Our Current 5 Favorites

It’s been way too long since I did a 5 favorite’s post.  So long, in fact, that it has a new hostess, the awesome Jenna of Call Her Happy, who has excellent taste in names for her kids, if I do say so myself… Anywho, here are Sara Kate’s and my current 5 favorite things:

1. Charley Harper Memory Game

Sara’s Godmother got her this memory game way back when she was a baby and I remember thinking it was going to be a loooong time before she would be ready to play it.  And then I blinked and here we are.  Sara loves playing memory, and I love the gorgeous, retro-y illustrations, so it’s a win-win.  And since this is the first formal game we’ve ever played with SK, we’ve discovered that she’s not competitive in the slightest.  Whenever Dave and I get matches she claps and squeals for us! We’ll see if she stays that way or she realizes that the goal is to win. 😉

2. Goat Cheese Toast with Honey and Walnuts (and apparently Thyme)

It’s with great shock that I can report to you that it’s January 21st and my (mostly) No Sugar January goal has been largely successful.  Really, I’m amazed, and it’s been relatively easy so far.  That said, it’s probably gone so well because I haven’t cut down on my overall food intake, and I’ve allowed myself to have natural forms of sugar, like fruit, honey and real maple syrup. [I’m planning on doing a recap of my no-sugar month with my take-aways, but in the meantime, check out this relevant NPR story I heard just the other day!] A good friend of mine shared this pin with me because she knows I love goat cheese on anything, and it’s been my go-to afternoon snack with a cup of tea (with cream & no sugar!)  The only thing is, I don’t put thyme on my toast (I could, but I always forget!) and I don’t drench my toast in honey like in the picture, just a little drizzle.  Yum.

3. Beatrix Potter

Jemima was a simpleton.

We have a little set of Beatrix Potter books that SK has just recently become interested in. Isn’t it great when the the books your toddler wants to read over and over are books that you really enjoy reading over and over? Her favorite is Jemima Puddle Duck.  I think she initially preferred it because the cover is pink, but she really got into the story too!  I’ve had to explain some things because my 21st century kid does not get the inferences about foxes being bad and why the shed full of feathers was a bad thing.  I mean, no amount of explaining is going to help her understand the part where Jemima complains about the “superfluous hen”, but one day she’ll get it and she’ll chuckle.  And meanwhile, I chuckle!

4. N is for Nuns!

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How cute is this craft we made at our preschool co-op yesterday?  I can take no credit for it, it was the creation of my friend’s imagination.  I just think it’s so stinking cute!  Last week, we had a little field trip to visit the convent of a newer order of sisters, The Daughters of Mary of Nazareth.  So, as a follow up in class this week, we talked about nuns and vocations in general, and tied it in with our letter of the week.

5. Marmee and Louisa by Eve LaPlanteIMG_3616

I am enjoying this book so much!  It’s the story of the relationship between Louisa May Alcott (the author of Little Women) and her mother Abigail May Alcott. This is the definition of my ideal read; familiar-ish story and characters (since much of Little Women is based on Louisa’s life) and set all around where I live, but 200 years ago, with the unexpected twist of the mind-blowing revelation that Louisa’s father/Abigail’s husband, Bronson Alcott, is pretty much the worst. It’s fascinating!  I’m hoping to write a little review of it when I’m done, but I might want to re-read Little Women before I commit my thoughts to a blog post.  Book reviews are not my forte, but I love this book so much I might give it a shot.

Don’t forget to check out the other 5 Favs back at Call Her Happy!

“I yike it da 5 tings!”

I thought I’d switch things up a little and share our little tyrant’s lady’s current favorite things along with some of her cute linguistics.  The title is a nod to how she’s always telling us very specifically what she does and doesn’t like and what she wants us to do:”Hold it da cup!” “I no yike it da food!”

1. Wheelie Board Books

SK has developed a big interest in all things vehicular lately.  Luckily for her, cousin Jude has all the things when it comes to trucks and big rigs.  We came back from NY this weekend with awesome wheelie board books borrowed from Jude so SK can hone her vehicle categorizing skills.  She’s still shaky on types of busses.  She thinks all busses are “coo buses” (school busses) and I’m trying to get her to understand that only the orange ones are school busses.  But it’s just so adorable to hear her say “Coo bus!”

2. My First Story of EasterIMG_2400

I read this story to SK on Holy Thursday on a whim, not thinking that she’d be into it.  I had the book in my vast store of religious education materials that I’ve stockpiled, but it’s not like I had researched the best Easter book for little kids or anything.  Well, she loves it.  We’ve had to read it every night to her at bedtime and she interjects to tell us about how the priests are “Gompy!” and Jesus carrying the “ree heavy cross” needs to be “tarful tarful, don’t fall down!” I guess it just goes to show that I shouldn’t be so hesitant to try new things even if I think she’s too young.  I never would have guessed that she would be really into the Passion at the tender age of 2!

3. MinnetonkasOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ok, they’re a favorite of mine.  But really, I bought these booties back in September and they’re still in amazing condition with room to grow!  I purposely bought them a size too big so she’d have room to grow but they were never floppy or bad for walking and now she’s grown at least one shoe size (probably a size and a half) and they’re still great!  I can definitely get more use outta these cuties with another kid, although I think my husband might nix them for little boy usage.  Anyway, I highly recommend these shoes!

4. “Sicker” (sticker) books

I know, duh.  Well, the Easter bunny put this sticker book in SK’s basket (again on a whim, seeing as she loves the stickers she gets at Trader Joe’s) and she’s a huge fan.  She somehow gets that they stay in the book and are reusable, although she kind of stacks them one on top of the other instead of spreading them out over the farm landscape.  Anyhoo, it’s not rocket science; if you’re going on a big car or plane trip, maybe pick up some sticker books for your toddler.

5. Her “titchen” of course!

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Check out her choice of footwear for working in her kitchen.  She is definitely NOT imitating her Mama in that respect!

For more 5 favorites, click back over to Moxie Wife

5 Favorite Snowday Diversions

I’m a day late, but since we’re snowed in today I thought I’d share some of the pretty things I’ve found that have been keeping me happy and inspired.

1. Kendi has been killing me lately with her easing-into-spring outfits!

I love everything about this outfit, especially that maternity and postpartum friendly top and her Madewell bag. I love that bag…

2. Another favorite from this week.

I just love this unlikely but awesome color combination.

3. Back in realville, my biggest at home glamour indulgence lately is keeping my nails pretty.  My current favorite nail color is OPI Miami Beet.
4.  We’re looking forward to a good friend’s wedding this August and I’m determined to find the perfect postpartum flattering/nursing friendly dress for the occasion.  I found this one at ModCloth but it’s currently out of stock!  What do you think?

More and better views of the dress here.

5. My favorite online waste of time lately has been looking for little boy nursery inspiration.

I love the gingham curtains! For more of this nursery, go here.

I love how simple and sweet this one is. Plus, that’s our crib! See the rest of the nursery here.

Are you collecting any bits of pretty inspiration to get you through the winter?

For more 5 Favorites, Check out Moxie Wife!

5 December Favorites

1. Muddy Buddies 

I only allow myself to make and eat these in December.  And it’s December, did you notice?  Anyway, they make a great little gift for friends with gluten allergies, as they’re gluten free as long as you use the gf Chex.  Also, I made mine with coconut oil this time to be a little healthier (right?) and to give to a friend who is gluten and dairy free.  Win-win!

2. Christmas cardsIMG_2042

I got a really good deal this year using Snapfish.  I really really wanted to get some gorg Minted cards and I entered everyone’s giveaways, but alas… Anyway, I’m very pleased with my Snapfish cards and I was really happy to find a not-ugly, not-smug religious template! I finally wised up this year and just picked a nice picture of SK.  Nobody cares about me and Dave, right?

3. Nambie and Hissy (that’s Lambie and Horsey for the uninitiated)

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They’re eating their breakfast. Can’t you tell?

These guys are SK’s best buds.  Well, Nambie is the bestest bud and he goes everywhere with her, including/especially bed.  Hissy is new to the gang, but he’s still very very loved.

4. Snow in December.  We got a couple of inches yesterday and we’re getting more this weekend!

SK had a fun time today sledding in our backyard for the first time (no pictures because I’m lame).  At first she had a fit because I wouldn’t pull her in the sled back up the hill, but she got over it real quick.  I guess the fun canceled out the work of climbing the hill.  Doesn’t it always?

On another note, I’m a fan of the snow because it covers the leaves that I just didn’t get to.  Now they’re Spring’s problem.  But not my problem… because…

5. This new little friend who is on the way!IMG_2039

We got to see shim squirming around yesterday in protest to the ultrasound tech’s pokes.  All is well so far and our kiddo is due at the end of June (so, the beginning of July). Please keep us in your prayers?

For more favorites and lots of gift ideas, head back to Moxie Wife!

Five Favorites: House goodies

Joining up with http://moxiewife.com for Five Faves. We continue to make sssslllloooowww progress on our house. The previous owners actually built the house in the 60s and changed very, very little since then. When we moved in, the dishwasher was original (no, really) and the washer, while not quite that old was sporting some wood paneling so that dates it to at least the end of the Reagan administration if not before.

Of course, every time we complete one little project (or even one big one) we are already planning the next one! Of course, by “we” I mean just me because DJ isn’t like this but i like to spread the blame and shame around. Some things catching our (okay, my) interest as possible projects:

1. All the outlets in this house need to be replaced, and we’d like to replace some of them with these:

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It’s a wall outlet with built-in USB chargers! So. Cool.

2) All the doors on the second floor of our house are the fabulous, hollow-core doors popular with cheap builders everywhere until the 90s, when fabulous six-panel hollow-core doors became the fashion. We thought about replacing them, but may take a stab at this first:

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Photo from Design Sponge.

What is it? It’s a slab door painted and with molding added. These tutorials are all over the inter webs and I think the afters are pretty uniformly awesome. Also, some DIY sites call this door “augmentation,” which makes me laugh like a 12-year-old kid for some reason.

3) We’d like to jump on the board-and-batten bandwagon, but we live in a 60s side-hall colonial. One of my pet peeves is when I walk into a house where updates on the inside are not in keeping with the style of the house’s exterior. But still, I really like the way this dining room looks:

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Image from here.

4) Soon the exterior of our home will have to be repainted. Actually, there is a pretty large section of unpainted siding on the rear of the house that we have to slap some color on. Currently, our house is a sort of bright blue, but I really like the idea of going darker.

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This house (from here) is actually similar to ours because the bottom half of the house shown is brick, like ours.

5) The outside of our house, besides paint, needs some landscaping attention. I’d really, really like a weeping cherry with a small statue of the Holy Family beneath it surrounded by some sort if ivy or other ground cover like that. I keep thinking if I include the Holy Family in my landscaping ideas, they’ll somehow find the money for me to do it. I’m aware of how awful that thought process is.

Of course, none of these projects that cost more than $50 will be done anytime in the foreseeable future since the kids continue to suck up any and all “extra” money I seem to have. I just can’t believe how much and how often they all need to eat!

5 Fatty Favorites

Linking up with Hallie to share my 5 favorites this week.  Am I making this up, or are we humans wired like our furry friends to bulk up for winter time when it starts getting colder and darker?  Just me?  Well, this is what I’ve been loving lately.

1. Trader Joe’s Edamame Hummus

I’ve been trying out different hummus every week to go with the ooooooooodles of cucumbers we’ve harvested.  This, by far, is my favorite.  I want to eat it with everything!!!

2. Newman’s Own Peach Salsa

Yes, I like dipping things.  This peach salsa is amazing! To be honest, I’ve never had peach salsa before, so this might be the worst one ever but I’d never know.  Because I’m sold.  Paul Newman, you little man with a huge head, I’m yours.

3. Apricot Lattice Bars

I love love love this recipe. It’s for fruit bars, but I always just do apricot.  They’re so easy, but they look super fancy and taste amazing!  I always get the itch to make & eat these bars in the fall, so I made them last weekend when we had guests over.  Yummmmmmm.  I very reluctantly sent our guests home with most of them at the end of the night because I can’t afford to buy myself new jeans, people!

4. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is an oldie but goodie.  I wrote about them last year in my autumn recipes post.  I haven’t made my inaugural fall 2013 batch yet, but I’ve been dreaming about it for the past few weeks.  Soon and very soon my love…

5. Corn Chowder

This is an old staple of my fall and winter dinner menu.  It’s so hearty and delicious. Just look at the bacon!  It really sticks to your ribs on a chilly night.  I usually make these biscuits to accompany it.  Soooo goooood. Oh, and I usually make the full recipe and then freeze half.  I love having freezer meals for those nights when I just can’t deal, you know?

Are you starving now? Me too.

Head on back to Moxie Wife to see everyone else’s 5 favs!

Five favorites: Time and money edition

Five favorites: Time and money edition

Linking up with Hallie to share my current five favs. This is the first year the Hazzard family will have someone in Catholic school full-time (gulp!) so we are knuckling down on the budget trying to save some money where … Continue reading 

5 Fall Fashion Favorites

First of all, thank you all who commented on my “weighty” post on Sunday.  You all really reassured me that I’m not crazy and I’m not doing anything wrong and that scales are, indeed, stupid.  You all rock. 🙂

It’s pretty silly that I’m writing this post because I don’t need anything in the way of clothes and shoes.  Not a thing.  And I don’t plan on buying anything for myself (with the exception of my great blazer search, more on that at #3) at all for a while because there’s no need, and because we’re hoping to buy a home this fall.  Eeeek! Anyhoo, here are my favorite fall fashion favorites for your viewing pleasure. But if you buy any of this stuff or similar items as per my recommending it, don’t tell me because I might break into your house and rob you.

1. Peter Pan collars

Find it at  JCrew. Such a cute top but that poor girl needs to eat some cake or something!

I love this trend.  It’s so classic and cute!  Granted, I don’t know if it would really work for me… I’m afraid the high neckline would do nothing for my non-existent waist.  I’d have to try it on.  But of course, I’m not buying anything so it’s a moot point.

2. Are these booties?  

Find them at  Boden.

I haven’t really been into the bootie trend because most of them look ludicrous. But these beauties are a different story.  Alas, I need them like I need a hole in my head. As an aside, I love absolutely everything in the Boden catalogue this fall. All the things!

3. Navy Blazer

Image via SarahSarna

[It’s my goal to include the fair Duchess in all of my 5 favorite posts.  One day she’ll notice and then we’ll be friends.]

I’ve been on the lookout for a good navy blazer for a while and I’m determined to add this staple to my wardrobe.  But I’ve also decided that I’m not willing to spend more than $50 on one.  So, that means either I score a really good deal with the help of some coupons or sales, or I find a good one at a thrift or consignment store.  I’m determined, folks.  It’s going to happen and I’m not going to spend a lot of money on it.  Mark. my. words.

4. Red Paisleyish Scarf

Find it at J.Crew

I love this whole look, but I especially love that scarf.  It’s just so classic and it ties this basic outfit together so nicely!

5. Cords

Find them at Gap.

Aren’t these just the perfect fall/holiday season pants??? Gah!  I can’t stand it.

Thats all, folks!  For more 5 favorites, check out Moxie Hallie and all the linkers.  Happy Hump Day!

5 Favorites Vol. 9

1. First things first.

Sorry (not sorry) if that annoys anyone.  As Simcha said, he’s a new baby, and new babies are always a wonderful thing! As an aside, of course Kate looks wonderful, yadda, yadda, yadda, because she’s Kate and she has a stylist and hair and makeup person and she’s gorg. But! Apart from her amazing arms and legs and remarkably not-puffy face (we McSisters get pregnant EVERYWHERE so we’re very jealous of ladies who just get a belly) she actually looked like it was a physical probability that she did indeed birth an 8-ish pounder the day before.  I’m a fan.

And!  We have the same exact infant seat as the Cambridges.  Now I just wish we had the same car!

Sweet ride. Image via Metro UK

2. This lace top that I scored for $14!!!!

Find it at Loft

I haven’t been shopping at Loft for a while because I’ve noticed a decline in the quality of their products and frankly I haven’t really been liking their stuff all that much.  But I’ve been drooling over this top since I first saw Kate wear it way back when.  Plus, $14 is pretty darn good for a lace top!

3. Lest you think I’m completely shallow (I assure you, I’m only mostly shallow),  Christy’s post on Monday about the sacraments and motherhood was so beautiful and definitely hit a note for me.  I’ve had times in my life when I have clung to the the familiarity and tangible comfort of the Mass, adoration and the Eucharist.  The sacraments are one of the many reasons why I’m so grateful to be Catholic!

4. This post written by my good friend Annemarie about traveling with 3 littles made me laugh HARD.  She’s hysterical and she’s my hero!

5.  So many cucumbers!  cukes

 Gots to go now.  Somehow my child is covered in chocolate. I know there are much worse things she could be covered in but still… it’s a mystery! And it’s messy!

For more 5 Favs, head on over to Camp Patton 🙂

Summer Momiform Staples {5 Favs}

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love love LOVE Laura’s series on Style and the Stay At Home Mom. From what I gather, Laura’s interest in SAHM style has something to do with her being a self-sacrificing Mom of two who has devoted herself so completely to her home and family that she has never had time for thoughts of fashion.  Me?  Well, I’m just shallow and materialistic and I need to make time for more important things.  I think about this a lot, yo.  Too much.  Anyway, I thought maybe I’d put my obsession to good use for you selfless Saints of Mommies who just don’t know where to begin but who want to feel better about the image you project.

So without further ado, I give you my summer momiform staples.

Ok, a little more ado.  Something I’ve found (and this is rocket science here so hold on to your yoga pants) is that a big part of the process of building a wardrobe that you love and that works for you is knowing your personal style.  This takes a while to do.  First you have to gather inspiration. Maybe seek out a style icon(s); someone who always looks or looked the way you want to look.  Perhaps you’ve already picked up on who mine is.

image via robertroope.com

You have to figure out which styles and colors flatter you.  You have to try stuff on (some of my sisters refuse to believe me on this one). You have to figure out how to balance outfits.  I really like Rachel’s 3 piece rule: two basics with a fun third statement piece.  For example, pants, a top and a scarf or shorts, tee and statement necklace.

Anyway, for me, I try to stay simple with splashes of elegant, a’la Princess Grace.  No, lace dresses are not appropriate for my state in life right now, but I can accomplish the same vibe in a stay at home mom way.

And that brings me to my 5 summer staples.  Finally!

1. Tee shirts.  

I’ve finally accepted and embraced the fact that if I wear tee shirts, they need to be v-neck.  I don’t have the most defined waistline so I need a little optical illusion help! So find what works for you.  I have this striped Gap v neck tee and I also have it in white and solid navy blue.  I also have a different gap v neck tee in gray.  They’re my basics.  And on the topic of white tee shirts, I think you need to buy a new one each summer.  Yes they get yellow at the pits.  You can do some things to remedy the situation and get them to last all season but when the season is over, they’re basically over.  Know what I mean?  Shop the sales so you don’t feel so guilty about this.

2. Shorts.

I’m blowing you away so far, huh?  I have this pair of shorts from Gap, as well as a pair of coral pink bermuda’s and light pink shorts that are several years old from the Loft.  Oh, and I have a khaki shorts from Gap that are 6 or 7 years old.  I honestly don’t obsess much about shorts.  My requirements are that they can’t be inappropriately short and that they should preferably be fun colors.  My tops are generally neutral colors, so the shorts can and should be more fun.  But   unlike with my jeans, I’m not worried about the Mom-butt situation in my shorts.  I don’t want my shorts to be too tight; they should be light and comfy so as to fulfill their job of being hot weather appropriate!  Maybe my McSisters will point out my folly on this next month at our family reunion…

3. Flip flops for every day, espadrilles/wedges for night/special occasions.

Yes, we all wish we had your life wardrobe Classy Girls chicks…

I have a normal schleppy pair of flip flops that I wear most days and I have a cheap pair of cheap Target strappy fake leather flip flops for when I want to be a little nicer looking.  I love Katrina’s Bass sandals in her 5 Favorites post!  They unfortunately wouldn’t work for me though because I have super wide feet. 🙁 This is part of the process though folks: know thyself.  I finally picked up a pair of espadrilles after hemming and hawing and wanting some wedges and not wanting to pay the price.  I got these on super sale in simple brown leather (they ended up being less that $20) and I love them because they’re neutral and they make my legs look… better.

4. Respectable bathing suit & Cover-up

Sigh. Nobody likes this.  It’s like voting in Massachusetts.  You’re never going to win (sorry, it’s just fresh in my mind). I got the above gray suit at Target because I didn’t hate what I saw in the mirror when I tried it on.  I didn’t love it, but I didn’t feel sick to my stomach.  It’ll do for this summer.  Most likely next summer I’ll have a new host issues to tackle in the bathing suit department.  Guys don’t understand this, do they?  They wear the same lame swim trunks every year and there’s no drama.  If only they knew… Anyway, make sure you get a cute cover up too and maybe even a fabulous sun hat.  I got a hat this year to bring to the beach in August and SK thinks it’s hysterical.

5.  My special little thing: a pretty white shirt.

My summer staple to trump all summer staples is a pretty white top.  This is kinda my thing and I look forward to it every year.  It’s how I get my Grace Kelly elegant on.  This year I got the above top from Old Navy and it has served me very well so far (you can see me wearing it here).  I just love how you can dress it up or down.  I can wear it with a skirt and my new espadrilles and be ready for a date or I can wear it with jeans or shorts and cute earrings and look pulled together for playgroup.  Again, though, this is my thing.  It might not work for you.  You have to figure out what your thing is, and before you do that, you have to figure out your personal style.

Welp, that’s my two cents for all it’s worth (hint, it’s not worth two cents). If you haven’t already, check out Laura’s very helpful, very comprehensive series on Style and The Stay At Home Mom.  She also has lots of links to other helpful websites.  And if for some crazy reason you’re not on pinterest, get on pinterest!  It’ll help you find inspiration if you’re still figuring out your personal style.  Here’s my pinterest clothes board.

Now check out everyone elses’ 5 Favs at Moxie Wife!