Five on Friday!

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Happy Friday! I’m linking up with Darci and friends for Five on Friday, my favorite link-up!  It’s hard to believe that it’s already November 8th! The time is flying by!

{1}  For an upcoming Pinterest project (these are weekly projects I where I attempt a craft, new recipe, or something else I have pinned on Pinterest; see here and here for a few Pinterest projects that I’ve completed), I decided to start crocheting again.  I crocheted when I was younger but haven’t really done much with it in the past few years.  My mom and I are going to make some crocheted dishcloths over Thanksgiving, and I thought I’d start practicing crocheting again by making an infinity scarf.  Here’s my work in progress (which, by the way, hasn’t made much progress this week-I’m just too tired in the evenings to pick it up; all I want to do late in the evenings after the kiddos are in bed is visit with my hubby and read blogs).  Hopefully, I will have the scarf completed in a few weeks and will share it on one of my Pinterest project posts:)

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{2} This whole time change thing is not fun when you have kiddos.  We are still adjusting to our new sleep schedules.  The kiddos have been waking up super early and are ready to go to bed early…plus, their nap schedules are all messed up.  I’m not liking how dark it is when we come home from work.  We’re trying to get outside as much as possible.  Here’s Miss H enjoying the outdoors, or the “fresh air,” as Will calls it.  He always says, “Mommy, we need to go out and get some fresh air.”

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{3}   Out with the pumpkin, in with the peppermint!  It seems like we just started pumpkin flavor season, but in the stores, it’s time already for peppermint.  I made these pumpkin pancakes from Trader Joe’s last weekend.  We loved them, especially the kiddos!  I found a chocolate peppermint loaf mix at Trader Joe’s but haven’t tried it yet. Peppermint is another of my favorite flavors, but I’m not quite ready to give up pumpkin yet:(  Actually, what am I saying?  I make pumpkin breads and other pumpkin recipes through the winter, ha!

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{4} I’m a huge fan of Burt’s Bees lip balm but I came across this EOS lip balm the other week at Target.  I have the pomegranate raspberry and sweet mint flavor and love them both! They are in such a cute container and are 100% natural.  I happened to see a huge package of the EOS lip balm at Costco the other week and had to resist the urge to buy it!

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{5} In our family, we love Crocs! I have several different styles that I wear to work and my hubby even has a pair (his don’t leave the house, though!).  I recently bought Will and Harper each a new pair of Crocs.  Harper is finally outgrowing her pink size 2/3 Crocs (so tiny!).  The new purple Crocs are size 4 but are slightly big on her.

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Have a great weekend:)

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Five on Friday!

20131025-194607.jpgHappy Friday! I’m linking up again with Darci and friends for 5 on Friday!  So glad it’s the weekend:)  Here’s what’s been happening lately…

{1} My parents visited briefly last weekend on their way back home from Pennsylvania, where they had been for the past few days visiting relatives.  Here’s my mom looking at a photo album with Will and Harper.  They love spending time with their grandparents:)  I’m looking forward to the holidays and spending lots more time with family!

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{2} Once again on a pumpkin kick, I made some pumpkin cream cheese bars from the blog, The Girl Who Ate Everything.  It only took her ten minutes to whip up this recipe.  Me, on the other hand…it only took me 20 minutes. Not too bad, considering it was a pumpkin bread/muffin base from scratch and a separate cream cheese topping from scratch.  They turned out super yummy!  It’s kind of like a pumpkin roll, except much easier!

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{3} Will and Harper helped me carve a pumpkin last weekend.  Well, Will kind of supervised and Harper colored her mini pumpkin while I carved the pumpkin.  Will enjoyed scooping out the seeds and pumpkin goop.  Here are the kiddos playing with the jack o’lantern.  pumpkin carving

{4} I love the Young House Love blog!  It’s one of my favorite home blogs.  If you’ve never checked out their blog, you must!  Anyway, the other day on Facebook they posted info about sending them pics of design dilemmas.  So, I immediately jumped on this and emailed them.  We have a very open floor plan in our living room.  In the original house plans, there was a wall separating the more formal, front living room and the family room (where our tv is).  However, we wanted to have a more open space and opted not to include the wall.  We love the openness but I’m not pleased with the division between the two rooms.  I emailed them this pic (and several others) with the hopes that they will give me some advice (I even pointed out that I have a copy of their book on my bookshelf in the pic!).  I’m not getting my hopes up, though (they have so many people who email them for tips), so anyone else have advice?  I would love to have this as one big open space rather than two separate areas.  We never use the more formal part (at the front of the house, where the fireplace is), so I feel that it’s just wasted space.  living room-yhl

{5} I absolutely love this recipe for a super easy chicken parmesan bake.  Instead of breading and frying the chicken (I hate dealing with raw chicken, so this is an easy way to cook chicken without the mess), you put the chicken in a casserole dish with chopped garlic and olive oil.  Cover the chicken with spaghetti sauce and top with croutons (we love the Trader Joe’s croutons) and cheese.  Bake and voila, you have an easy chicken parmesan.  It makes great leftovers and freezes well, too. chicken parm

Five on Friday!!

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Happy Friday! I’m linking up once again with Darci and friends for my favorite link-up! I love finding new blogs and reading other Five on Friday posts!

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{1} My parents spent last weekend with us and we went on our yearly apple orchard trip!  After our apple orchard adventures, they spent the afternoon playing with Harper and Will.  I love seeing my kids play with their grandparents!  Here’s Will and my dad putting together Will’s train set.  So much joy!  We need to do a better job of going home to visit our family.  The last time we went home was for the state fair in August.  My in-laws visited us the weekend before last, and we plan on visiting my parents again next weekend at our hometown’s annual food festival (another activity from our fall fun list!).  We’re so busy during the week with working that on the weekends, we like to hang out at home.

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{2}  What’s up with this crazy weather?! This past weekend, it was in the 80s!  It’s like summer in October!  Harper and Will enjoyed playing outside with a bowl of ice and water (seriously, this kept them occupied for an hour!).  They like to “paint” the sidewalk with ice and decided to make the pumpkins shiny with water.  So fun!

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{3}  Remember when I mentioned Trader Joe’s cookie butter and how delicious it was?  Well, here’s the latest product from TJ’s-cookie butter and cocoa swirl!  YUMMY! If you have a TJ’s near you, go out and purchase this now! I recommend eating it straight out of the jar!

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{4}  On Tuesday, I took the day off work to go on Will’s first preschool field trip to the pumpkin patch.  Here’s WIll that morning after we made a pumpkin craft.  We had a great time at a local pumpkin patch where we went on a tractor ride, rode a pumpkin train, found the perfect pumpkin, ate homemade pumpkin chocolate chip pumpkins, and ran through a pumpkin play area (big black tubes where the kids could crawl through).  It was great to get to know his teacher more and to meet his classmates.  I feel disconnected from his preschool since Nana drops him off and picks him up each time.  I get updates from Nana and Will about his day, but I still feel out of the loop with his preschool experience.  It helped to spend the morning with him at preschool:)  That afternoon, I got to spend time with both Will and Harper-so nice!  I would love to be a stay-at-home mom, but that’s not possible.  I am fortunate to have nice breaks throughout the year and summers off!

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{5}  I finally gave in and signed up for it! Stitch Fix!  My friend recently received her first box, and I had been thinking about signing up for a while.  I’m very curious to see what will be in my first box!  It’s scheduled to ship the week of November 4th!  Once it arrives, I will share what’s in the box!  In the meantime, if you’re interested in signing up, please check out this link.  I was not compensated by Stitch Fix, but if you use my referral link to sign up, I receive a credit off my next box!

Weekly Pinterest Project: Week 9-Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

Hello!  Here’s another fall idea I found on Pinterest.  In case you didn’t know, I’m a little obsessed with pumpkin.  I love pumpkin drinks, desserts, and pumpkin crafts/decoration (though not pumpkin savory dishes-I had a bad experience with a pumpkin pasta dish and now steer clear of anything that involves the word pumpkin and main dish).  I came across a pumpkin spice chai latte recipe on Pinterest and just had to try it!  Plus, I had some leftover pumpkin in the fridge that needed to be used up:)  Pumpkin and chai-two yummy flavors!  I was lazy when I whipped up this drink and added one tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice instead of the individual spices listed in the recipe.  It still turned out delicious!  For the recipe, you make a pumpkin base with spices, pureed pumpkin, vanilla, and brown sugar.  Then, you make a small cup of chai (the only kind I had on hand was a red chai, but it turned out great) and let it steep.  Heat up a cup of milk and two tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture, and then mix with the chai.  It was super frothy and pumpkin-y spicy!  Yum!  Any other pumpkin drinks out there I should try?!  How about a pumpkin vanilla hot milk drink?  Now that sounds delicious, too!  Off to finish my pumpkin chai lattte!

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Five on Friday!

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Hello, Friday:) I’m linking up once again with Darci and friends for 5 on Friday, one of my fave link-ups!

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Pumpkin spice latte has been all the rage lately. I love pumpkin but I’m not a huge coffee fan, so I decided to try a new chocolate chai latte at Starbucks. It sounded quite interesting, and it was. It was like drinking spicy hot chocolate…interesting tasting, but I don’t think I will be getting it again. I’ll stick with my regular chai tea latte with a shot of vanilla. Speaking of chai tea, some of the best is from Trader Joe’s. Last year, I found salted carmael (one of my favorite flavor combos) chai tea at Trader Joe’s! Yum-o! I need to see if they have it this fall:)

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Here’s one of my completed free books from Shutterfly! There have been several free photo book coupons recently (just pay shipping) and I’ve made a few books so far. This one documents our fun summer. I also made one from Instagram pictures from our spring and summer, as well as a a fall 2012 book. I’m still working on a Christmas 2012 book as well as one documenting Miss H’s first year.

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Miss H. and Will are both in Musikgarten class. We started Musikgarten back in the spring for five weeks with Will, and he enjoyed it! I signed him up for a 12 week Cycles of Seasons class this fall. I decided to sign up Miss H. for a ten week music class as well, and she had a blast at the first class. She’s the youngest in her group of 18 month to three year olds, but loves to dance and play with the instruments. It’s going to be a busy fall-Will has class each Monday and Harper has class on Tuesdays. It’s lots of running around for mommy (the class is in a local town about 20 minutes away) driving from work to the babysitter, and back into town, but they have so much fun!

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I love seeing how Will creates forts and plays independently! This was a recent creation that he made while I was cooking dinner the other evening. He took his toys and put them in the hallway, creating a blockade against his sister with some stools. Too cute!

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Pumpkin dessert success! These pumpkin chocolate chip bars from Two Peas and Their Pod turned out yummy! Thank goodness! I was disappointed after my chocolate pumpkin brownie disaster and wanted to find a delicious pumpkin dessert. I still want to try some new pumpkin dessert recipes this fall, but this was a start.

Happy Friday!

5 on Friday!!

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Hello, Friday! It’s been a LONG week! It was my second week back at school (first week with kids). The week went well, but it was just long and stressful. I’m linking up with Darci from The Good Life Blog for Five on Friday. It’s such a fun blog link up!

~1~ I bought a chalkboard sign on Etsy from Delight Designs Vinyl to document Will’s first and last day of preschool. I found several on Etsy but liked this one since it was double sided with the first day and last day of school. I’d love to take a first day and last day of picture of Will and Harper from preschool through high school! We’ll see if this happens! I will be starting on September 5th when WIll starts preschool (yikes!).

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~2~My kids love to do artwork! Miss H. will play with markers for hours! She recently started playing with play dough (without eating it!). I need to find more crafty activities to do with my kids. This is one area that I don’t feel I do enough with-all the cute, crafty ideas I see on other blogs. I’d like to start doing more art projects with them. Any good preschool/toddler art activity suggestions?

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~3~I’m in search of fall outfits for our fall mini photo session in October. I tend to buy several outfits, keep the tags on, and then decide closer to the session what to wear, especially for Harper and Will. I found some really cute clothes at Target but I’m not sure which outfit I like best for Miss H. I always get their outfits selected first, then look in the closet for what my husband and I will wear. For the past several sessions, I’ve worn neutral colors with a bright scarf. I might find a purple scarf to go with the outfits I picked out for Will and Harper.

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~4~I’m really loving the color plum for this fall. Isn’t this skirt cute? Maybe I will have Miss H. wear this instead of the outfits I picked out above.  Hmm…decisions, decisions.

~5~I’ve been pinning yummy pumpkin recipes on Pinterest.  I might have to try this Starbucks copycat pumpkin pound cake recipe!  The only recipe that I made for dinner that my husband and I did not like was a pumpkin pasta recipe by Rachael Ray.  Never again will I make any savory dish using canned pumpkin.  It was disgusting!  So bad that we threw it out (this has never happened before).  Sometimes I will make a dish that’s only ok, but not to the point where we don’t even eat it.  It was quite gross.  I will be sticking to pumpkin dessert recipes, thank you!