Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday everyone! As always, I am welcoming this day with open arms, and am especially excited because this weekend is Halloween and there is certainly fun to be had. Despite the holiday this weekend, all of the favorites today are pretty heavily winter focused. I mean, it did snow the entire day here yesterday, so I cannot be blamed for my mind being a step ahead of the seasons. I am sure our first blizzard of the season is only weeks away, so a midwestern girl can never start preparing too early!

1. Fresh Balsam Candle

I know tomorrow is Halloween so I am breaking all sorts of rules by liking a Christmas candle already, but this one smells so delicious. I grew up with a real tree in our house, and my parents recently made the switch to artificial, and this is what Mike and I have decided we will do as well. Trudging a tree through the snow and freezing cold was just never my thing. However, I always loved loved loved the smell it brought into the house. Have no fear, this candle will have your artificial tree clad house smelling exactly like a real tree in no time. And I just received an e-mail for 40% off of my purchase (and candles are $12 right now)! I think I just won the candle lottery.

2. Vegan Leather Tote

Okay, I ordered this baby back when Nordstrom was having their big sale this summer, and somehow the order got lost/never sent out, and thus I reluctantly took my refund and never got the purse, because of course by the time I called customer service my order had been lost and the product was sold out. I keep coming back to it though, and am thinking this would make a nice addition to my Christmas list. Big, beautiful colors, and nice quality. Count me in.

3. Gap Winter Gear

Last year, we really never had to buy Jackson 'winter gear' because he was so tiny I just threw a hat on his head and piled on the blankets. Oh, how I miss the infant carrier and not having to unload him into the cold every time we get out of the car somewhere. This year, I started looking for a nice warm jacket for him, and this one was one sale, plus another 40% off, so I scooped it up with these mittens. And of course, shortly after I noticed this hat, which made its way directly into my cart. I am already so excited to take him outside this winter to really experience playing in the snow for the first time!

4. Chicken and Dumplings
Nothing makes you long for comfort foods and warmth more than snow showers in October (thanks, Minnesota). On weekends, usually Sunday, I love to throw soup or something hearty in the crock pot in the morning so that the house smells delicious and cozy all day. This weekend, I am thinking chicken and dumplings will be on the menu, and I am thinking about trying this recipe. Does anyone have a go-to chicken and dumpling recipe that is worth trying!? I haven't found the one yet!

5. Hello by Adele

Just speak right to my soul, girlfriend. Okay, not really. I can't 'relate' to the words of the song, but the melody and her voice cut deep in this one. I cannot get enough of it. Girlfriend has some major pipes, and is so ridiculously talented. Glad to have her back with some new stuff!

Linking up for Friday Favorites with these pretties today!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What's Up Wednesday!

Today I am linking up for What's Up Wednesday! This is always such a fun way to share what has been going on in our lives lately :-)
1. What we're eating this week
Until I am done with grad school (6 weeks from today!) I am just not on top of cooking. However, we did have homemade chicken and wild rice soup on Sunday, my hubby whipped up his favorite steak alfredo pasta last night, and tonight sushi or chipotle to go and eat in class is on the menu. Tomorrow I think I am whipping up tomato soup and my all-time favorite grilled cheese recipe- you guys, you will never want to eat regular grilled cheese again!

2. What I'm reminiscing about
Today I walked over to the building next door to buy some soup for lunch, and walked past the area where Jackson had one of his kidney appointments last winter. I had a major flashback to my mom bringing him to meet me wearing an obnoxious oversize red hat and my favorite navy blue one piece from Baby Gap. I had to power walk my way out of there before I burst into tears.
The most delicious little cheekers I have ever laid my eyes upon. The chub is soo gone.
Now that he is over a year old, I get sentimental so easy when I think back to where he was at during this time last year, and how much has changed. Time is a thief and as much as I love my baby boy exactly how he is right now, I miss his chubby roles and that smile that was so cheeky it made my heart explode.

3. What I'm loving
Fall weather! I know our days of beautiful fall weather are limited, and our brutal Minnesota winter is not far away, so I am soaking up as much of the fresh, crisp air as possible!

4. What I'm dreading
 Nothing is really on my 'dread' list at the moment. I suppose every Tuesday night for the next six weeks until school is over ;-)

5. What I'm working on
This week, I am working on a test that I have to submit for class (such an exciting life I lead). Other than that, dreaming up Christmas lists in my head, getting a jump start on some shopping, and dreaming up ideas for our new house!

6. What I'm excited about
Building our new house! We are still a solid 5 or so months off from even breaking ground, but we think we have our floor plan (minus a few minor modifications) nailed down and I am SO excited to see our dream begin to take shape.
Of course, I cannot forget to mention how excited I am for Halloween this weekend! My mother in law worked so hard on Jackson's costume, and I put the finishing touches on it and I am literally obsessed. I can't wait to show him off (and 'share' his candy with him!)

7. What I'm watching/reading
We have tried to start watching the O.C. again (for the 3rd time, not like hubby is obsessed or anything).
It is so funny though, long gone are Saturdays spent binge watching. We are lucky to squeeze out a single episode at night once Jackson has gone to bed. At this rate, we will wrap up the series some time around his high school graduation. 

8. What I'm listening to
I may or may have not listened to Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas' on the drive to work yesterday. No shame here. Limiting my Christmas music intake, but in my books it is game on after Halloween!

9. What I'm wearing
My favorite suede booties are on heavy repeat at work now that the temps have dropped.
And of course, wearing my blanket scarf like it is going out of style. So warm, and SO comfy. And available for a steal of a price (and eligible for Prime) on Amazon!
I am also in love with Old Navy and their sweaters right now. This one is oversize and so soft and comfy, I would wear it every day if I could!

10. What I'm doing this weekend
Dressing up little man and enjoying Halloween! We don't have anything major planned and it will likely be a pretty low-key event, but I am super excited nonetheless. Oh, throw in some appliance shopping for future house planning, and it is shaping up to be one nice weekend! Seriously, sometimes I wonder how old I am to be excited about appliance shopping..

11. What I'm looking forward to next month
TWINKLY LIGHTS. CHRISTMAS MUSIC. HO HO MINT MOCHAS FROM CARIBOU. GIVE ME ALL OF THE HOLIDAY THINGS. We are officially entering the most wonderful time of the yearrrrr!

12. What else is new
Not much! Aside from taking down the side of Jackson's crib, life has been pretty dull lately. But after all of the hustle and bustle of the past few months, slow and boring is feeling pretty nice lately :-)

BONUS: Favorite Thanksgiving recipe
My mom makes THE absolute best mashed potatoes. No need for gravy on those babies. Loaded with butter, sour cream, and enough fat and cholesterol to last you a lifetime, we look forward to them all year, and fight over the leftovers. I am drooling just thinking about them!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Weekend Highlights

Doesn't it seem that Monday always arrives just entirely too quickly? We spend all week counting down to Friday, and then POOF it is Monday before we even know what happened. This weekend was low key, but we did get some exciting things accomplished, and enjoyed the fall weather.

Friday, I was able to get out of work around 1pm. These are the perks of working a job that allows me to flex more time into the week so I can leave earlier for my weekend :-)
That hair, and that face. Must be how he was feeling about the weather.
I picked up my little guy, and we ran into town just to blow off some steam, really. It was rainy and gloomy, and while I am so grateful to my in-laws who are letting us live with them while we plan/build our house, the desire to 'rush home' just isn't quite there when it isn't your house ;-) So, we walked a lap around the mall, grabbed a drink from Caribou, and sniffed the candles at Bath and Body Works. #typicalwhitegirl We did swing into Target and get a guardrail for Jackson's bed. Once we got home, we decided that being he is still so terrible with waking and night and wanting to come into our bed, we were going to take down the front rail of his crib and put up the guardrail. This way, we can lay next to him so he falls asleep, and work on teaching him to soothe himself to sleep in bed. I figure he wants our presence more than our room, so if we can get him used to falling back asleep in his own bed, it will at least be some progress. He did spend the whole night in his bed Friday (with me laying with him from 2:30-3:30am) but Saturday it wasn't worth the battle, and you know last night with the promise of Monday and the workweek on the horizon little buddy woke at 2:30am and mommy just brought him right into bed. Hey, it is a work in progress, right?..
I have officially started bribing my child with the grocery store dum-dums.
Saturday, we woke up early and headed to meet with a builder! After looking over some of their plans, discussing prices, the building process, etc., we ended up deciding on the plan that we picked out earlier this summer, when we were looking 'for fun' and hadn't even decided to buy a lot! Every single plan we have looked at since then has been compared to this one, and it hits every checkpoint on our list! Well, I would like it to have one more bedroom, but ya know, some day daddy might just have to give up the bonus room or the office if push comes to shove ;-) We left our meeting with a list of tasks to work through for the next few weeks, and to bring back so we can start getting official plans drafted and put into place. Exciting stuff, but I can tell the stress is only just beginning!
After our meeting, my sister, Jackson and I went into town for lunch at Olive Garden, where Jackson was a perfect monster who whined through the entire meal and was only satisfied if he was sitting on my lap and pulling my hair. Mom life, for real. We made a swing through the craft store, went back to Bath and Body works to buy our candles and take advantage of the awesome sale (only $9 a candle!) and a trip to the grocery store. My sweet sister got a nice strong dose of a typical Saturday afternoon with a toddler. I think she will be complaining less when we decline going out to dinner from now on!
No more normal carts for us, this sweet boy was in HEAVEN.
On Sunday, I woke up and dragged my booty to the gym for the first time in a few weeks (and I am feeling it today!) It felt so good to finally hit the treadmill again, though. The rest of the day was spent lounging around the house, and gluing rhinestones (yes, rhinestones) onto Jackson's halloween costume. Before any of you all judge, his costume is seriously just the greatest.
The laziest of Sundays. Football and cartoons.
After enjoying some homemade chicken and wild rice soup, we put it on him last night and he paraded around the house and it was just hysterical. I am so so excited to dress him up and show him off next weekend. On that note, is anyone else in disbelief that it is less than a week until Halloween!? I am going to have to pull out Hocus Pocus on repeat this week, because I shamefully have yet to watch it. The struggle is real when Wallykazam and Bubble Guppies dominates your TV schedule. With that, happy Monday my friends!

 Linking up with MegBiana, and Ashley today!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Favorites

It has been awhile since I have done a good 'favorites' post, but it is the middle of October, fall is in the air, and Christmas is on the horizon, and you better believe I have a pile of favorites I have racked up. Really though, is there anything better than a Friday in the fall? I think not, my friends!

1. Tan riding boots

I bought a pair of tan riding boots from target four or five years ago, and I wore those babies around the clock. I absolutely loved them. Unfortunately, Minnesota winters make for longs of ice, slush, and salt, and after one too many seasons, the boots that had carried me through it all were literally wearing holes around the soles. With much regret and sadness I threw them away at the end of last winter, and may have nearly shed a tear in the process. This year, I was determined to find another pair, and wouldn't you know, Target doesn't have a single. pair. of tan boots that struck my fancy. I loved every detail of my old boots, and all the other new, poor boots were being compared to the forever favorite. So, I did what any practical girl would do and hopped online, and found these babies on Amazon. You guys, they are almost identical to my old boots, minus some red detailing on the zipper of my old boots. Same buckle placement, same color, everything. and for around $25?? YES PLEASE. They arrived this week, and I am in love. I literally feel like I am at home when I put them on, and can't wait to wear them every single day.

2. House plans

This weekend we have our first meeting with a builder to start looking over floor plans to being the process of home building! YAY!! We are just beginning down a long road, and I know we have about 5 or 6 months until we will be able to dig that hole and get things started, but I am so excited to start making progress, and have some floor plans in my hands that will tell me what my new house will look like. I may already be planning kitchen space to see how many holiday dishes and coffee mugs I can get away with storing in my new cabinets. so. excited.

3. Halloween jammies

Gap outlet (sold out)

Gap (sold out)

My love for baby jammies is no secret. Jackson has as many pajamas as he does real clothes. It is bordering on being a problem. But I just can't say no. This year, he has four, yes four, pairs of Halloween jammies, and I love them all. To justify, I did whip them out as of September 1st, and will likely rock them until Thanksgiving. Because how can you not!?

4.Caramel apple cookies

You guys, I bought this Pillsbury mix last year, and the frosting to go along with it, and these cookies are out. of. this. world. So easy to make, and so so flavorful. I am resisting the urge to make a box every single weekend for the next month. YUM.

5. Sweaters

It is no secret that one of the best parts of fall is whipping out the warm cozy clothes, including boots, scarves, and big cozy sweaters. I scooped these up at Old Navy for a steal of a price. I bought the heather marl and oatmeal marl, and am totally rocking one already today. Bonus: it comes it tall sizes, which means extra length and long sleeves for tall ladies like myself! Scoop these up now, with promo code they are only $15 a pop!

As always, linking up with my favorite ladies for our favorites on Fridays!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall Photo Session!

I have said it before, and I will say it again, Amanda Baloun Photography knocks it out of the park. No really. Having known Amanda since she was in elementary school, knowing her background, her passions, and what makes this girl who she is makes it so much fun to get together every few months to take family pictures with her. My husband is a self proclaimed hater of photo sessions. He cannot see the reason or justification in paying someone else to take pictures of our family. After Jackson's newborn session, he was not happy with now our baby was manipulated, twisted, and turned, all for the sake of a photo op. Of course, the newborn portraits are beautiful and I treasure them, but some battles aren't worth the fight. For some reason, though, that rough and tough man of mine loves Amanda. Like, where with any other photo session I practically have to drag him to, but when I say we are going to take pictures with Amanda he doesn't fight me at all. And that man loves to fight, if only for the sake of a debate (did I marry my father?...)
Anyway, about a month ago, I told Mike all I wanted for our two year anniversary (besides him taking me out for dinner child free, of course) was to take some family portraits. No gifts, no trips to Minneapolis for a show or to watch a game, just pictures. Easy enough, right?
We met up with Amanda on a Saturday evening, and despite the chilly temperatures for the past few weeks that are the picture perfect description of fall in Minnesota, that Saturday was warm. Like, mid-seventies at 5pm warm. We all sacrificed for the sake of the photos though and rocked our sweaters that were much more fitting for cooler temps. And it was worth it, because I literally die when I look at these pictures. I hate being that mom that brags about how cute she thinks her kid is, but I mean...come. on. Jackson has some swag and knows how to work the camera. Every photo session is 100% worth it when we have the most perfect images capturing exactly who our baby boy is at that special season of life, because us moms learn fast just how fleeting those precious moments truly are.

Don't mind my 40 year old son in this picture. Just posing for GQ.

 These boys are lifelong best friends already.

 Can't you literally just read his mind thinking 'mama, puh-leasee'

 ^This is one of my absolute favorites^

My biggest problem with these pictures is that I literally cannot pick a favorite, there are too many that I love! I am so grateful and blessed to have these two handsome men in my life. Happy fall, y'all! 

I am linking up today with Holly and Jenn today!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Weekending [Lazy Days and Costuming]

How was everyone's weekend? Doesn't it just always seem that they fly by faster and faster. If only the work weeks felt the same! This weekend was super low-key, which really was the first of the sort for our family in a solid month or two, and was more than welcome. While I don't mind being busy, there is something about the entire weekend laying ahead of you, wide open.

Friday I worked the morning, but due to my mom and sister having dental appointments, I had to take off early (darn) to pick up my little guy. I debated going back into the office, but decided that umm, returning at 2pm on a Friday to work two more hours? NO THANKS. So instead I met up with my two favorite ladies after their appointment for some lunch and Noodles and Company. Jackson literally demolishes the mac and cheese there, and it is always hilarious to watch. After lunch, we went home, caught up with Mike's parents (who are our roomies for the foreseeable coming months) who were gone all week on a trip, and enjoyed some homemade chili. Mike and I capped off the night with an episode of the OC and called it a night.

Saturday we were up bright and early, and I had every plan of driving into town for doughnuts, because I literally spent the night dreaming about them. My sweet hubby texted me from the gym saying he would bring some home, and I enjoyed a glorious cake doughnut and orange juice for breakfast. After that, I showered, blow dried, and curled my hair for the first time in what felt like months, and ran into town on errands with my little guy. I met up with my mother in law at the fabric store, and we bought everything we need for Jackson's halloween costume. You guys. I am so excited for his costume. I thought I was excited last year, but nope, this year takes the cake. Let's just say we are playing up Jackson's signature curly locks and his perfect hair flip for what we think will be an epic costume. Saturday afternoon, we went on a walk and enjoyed the gorgeous fall weather, and after Mike helped finishing a friend move, he and I went out for dinner just the two of us.
Super low key with fried pickles and bar food, it was exactly what I needed, as most meals are spent regulating chicken nugget intake and retrieving thrown sippy cups off of the floor :-)

Sunday was L.A.Z.Y. We woke up early (such is life with a toddler), had breakfast, and went on a morning walk. Jackson is having a blast running around outside now that he is finally big enough to play and do kid things, like trying to eat rocks and leaves. Me and the little dude may have crashed for a 3 hour nap..and woke up for a super late lunch at 2. Our Vikings won (yay!), and the rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out on the couch, playing with Lego Duplos, and relocating the garbage cans that Jackson has found he likes to throw things like remote controls and shoes into.
I did throw some brunswick stew in the crockpot, and also whipped up a loaf of homemade bread for dinner. The stew has a surprising flavor, and isn't quite what you would expect it to taste looking at it, but it was good, and loaded with veggies, which is a plus!

After dinner, my mother in law and I sat down and starting going to work on getting Jackson's costume fabric cut. I am already giddy just thinking about the end product. Doing a costume like this from scratch and a pattern is a new venture for both of us, so fingers crossed it turns out!

Mike and I capped off the evening with the Walking Dead, and OMG. Not exactly a warm fuzzy episode, if there has ever even been one on that show in the first place. Always just a good ending to the weekend though. We always dread Monday, but it is less painful when you spend the weekend looking forward to your favorite show. :-) Hope everyone else had a great weekend and your work week flies by!

Linking up with MegBiana, and Ashley today!

Friday, October 9, 2015

[Friday Favorites] The next chapter

Ok. I am now literally the worst blogger, ever. I have been out of the game for two weeks here. I am hanging my head in shame, a bit. But hey, I can promise you this, I have also never been busier, in my entire life. No. Not being dramatic. I thought for a second yesterday and realized I haven't actually had a regular work week or afternoon at home after the work day in weeks. Weeks. Full time work. Full time grad school (t-minus 7 days until I go down to part time for my final 8 weeks, can I get a hallelujah?). Adorable and demanding one year old baby boy. And probably the biggest news that I haven't shared yet..

We sold this...

And bought this...

Yes. We traded in our cute little starter home for a big, beautiful chunk of land. You guys, we are officially building a house! I have kept quiet over the past month or so, because I have a pretty strong mentality that a deal isn't closed until it's closed. So, until all of the t's were crossed and i's were dotted, I didn't truly consider our house 'sold'. But as of last week, we traded in the ownership of one for the ownership of the other. We will be back in Sartell, and are so excited about everything. The location, the size of the lot, the school district, everything. I now drive by my old high school football field and get all of the warm fuzzies dreaming of the day that my children will be enjoying their own football games there.

Of course, our beautiful plot of land has one defining characteristic right house. And as I said before, our old house is now very, very sold and no longer ours. So, until we are able to build exactly what we want on our new yard, we are living with the in-laws. Needless to say, there have been adjustments. They are wonderful and gracious, but of course there is just something to be said in going from having your own home to living in someone else's. We have the entire downstairs, two bedrooms, and a bathroom to ourselves, and we really couldn't be more blessed to have them open their doors to us so that we can take the time to do this right and not rush the building process. While we had hoped to possibly build this fall, work, school, and my first mini-vacation since Jackson being born have just made that unrealistic. So, we will spend our winter deciding on floor plans, selecting our builder, and lining everything up as much as possible so when the ground decides to thaw (so as an aside, prayers for a mild winter are welcome!), we are able to get going on the foundation and hit the ground running.

These are some huge changes for our little family, but we are beyond thrilled and I often wake up and have to pinch myself when I realize we get to build a house that we hand pick, on a piece of land that we also hand picked. We are blessed, and so very, very excited! I cannot wait to share bits and pieces of our process, as we embark upon operation dream house!

Linking up for Friday Favorites today!

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