The crowds. Monologues. And so much more.

I don't get it. But I can name any mainstream wrestler you set in front of me, either in person, Mattel or Lego. And I happen to be hosting a WWE party this weekend, plus attending the live event at the Sprint Center in November. I should probably wear my "Boymom: blood, sweat, tears" shirt and bring a flask, yes?!

WWE: "women wondering everything." Check it out.

In Stitches Over Fix 6!

"Seriously?! You're going to go home and try on enems at 12:30 a.m. and bounce out of bed four hours later?" my girlfriend remarked, our desserts half-eaten in front of us as we began winding down our fourth bottle in her beautiful new home. This monthly event was my very favorite: an evening with the bests, elbows up, hearts out over delectable food sharing laughter, tears and everything between. A second monthly favorite: the box.

Here's what was in it this month:
The Freeway Roseanne Poncho Cardigan - so cute and comfy that can be
worn a million ways and trimmed in leather. Fun! But for this woman of
substance, it wasn't all that flattering and didn't fit the bill of nearly $100. Returned.
Liverpool Denise Bootcut Jean: I didn't think even my spot-on stylist could pull
this one out, but she did! My hips, booty and quads are nearly impossible to fit, yet
this denim that truly doesn't stretch all day did its job. Plus it's a great wash and has
some flare (thank goodness it's coming back) to even out the form. Kept.

Market & Spruce Bernadette Lace Overlay Raglan Top - kept! I found this gem after requesting
some fun and casual weekend tops to run around in with the kiddos. It's long enough, soft with a
touch of character and dark teal at a decent price.

Also included was a Greenich Striped Knit Top by Pixley, which was a navy and white striped basic tee with fun black faux leather elbow patches. This was close to a keeper thrown together with a cute colored scarf, but me and horizontal stripes don't play too well together and it was a bit snug. Finally was the Skies are Blue Genevieve Cross Back Knit Top in a pale silver/gray which was a huge miss. Not long enough, washed me out and felt kind of matronly.

Overall I was pretty pleased as usual. Keeping everything in the box is hardly ever doable for the budget and heartbreaking to have to return, and sending it all back yanks at the heartstrings a bit too. Keeping a piece or two and enjoying most of them is for me a win, and this time was no different. So thank you T!

The only thing getting tricky is that Stitch Fix is becoming a bit mainstream. Not that LOFT or Macy's wasn't, but I'm talking I showed up at a six-year old's birthday party Saturday with a handful of moms and me and one other had the same tank on. And at daycare drop, shopping and lunch I've been called out for being a wearer and that the item was next on their list. But hey, this is Shawnee, not the Grammy's, right?!

Let me know what's in your next little doorstep surprise and don't forget to refer me - mwah!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Monday Momfessions: The "Temporary Single Parent" Version

When I first learned my husband was setting out on a journey to better our family by studying for a tough exam and earning his promotion, I had visions of pre-prepped meals ready for his 10 minutes of daily freedom, smiling children who left him notes of encouragement, and kindness and understanding from our many one-sided conversations during these seven weeks. Here's how it really went:

1. Chicken nugget dinner count: approximately 3 times weekly. With fries or tots and no vegetables. Likely dessert as bribery. Also, Lunchables. So many Lunchables.

2. Weeping. Them. Me. In corners. On highways. Over the phone. With strangers. So much weeping.

3. Speaking of weeping: if you were driving SMP on a Sunday and saw a Mom slumped over her wheel in a Fritz's cardboard hat, that was me.  I may have been trying to put my foot down on the calypso/Kindermusik obsession in the car 24/7. This was on day 41. You know who won...

4. Lots of leaning on the village, especially in the form of two grandparents. For venting and relief pitching.

5. Plans with friends - so we could all stay sane and love one another.

6. Key phrases: "Pull your pants up." "Put it away." "Wait until I share that report with Daddy." "Daddy is studying." "Yes Daddy will still be grumpy. Mommy too." "Mommy's doing the best she can." "We'll have to wait for Daddy to fix that." "Where do we keep the pans?" "One shoes seems good enough." "When is the last time you brushed your teeth?"Why are you doing that?" "Why are you doing that?" "WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?! YOU WOULDN'T DO THAT FOR DADDY!" And so on.

7. Surprisingly, significant anger from our gentle one at bedtime. A boy gains so much benefit from the warmth, love and wrestling of his father.

8. Letting strangers tie shoes, hold your items in the checkout line, give you a knowing glance, wipe sweat from your brow, push your child in a swing, etc. Ah, the kindness of strangers.

9. Injuries. Broken toe, bruises and aching ego. Now on the Kindle: "Raising a Spirited Child." (To be clear, these were mommy injuries after a certain toddler couldn't quite find his words so used other objects to show how he felt). Related: illnesses that required hospitalization for the wee ones. Of course. Grateful everyone is on the mend!

10. Bitterness: like stare in the dark of the poor man who had just studied until 2 a.m. and consider placing a poopy diaper under his pillow kind of death stare.

Isn't that shameful?!

Don't get me wrong: the past two months have been wrought with awesome moments, watching our toddler's vocabulary blossom, the way he dances down to breakfast in the morning and the warmest hugs at the end of the day. And the oldest? So incredibly helpful without being asked, remarkable art skills and such deep conversations you think you're chatting with a 20-something.

I still haven't quite digested or let myself sit silently to let the disappointment of who I was as a mother and spouse these last several weeks. I do remember nearly daily feeling like I wasn't competent, didn't have the tools and was failing miserably as a parent. After all, my pals with traveling spouses, actually doing it as a single parent or with traditional roles make it look like a piece of cake. Meanwhile, I was crumbling each evening...and that's working full-time, having only been with my kids about 3-5 hours a day. Ashamed. I feel totally ashamed.

At the end of each day, water welled behind my eyes, the need to apologize to each child feeling like a heavy weight on my chest. Then they'd look at me and tell a joke, ask for another book, snack or water and in that moment I'd know: they felt loved. They still felt loved.

And that, my friends, is all I could ask for.

To all the parents out there who have or are doing it singly - whether it's always, sometimes or somewhere in between: you're amazing. I will never know how you do it all with such grace and confidence, but I can only hope to grow and learn from such a gracious human being as you. And may you always know that at the end of your days, it's love that counts. And you are loved.

And to Daddy: we wouldn't change a thing. We are so proud of you have always been incredibly grateful for you. Now having walked even more miles in your shoes, it's tenfold. We love you.

It's Our Anniversary

Nine years! Maybe, like 12?!

Before you go judging me about my marriage, please note I'm referring to what should be a national holiday, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Now you can judge me...

This year was shiny and bright like all the rest. A bit anxious about arriving early enough to snatch a much-desired MK bag and slightly thrown off by the 10 a.m. start time (scoff - used to be 8 a.m.), I parked my hiney in handbags and took an hour-long conference call. A girls' gotta do what a girls' gotta do for her leathers you know. After purchasing this delicious item, there were several others:
Michael Kors Essex hobo in Dark Dune: perfect for tucking away diapers
while still looking like a classy, working lady. Make it over the shoulder
or across the body and buttery soft! Don't forget the matching wallet.

Haolson leath pale pink flats - so comfortable with some character!
BP multi snake print flats - they go with everything and are flats -
need I say more?!

Kicks for back to school - swoon!
I also scored a darling tunic that looked *just* like a certain birthday girl we were celebrating too for less than $30. And let's face it, if that money tree hadn't blown over in the early summer storms, the list would've been longer and the trunk a lot fuller.

You've done it again Nordy's, just as you do day after day. Thank you for feeding all of we shoppers' superficial indulgences with your delectable style.

Grab these and more (now in full price) as you prepare for fall. You deserve it!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Emptying the Bucket

Kindergarten starts in less than three weeks. That's right, I went there - 2.5 weeks. Some of my dearest friends are already being all administrative and setting up classrooms as we speak.

When did this happen?

As two parents that work full-time outside of the home, we long to make the whole May-ish through July-ish time try to feel a bit like our summers used to when we were kids. Hours spent in the chlorine, days in the sun, nights crawling around the neighborhood until dark, up past bedtimes, living in flip flops and imagination with friends. Priceless.

So like many crazed parents of the millennium, we made a family list and are attempting to attack it like the final rays of sunshine around 9:30 in the evening. We've made a dent, with some of our favorites being:

Catching a Royals game: ball caps, hot dogs, foul balls and cold beer. What more could a family wish for?

Visiting Scheels: not only is a kid paradise, but adult one! Ferris wheel, fudge factory, Starbucks, aquariums, more Jayhawk gear you can get than anywhere else, bright colors, current footwear and all the brands you love in one place. Not to mention picture posing locations and interactive games sprinkled throughout. Save a day for this one!

Water Balloons: or "ba-ba-boons" as Little calls them. Perhaps the best $10 we spent all summer, each evening is filled with filling balloons, quick tying and new target challenges. Fun for the whole family!

Catching a flick at the drive-in: ridiculously fun and affordable! Grab your chairs, blankets, some friends, a cooler and dinner in a sack and catch the latest movies back to back on the big screen. Be sure you know how to dim your lights before you go (not that I speak from experience).

Splash Cove: perfect for the 10 and under crowd and their grownups, there are several slide options, a mini wave pool and unique ways to splish and splash all day long. Only $6/person!

Time with family: we made the trek to Minnesota and some of them visited here, creating memories we'll never forget. Plus those regular meals with grandparents and growing excited for the boys' first cousin has been a blast. The extended family even made it to a few of Big's baseball games.

The "good stuff" at home: regular dance parties, meals on the patio, porch chairs perched out front with the neighbors, wrestle mania time and even room for quiet things like being creative and imagining. Even better, we're all more equipped to stay up way past our bed time for some reason. Making friendship bracelets may top the list for a certain 5-year old.

Swimming: with varied bedtimes and interest in the water this can be tricky, but we sneak in time to take the big whenever we can. Plus he's rocking swim lessons, doing log rolls in the deep end on his own!

Spending more time at the kids' school: reading books, dropping off treats and attending field trips. Bowling was a blast and their little minds grew exponentially from the museum ventures.

Have an epic vacation: HHI - enough said. We still talk and dream of it daily.

Strawberry picking: at Woheltz Farm just outside of Lawrence. Unique, fun and you can make some killer recipes afterward.

Left on the list to conquer the next two weeks is a trip to the lake, Kenny Chesney concert, Theatre in the Park (Shrek), farmer's market, splash fountains at Loose Park and more time in the water. For Mommy, "Magic Mike XXL" and First Fridays may be in there too, plus getting rid of clutter, which we've made a 11-bag dent in.

How's your summer bucket list coming, friends?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Girls Night Done Right

"Well, you are one lucky lady - it's not many women who can say they have such a large circle of best friends with no drama!" the Price Chopper gal says with admiration along with her support of the number of items going toward a Mexican fiesta.

"Yeah, I feel like the luckiest - I'm so grateful," I reply, my Big disagreeing as he shares with her he is NOT going to hang out with those lady friends when he gets home later in the evening.

This month we were celebrating one special gal for all of the 30-something she is. And since she's so incredible, it was only necessary I prepare all of her favorite things for her evening of celebration. With a husband/cook studying around the clock, two wee ones and full work schedule, it was also necessary that the meal prep be extremely easy:
Crock Pot Mexican Chicken to top our chips
on the nacho bar
Summer Corn, Avocado and Black Bean Salad
Taco Pizza Rolls
Nacho bar toppings
Champs, of course - thanks Trader Joe's!
Key ingredient: assistance with cleaning the house!

Funfetti cake, a birthday girl fave, was for dessert paired with Shatto Ice Cream cookies cut in quarters. Couple with Montell Jordan on Pandora, bubbles, Lemonadaritas, laughter, joy, inappropriate stories and tears - it's a menu for success. And all less than $200 and two hours of prep to feed eight with some leftover! 

Come hungry, leave happy and I'm happy. So grateful for these moments, memories...and food!