Friday, April 28, 2017

Five on Friday – More Tornadoes and a Few Faves

Y’all.  This week started out pretty great and it has slowly gone downhill.  The kids have been just insane this week, Olivia had what we thought was pinkeye (but fortunately turned out to be a viral infection to which she still had to stay home from school for a day), B was in a tennis tournament leaving me to be a stay at home mom a couple of nights this week, and then yesterday we had aaaallll the severe weather again.  Shew.  I need a glass of wine.  

Oh wait, I had a big one last night. 

O N E – More Freaking Tornadoes

This month has been just awful for severe weather here.  Yesterday afternoon consisted of weather alerts on our phones, citywide tornado sirens, and hunkering down in our “safe place” at work again.  There were several tornadoes in our area yet again, and apparently there was a really awful one that barely missed us.  The weather team reported that the rotation stayed in the sky while making its way across our city, and then it finally touched down just to the east of us.  It was on the ground for at least 45 minutes wreaking havoc.  I was listening to the live coverage and they kept saying things like, “catastrophic” and “nothing in its path will survive” and “radar showing debris being thrown 20,000 feet up in the sky.”  All I could think about was the people in its path and how terrifying it would be.

All I can say is thank you, GOD, for sparing us yet again.  And also, thank goodness I wasn’t at the gym with a bunch of strangers like last time.  Instead, I was at work and I had my twin, Adrienne, with me for moral support.  It kills me to be away from my babies during weather like that, but their schools have proper procedures in place for these types of events, so I knew that they were safe.

Now, no more severe weather for the rest of the year, mmmmkay?  We’ve had enough to last a good long time.

T W O – Stair Stepper

I already mentioned this in my Wednesday post, but I thought it was worth mentioning again because I love it so stinking much.  Brian got this stair stepper for me for my birthday and I am L-O-V-I-N-G it!  For the tiny size of it and for that cheap price you just can’t beat it! 

I had a few people ask me how the actual work out is on it, and I’m here to tell you that it’s kicking my butt!  I consider myself to be in pretty good shape, and the first time I got on this thing I could only do five minutes before I was sweating and panting and feeling like I was going to die.  Ha!  I have just now worked my way up to just shy of ten minutes and I’m telling you guys, it is a great cardio workout.  My thigh muscles, glutes, and arms definitely feel it the next day!

T H R E E – New Children’s Book

The Easter Bunny brought this new book to Olivia and she is enjoying it so much!  She has already requested to read and listen to it several times and I am actually enjoying it, too.  It is very informative on classical music and instruments, and in my opinion is a great tool to help foster a love of classical music in kids. 

B and I both grew up surrounded by all genres of music.  I have mentioned on here numerous times that I pretty much love all genres (but please, no heavy metal) and my musical tastes are very eclectic.  We pretty much always have music playing in our house, and B and I love love love live music.  I mean, we’ve already been to three concerts this year and it’s only April!

But anyway, we know that we want to raise our children to love music as well, and I think that this book is perfect for helping them learn to appreciate it early on.  You just can't go wrong with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5!

F O U R – 6K on Insta

I hit 6K on Instagram this week!  I’ve been trying to grow my following this year and it’s working!  I seem to be steadily growing by about 1K per month as I’ve grown 3K in 3 months.  If you want to see my strategy for growth, click here.  I’ve given an extremely detailed account of what I’m doing.

F I V E – Broke Another Record

I’ve also been focusing on fitness this year and I joined a gym last August to help.  I’m using it a couple of times just for cardio during the week on my lunch break.  Thursday I broke my personal “burned calories” record.  Each time I go I have exactly 30 minutes to work out.  I’m not one for running anymore as it’s bad on my SI joints (I have a lot of trouble with them since I gave birth to Jacob) so instead I have been focusing on fast walking and utilizing the incline. 

Since I am constantly changing speeds and inclines, the only way to really measure my progress is to watch the “calories burned” data.  In the beginning of my gym days, I was usually walking around 3.4 mph on an incline of 3 or 4 which was burning around 200 calories, but I’ve gradually increased the speed to a 3.6 with an incline of 9 or 10.  My previous record was 311 calories burned and yesterday I hit 320 calories burned.  Woo hoo!

Happy weekend!

*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites,  September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, and Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Confessions {4.27.2017}

No need for small talk.  Let’s just get right to it!

I confess…

… that I am so relieved that Lent is over.  I have never done something so extreme as to give up all desserts like I did this year, so this year was particularly hard.  #GimmeAllTheFroYoEverySingleNightNow

… that I have been blocking it like it’s hot on Instagram for the last few weeks.  There has been a huge influx of weird old foreign men following me, and I have literally been blocking 50+ people a day.  Sigh.  Instagram, I love you, but I’m starting to hate you.

… that our kids are driving me bonkers this week!  Ever since Monday they have been incredibly energetic (more so than usual) and they have been scheming and ganging up on B and me to sneak snacks/treats and to get into things they’re not supposed to be getting into.  They have been uber mischievous… maybe it’s spring fever?

… that I was actually happy when I went to the allergist for my six week checkup and he suggested that we proceed with allergy shots.  It’s going to be an absolute pain in the hiney as I will have to go to the allergist weekly for a year/bi-weekly for another year/tri-weekly for yet another year for shots (a three year process in total), but I’m praying that it can cure my allergies once and for all.  #ByeFelicia

… that I was surprised when the allergist told me that my lung function has improved by 18% since I was last there due to the daily inhaler I was given for my asthma.  He asked me if I had noticed a difference and I didn’t even know what to say because I haven’t.  #AmISupposedTo?

… that I’m a little freaked out by getting weekly allergy shots as they will be pumping the stuff that I’m allergic to into my body each week so I will now have to have an EpiPen on my person AT ALL TIMES.  If I’m having a deadly allergic reaction am I really going to be able to figure out how to use that dang thing?

… and speaking of EpiPens, why the eff are they so expensive these days?!  I was given a coupon for $300 DOLLARS OFF of ONE pen.  How the hell much do they even cost?!?!  Because I checked, and my insurance isn't going to pay the balance!   And if an EpiPen is supposed to save lives, shouldn’t it be available to anyone who needs it at an affordable price??  #LawdHaveMercy

I'm out!

*Linking up with Sparkles and Lattes for Confessional Thursday and Home of Malones for Thoughts for Thursday.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What's Up Wednesday - April 2017

Happy Wednesday, friends! 

It’s funny how there are certain life events that really make you notice just how fast time flies.  For me, the main one is dentist appointments.  I go every six months and without fail, every single time I’m there I marvel at the fact that an entire half of a year has gone by since I last visited.  Because it always seems like it was just a few weeks. 

Another one is these What’s Up Wednesday posts.  Every month when I go to type mine up, I just cannot believe that another month has come and gone.  It’s mind boggling.  And I know I sound like a broken record because pretty much every month at the beginning of these posts I make some kind of comment about how I can’t believe it’s already time to do another one!

So in keeping with tradition, how is it possibly already time to be doing another one of these??

What We’re Eating This Week

Mon – Thai Lettuce Wraps with rice and broccolli
Tue – B is in a tennis tournament this week so the kids and I had brinner – eggs, grits, bacon, and fresh fruit for the win!
Wed – I might be going to dinner with friends, so it’s all up in the air for this night.  If I do, it’ll be sandwiches at home for B and the kids, and if I don’t, I’ll probably just thaw some Taco Joe’s. 
Thu – More tennis tournament for B, so the kids and I will be scavenging.
Fri – Out
Sat – Out
Sun – Sunday dinner at Momma and Daddy’s

Dessert - Strawberry Pie!

What I’m Reminiscing About

Jacob’s kindergarten graduation is just a few weeks away and it has me feeling so proud and sad at the same time.  I’ve been reminiscing about his Pre-K 4 graduation and all I can think about is how much I cried at that, so I can’t even imagine how it’s going to be at his kindergarten graduation.  

What I’m Loving

Spending so much time outside and all of the extra daylight!  We have been eating dinner and having drinks on the back porch, we’ve been going for walks after dinner in the evenings, and we have been frequenting lots of playgrounds in our area.  We’re trying to take it all in and enjoy it before the high temps and humidity settle in for the summer.  

What We’ve Been Up To

In April we celebrated my birthday, we had a couple of scary weather days, we saw Chris Stapleton in concert, we went to the strawberry patch, we went to an air show, we went to a Mother Son dance at Jacob’s school, we celebrated Easter, and we watched Olivia perform in her spring concert.  It’s been a busy one for sure!

What I’m Dreading

I don’t think there’s much to dread right now and I’m so blessed to most of the time be able to say that.  Last month I said that I was dreading the extreme heat and humidity that summer brings, so I guess I’ll just stick to that again this month!

What I’m Working On

I’m currently working on my fitness!  Haha.  Yes, I’m back at the gym at least twice a week, plus B got me this ah-mazing stair stepper to keep at home for the days when I can’t get to the gym and I am LOVING it.  This thing seriously kicks my butt every night and I work up a sweat within five minutes on it.  It’s lightweight, it’s tiny so you can store it anywhere, and it’s so cheap!!  If you’re looking for something to have at home to get a little cardio as well as tone your legs and butt, you need this!

In addition to trying to get my butt in shape for the beach, I’m also working on my tan (safely with sunscreen, I will add) as well.  Saturday afternoons have consisted of my lawn chair, some sunscreen, and a good book. 

For all things blog related, I am still working on growing my Instagram following.  If you are looking to grow yours, too, you should check out this post I did.  So far, I’ve been growing mine organically – no following and unfollowing unsuspecting people – and I shared my method in great detail here.

What I’m Excited About

THE BEACH!!!!  It’s only five and a half weeks away and I’m counting down the days!!  This year we are going for a full week!  Usually we go for four or five nights, but this year we decided to go ahead and book for seven days and six nights.  I am stoked.

What I’m Watching/Reading

Watching – still Gilmore Girls.  Now that a lot of our shows are on hiatus for the summer, we are trucking right along.  We are somewhere in the middle of season five, so we will probably be done in the next few weeks.  We will then be faced with the dilemma of what to watch next.  I’ve been hearing nothing but great things about 13 Reasons Why, but I’m not so sure I can handle the content.  It may be a little too intense for me.

Reading – You guys!  I’m happy to report that I finally finished Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks and I have moved on to Lauren Graham's Talking as Fast as I Can.  Two by Two was definitely not my favorite from Sparks… I was mad for pretty much all of the book.  It was definitely one of his darker ones, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s the product of him going through a divorce in real life while he was writing it? 

Lauren Graham’s book is an extremely easy read so far, and I love that she pretty much just writes in her own voice.  You can practically hear her reading it to you.  If you like Gilmore Girls and/or Parenthood, then you will love this book!  And thank you, Adrienne, for giving it to me for Christmas.  It’s a keeper.  :o)

And once I’m done with that one, I have all of these that I got for my birthday… what should I read first?!

What I’m Listening To

You can see my spring playlist here.

What I’m Wearing

The winter wardrobe has officially been retired and I am working the summer wardrobe.  I have pretty much been living in these dresses and these shoes and will probably continue to live in them for the next four months!

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Friday evening I’m hoping to get the kids to Disney on Ice.  It is all dependent upon B’s tennis tournament and a couple of other logistical things, but I’m hoping we can work it out!  Then Saturday evening B and I are going on a date to Jacob’s school fundraiser.  They typically do a Kentucky derby type of event like this one last year, but this year they decided to change it up and we are having a Casino Night.  B and I are huge fans of Vegas so we have done our share of gambling – Black Jack, Poker, Craps, you name it! – so we are really excited about this one!

What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month

The annual employee appreciation picnic at B’s work, yet another concert and getaway for B and me to see Dave Matthews in Atlanta, and lots of events at Jacob’s school all leading up to… his graduation.  Am I excited about that?  You bet.  Am I also not excited about it?  Very much so.  I can’t believe I’m going to have a first grader soon!

What Else Is New

This is not new… it’s actually three years old, but it just showed up in my Time Hop the other day, and it made me smile.  It’s my very first OOTD pic with my girl!  She was just a few weeks old!  Oh my goodness, yet another reminder how time flies!  It’s just not fair how they’re only tiny for just a few months.

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

*Linking up with ShayMel, and Sheaffer for What’s Up Wednesday and Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sensational Strawberry Pie

Strawberry season is upon us, y’all!  And Jacob and I have already been to the patch to prove it.  Two weeks ago I joined him on his class field trip and we came back with more strawberries than we could ever eat.  So what did we do?  Well, for starters we ate a ton of them, and then we shared a ton of them, and finally, we froze the rest.  Can’t let those babies go to waste!  Just look at how beautiful they are! 

This past weekend I decided it was time to thaw some of them and make something delicious, and I decided to go ahead and use the pie recipe that the patch themselves provided to us!  They are the experts so they must know what they’re talking about, right?!

Why yes, yes they do.  This was delicious.

Buy It

3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. strawberry gelatin powder mix
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 quart fresh strawberries
Whipped cream

Make It

1.    Fill the pie crust with fresh strawberries.

2.    In a saucepan, mix cornstarch, powdered gelatin mix, and sugar.

3.    Add water and stir.

4.    Heat over low heat until thick.

5.    Pour the mixture into the pie crust over the fresh strawberries.

6.    Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

7.    Serve with whipped cream.

This is cold and refreshing and perfect for warm spring and summer nights.  I will say this, though.  Strawberries do take on a different consistency after they are frozen and thawed, so I do believe that this would be better with fresh strawberries as the recipe states.  It was good with the thawed berries, but they were a bit spongy which made the texture a little odd.  I will definitely be making this again, but next time with fresh ones!

And now it's time for the Tuesday Talk Link Up!

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Low Key Weekending

This past weekend was great… no big plans, no place to be.  We pretty much just did a bunch of hanging out and that was OK by me.

Friday evening we made a pizza and opened a bottle of wine, and we had dinner on the back porch because the weather was something out of a magazine.  Sunshine, seventies, and deep blue skies with big, white, fluffy clouds rolling by.  We put Ed Sheeran’s latest album on to set the vibe and we turned on the twinkle lights to provide a pretty back drop and we then proceeded to sit for nearly three hours just enjoying each other.  The kiddos played and B and I chatted and sipped our wine. 

We let the kiddos have treats out of their Easter candy and I joined them by having a lollipop, to which B swears he’s never seen me eat.  I’m the candy queen… I don’t discriminate!  Gimme all the lollipops!  We had also just had the lawn aerated a couple of days prior so Jacob had a blast picking up all of the dirt clumps and crumbling them.  We stayed out back until dark and then we put the kiddos down for bed so we could catch up on a few shows with big bowls of frozen yogurt in hand. 

A good evening it was indeed.

Saturday we stayed home all morning and most of the afternoon catching up on a couple of projects around the house.  The kids have had some floating shelves in their bathroom for a couple of years and one of them was starting to sag, so B added brackets underneath each of them for more support.  They don’t look near as elegant as they used to, but I figure hey, it’s a bathroom.  Does it really matter all that much?

While Olivia napped Saturday afternoon, I grabbed my sunscreen, my book, and a huge bottle of water, and I lounged out in the sun for about an hour.  You guys will be happy to know that I have finally finished Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks… you may remember that I’ve been reading that one since Christmas.  I’m now reading Lauren Graham's book Talking as Fast as I can and I’m loving it!  (Even though I accidentally spoiled a couple of things for GG for myself.  Oh well.) 

Saturday evening we decided to forgo church because we had a guest priest saying mass and the kids had been pretty crazy/fussy all day so we didn’t want to risk the meltdowns.  Instead, we finally took Jacob to get his hair cut (it was long overdue) and Olivia and I amused ourselves by making silly faces while we waited.  We then went to an early dinner with my parents and my uncle.  Olivia had been begging for cheese dip, so we had Mexican, of course!  Momma’s not going to turn down a margarita! 

After dinner the kids started begging for DQ Blizzards (I swear, they’re conditioned to ask for them every single time after we have Mexican!) and we obliged since they had been behaving so well since we had left the house.  DQ failed to give us lids and they had piled the ice cream so high that it didn’t all fit in the cup, so by the time we got home with them they looked like this.

We had quite a mess to clean up, but it was worth it!  We let the kiddos split their mini Blizzard and B and I put ours in the freezer to save for after they went to bed.  Before bedtime, I had to snap a picture of J because, for once, he wasn’t wearing a superhero or Star Wars shirt!  You don’t see that often!  And he even chose this one himself.  :o)

Sunday morning I unthawed some strawberries that we had picked up from our trip to the strawberry patch and I finally made a strawberry pie to take to Sunday dinner at my parents’ house!  It turned out well and I will be sharing the recipe with you tomorrow.

Sunday was rainy all day so we sat the ferns out in the front yard to get some rain and I couldn’t resist taking this picture.

Because it’s true!  Why oh why don’t I have a green thumb?

We spent the afternoon having lunch at Jason’s Deli, scoping out the sale at HH Gregg since they’re going out of business, and then taking the kiddos to Barnes and Noble to play for a bit.  We were hoping to make it to a playground but the rain was pretty constant, so instead we headed home for naps and laziness.  The rain brought in a cool front, so I got all cozy in some fleece PJ pants, turned on some jazz, and worked in my office for a bit while Olivia napped.  It was one of those deliciously delightful rainy days… not one of the yucky ones!

We had spaghetti and vino at my parents’ house for dinner, and then we brought out the strawberry pie which was a hit!

All in all this weekend was just lovely.  I couldn’t have asked for a better one.  The down time came at just the right time as it was much needed.

Now to get through this work week… I don’t think I’ve worked a five day work week in several weeks!  EEK!  Happy Monday!

*Linking up with B Loved Boston for WeekendingMy Glittery Heart for Hello Monday,  More Pieces of Me for Hello Monday Linkup, and HoHo Runs for Weekly Wrap.

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