Five on Friday

Happy Friday!  It's an especially happy Friday for me because I took the day off of work to join the boys and their daycare at Sesame Street Live!  But the best part--they are spending before and after at daycare, so I have a few free hours to myself!

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Did you know about this??  It's like March Madness for Bachelor fans!!  A co-worker tuned me in to this website, and I must say, it's a whole lotta fun!  I'm competing on two leagues - one with my neighbor girls and one with some blogger friends!  You fill out a bracket--either one before the premier of The Bachelor (similar to March Madness) or there's an option to select girls week-by-week, which is how my leagues are set up.  You earn points each week by picking girls who make it through to the next round!  I think I'm in second place in our neighbor league and third place in the blogger league!  I love The Bachelor anyway, but this definitely adds an element of fun!

Speaking of The Bachelor, I may or may not have driven by a local Bachelor couple's house last weekend.  And they may or may not have been in Mexico tying the knot at that exact moment (which I later learned)!  And the wedding may or may not air on ABC on Valentine's Day!  Do you know who I'm talking about yet?  Anyway, their house is only 10 minutes from mine and since I haven't spotted either one of them out and about around town, I took matters into my own hands.  P.S. I swear I'm not a stalker.

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For my birthday a couple of weeks ago, Craig got me this Mobi Eyefi Wireless SD card.  It basically allows you to take pictures on a big camera and transfer them wirelessly to your device for easy social media sharing.  I haven't used it tons, but I did complete the set up process (SO EASY!), tested it out, and fell in love!  What a genius idea!  I'm so glad I won't have to take double photos (one on camera, one on phone) for special occastions or be forced to use the computer as my middle man!

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I've got a really great giveaway in the works.  It starts with Mag and ends with Formers.  Stay tuned for that!


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Don't forget about our Foodie for a Year link up THIS TUESDAY!  Get in those kitchens and whip up something red, something pink, something heart-shaped, or perhaps just a favorite Valentine meal shared between you and your significant other!  Can't wait to see those recipes!

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Speaking on Valentine's Day, it's just around the corner!  The hubs and I are not big Valentine's celebrators, but that doesn't mean we can't make it fun for our kids!  I was lucky enough this year to get to participate in a blogger Valentine exchange and the boys have been loving the small packages in the mail every day!  After opening each package, Brantley usually exclaims, "I want more Balentines."  Although, to him, I think "Balentines" equate to candy.

Also, here are a few of my favorite Valentine ideas straight from Pinterest.  Coincidentally, they all revolve around my favorite beverages!

Valentine Wine Labels | DIY Sharpie Mug | Valentine Beer Labels | Love You a Latte Gift Idea

If you're looking for more Valentine ideas, check out the motherload on this Pinterest board!  Some other bloggers and I have been pinning like crazy and we'd love for you to check it out!

Have a great weekend! 

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

6 Things Right Now

Confession: I've done a horrible job at continuing to document the monthly/yearly updates for my boys.  I made it through each of their first years no problem and even continued somewhat of a consistent schedule for Brantley through age 2.5.  However, a 3-year update never made it to the blog, nor did my intended 14-month, 16-month, or 21-month updates for Holden.  I regret not following through with these posts, but at the same time, they are my least favorite posts to write!!  They are both time and thought-consuming, and I'm always afraid of omitting one minor detail, so it's easier in my mind to not post!  Anyone else feel that way?

Anyway, I may have fallen off the wagon with these monthly/yearly updates, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  However, there are certain things I want to remember about each stage of life, so I'm adopting a 6 Things post where I post six things about each of the boys' current stages of life.

Age: 3 1/2

1 | You've always been somewhat of a picky eater, but you're becoming a little more adventurous in the food department in recent months!  You will ask to try things that Daddy and I are eating (recently, salmon) and to my surprise, you don't always spit it out!  There is still a lot you refuse to eat (or even try), but we seem to be making progress, which is great!  Fruits are still a favorite by far and to my surprise, you also enjoy spicy foods--wings and hot salsa included!
2 | Your conversation is insane!!  It's hard to recognize the changes when we interact on a daily basis, but when I think about how far you've come in the last year and even in the last six months, it blows my mind!  You speak in full sentences and your thoughts are so complete, versus the small phrases you would say in the past.  You utter words that we have no idea how you know and Daddy and I just look at each other and smile.  I love chatting with you and listening to the ideas form in your mind.

3 | You are obsessive about things...and not always in a good way!  For instance, you might be looking for one specific bouncy ball in a house where there are 39 more, but you can't focus on anything else until you find that one ball.  Or, you misplace a toy you had five minutes prior and again, the world basically stops revolving until you find that specific toy.  One time, you went to bed with your favorite basketball and woke up overnight in hysterics because you had misplaced the basketball....even though it was simply an arm reach away.

4 | Your memory is amazing.  I think I said the same thing a year ago, but it truly is.  You remember the most minute of details.  A couple of examples: Daddy was in Boston last week and while Facetiming one evening, you asked where Grace was.  (Grace is the daughter of Daddy's boss and mentioned by Daddy no more than one time!)  Upon Daddy arriving home five days later, you immediately asked where your special toy was - the one Daddy promised to bring you from the airport.

5 |  You're still a lover of all things sports.  You recently started on a Saturday morning "baketball" team and you love it!  At home, you ask us to cheer for you while you shoot hoops in your Little Tikes basketball goal.  You also tell us you want to play with the Jayhawks someday.  However, come baseball season, I'm sure you'll be nothing but a Royal, as your preferred sport still seems to match whatever sport is in season at the time!  Except that, when asked, you insist that your favorite sport is tennis....

6 | You always want "one more hug and kiss."  Whether you're leaving for daycare with Daddy, or getting dropped off in the kids area at church, you ask for "one more."  Although I'm often in a hurry, I'm also very happy to oblige.

Age: 21 Months

1 | You are, and never have been, fond of strangers.  You love all things familiar and you are not one to wander far from your Mommy and/or Daddy.  We recently started attending a church by our house and we drop you off in the nursery.  Two out of three weeks we've attended, we've had to come to your rescue because you simply won't stop crying in the nursery.  Which is fine, except that on the big screen flashes "Will the parents of H.Sides please come to the nursery?"  However, we refuse to give in to your refusal of the nursery, so we will keep on trying until you learn eventually that we will always come back and get you!

2 | You want to do anything and everything your brother does!  He gets a bowl of cereal, you want a bowl of cereal.  He gets his baseball bat to practice his batting, you find the other bat and assume the batter-up position.  He goes and hides from us, you go hide with him.  You definitely look up to him and you are his biggest fan!  You also have a heart of gold when it comes to your brother.  Though he's not the best at sharing, when fighting over a toy, you often hand it over to him, which is seriously the sweetest thing ever.

3 | You don't communicate a lot, but you understand everything we say!  We were slightly concerned at one point over your lack of words, but your comprehension totally makes up for that, and then some!  We've been told it's a second child thing and many of my friends report similar stories.  You will repeat and mimic a lot of what we say, but you just don't offer many words on your own.  However, there's one phrase we hear over and over again.  "Meeeaaaa Mama" is your way of saying "Please, Mama" and you say it in the sweetest little voice.  It's definitely one of my most favorite things about you at this age!

4 | You can be very feisty.  I think I remember saying the same thing about you as an infant, but seriously, if there's something you don't want to do, you're not afraid to let us know.  A favorite word is "No" and you shout and repeat it over and over again when you feel strongly about something.  Holden, do you want to sing a song with me?  Nooooo!!!!  Holden, do you want to dance?  Nooooo!!!!  Holden, show me your silly face.  Nooooooo!!!  Holden, are you done with dinner!  Noooo!!!

5 | You love to show off your independence.  You get mad when we don't let you brush your teeth by yourself, you prefer to buckle yourself in your highchair and car seat, and you only want to read the books that you choose.

6 | It's not often that I am the last one to arrive home for the evening, but it does happen on occasion.  Lately and whenever I'm the last to arrive, you literally drop what you're doing, run to me, and give me the biggest hug.

Take That, Stitch Fix

After my less-than-stellar Stitch Fix #10, I did what any shop-a-holic would do....I went elsewhere!  Have I mentioned my adoration for Old Navy?  Once or 29 times, perhaps?  I thought so. ;)

I generally hit up Old Navy (in a major way) two or three times per year.  I was hoping for (like I requested in my SF) some tunics and/or dresses that I could wear to school with leggings, because let's be honest, a dress + leggings is a way better option than any pair of dress pants!  I found exactly what I was looking for...and then some!  I basically hit the Old Navy jackpot....again.  At prices about 1/4 the cost of SF.  So yeah, take that, Stitch Fix.

Seriously, these are such great deals and because I like sharing a good deal, here's what I got!  Sizes and color options are limited.

Women's Printed Shift Dress (in navy blue print) | $15

Fleece V-Neck Shift Dress (in medium blue heather color) | $17

Long Sleeve Swing Dress (in black print) | $15

Space Dye Swing Dress (in gray marl color) | $15

Plaid Mandarin Collared Tunic (in white plaid) | $14.97
(out of stock online, but other color/print options available)

Women's Supersoft Tunic (in mariana trench color) | $15

Happy Friday, friends!

Stitch Fix #10

Also known as the Fix I complained about.

I scheduled this Fix for my birthday, so perhaps I had exceptionally high expectations that I shouldn't have?  I was pretty specific in my requests (a pair of leggings and a longer tunic or two to wear with said leggings) and I linked to a Pinterest board--see below--with 20 or fewer tops, many of a similar style.  Additionally, this is my tenth fix.  I feel like my style should be pretty clear by now.  Yet, lo and behold, I was highly disappointed in my Fix #10.  Here's what I got.

Item #1 | Rune Porter Legging (in black)
I'll give them this.  These are nice leggings.  Thick.  Non-see through.  And basically what I asked for.  At $38, I could justify these, so I kept them.

Item #2 | Lysse Joylyn Ponte Legging (in burgundy)
Another pair of great leggings.  Even thicker than the black pair and almost more of a pant.  I really, really liked how these fit but two problems.  One, they were maroon, which I love, but I wasn't sure how much I had to wear with them.  And two, $78!!!!  $78 for a pair of maroon leggings?  No thanks.

Item #3 | 19 Cooper Clemency Split Neck Tunic
I didn't initially dislike this top, but then I put it on.  It felt cheap and just hung on me.  I didn't feel like it was anything special for the price ($68) and it wasn't flattering, in my opinion.  Big fat sad face...and return.

Item #4 | Skies Are Blue Hesperia Pocket Front Tunic
Another tunic, another tunic I didn't like.  I'm not sure specifically what it is about this one.  I like the colors, but not the stripes.  I feel like pattern is something I'd see on a shirt at Walmart (and no offense to anyone who received and kepts this top!).  It's just not me.  Or not what I had in mind, anyway!  Return.

Item #5 | Mo:Vint Chania Cardigan
And finally, this.  It doesn't look horrible in the photo, but it was extra large, extra long, and seemed like it would snag easily.  I just didn't see myself wearing it.  Return.

Mainly, I think I was disappointed that I got nothing that reflected my Pinterest board.  I had $50 in referral credit just burning a hole in my computer screen and I was hoping that, with that credit, this fix would be my first 5/5 fix.  I was going to simply brush it off (I kept the black leggings after all), but because it was my birthday and I was feeling rather feisty, I decided to email Stitch Fix and voice my concern.  I pointed out that not once have I had the same stylist (a huge disadvantage, in my opinion) and I just didn't feel as if my stylist used my Pinterest board as inspiration--as I had asked!  I honestly didn't expect them to do anything for me (nor was that my intention when I emailed), but they credited me my $20 styling fee so that I could schedule another box right away if I wanted.

And then, instead of scheduling another fix, I hopped on over to Old Navy and spent my birthday money there! ;)

What do you think?  What I too harsh?  Was it worth complaining?

Announcing...Foodie for a Year {Link Up}!

Two things about me:  I love blogging and I love cooking.  

So I'm extra excited to announce that this year I'm co-hosting a bimonthly recipe link-up with a few of my blogger friends!  The idea is simple.  Join us in sharing a recipe on the first Tuesday of every other month beginning in February.  Each link-up will be centered around a theme appropriate to that time of year.  Our hope is that you gain a few new recipes, we gain a few, and everyone has fun in the process!

If you're a planner like myself, here is the list of the dates!  Put them on your calendar now, start thinking about your recipes, and don't forget to come back and link up with us!
Share anything Valentine's related.  It could be something red, something pink, something heart-shaped, or even a homemade Valentine's dinner you and your significant other enjoy in an attempt to avoid the restaurants on what's generally one of the busiest date nights of the year.

Tis the season for brunch!  Though Easter will be over and done by then (it's early this year), Mother's Day will be just around the corner!  Share a brunch-related recipe!

Got a favorite thing to grill?  How about a summery salad or side dish?  We want to hear it!

With August comes the craziness that is back to school and back to the grind for many people.  Share one of your quick and easy weeknight go-tos!

Fall and slow-cookers go together like peanut butter and jelly, no?  Share a favorite slow-cooker meal and let's all rejoice in the fact that coming home to a hot meal is basically the next best thing since sliced bread!

The holidays aren't the holidays without all those goodies that add an extra ten pounds!  So why not add a few more recipes to your collection?  Share a favorite holiday goodie!

I'm always on the hunt for new recipes, so I especially hope you'll join us in sharing a few of your favorites!

Courtney @ Sweet Turtle Soup
Whitney @ Work It Mommy

The Birthday Post

Happy Friday, friends!  Today may just be another Friday (in January...blah) for most people, but for me, it's my BIRTHDAY!  33 whopping years, but according to my students, I don't look a day over 25.  And you know what they say--33 is the new 23, isn't that right?!

In honor of my special day, how about a fun (read: embarrassing) birthday post?  Oh, you're on board?  I thought so. :)

First, a few facts about my birthday.

1 | I share a birthday with Martin Luther King Jr.  Most people are unaware of his actual birthday, but January 15 it is!  I especially love it because it always means a 3-day weekend on or near my birthday.

2 | My birthday was supposed to be in late February.  I don't know my mom's actual due date, but I do know that I came six weeks early!  January, February, tomato, tomahto.  Both months rank at the bottom of my list.

3 | My birthday is exactly three weeks after Christmas and two weeks after New Years Day.  Can you believe we're already that far beyond the holidays??

  And now for the embarrassing part.  I dug up some old photos.  Let me preface this by saying I wasn't as dorky as I appear.  Promise.  And just a reminder, perms were all the rage in the 90s.  As were bad bangs.  Bad, bad bangs.  Don't judge.

First up, my seventh birthday.  The year was 1990.  I don't know what on Earth was wrong with my face/eyes/smile.  (Mom??)  Cool cake, ugly kid.

Next, my eighth birthday (1991).  I see my appearance improved oh so slightly.  1990 must have been good to me.

I had a small birthday party with my closest {2nd grade} friends.  I'm not sure why I'm not in the picture.  I was probably mad my sister got to be in it so I refused.

 Next, my ninth birthday (1992).  This was the year I began baton lessons, so naturally my cake had a baton twirler on it.  See the fro, I mean, perm??

My party with my friends.  That's me (in the middle - with the tight-rolled jeans) and my {third grade} besties in this horribly-taken photo.

Tenth birthday is next (1993).  And yes, that is a troll on my cake.  #trollcollector

Friend party, complete with cheerleading pyramids. 

For my 12th birthday (1995), my parents rented a hotel room in our hometown and I finally got to have the "pool party" I so desperately wanted all my life!

(I sort of love the shirt I'm wearing in this photo below.  Vintage baseball tee?  Yes, please!)

It also appears I got a bike that year.

(Does that remind anyone of anything??)

I found these pictures from my 13th birthday.  I don't have much recollection, but holy brace face!!

It was between 1995 and 1997 (below) that I found my lifelong besties.  These are the ones in my selfie stick post just last week!  We had this weird thing in middle school where we'd eat birthday cake without out hands. #WHY????  Please also note the Mt. Dew cans.  We were die-hard fans.  #gross  This was my fourteenth birthday, by the way.

More 14th birthday photos.  Penguin cake and penguin beanie baby.  I had a thing for penguins.  #andihadawinniethepoohshirt #winning

Next up, my 15th birthday (1998).  I was a freshman that year.  Looks as if I had a sleepover with my besties.

And...get this....we put together a freakin' puzzle!!!  #DORKS 
(Would you believe I was asked to Prom by a senior just three short months later??)

Fast forward a year.  For my 16th birthday, my parents rented a hotel room {again}.  This time, in Iowa City.  We shopped, hot tubbed, and ice skated.  Nothing says sweet 16 quite like ice skating, huh?

I can't find any pictures from my seventeenth birthday except for this.

My 18th birthday was nothing special.  I was on the drill team and we performed at the basketball game that night.  Pretty sure we danced to the Charlie's Angels theme song.

For my 21st birthday, I did the typical 21 pitchers on your 21st thing.  The only unfortunate part was that it was still Christmas break and a lot of friends were still at home.

For my 30th birthday, I rounded up some of my best girl friends (in KC) and did one of those painting parties.

And that concludes my birthday recaps.  I hope I didn't embarrass any of my friends as much as I did myself. ;) 

Tonight I'm headed to Top Golf with my hubby and some of the best neighbors around.  Happy Friday and cheers to year 33!