Thursday, November 9, 2017

Fall Fashion Favorites (And a Contest!)

Today’s blog post is in partnership with JORD, but all opinions are my own.

Every season, I try to find three fashion staples -- a handbag, a pair of shoes, and a stunning piece of jewelry.  Christmas might be on it's way, but I'm savoring all of the beauty that fall has to offer, especially since we're in a city now that has the most gorgeous fall foliage at the moment! And what's best is that all of these items are working mom friendly -- especially when you're chasing after a three year old and her 19-month old baby sister!

Today I'm sharing three of this fall season's fashion favorites that I've just fallen in love with over and over again. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fall Bucket List

Hi there! It's been a while since I've done a blog post because, well LIFE! Fortunately, I was able to find a teaching job and so most of my time is devoted to all things 4th grade! I'm actually teaching at a local Catholic elementary school and I'm LOVING it. It's always been a dream of mine to teach in a Catholic school -- obviously not for the money but for the atmosphere and the beliefs that surround the environment.  My students are great and we're off to a great start --it's hard to believe that school has been back for almost a month already! 

You know what that means? Fall is here and it's officially October! Hooray! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Conceiving Naturally: You Have Options

This is a sponsored conversation from Mums the Word Network and The Stork OTC. All opinions are my own.

You’ve found the ONE. You fall in love. You get engaged and plan a wedding. You get married and buy a house. And then comes baby, right?

Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to happen? I mean, that’s how it is in movies and how it appears to go for your friends and loved ones, right?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday Guys! 

I'm so excited the weekend is here -- the weather is supposed to be picture perfect so I'm gearing up for some trips down to the waterfront and the park tomorrow and Sunday! Living in Buffalo in the summertime is just wonderful because there's so many activities to do outside and I don't have to worry about melting in the heat! Or applying sunscreen to the girls and myself every 20 minutes or so! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

DIY Vintage Mirror Tray Makeover

Now that it's summer and I have the space to do some hands-on DIY projects, I've been on the hunt for some cool items that I can makeover into something pretty for our new house (that we haven't found yet... actually, I fell in love with a house but it's way over our budget. le sigh.).  

Earlier this week, I came across this vintage mirror tray while at an AmVets Thrift Store (I need to go back without my girls next time -- there's so many cool things there!).  I began thinking on the way home what could I do to make it prettier, but keep the vintage look.  That's when spray paint popped into my head.  I'm all about spray paint because it's easy -- sand, prime, and spray is where it's at! 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Favorites

Well just like that, the 4th of July has come and gone. I hope you all had a great time celebrating with your family -- I know we did! It's been a while since I did Friday Favorites, so I'm really glad to be back in the game! The girls have been wild ones lately -- we're staying at my parents house so they are sharing a bedroom and the first week was definitely the honeymoon phase for going down for naps easy-peasy.  Katherine definitely is the culprit with keeping Elizabeth up so we're trying to figure out a few different ideas for successful naptime.  E actually asked to go down for a nap yesterday and I don't blame her -- she looked utterly exhausted! 

Back to my Friday Favorites! 

 Fresh Summer Berries

Give my girls and I allllll the berries this summer.  It's so funny how Katherine prefers blueberries and Elizabeth prefer strawberries. They'd both consume pounds of berries if I let them.  Thankfully fresh berries are plentiful this time of year in Buffalo, which means we always have some on hand! A few weeks ago, Elizabeth and I went strawberry picking and I already have plans to go blueberry picking later this summer.   

 Kids Adirondack Chairs 
Summertime means lots of time outside and sometimes the girls just don't want to be sitting in the grass or on a blanket (insert mega mom fear of ticks and lyme disease -- trust me, I do tick checks every time the girls are done playing outside). While shopping last weekend, my husband and I picked up two adirondack chairs for the littles.  They absolutely love them! While I wasn't too excited about the color of the chair, I was just happy to snag the last two from the store! We brought them with us to my cousin's 4th of July party and the girls were able to sit on the patio and have fun with the rest of the family.  

 Anything in a cast iron skillet
My mom is a really good cook. She's an even better baker.  She has cast iron skillets in just about every size and makes the best skillet cookies. Like ahh-ma-zing. Last weekend my aunt and uncle came over for a pizza party and she made a snickerdoodle skillet cookie with chocolate and pecans. Let's just say thank GOODNESS I have a gym membership.  I'll take some of the credit since I made the snickerdoodle cookie dough (she did the rest though).  So. Yummy.  She has stacks of magazines that are just recipes for cast iron skillets so I'm sure we have more yumminess coming our way.  Like I said on IG earlier this week -- maybe I'll just never leave their house again. 


It's absolutely wonderful living near family now.  Not having family nearby was one of the main reasons we moved back up to Buffalo.  These three can now grow up together, have all the playdates, and make the best memories.  

 Below Deck Mediterranean
I'm like weeks behind, but when I have the chance I try to watch an episode of Below Deck Mediterranean. I do like the original cast -- mainly because I love Ben, but I don't mind this season either.  I promise I never watch an episode in front of the girls (hello nude news episode) but while we were watching the Macy's 4th of July show on Tuesday, E looked at one of the boats and says "party boat" and it immediately made me think of this show.  #whoops 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Freshly Picked Strawberry Muffins

From the mid to the end of June in Western New York is perfect strawberry picking time.  The berries are bright red and just deliciously sweet -- so naturally I had to head out into the fields to pick some strawberries! I've been wanting to do special things individually with the girls, so I decided to have my parents watch Katherine and I took Elizabeth.  We had an absolute blast! At first she didn't want to step in the dirt (such a girly-girl like her mama), but we quickly overcame that!

Monday, June 26, 2017

4th of July Food Idea Round Up

It's hard to believe that a week from tomorrow is the 4th of July.  I've always loved the 4th of July because even though summer has already started, I feel like it's a great way to kick off summer.  Growing up, we always had awesome parties to celebrate America's Independence and now that we're back in Buffalo, those traditions can continue. My cousin Sara and I have already been feverishly planning a menu and throwing ideas back and forth at each other.  We're opting for a traditional BBQ, but some of the menu items will be different than your usual baked beans or potato salad! 

I've rounded up ten of my favorite recipes that I found on Pinterest and linked the recipes for you below!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Weekend Recap

Whew, what a weekend! The past week or so has seriously been a whirlwind, so I'm sure this post is going to be all over the place.  Brace yourselves, I've got lots of news to share! 

First up -- we're moving.  Not down the street.  Not across town. We're moving 1200 miles away, to Buffalo, New York.  I was born and raised in Buffalo and left ten years ago to move down here to Tampa for a teaching job.  Florida has been great to me -- I met my future husband, got engaged, bought a house, and had two sweet baby girls.  We've been wanting to move for a while now but decided we weren't even going to entertain the thought until one of us secured a job.  A few weeks ago, my husband flew to Buffalo for an interview, was offered the job a few hours later, and the rest is history! He actually leaves for Buffalo this Friday, with our kitty cat as his co-pilot (if I'm responsible for driving the girls myself, then he's on kitty duty).

Oh, and we put our house up for sale last Thursday around 2pm and by Friday at 4pm we had 27 showings and seven offers.  SEVEN! I knew it was a sellers' market but whew! We're just starting the crazy paperwork but we're so excited to be able to be moving knowing that our house is officially OFF the market! And the cutest older couple bought the house so we're excited it's going to someone who will take care of the place.  Our realtor was simply amazing and did a fantastic job moving things along quickly.  At one point we had to turn down showings because um, life. 

Back to the weekend recap now that I've filled you in! 

Saturday morning was spent with the girls -- we hopped in the car in our pajamas and did a Starbucks coffee run and we jammed out to Disney princess music the whole time. Disney + music + my girls = LOVE! I also remembered right before ordering that my summer go-to is iced coffee with raspberry syrup. So. Freaking. Good. 

On Saturday afternoon E and I had a date to see the sing-along version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. It was magical.  The showing was at the Tampa Theatre, which I had never been. What a neat little place! The audience was great -- truly singing along to the songs and even clapping at the end of each song. We had a blast and E was just about perfect. We also binged on popcorn and apple juice. I'm not a regular mom. I'm a cool mom. 

A while back I decided to give Rocksbox a test run and became a #RBitgirl.  It's seriously the best. I mean you get to try all sorts of different jewelry from a wish list YOU create and then you have the option of buying at a discounted rate or sending back and getting more. YES PLEASE! I paired this beautiful House of Harlow necklace with a cute, lightweight dress from H&M and I was in heaven!  Use the code ALIFEOFLOVEANDJOYXOXO so that you can get your first month free!

Sunday morning was a bust. E had been asking all weekend for "donuts at the park" but it was pouring. We ended up at IHOP for pancakes and well, we all loved them except E.  She was perfecly content eating her yogurt and bananas while looking at her Disney princess cards.  Simple things my friends, simple things.  

But I had a mama fail -- I totally forgot about her swim lessons at 12:30. I'm so disappointed that Shaun didn't get to see her swim before he leaves but she'll be enrolled in swim class later this summer once we're settled so it'll all be fine! We had just gotten so wrapped up in packing during naptime that we completely forgot.  It wasn't until my father called me and asked how swim went and I was like noooooooooooooo, I forgot! haha. Packing went so well though, so I guess you win some, you lose some! 

Shaun's last day of work is Tuesday so I decided to bake up some cookies for his coworkers. Plus face it, I'm not about to pack sugar and flour in boxes to move 1200 miles. Give me allllll the baked goods for the next week and a half.  I came across a bag of butterscotch morsels and opted for the Oatmeal Scotchies recipe that was on the back of the bag.  Only I didn't have enough oatmeal (recipe calls for 3 cups and I only had one and a half. So I decided to throw in the rest of our mini-chocolate chips. Oh. My. Goodness. Amazing! I've linked the recipe to the Toll House website since it's not my original recipe but note these changes:

*Instead of 3 cups oatmeal, I did 1.5 cups and then added 1 cup of mini chocolate chips.  

Now that I've caught you all up on life, I'm off to the airport to pick up Grammy! I'm so happy she's here with us this week. She's seriously a master packer and will be sure my goal of being DONE packing by Friday will get DONE! 


Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Favorites

In the blink of an eye, another week has come and gone! I'm so excited to say that I officially have *one* more week of work and then I'm off for the summer. I can hardly wait! I know being a stay-at-home-mom is so much work, but I'm really looking forward to being with my girls more than just in the evenings and on the weekends! 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Currently, May Edition

How the heck is May more than half over? Time is just FLYING by and I'm hoping it slows down a little bit so I can enjoy summer vacation! 
Currently, I am…

Friday, May 12, 2017

Adjusting to Motherhood

Becoming a mom is a beautiful, amazing gift from God. Knowing that for nine months, you kept your baby safe, nourished him or her in order to sustain life, and prepared for a lifetime of giggles, smiles, and tons of memories. 

You go into labor, deliver your baby, and are then handed this precious life – a baby who knows nothing other than the warmth of your body and the sound of your heartbeat. You’re given a few days of recovery in the hospital and then released into the world of motherhood, with the assumption that everything is going to be perfect. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

Every May, teachers around the country are celebrated and shown how appreciated they are by their administration, students, parents, and community.  As a teacher, it's always nice to receive these acts of gratitude for the hard work we put into educating our students every day.  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dear Katherine Charlotte

Dear Katherine Charlotte,
My sweet baby, my giggling baby, my always-happy-and-smiling baby. You are one year old today. Never in a million years would I think a year could go by this quickly. It seems like just yesterday your daddy and I were anxiously awaiting your arrival and so excited to learn if you were a boy or a girl.  When you came into this world at 1:48pm, the sun shined a little brighter and the love in my heart grew exponentially.  I honestly had no idea I could have enough love in my heart knowing that your big sister had what I thought was all of my love. When Dr. Stine allowed me to assist in delivering you, I knew you were going to be special. I knew you were going to be the sweet baby that completed our family.  I knew that I could absolutely love you just as much as your big sister Elizabeth.  

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Chicken Sausage, Veggie, and Tortellini Skillet

My husband is scheduled to be traveling this week, with the exception of today since it's parent-teacher conference night at my school and I'm required to be there. Due to this, he had arranged someone to cover his traveling since I won't be home until late this evening. But he was unexpectedly home last night as well and I hadn't really planned a dinner. I was actually content making an omelet and cutting up some delicious fresh Florida strawberries and enjoying as I caught up on a full DVR box. I knew he probably wouldn't want eggs for dinner so I asked if he wanted sausage and tortellini in a garlic butter sauce and he practically gave me two thumbs up.

I usually always have a package of chicken sausage and fresh tortellini in the fridge because it's such a simple, and somewhat reasonably healthy dinner.  We also had part of a green pepper as well as a red onion so I decided to make a little skillet instead of just doing sausage and pasta. We have to eat our veggies, right?

There are so many different varieties of chicken sausage available that we are always trying something new but my favorite is the roasted red pepper and asiago from Al Fresco.  The sodium is a tad high, but the rest of my daily intake of sodium is typically low, so I knew it'd be just fine! 

This really is a quick and easy recipe that you can add so many other veggies to -- diced up broccoli , red pepper, asparagus, or whatever your favorite vegetable is. Besides green pepper and red onion, I also cut a few grape tomatoes in thirds and threw those in the skillet as I was sauteeing the veggies and chicken sausage. 

So make a list and head on over to the grocery store and make this for dinner tonight -- it's one you'll make again and again! 

Chicken Sausage, Veggie, and Tortellini Skillet 

1 package chicken sausage
1 package fresh, not frozen tortellini
3/4 green pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 red onion cut into 1 inch pieces
8-10 grape tomatoes, cut into thirds
olive oil
black pepper
garlic powder

1. Heat olive oil in sautee pan. Add cut veggies and chicken sausage.
2. Boil water for tortellini (add a little bit of olive oil so the tortellini doesn't stick) and cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Drain pasta.
4. Add butter, garlic powder, and black pepper and stir until butter is melted.
5. Pour tortellini into skillet and stir until mixed. 


Sorry about the horrible 
quality picture -- I just snapped a quick pic! 

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Ground Chicken Taco and Rice Casserole

I’m all about easy dinners these days, even on Sundays when I do have the ability to spend a little bit more time in the kitchen. But honestly, life is going so fast these days, I’d rather spend the time with my sweet girls. So on Sunday, my husband suggested some sort of a Mexican casserole (apparently I had sent him a link to some fabulous recipe on Pinterest last week but I didn’t know what he was talking about, haha), so while grocery shopping, I grabbed a bunch of random “taco” ingredients and just made up a recipe in my head.  

Turns out it was pretty darn delicious – and so easy (love me some dinner options that don’t create 10 million dirty dishes).  It made enough for four servings, so since my husband will be gone on business travel this week (sigh, AGAIN), I have leftovers for lunch one day and dinner another night. That’s winning in my book – you know, I used to hate leftovers but when I’m alone with the girls all week, the last thing I want to do is cook once they are in bed! I think I had cereal for dinner three times last week. Yikes.

So, back to the recipe – I really wanted to use lean ground beef but I forgot my coupon for it at home while I was at the store, so I ended up buying ground chicken since I managed to remember that coupon.  My husband actually said he thinks it wouldn’t be as good with ground beef because it would be a little bit greasier – and he’s right.  There was basically no grease, so it was a fairly low-fat recipe. Minus the cheese. Oh yes my friends, give me allllllll the Mexican cheese.

Looks and tastes JUST as delicious
when reheated the next day for lunch! 

You basically just have the brown the ground chicken (or beef) with diced red peppers and onions and the rest is throwing in the other ingredients. Again, so easy-peasy.

Ground Chicken Taco and Rice Casserole
1lb ground chicken (or lean ground beef)
½ red pepper, diced
½ white onion, diced
1 packet taco seasoning (I buy low-sodium)
2/3 cup water
1 can low-sodium black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can no-salt added petite diced tomatoes (drained)
1 can diced green chilies (mild)
½ bag frozen corn (I cooked in microwave before adding to casserole)
2 cups cooked rice
½ bag Mexican blend cheese

11. Brown the ground chicken, red pepper, and white onion. (I didn’t drain since there wasn’t much grease).
22.Add taco seasoning and water – simmer for 3-4 minutes.
33. Stir in rinsed black beans, diced tomatoes, and green chilies. Stir thoroughly so it’s mixed well.
44,Add cooked corn and stir.
55.Stir in cooked rice and remove from heat so the rice doesn’t get soggy.
66.Pour yummy chicken, veggie, and rice mixture into a grease 13x9 pan and sprinkle heavily with Mexican cheese.
77.Bake at 350 degrees for 20-minutes or until cheese is nice and bubbly.
88.Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, or whatever strikes your fancy – the possibilities are endless!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my husband and I did! 
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