Friday Favorites #11

Happy Friday everyone! How are you all doing? I hope that there are lots of things making you smile this week, I’ll be sharing the things I’m loving most this week below. Any fun plans for the weekend? I know it’s not technically fall yet so are you holding onto all of those fun summer activities for as long as possible or diving head first into the fall festivities. I am so tempted to take James apple picking this weekend! I have a feeling it will be a lot more fun for him than last year when he couldn’t even sit up on his own. My how a year can change things! We also have a fun afternoon planned for Sunday celebrating our friend Lauren’s birthday with a mini road trip to get fish fry!

YOGA

I’m not a total yogi yet, but I have found myself enjoying relaxing yoga sessions a few times a week. James and I are gym members again, and looking forward to starting another session of swim lessons next week. I’ve also been dropping him off at childcare a few days a week so that I can enjoy some yoga! I hate to say it but I just don’t have the energy to do a hard-core workout followed by a long day of play with James so rather than burn myself out at the gym I’ve been tuning into Yoga with Adrienne. Shoutout to Sam (woohoo!), for introducing me to this great yoga channel. Adrienne has the most soothing voice and offers such a wide variety of yoga practices on her channel. I did a Detox and Reset practice the other day and it was the perfect amount of stretching with a little bit of burn mixed in. I can’t wait to explore more of her videos!

THE STATE FAIR

Last weekend I was joined by two friends for a trip to The Great New York State Fair! I’ve been going to the fair for as long as I can remember and I have so many fun fair memories from all of the visits I’ve made. After last year’s cancellation due to Covid I was thrilled that a few friends were equally as excited about going this year! We had a jam packed afternoon covering the entire fair grounds and all of it’s buildings. I had heard mixed reviews from people about the status of the fair this year, but I think we were all pleasantly surprised, and it met all of our expectations. We each had certain items (mostly food) that we had our sights on, and the fair delivered! For me it’s all about the chocolate milk (cold, creamy, deliciousness) and fried dough (soft, doughy, sweetness). But I also really enjoyed my lunch of “walking tacos” eaten straight out of a Doritos bag. YUM. Aside from the delicious treats, we soaked up lots of time with animals, saw a horse show, diving show, sand sculpture, butter sculpture, and so much more! I wish that Josiah was a fair goer, his presence was missed. I’m not giving up hope, between me and James we will have him converted in no time πŸ˜‰

THEY’RE HOME!

My parents and their friends arrived home safe late Wednesday night after a two week trip to Croatia. After dealing with multiple flight complications on the plane ride over, we were all hoping and praying for a smooth trip home. As it turns out, their initial flight home got cancelled, which they found out upon arriving to the airport to go home. After an extra night in Croatia, and a long trip home I am so happy and relieved that they’ve made it! It sounds like they had a great trip too, minus the complicated travel. They did a boat and bike tour for most of their time there and I can’t wait to hear more about it. When James saw them yesterday he was beside himself with excitement, it was so cute!

MY LITTLE FAMILY

That doesn’t look so little when I look at current pictures of all of us and realize that I am quickly being outgrown by James! Yikes. I’m used to being the short one, but I have a feeling that James is following right in Josiah’s footsteps with his height. We met up with my sister and her friends who were in town last weekend and took a quick hike down to see Chittenango Falls. It was a beautiful afternoon to visit the falls, the sun was trying to peak through the clouds and it made the water sparkle. Admittedly we are bad about capturing family photos, so I cherish the ones we do have.

Question of the Day: What is one thing making you smile this week?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Pizza, Ice Cream and Other Food Highlights from the Week

Hello to all of my foodies out there! Who else is loving what they’re eating these days? If I don’t have good food in my life, all else is lost. I’m kidding, but seriously, isn’t food just the best!? For those curious what we’ve been eating this week, keep on scrollin’.

Let’s kick things off with some pizza and ice cream from our date night last Thursday! Bonus points for not having to drive anywhere. After a rainy couple of days last week, the weather cleared up just in time for our night out. My sister and mom kindly offered to watch James for the evening so that Josiah and I could have a night free of parenting duties. Since the skies had cleared and the sun was popping out, Josiah suggested walking down to a local bar featuring wood fired pizzas. We were very pleased with the two pizzas and Italian tossed salad we shared. The pepperoni pizza above was called “hot honey pepperoni”, and I’m pretty sure it was just a normal pepperoni pizza with chili pepper flakes and honey drizzled on top. I have recently become a huge fan of honey on pizza (sounds crazy), and this one hit the spot! Of course we couldn’t walk home without making a detour for ice cream. Love a vanilla cone dipped in peanut butter, although it quickly became quite a mess.

Speaking of peanut butter, what better breakfast than PB and pancakes. I discovered this idea when we were down in Texas. The family I worked for insisted that pancakes topped with peanut butter and maple syrup was a combination that couldn’t be beat, and it turns out they were right! I’ve been lacking in the maple syrup drizzle, but often find that pancakes are sweet enough to eat without it…as long as you top them with lots of peanut butter of course πŸ˜‰

We aren’t looking too pretty #reallifemornings. But I had to share this photo fail of the giant box of multigrain cheerios we’ve been trying to tackle this week. The box is literally HUGE, we just couldn’t capture the correct scale in any photos. I think it’s funny that “family size” is so big. Then again our family of three will end up eating this box no problem…

Love love love hummus plates for lunch. I could eat this all day. A meal where you get to enjoy a little bit of everything and every bite is different is perfect in my mind. Sweet, savory, soft, crunchy, you name it! Plus you can’t mess up a hummus plate, anything goes!

My sister was in town this past week so we enjoyed dinner at my parents house on Friday night. Burgers, pasta salad, watermelon and un-pictured corn. Also neglected was the chocolate chip cookies and ice cream we had for dessert. I must have been too anxious to eat the sweets πŸ˜‰

This sandwich combo is so strange but so good. I got the idea from an Instagram story that Ambitious Kitchen posted the other day. She’s got the best recipes so I figured she wouldn’t steer us wrong with a sandwich. Are you ready for it? Ok, lightly toast two pieces of bread, top one slice with dijon mustard and the other slice with jelly. Next layer a few slices of turkey on one slice of bread and top with 1/2 of a sliced avocado, spinach (which I forgot), and a fried egg! Frying the egg is the most time consuming part of this sandwich (not even that long) but so SO worth it. Something about the dijon and jelly compliment each other in the best way. The avocado adds a perfect creaminess. Turkey because it’s got good flavor and protein. And fried eggs make everything better. Let me know if you give it a try!

Because I was skeptical of the sandwich and we had leftover pizza in the fridge, it turned into mix and match lunch. Although the next day I made the same sandwich again and ate the whole thing.

Last minute change to the meal plan resulted in this delicious summer meal! It is Ambitious Kitchen’s (told ya I love her), 30 minute brown butter goat cheese grilled veggie orzo. Y’all I don’t know what else to say other than it tastes as good as it looks and sounds. I felt like we were eating a lot of heavy meals…pizza, burgers, etc. and I was craving something light, fresh, and summery. This meal delivered.

Speaking of meals that are kind of on the heavier side (but taste amazing), this is a copycat chick-fil-a meal I made the other night using Aldi’s Red Bag Chicken. I topped our sesame buns with How Sweet Eat’s house sauce, it tastes very close to chick-fil-a sauce, followed by the chicken, pickles, lettuce and tomato (mostly for color). Paired with waffle fries and one again corn that went un-pictured. Sorry corn, I’ll get you in a photograph one of these days.

And we’ll wrap things up with all things quiche. I wish I had a delicious dessert photo to share, I guess the ice cream was pretty tasty. You know I like to end things on a sweet note, I just haven’t been capturing our sweet treats this week. I found a homemade pie crust in the freezer the other day and it sparked the idea of quiche for dinner, and breakfast, and lunch. I made a broccoli cheddar quiche from America’s Test Kitchen and I loved the fact that I could make it during James’s nap and easily serve it for dinner a few hours later. That’s been my strategy lately since dinner time is usually busy and involves crankiness around here, as much as I can make or prep in the afternoon, the better the evening goes!

Question of the Day: What is one of your go-to summer meals?

Happy Eating πŸ™‚

Thoughts on Motherhood and Life Lately

Happy Tuesday evening everyone! I meant to publish this post earlier in the day, but had technical difficulties. I thought that the post had disappeared into thin air at one point! But then it reappeared, woohoo!

I feel like I haven’t been checking in as much and I’m kind of beating myself up over it. I tend to be my worst critic (aren’t we all), and I started this blog as a fun creative outlet for myself. As things usually go for me, the blog has turned into more of an obligation rather than a fun outlet, and I find myself feeling pressured to publish a certain number of posts every week, come up with better content, etc. I don’t want to lose the joy in writing this blog so I’m trying to give myself some grace and allow myself to write spontaneously without a set writing schedule, and write freely about whatever is on my mind rather than focusing on producing quality content.

Motherhood has been all consuming lately. I realize I only have one baby to care for and therefore I do have a decent amount of free time compared to those juggling multiple kids. But a lot of afternoons while James is napping I find myself prepping dinner and staying busy with other chores. I don’t handle boredom well, and I feel the need to stay busy at all times. Deep down I find myself craving rest. It is a lot to chase after a toddler all day, especially since we have quickly transitioned from multiple naps a day to only one. This means there’s only one chance for me to catch up and take a breather myself.

I am currently reading a book that my therapist recommended to me, it’s called “I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me”. It’s all about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and while I do not meet enough criteria for a diagnosis of BPD I do carry a lot of the same personality traits as someone with BPD. My husband was in my therapy session the other day and being the book lover he is, he asked my therapist for book recommendations. Sure enough he quickly ordered this book from Amazon after she recommended it, and I’ve found myself enjoying it a lot.

Not only does it help me to understand some of my own personality traits, but it has taught me a lot about motherhood and childhood development. It has opened my eyes to cultural shifts, and their impact on the development of BPD and other mental health disorders, including the shift that women have experienced in the past couple of decades which has placed significantly greater pressure women (especially moms) than ever before. The book talks about the changing roles of women over the years including the fact that women used to predominantly carry the role of housewife and mother with no added pressure of external work besides voluntary.

Currently many moms, and families in general are put in a difficult situation. Women were able to stay home and take care of the children and household chores because having a single income was enough to have a decent standard of living. These days, many families are forced to rely on two incomes which often comes at the expense of women trying to juggle not only the household chores and childcare, but also a part or full-time job on top of that. I realize that during this shift, men’s roles have changed as well and they are no longer purely responsible for earning an income, but it is the women that are dealing with the majority of the impact when it comes to adding children into the mix.

All of this to say, it has made me think a lot about my role as a wife and mother. I am almost always feeling guilty about not doing “enough”, whatever that means. I have negative internal thoughts towards myself about not earning an income, or being able to juggle it all like some moms can. I seriously admire those moms that can work a full time job, raise kids, and accomplish the daily demands of life. I don’t think I could do it, nor do I want to. But I feel the pressure of our current culture which says that we have to do it all, and make it look easy at the same time.

Motherhood is the most rewarding incredible experience I’ve ever lived, but it is also exhausting and challenging in ways I could have never imagined. When I find myself racing through the day, I often try and stop to cherish the small moments that are fleeting faster than I can even process. I still don’t know if there is a career out there for me, but I am trying to be patient. James will be an independent adult before I know it, and who knows what will be in store for me then. In the meantime, I love the life I am living and I am blessed to be a full time wife and mom. Most days are a total mess, but it’s a beautiful one (or so I tell myself, haha).

For anyone out there struggling to find worth and meaning in your own life, trust that the Lord has you right where you are meant to be and that you will ALWAYS be enough for Him.

Proverbs 16:1-3 “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established”

Friday Favorites #3

Hey y’all! How’s everyone doing this week? James and I got out of our usual routine and took a trip to South Carolina earlier this week. I am feeling very grateful for the change of scenery and time with family. Which brings me to my first favorite of the week…

  • Family Time

We got to soak up lots of time with family the past couple of days and it was so much fun! I love a bustling beach house. James did too, as it meant lots of people giving him attention. This is an annual trip for my family and it’s usually the only week during the year that we get to spend together.

  • Sun, Sand, and Surf

The name of the game. I appreciated the fact that the beach and ocean offered instant entertainment for James, no toys necessary. Although he did spot a cute girl named Baker one morning who was pulling a little wagon full of sand toys. James quickly caught on to that fun and started shuffling down the beach in pursuit of Baker and her wagon. Luckily she was willing to share πŸ™‚

  • Having a Twin

I happen to be married to a twin, hi Josiah and John! It’s also been a life goal of mine to be twins with people, so I was more than thrilled when I realized I had bought James and I yellow shirts that *almost matched. Still soaking up our twin moment. These also happened to be our travel outfits on Wednesday, just look for the two in yellow!

  • The Sweetest Husband

Can we just flashback for a second to the most patriotic and beautiful welcome home sign that Josiah greeted us with on Wednesday night. It is still putting smile on my face.

  • Date Nights

Speaking of flashbacks, if you read my post yesterday, I was talking about having a good day but I knew that anything could happen to upset the mood. Well, Josiah and I got totally rained out on our date night last night. Downright drenched. It was discouraging at first but we rallied our spirits and didn’t let our soaking clothes stop us from ending the night with a drive (blasting the heat) for some ice cream. Ain’t nothing gonna stop me from getting ice cream on date night. Ha!

Question of the Day: What’s one thing making you smile this week?

An Embarrassing Frisbee Golf Experience and Other Weekend Happenings

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful summer weekend! It feels like there is always so much to do in the summer, it makes me wonder what we all do during those cold winter months to stay busy…

Saturday

Our Saturday morning kicked off with a quick breakfast followed by a little road trip. Not much of a road trip really, but it was a solid 30 minute drive which is pretty far for us these days. We wanted to check out a disc golf course that we had never been to and I thought it would be totally doable to have James tag along with us. When we pulled into the parking lot early Saturday morning there were already a number of cars there, and we immediately got the impression that this was not necessarily a family friendly disc golf experience.

Everyone seemed to be dressed professionally while sporting official golf carts loaded with more discs than I could even count and ALL of the disc golf accessories. Meanwhile our crew showed up unpacking the baby stroller, grabbing my bright yellow recreation frisbee, all while trying to get James’s sneakers on as we fed him a bottle. A hot mess of a family about to do a walk of shame across the parking lot, passing by all of these “real deal” players as we tried to locate the first hole.

We gave it our best shot on the course, no pun intended πŸ˜‰ James spent some time in the stroller until he got restless, then he lagged behind us getting distracted by every leaf along the way. The course was long and we felt the pressure to move quickly because the pro’s were on our tail. At one point we saw a playground on the horizon. I didn’t think much of it, but Josiah quickly abandoned his motivation to continue golfing, and James seemed like he could use some toddler fun, so we made our way to the playground. Sure enough, James had a blast!

After completing 3.5 out of 18 holes with a baby, we concluded our experience by saying, “never again will we bring James disc golfing”. At least we got to explore a cool playground instead! Not to mention a stop at a local bakery on the way home. Yes please to a donut and a box full of other delicious treats!

After James took a quick nap on the car ride home, we all ate leftovers for lunch, followed by a walk to the library. James and I still hadn’t been to the library near us, so I was excited to check it out. Unfortunately all of the children’s toys and games were packed up for Covid reasons so the children’s room looked a little bare, but James still enjoyed exploring the new space and quickly found some stairs to climb. We walked out with a library card too!

The rest of our Saturday included a nap for James and play time at home, followed by pepperoni pizza chicken from the meal plan that I posted last week. I will be sure to share a full recap of the meal plan after we’ve tried all of the meals. This one was a bit messy and I’m shocked that I was able to get a decent photo of it. Tasted great though!

Sunday

On Sunday we had plans to do an even longer road trip to meet up with friends at Lake Ontario. Josiah’s mom kindly offered to take James, so he got to spend the afternoon with his grandma and cousin Maya. It was HOT on Sunday, so a lake day sounded perfect! The water was intimidatingly cold at first, but once you were in it was very refreshing. Josiah insisted on dragging a giant tree branch into the water and it quickly became our lake entertainment as we all attempted to stand and sit on the branch all while having lots of fun splashing in the lake.

After a few hours of water excitement, we made our way over to Rudy’s Lakeside Drive-In for some Fish n’ Chips. We lucked out with a table right along the water in the shade and enjoyed our fish sandwiches while chatting away. An ice cream shop was conveniently right next door and our group had no hesitation concluding our time together with some ice cream!

A weekend that includes donuts, ice cream, family time, friends, and swimming is a good one in my books! I hope you all had a fun weekend as well! Talk to you soon!

Food and Fun Highlights from the Week

Let’s take a look at some of the brighter moments from the week. A reminder that no matter what we’re going through, there’s always something to be thankful for. I say that now as I sit in a relatively good head space, but trust me I do not always believe what I preach.

Last weekend kicked off with a trip to a local park. Josiah gets all of the credit for making this adventure even more fun by making our way down to the creek to splash around.

The water was freezing, but it was a HOT day! James loved his first time in the creek and didn’t want to leave when it was time to go home for a nap.

My parents had us over on Saturday night for dinner and an early Father’s Day Celebration. My mom made us a delicious BBQ dinner and sent us home with the BEST strawberry shortcake featuring fresh strawberries from her garden. YUM! My father-in-law requested honey butter rolls for Father’s Day, so I prepped those on Saturday night.

Happy Father’s Day Josiah! James spoiled him this year with the highlight gift being a disc golf bag and towel. Side Note: all of his gift bags say Happy Birthday, Ha!

I woke up early one morning this week and decided to surprise my sleeping boys with some blueberry muffins. Not that either one of them are big muffin fans. My main motivation for making them were the two containers of blueberries I happened to buy on sale the other day and needed to use before they went bad.

Cheesy Mushroom Spinach Beef Pasta from Ambitious Kitchen. James has had this meal before and loved it, but it wasn’t looking promising when I put his plate in front of him the other night. Luckily after a few skeptical bites, he ended up devouring his plate and ate two more servings of it! Josiah and I are also big fans of the meal. A family meal win!

My mom and I made the same meal last night for dinner… as you can tell, they look nothing alike. The only thing I changed about the recipe was subbing salmon for the shrimp, apparently that changed the whole appearance? Also, my mom’s photo on the right, I mean professional photographer?!

Oh hey James!

That’s a wrap on our week so far. Lots of food, as usual. Still working on taking pictures of other life happenings. It is crazy how easy it is to paint a picture of a perfect life through the lens of a camera and a few words written below each photo. Behind the scenes of this post, we are going through a lot right now. Some days it’s easier to see the blessings than others. This week has felt heavy, but amidst all of that I hope that these photos are as much a reminder to you as they are to me of God’s goodness in this life.

Question of the Day: What is one thing making you smile this week?

Dear Dad…Love James

Dear Dad,

I think you’re great. When I was just the size of your hand and oh so fragile you handled me with such grace. I felt safe in your arms as you fed me a tiny bottle of milk and gave me a break from my incubator. I heard your voice and knew you were special, you are my dad after all.

For a while I thought that the hospital was my home, but before I knew it, it was just the three of us. There were new smells, new fuzzy rooms, and no more fluorescent incubator to live in. But you remained the same dad, your smell, your voice, they brought me comfort. Because you were there I knew I was safe, I knew it was home.

As I gained eyesight I became more aware, and soon I was beaming at the sight of your face and laughing uncontrollably at the sound of your sneezes. You’re a laugh and a half dad. Now that I’m not so fragile, you’ve started to treat me like a big boy and you’re raising me to be a strong man like you someday. I could pass on getting wrestled with sometimes, but throw me in the air any day of the week!

I’ve grown so much in love with you dad, at first it was just your voice, then the feeling of your warm body close to mine, and now it’s everything about you. I always knew you would get me out of the incubator, just like I know now that you will come home at the end of the day to be with mom and I again. Thank you for always being my dad, my heart is forever with you.

Love, James