Lately…

As summer is winding down I thought I’d pull together a post of a few things we’ve been up to and a few finds I’d love to share with you.

faux-karen-walker-sunglasses

I totally love the look of Karen Walker sunglasses but loathe the price point. I spent a pretty penny on my every day Maui Jim sunglasses and don’t feel like dropping another $300 on fad-sunglasses. So! I did tons of research and found some pretty great cheap-o sunglasses (and on Amazon Prime no less!) that fit the bill of the Karen Walker look. I got the beige and they’re a really great knock-off – sorry Karen Walker but you’re welcome to anyone who was looking for a faux pair.

raspberry-picking

The much awaited u-pick raspberry season has begun at the farm around the corner from our house! We went opening day with some little friends.

nars-concealer

I was wanting more from my concealer than my $8 tube of Cover Girl concealer was giving me so I went on the hunt! I saw this post by Kallie and happened to be headed to Nordstrom that day to return something. I went over to the Nars counter (I use their foundation so just knew their concealer would be a good fit for me) and got some help from the technician deciding which color of the Radiant Creamy Concealer would be best for my coloring. We were in and out (yes I had the kids and thankfully the technician was quick AND they had those high make-up counter seats that the kids were obsessed with sitting on) and I was on my way to better concealing the darker circles under my eyes. I tell you – even my husband noticed a brightening of my eyes the next day when I  was wearing it (and he doesn’t notice much, ha!). I am so sold. Buy this concealer. It goes on well, lasts the day, and doesn’t seem to settle into creases (ok, wrinkles!) at all. Worth the more than 3x the amount I’m paying over my old Cover Girl tube.

trader-joes-tulips

I’ve been addicted to the $1.99 tulips at Trader Joe’s and I love when they get droopy!

flamingo-necklace

Z has been particularly into necklaces lately so I’ve been trying my hand at a few DIY ones. Here’s the little pink flamingo necklace I made her. I won’t bore you with the DIY but if you want one let me know, it came out so cute! She’s asked for a giraffe next…

Make Your Own Lobster Roll

Have you ever made your own lobster roll or wanted to try? Yes? Keep reading. Are you not sure what recipe to use and don’t want to waste your precious lobster on a not perfect recipe? Yes? Keep reading. Are you not sure if you want a mayonnaise-based lobster roll OR a butter-based lobster roll? Yes? Keep reading…

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It all started Saturday when we visited my Uncle Paul on his new boat and he generously shared some fresh caught lobster – that’s heaven on Earth right there! We feasted on them Sunday evening and actually had some left over. So, tonight, we made lobster rolls for dinner. We’d made them at home before but weren’t impressed with any recipe we’d followed in the past. We could never decide: butter OR mayo: an all butter lobster roll is too much and an all mayonnaise lobster roll takes away too much of the flavor of the lobster. So, why not both?

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I came across this recipe from Food Network and it was a WINNER! I thought I’d snap some photos and share the link and our recipe edits. We mixed the meat from 2, 1 1/4 pound lobsters with just over a Tbs of mayo, 1 Tbs melted butter, dash of salt, dash of celery salt, and 1 Tbs finely chopped onion greens (we didn’t have celery greens on hand and this worked well. Note, we omitted the lemon). Incorporate thoroughly and stuff inside a buttered and grilled basic hot dog roll. We served with our homemade cole slaw on the side. YUM – ENJOY!

Fourth of July Watermelon

Maybe you do this already, but I had a fun brainstorm for patriotic Fourth of July watermelon today! Let me back up… this afternoon we were making some sugar cookies shaped as stars decorated with red, white, and blue sprinkles for a fairly simple afternoon activity in preparation for the Fourth of July weekend coming up. As we were setting the dough to chill in the fridge I saw our giant untouched watermelon waiting to be cut up for a play date tomorrow. Bing! Use the star cookie cutter to make a super festive fruit dessert! It almost doesn’t even warrant a dedicated blog post because there is so little effort involved here. But I decided to pull out the camera anyway, take a few shots, and share my simple idea with you. I mean, what easier way to bring something festive-looking to any Fourth of July soiree you’re attending this weekend, right?

4th-of-July-Watermelon

Cut watermelon in slices, at least an inch thick. Use star shaped cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

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Place on a white tray/plate/serving platter and sprinkle with blueberries for a pop of blue and voila – bringing this Fourth of July watermelon will make you star of the party (see what I did there?).

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Ps. You’ll have lots of random pieces leftover, perfect for snacking. Enjoy!

Batman Cupcake Decorations

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Our little M just turned 2! And since he’s been obsessed with Batman since my sister gave him a Batman board book for his first birthday, the party theme was sort of a no brainer. Per usual I did a mix of store (and etsy) bought and handmade decorations for the little backyard birthday party we had for him (one of the perks of being born in June is being able to have your birthday party outside!). I know doing all this crafting makes some people just roll their eyes “why???” so I decided to document just one, easy, fun thing that ANYONE can do to help customize a party to your theme!

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To make even the most simple cupcakes or cake on-theme for your party, all you have to do is create a little chocolate topper! First, find an image that fits with your party theme, for this it was, of course, the batman symbol. Print out the image numerous times, place your print-out on a cookie sheet, and cover with wax paper.

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Melt your chocolate (I used chocolate chips because I needed brown but you could also use those colorful chocolate melts from a craft store).  Transfer the chocolate into a piping bag, squeeze bottle, or heavy duty Ziploc with the tip snipped and trace and fill in each shape with the melted chocolate. Let harden in the fridge for an hour or better yet, overnight.

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Decorate your cupcakes putting the flat side showing (the side you pipe won’t be as smooth) and voila!

 

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PS. Other cute handmade batman decor! Fun party, here’s a quick glimpse of how the backyard was decorated…

PPS. I did this trick for Z’s first and third birthday parties too but felt it was time to post again!

A Day in the Life

I thought it would be fun to document a day in our life. How narcissistic you’re (maybe) thinking that I would think you would think reading about our day would be interesting. But! When other bloggers do these posts I always find them intriguing (maybe it’s a mom thing, wondering how others spend their days) and I always get the casual question from people who aren’t home with their kids (or maybe they don’t have kids) as a genuine curiosity “what do you DO all day?” So, I thought I’d go about our random mid-week day, take some notes, and write a post about it.

A Day In The Life

5:10am We hear M crying through the monitor. We’ve just been away for the long weekend where he slept in our room and was used to waking up early, seeing us, and screaming until we got him up, which we did so no one else would wake up. Since we’re home we ignore his mild cries and he sleeps for another hour and a half.

7am Everyone is up! My husband is dressed for work and on toast and milk duty downstairs as I change M’s diaper, encourage Z to only bring a few stuffed animals downstairs, and generally try and wake up.

7:10am Husband is off to work, kids are eating toast and milk and watching Doc McStuffins, their latest obsession. I pour coffee and go about packing snacks, waters, etc… for a full morning out of the house.

7:55am Sneak in a few work emails before we have to go upstairs and get sunscreen (first) and clothes on (second) on the kids and me.

9:00am Out the door! Miracle. It only took about 50 mins today to get everyone covered in sunscreen, dressed, and shoes on and we’re off to Baby Boot Camp class that’s about 22 minutes away so we’ll have just enough time to load up the stroller and wheel over to where class starts at 9:30.

10:40am BBC is over and the kids are playing with their friends for a couple minutes while I load the car. Z has to use the bathroom so thank goodness I still have her travel potty in my trunk because there are no bathrooms at this BBC location. Make mental note to clean travel potty, yuck…

11:00am On time for Z’s weekly speech session. She goes with her pathologist to work on s, sh, ch words while M and I hang in the lobby. We each do our own thing for a good 40 minutes (me on my phone, he plays with the fun toys in the waiting area). Suddenly he needs a snack and notice he needs a new diaper (stinkaroo). Luckily I thought that would happen and brought a spare diaper and my travel wipes in with us.

12:15pm Back in the car to come home (always takes longer than I think it should to get out of the office, walk to the car, strap each kid in their seat).

12:30pm Lunch prep, the kids are starving. Z wants raviolis (frozen from Trader Joe’s, you just cook the amount you want, they’re great…and filled with spinach) but we’re out so she settles on….soup. And it’s like 90 degrees out, ha!

1pm M neeeeds his nap so I bring him up to his room. He’s wild until the last minute then gets a paci in his mouth and collapses – and gets snuggly, one of the best moments of the day while I sing him a little lullaby, lay him down, and he waves through the slats of his crib saying”buh-byeee” in a tired yell.

3pm I’ve spent the last couple hours working while Z does her best version of “quiet time,” which means she periodically does her own thing while chit chatting away, asking questions, making conversation (aka, not very quiet). I finally allow some iPad time so I can get some actual quiet, she is thrilled. So am I.

4pm M is still sleeping.

4:15pm We want to meet a friend at the next town’s weekly farmer’s market but she already left. I decide to wake M and hop in the car anyway. I let my husband know and he decides to meet us on his way home from work. Z is oddly quiet as we leave the house. We swing by the pick-up spot and grab our first CSA box of the season!

4:25pm Z falls asleep in the car. For a girl who doesn’t want to take naps anymore she sure does need the sleep! We drive around with the windows down for 20 minutes so she can sleep and then meet my husband when he arrives after fighting through traffic to get there. I realize I have not mentally transitioned to summer yet – it’s so hot and I’m wearing shorts on leather seats (very sweaty).

5:15pm The farmer’s market is a bit of a bust (too early in the season for them to be selling much beyond kale and lettuce) but we snag a loaf of bread to eat with our steak tip salad for dinner. And take the only photo of the day (see above).

5:30pm Dinner prep is a nightmare. M screams and cries for “uppies” the entire time if I am making dinner (as opposed to my husband, he never screams at his ankles). This is the case tonight and I cannot stand it one more second. He always calms down once I can hold him and then, finally eat dinner. He’d prefer to do dinner at 5pm every night but we usually aim for 5:30 because 5 is just. too. early. Poor M.

6:15pm Dinner is done and now we’re on to baths and bed, honestly one of the wildest moments of the day. M splashes around like a mad man and Z just wants to lounge and play with bath toys for hours. We finally get them out, dried, in jammies, hair de-tangled, teeth brushed, 15 minute show watched, 2 books read, and…..in bed! It always feels like running a marathon while doing serious negotiation. I hate bath night.

7:15pm I work for an hour more and then collapse on the couch to watch the new season of Bloodline and scroll through Instagram. In bed by 10:15.

Five Fabulous Finds

I’m always calling these blog post series a new thing (most recently “on the hunt”). So here a five recent finds that I’d love to share with you:

May-Five-Fabulous-Finds

Waterproof Birkenstocks for kids. I’ve always been a devotee to Saltwater Sandals for my kids but for this summer they just weren’t cutting it for my little guy so I hunted and researched for new options. I wanted something practical, waterproof, comfortable, and stylish. There are SO many options that fit every bill but the stylish one, ha! Although I guess that’s the only subjective quality I listed so to each his own. But, I love the look of these Birks. I’m a fan of them for myself if you recall, so I knew they’d be good for his feet and since they’re plastic they’re totally waterproof for spray parks, puddles, and the like. They’re hard to find for kids but I found them at Famous Footwear (and linked to them above).

2. Tan Towel Self Tanner. With shorts season suddenly upon us I thought it was time I find a good self tanner (nothing worse than legs in shorts that haven’t seen the light of day in months!).I found these Tan Towels had great reviews raving about the fact that they exfoliate as you self tan. It’s essentially a wet nap wipe that you use on whatever you want to have a bit of color and in an hour or so the tan shows up. It’s just a hint so you don’t look orange or anything. I wash my hands immediately following application and have no odd-color-hand problem either. Get these!

3. Minimal Off Shoulder Top in Crepe from ASOS. Off the shoulder tops are just SO in season right now and if you have any nights out planned for the summer I suggest you get one! I bought this one and just love it. The fit is a little boxy but that makes it pair well with a pair of skinny jeans or white pants. Here it is in blue and it comes in plus size, too.

4. Shoes by Dune London. Anything you can get on Amazon Prime is a friend of mine. I always need things at the last minute urgently. I was looking for sandals for M (see #1 on this list) and somehow came upon these fabulous Dune London Lemins Espadrille Sandal that were reminiscent of the J. Crew bejeweled sandals from a couple summers ago that were super pricey and sold out super quickly.

5. Nike Lightweight No-Show Socks. I love these socks! I had been looking for good no-show socks forever that actually stayed on my foot and these are just the best. I usually get them in white but this bright, colorful image was more fun to share!

Healthier Banana Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

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As I wrote about last week, I’ve eliminated all added sugar (for the most part) from what I eat but occasionally you just need a muffin, right? And if I want something sweet like a muffin, I might as well bake them using an all natural sweetener like honey instead of white sugar so at least I’m on the healthy side of a treat…plus there’s only 1/4C honey in this entire recipe making 12 regular size and 4 mini muffins.

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I headed out of town with a couple friends over the weekend for a little girls bachelorette party weekend. I decided to make some muffins for not only us to eat while we were away but as a little leave-behind treat for my kiddos. After some recipe research, I came across this great recipe for Skinny Banana Chocolate Muffins on Ambitious Kitchen and decided to try it. I liked the use of honey in place of white sugar, the use of Greek yogurt for added protein, and of course using whole wheat flour instead of white flour – all much smarter options to make these a healthier muffin choice in place of your standard banana muffin.

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I followed the recipe for the most part but did have a few edits:
– I only had regular whole wheat flour so I used that in place of the whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour the recipe calls for.
– The recipe calls for almond milk but I didn’t have that on hand so I used regular cow’s whole milk.
– I thought dark chocolate would be better in the muffins and used large dark chocolate chips.
– Also, just make sure to use ripened or even better over-ripe bananas to add to the natural sweetness.
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My kids gobbled them up (and so did my friends, actually). These were so good there was only one left by the time I wanted to take another photo for the blog.