Summer Photos - Week 1

One of my personal goals this summer is to work on my photography skills. Specifically, my goal is to take at least one photo in manual mode of each of the boys each week.  I find it the hardest to take photos of my own kids.  It's impossible to pose them (c'mon, they're 1 and 2), they don't particularly like photos, and I never want to miss those all-important moments anyway, so it's easiest to switch my camera to auto.  Especially when Craig and I are passing the camera back and forth.  But I'm not necessarily wanting to take posed photos; rather, photos of the small, everyday moments at home with my boys.  And since I'm home with them six days a week, I have no excuse not to bust out the good camera on a regular basis.  Besides, practice makes perfect and that's the whole reason behind my summer photog goal.  (The creative, eye-pleasing, non-auto photos are just the icing on the cake!)

I doubt I follow through with taking photos each week for ten weeks (yikes, only nine to go...), but I'm going to give it my best! 

Summer - Week 1

Okay, and this photo isn't particularly worthy of my favorite photo, but it does mark one of my favorite moments in week one of summer and a pretty big milestone in Holden's life.  He's finally walking.  He's taken about 12 steps on his own.  Give it two week and I think he'll be crawling no more!

Stitch Fix #6

It's been awhile since I shared a Stitch Fix.  January, to be exact.  I got my fifth fix in March, but it was Spring Break, we had just moved, and I was sick, sick, sick.  Not to mention, I forgot to change my address so it was shipped to our old house.  By the time I got there to pick it up, I was already on day 2 of 3 and I had to decide quickly what to keep and what to send back.  I kept one thing (a blue polka dot blouse with a split back), basically to not lose the $20 styling fee, but I would describe that fix as a dud.  So much that I don't even remember the rest of it (and now I'm mad for not taking pictures).

Anyway, in early May I decided it was time for another box!  I signed up for the end of May and thought it'd be a perfect You-Made-It-Through-the-School-Year-Happy Summer-to-Myself gift.

And then I made the mistake of going to Target a few days before my box was to be shipped.  Since we don't live three blocks away anymore and I don't make it to Target often (and I was there by myself), let's just say I was in Target heaven.  And of course, they had racks and racks of clearance clothing and a whole clothing department full of other cutesy summery stuff.  I left with a handful of tops, a few pairs of shorts, and a pair of wedge heals.  No big deal--I decided I'd go home and cancel my upcoming Stitch Fix.  I tried to do just that the moment I got home, but of course, my fix was already "in progress" so I was unable to cancel it.  Still not a big deal, I figured the box would be another dud and I wouldn't mind shipping four of the five items back.

And then I got my box.

And whatdoyouknow--it wasn't a dud.  In fact, it was the opposite.  I love everything.  Literally, e v e r y t h i n g.  Murphy's Law, right?

Here's what I got!

Item #1 | Market & Spruce Colibri Henley Top
A sleeveless, plaid top that could be worn casually with shorts this summer or as a nice work top with a pencil skirt this fall.  I do like it, but after trying on the other items, this is probably my least favorite of the bunch.  It has a bit of a maternity feel to it.  I think if it was one size smaller, perhaps it wouldn't feel that way.  It's also really long in the back.  Like if looks as if I'm not wearing shorts/pants.  So I like it, but it'll probably go back.

Item #2 | THML Chenny Embroidery Detail Knit Tank 
When I first signed up for Stitch Fix after seeing some cute pieces on Jana's blog, this is what I had envisioned.  Adorable and unique things like this!  Perhaps my all-time favorite item from Stitch Fix right here!  I love everything about this - the fit, the stripes, the detail.  Keeper, fo sho.

Item #3 | Skies Are Blue Haleiwa Tie-Neck Top
Another all-time fave!  I love the floral pattern and the fit.  (Maybe it's just summer clothes that I love??)  I have nothing bad to say about this top.  It's adorbs.  Another keeper.

Item #4 | Colourworks Laudry Split Back Knit Top
I really like the loose fit of this, and the color, and the look of it from the front, but the back??  I can't decide.  It's super long and makes me look like I'm sans pants (again).  I like it with these shorts, but perhaps it would be a good look with leggings.  What do you think?  Keeper or no?

Item #5 | Zad Milena Floral Crescent Necklace
I'm a sucker for necklaces.  Especially ones that are teal.  So it goes without saying that I love this.  But probably not as much as I love the tops?  So it may get shipped back.

If I keep everything, the cost would be $136 (because of the 25% off "buy all discount".)  Not bad, really!  But that's after already spending over $100 at Target the other day and I normally don't spend that amount of money on clothing in such a short amount of time.  If I send back the plaid sleeveless and necklace, the total is $116 (seems silly).  If I keep only my two favorite tops, it'd be $82.  Ahhh I can't decide!  Someone please tell me what to do!

Seriously though--input?  I'm definitely keeping the striped and floral tanks since they are my favorite items to date!!

On a side note, you like the new selfie mirror?!  When we first found the house and I saw that mirror, all I could think was "Perfect place for Stitch Fix selfies!"  #loseriknow

And the shorts?  Those are one of my Target purchases.  They are high-wasted with some embroidered lace on the side.  I think they are cute, flattering, and best of all, comfy!  They are not going back either, but perhaps I'll reconsider a few of the other Target purchases to justify keeping my entire SF box.  Decisions, decisions...

Interested in trying Stitch Fix?  Use my referral link and help me earn SF credit!

To check out my old fixes, follow these links:
Stitch Fix #1 | August 2014
Stitch Fix #5 | March 2015
(Unfortunately I didn't blog my fifth fix)

BBQ Chicken Pizza

It's been awhile since I shared a recipe.  This is one I've made for about two years now.  If I remember correctly, it was inspired by some mini barbeque chicken pizzas on Pinterest, but I changed it up a bit!  As is many of the meals I make, this one is super simple!  Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

What You'll Need:
3/8 cup of BBQ sauce
1/8 cup of ketchup
2 to 3 chicken breasts - cooked* and diced or shredded
1 package crumbled bacon (I buy the kind in the salad dressing aisle)
1 red onion - diced
1 package of shredded pizza cheese
Fresh jalapeno - sliced (optional)
Pizza crust (I've made my own in our breadmaker but lately I just use two of the packages you just add hot water to)

*To cook my chicken, I bake it at 350 for about 1 hour.  I usually add some Italian dressing to keep it from drying out.  Once cooled, I shred it in my Kitchenaide Food Chopper and store it in the refrigerator (or freezer) until I'm ready to use!

What To Do:
1. Make dough according to package instructions.  I always bake for about 5 to 8 minutes before adding the toppings.  I think it makes the pizza less soggy.

2. Mix BBQ sauce and ketchup.

3. Spread bbq/ketchup combo on half-baked pizza dough and top with chicken, bacon, onion, cheese, and jalapenos.  

4.  Bake for about 8 more minutes (or according to package instructions) until crust is light brown and cheese is melted. 

Top 5 Pinterest Meals

I always love knowing what recipes other people have tried and what they make for dinner on a regular basis.  So that's what this post is all about.  Five of my favorite Pinterest recipes to date.  In no particular order...

I love gyros.  These use chicken instead of lamb meat, but they are still just as good.  I think it's the homemade tzatziki sauce.  If you like gyros, seriously, just trust me!


Pair this with a side of mashed potatoes and a glass of wine and you've got yourself a fancy (and easy) little weeknight meal!


This is super simple, but based on the taste and appearance, you'd never know!


Probably more of a weekend night meal, this is a bit more involved than some of the others.  But still, not impossible and oh-so good!  We always pair this with dinner rolls and an olive oil/balsamic vinegar/cracked pepper combo.  And wine.  There's always wine with pasta!  (Note: I skip the goat cheese altogether and I use a Kraft 3-cheese blend from the refrigerated section instead of "quality" Parmesan as the recipe suggests.  It's still good...and way cheaper!)


More of a winter meal since it's done in the crockpot, but crazy-easy and it's always nice to come home to a dinner that's done.  Especially one of those comfort meals like this one!


And that concludes the list of my five favorite Pinterest meals to date!  And I'm one that likes to try new meals often, so if these are favorites, you know they are good!

Linking Up With:
Momfessionals and A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites 
September F A R M for Oh, Hey Friday
A.Liz Adventures for Five on Friday


Memorial Weekend 2015

As I mentioned, we had a fairly busy (but still laid back) Memorial Weekend this year.  I, of course, love the holiday because it's the unofficial start of my most favorite season there is.  The weather apparently didn't get the memo, though, because we had very March/April-like temperatures and rain.  Lots of rain.  This was the first year in awhile that I don't remember spending all or part of the weekend at the pool. 

Anyway, our friends Mark and Hollyn flew in on Friday.  They were in KC for a wedding, but planned to spend a day and night with us first!  I was so excited for a night out with friends!  We got a babysitter and headed to dinner around 6:30.  We had reservations at a new restaurant in Lenexa called Grant Street Cafe.  It's about a million times nicer than our usual Friday night dinner at Chipotle and it was fun to go out fancy for once.  I tried my first ever Moscow Mule (well, sorta...I tried one in San Fran a few years ago, but it was not good) and it was so delish that I made a special trip to Price Chopper a few days later for all of the ingredients.  If only I had some nice copper mugs... *hint hint hubby* ;)

After dinner, we walked across the street to Saints (a local bar & grill) for some drinks.  Wanna know something cool about Saints?  They give free shuttle rides home after 8pm if you live within a 10-mile radius!  The place was crazy busy...perhaps that's why!  We didn't end up needing the shuttle, but I'd definitely like to take advantage of that someday!  

On Saturday morning, I made my specialty breakfast burritos and we laid low until we had to say good-bye to Mark and Hollyn.  It was so great to see them and we had so much fun reminiscing about old times.  We would be excited, thrilled, and over the moon if you guys ever decide to move back!! :)

After being cooped up due to rain most of Saturday, I was beginning to get cabin fever.  After all, I wanted nothing more than to be outside celebrating summer!!  We decided to do what we do about once every year and a half - go to the mall.  I'm pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times Craig and I have been to the mall together.  Craig and I both upped our cool factor while at the mall.  He got his first-ever pair of Sperrys and I got my first-ever pair of Toms.  We also let the boys ride the carousel. #whenatthemall

Oh, and this deserves a mention - while I was paying for my new shoes, Brantley freakin' ran away.  He took off and I told him to come back.  Which, of course, prompted him to start laughing and run faster.  He got all the way to the men's department at Nordstrom, so I had no choice but to take off sprinting after him.  I had one shoe off, wallet in my hand, and I was sprinting through Nordstom.  Perhaps one of the most humiliating and embarrassing moments in my most recent years.  I was almost in tears by the time I caught him (a mix of angry and scared), and his laughs quickly faded once he realized how upset I was.  To him, it was all fun and games, but to me, it was the exact opposite.  And that marked the end of our trip to the mall.

We woke to another dreary, rainy day on Sunday.  We decided to make the most of it and go bowling!  Craig and I had never been bowling together.  Like our almost seven years of togetherness!  So to go bowling for the first time ever with our two kids was pretty crazy!  We were pleasantly surprised at how much has changed since we were kids!  For instance, the bumpers are no longer rubber bumpers that either everyone or no one uses; they are bars that raise for the kids and lower for the adults.  Pretty cool (and at one point, Brantley was beating both of us)!  They also have ramps to help kids roll the ball down the lane so the kids don't have to granny roll it.  Brantley loved bowling and caught on very quickly.  About halfway through our first game, I went to help him during his turn and he said, "You stay back there!"  I really wish I would have taken my real camera.  We only had our phones, so needless to say, the photos are pretty sub-par.  Brantley also would not stand still enough for me to take a photo!!

I had no idea they made bowling shoes so little!  How cute are these things!!

Later on Sunday, we enjoyed some homemade Bloody Marys while we finished out the Royal's game on our deck.  And then our neighbor came over, so I forced a Bloody on her.  :)  We socialized for awhile, while our boys played.  Then, dinner and bedtime for the boys.  Craig and I finished out the day by renting American Sniper - a perfect movie on Memorial Weekend!  Great movie, but I fell asleep for about the last 30 minutes.  Good thing because I'm sure I would have cried hysterically at the end.

The weather finally decided to cooperate on Monday.  The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and the temperature was finally felt like summer!  I took the boys to Deanna Rose while Craig worked in our yard for a few hours.  We just had a sprinkler system installed; pair that with an excessive amount of rain and our yard was in dire need of a little TLC.

These pictures are hilarious.  Brantley did not want to ride.  He wanted to pull Baby Holden, of course.  Made my job pretty easy!

Later in the afternoon, I had the urge to take the boys to a field of flags not too far from our house and attempt some photos.  They're not amazing photos - the sun was bright, the boys were uninterested, and I was trying to do it alone.  But it was also a good reminder of what the holiday is all about.  If getting two kids to pose for a photo is my biggest challenge on Memorial Day, well, then I'd say I'm pretty lucky.  I'm super grateful for all of those men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we could enjoy dinners with friends and trips to the mall and bowling outings and visits to Deanna Rose and all of those everyday things we enjoy doing.

I think it's safe to say we had a pretty fab Memorial Weekend.  And now, here's to a great summer 2015!


What's Up Wednesday!

I can't believe it's been a whole month since my last What's Up Wednesday post!  


Sunday: Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza

Monday: Ribs & Cheesy Jalapeno Corn
(Our favorite summer meal to grill!)
Tuesday: Ruebans
(Quick and easy before Craig went to play basketball.)
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Chicken, Red Onion, & Pineapple Kabobs
Friday: Steak Fajitas on the Grill & Homemade Salsa w/ Chips
Saturday: Burgers
Sunday: To Be Decided...
These last five years have flown by!  This summer marks the five year anniversary of our wedding, the four year anniversary of trying for Baby #1, the three year anniversary of Brantley's birth, the two year anniversary of trying for Baby #2, and the one year anniversary of...enjoying life as a family of four?  In all seriousness, summer is always a time for reminiscing.  So many great memories are made each summer!  
SUMMER!!  I've officially been done with work for a full week now.  The boys finished out the week at daycare and then because of the holiday, yesterday was my first full day alone with them.  Today, they went back to daycare, as they are going every Wednesday this summer to 1) keep them in the groove 2) give me a little time off and 3) hold our spots.  I haven't had a day completely to myself since, well, pre-Brantley.  It's fabulous, if I do say so myself.  (Yesterday with the boys was pretty great, too, though!)
Last week was all sorts of fun!   
Monday: Bachelorette premier watch party with a couple of neighbors
Tuesday: Freezing cold and rainy Royals game
Wednesday: End-of-School Staff Party 
Friday: Our friends, Mark & Hollyn, were in town so we got a babysitter and went to dinner & drinks with them!
We had kind of a crappy-weather holiday weekend, but the fun didn't stop!
Saturday: A very infrequent trip to the mall and carousel ride.
Sunday: Bowling!!
Monday: The boys and I visited Deanna Rose, while Daddy did some yardwork.

Dreading?  That word is not in my summertime vocabulary...
Scheduling some summertime activities so I don't go completely insane at home 24/7.  We've already got plans to go pick strawberries, meet up with Miss Stephanie + daycare at Chuck E. Cheese, and visit the zoo!  Local friends--let's schedule some play dates!!
The summer weather that finally decided to show up!  I'm so done with the dreary, rainy days! 
The Bachelorette!!  Not loving it so far, but it's always hard during the first couple of episodes.  And I just have to say, I know we made the right move into the right neighborhood when some neighbors and I have weekly plans to watch together!  If not the Bachelorette, the Royals game are always on our t.v.  Speaking of, Craig mounted a t.v. on our covered deck.  It's basically the next best thing after the house itself!
Same old.  Usually just the radio.  104.3 to be exact. 
Currently, my swimsuit, a romper cover-up, and my Royals hat!  Ha!  Just got back from some Sarah-time at the pool.  And the hat - well, let's be honest, it's much easier to throw on a hat in the summer.  But I'm happy to finally be in shorts, tanks, and flip flops on a daily basis!

Brantley starts Mini & Me Baseball on Saturday.  He's already talking about it non-stop.  Otherwise, no plans other than the usual - spend time outside, grill, socialize with neighbors, and hopefully {weather cooperating} sneak in a few trips to the pool! 
Next month is June.  So----a whole lotta nothing! 
I think I've covered it all.  Summa, summa, summatime!
Linking up with Shay @ Mix & Match Family and Mel @ The Larson Lingo.