It's the Little Things!

In today's post, I am teaming up with fellow bloggers Ashley from Words about Waverly and Jess from Sadie Sky Boutique, to share some of the little things that make life so amazing.  I LOVE this idea.  As a full time mommy, wife, and employee at my job, it's sometimes hard to live in the moment and truly appreciate the present. 


This link up is a wonderful reminder to SLOW DOWN and really take time to pay attention to the little things in life...because they really are what make life so amazing.  Here are a few of my favorite little things.
 
THIS SMILE...
 
Helping Mommy with Valentine's Decorations

 
Falling asleep in my arms :)
 

Monday Loveday

And another Monday rears its ugly head.  Sorry in advance.  I'm a bit of a Debbie Downer today due to being sick all weekend and dealing with a less than enthusiastic 18 month old, who is also dealing with a nasty cold.  Needless to say, sleep has been in short supply and the tissues are flying.  I did want to get in my Monday Loveday post though since there are a bunch of things that I have been raving about lately!  
 
1)  Baskets, baskets, and more baskets!  I am officially obsessed with baskets.  I went to Home Goods last week and picked up a few for the basement to store some toys, blankets, etc.  Evie seemed to think they were for her.  I made the mistake of pulling her around in this one and now she keeps climbing in and screaming for me to pull her.  Not my smartest move. 
 
2)  At number two today...the Ikea EXPEDIT shelving unit!  I LOVE this thing!  We have one upstairs in the black-brown color and a white one in our basement.  These are so functional and I love getting fun baskets (ha!) to place within the little cubes. It's fun to organize with this unit and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to organize all the little toys and items lying around.  
 
3)  I'm a little embarrassed to admit this third love of mine, but I just have to.  Number three on my list is reality TV...namely, the Bachelor!  Hopefully I'm not the only one out there that has been sucked in.  I watched the Bachelor wedding yesterday of Catherine and Sean and am also an avid watcher of the Juan Pablo season.  Guilty pleasure.
 
4)  Speaking of TV, we are in full swing of award season and I have been in LOVE with all the amazing fashion.  I've been catching episodes of Fashion Police on E! and watching the lovely dresses on the red carpets. As I've mentioned before, I'm not very fashion-forward myself (I'm actually more of a jeans and sweatshirt kind of girl!) but I love drooling over all the amazing looks on the red carpet.  Below are two of my recent faves:  Cate Blanchett from the Golden Globes.  PERFECTION.  And Taylor Swift from the Grammys yesterday.  She always nails it.

 
5)  Next up...something I have owned for a few months now, but nonetheless something I wanted to share as a love of mine.  This Stella & Dot necklace has won my heart.  I bought this for my company's Christmas party but I am in love with it for daily wearing as well.  I also think it would be the perfect addition to a Valentine's day outfit!  It adds a sparkle that will make any girl feel like a million bucks. 
  
6) Last, but certainly not least, I would like to conclude with my absolute LOVE for sleep.  Even though our entire family is battling some nasty colds/viruses, I was able to sneak in some cat naps with my mini this weekend.  My heart warms every time I get to cuddle with my little love bug.  She definitely owns my heart.    
 
 

Our Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

As I mentioned in a previous post, we absolutely LOVE making chicken noodle soup from scratch at in our house.  Especially during the winter months, it seems to always be our go-to meal choice.  Evie loves it, we love it...WIN-WIN. :)  I wanted to share with you our recipe for making the soup, since I really think it's easy enough for ANYONE to make and tastes soooooo much better than anything in a can.  


Ingredients:
  • Whole chicken, cut up (tutorial for cutting a whole chicken can be found here)
  • Water
  • 1 medium/large onion
  • 2 small carrots (or 1 large carrot)
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • Chicken and beef bouillon cubes
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Thin egg noodles (make separate)

Instructions:
  1. Before starting, make sure that you rinse the chicken thoroughly with cold water.
  2. Once your chicken is rinsed, place pieces into a large pot.  Depending on how large the chicken is, you may not want to put in all pieces.  We usually leave two pieces out of the soup and freeze for future use.
  3. Fill pot with water (I usually fill about 3/4 of the pot)
  4. Place pot with chicken and water on stove top on high heat.  
  5. After about 10 minutes, you should see some foam rise to the top.  Remove all foam using a ladle.  Reduce heat as to not let a rapid boil develop.
  6. Peel your onion and cut horizontally into 4-6 thin slices.  Place cut up onion on frying pan and fry on each side until onions are nicely browned.
  7. Clean, peel, and cut up carrot into 1 inch pieces
  8. Clean and cut up celery stalk into 1 inch pieces
  9. Drop in fried onion, celery, and carrot into the pot
  10. Drop in one cube of chicken bouillon and one cube of beef bouillon
  11. Let everything simmer on a medium setting for 60-90 minutes.  The water should not be rapidly boiling.  The longer the soup simmers, the better it usually tastes. :)
  12. During this waiting time is when I cook my noodles.  I recommend thin egg noodles boiled in lightly salted water until soft.
  13. Once soup is near complete, add salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for a few more minutes.
Your soup is now done!  Enjoy! :)



































Monday Loveday - Valentine's Day Style Edition

We are now officially less than a month away from Valentine's day!  I've been absolutely in LOVE with all the cute V-day apparel I have been seeing online and in stores...especially at Gap Kids and Old Navy!  I decided to compile a little Valentine's Day apparel board to share some of my favorite items!!  

After I made this, I went to Gap Kids and also scooped up this adorable red dress.  It's SOLD OUT online (link is from Gap Kids in Europe) but I was able to snag one in store!  My favorite colors for this time of year: reds, pinks, and grays!  I also picked up these clips from a new Etsy shop I found!  A glitter hair clip in every color?!  HEART.

Hope everyone has fun styling their minis over the next couple weeks! <3

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Citrus Lane January 2014 Review


Happy Friday everyone!  TGIF!  I am personally super happy the weekend is here.  This was a rough week and I am ready for some relaxation and fun with the family this weekend!  

As I do every month,  I thought I'd post some pictures and a review of our January Citrus Lane box.  For those unaware, Citrus Lane is a subscription service.  For $25/month you get a surprise box every month filled with products tailored to your child's age.  This is our 4th box.
 
Here's a picture of this month's contents!

 
Contents spelled out:

1)  Zoo Lunchie by Skip Hop ($14.00) -- This one was definitely the best item in the box.  It was the first thing Evie saw and immediately wanted me to open.  She probably thought it was a bear. ha.  Even though Evie does not go to school and we don't pack lunches for her often, I LOVE Skip Hop products and am certain we will use this cute case in the future. 

2)  First Shape Sorter by Plan Toys ($10.00) -- This toy is pretty cool. I like that it's a learning toy and that it will be easy to grab and go.  Evie seemed a bit confused by this toy, however, since it's not very easy to get the pieces to fit through the holes.  I'm sure she'll get better with it after some time, but overall, this one was just OK.

3)  Travel Wipes by Dapple  ($3.49) -- I am familiar with the Dapple brand since we purchased these wipes before and also have used their baby-safe dishwashing soap.  I was actually pretty bummed to see this in the box.  Obviously Evie didn't care much for it either.  Even though I'm a bit of a germophobe, I don't think we'll be using these.  

4) Adhesive bandages by Ouchies Jr. ($5.00) -- Another bummer.  I get it, kids get hurt...bandages are needed.  But why send these in a winter box when kids are not actively playing outdoors?  I probably would have appreciated these in a summer box when, but getting them now is a bit silly if you ask me.

 
The verdict:  This one was disappointing.  I liked the Skip Hop lunch case and the shape toy was nice, but otherwise, the box was not impressive.  I would have loved a bath toy or something that would be more appropriate for winter months. 

Thinking of signing up for your own Citrus Lane subscription?  Click here to use my referral link to get $10 OFF your box and I'll get a $10 credit too!  I would greatly appreciate that!! 

18 month update

It's hard to believe my little baby is already 1 1/2 years old!  Time is really flying by!  We took little Miss Evie to the doctor yesterday for her 18 month checkup, so I thought I'd share a few stats and updates with all of you!

Age: 18 months 

Weight:  24 lbs. 1.5 oz (70th percentile) 

Height: 34 inches (97th percentile) - Wow!!

Head circumference: 47 cm (70th percentile) 


Clothes: Evie is still wearing mostly 18-24 month clothes but has been slowing moving into the 2T territory. I love that I’ve been able to still shop in both the baby sections and toddler sections of most stores and will probably cry myself to sleep be sad when I can no longer shop in the baby aisles!! As far as shoes, little Miss Evie is a 5/6, although her size 5 shoes are smallish, so I would round up to 6. 

Favorite Foods: Chicken noodle soup, mashed potatoes, pasta, bread rolls, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, boiled eggs (just the egg whites actually), yogurt, and carrots. 


Favorite Words: She definitely loves to say HI to anyone and everyone while waving and smiling. It’s the cutest thing ever! We have been teaching Evie Polish (since my husband and I both are fluent) so her most common words are: Mama (mom), Tata (dad), Nie (no), Daj (Gimme), Tak (yes), De-de (Declan – her cousin’s name), and Tam (there). While she still talks a lot of baby gibberish, it seems that every week she is starting to pick up a new word, so it’s definitely exciting to hear her sweet little voice say real words! 

Favorite Activities: My little Evie is quite the active toddler! She LOVES climbing on top of whatever she can – chairs, her play table, daddy, ya know…anything where she can stand up and scream MAMA! (she wants me to look), while we frantically run over and tell her to get down before she falls. She’s quite the little acrobat. She also loves watching me cook and proceeds to pull out all our pots and pans from the one lower cabinet we don’t have a baby-proof lock on. Which reminds me…we need to add that pronto! She also absolutely LOVES her books and being read to. She often will grab a book, hand it to me, and crawl into my lap so I can read it to her. This always makes me smile. :) Last but not least, little Evie LOVES being outside. During the winter months it’s tough, but when it’s warm enough to spend time outdoors she is the happiest little girl around. 

Favorite Things: Right now, Evie is mostly obsessed with Elmo. She got a big singing/talking Elmo from her cousins for Christmas and carries it around everywhere. She also loves her baby dolls. I love watching her put her baby dolls in her stroller and see her feeding them. She will be an adorable big sister someday! :)  Evie also loves her book collection (especially the touch and feel books), her play kitchen (and trying to climb on top of it), and watching Elmo’s World on mommy’s iPhone. 

Signature Moves: Her many faces. Lately, Evie has been the queen of funny faces. Some of my favorites are when she scrunches her nose and flashes her little teeth or when she tucks her chin down and looks up like she’s giving us the evil eye. Hilarious. She also is adorable when she dances…shaking her little tush and spinning in a circle. Finally, she is an avid hide-and-seeker. When she wants to play she will go stand against the wall and cover her face with her hands. She squeals in delight when I walk around pretending to look for her and say “Where are you Evie?” I’m hoping that this is just a game for home and she doesn’t start trying to hide when we are out and about! Eek, maybe I should not encourage this game anymore! 


Other MilestonesEvie has started to use her utensils nicely. She has been using her hands to eat for several months now, but has started to insist on using her toddler fork and spoon to pick up food. She has about a 50% success rate on food actually making it into her mouth, so we’re getting there.  Another milestone that I’m not really too happy about is that little Miss Evie learned to crawl out of her crib recently! I was hoping to make it to her 2nd birthday before we thought about introducing a toddler bed, but it may need to come sooner. In the meantime, we have the crib mattress down on the ground to keep our little climber in there for a bit longer.


So far, this has been the best age yet. This little girl makes me laugh and smile every.single.day. While she can definitely be a handful sometimes, I wouldn’t trade these moments for the world. She is learning and changing every day and it is amazing watching it all. I love her more than I could ever put into words. I’m really so incredibly blessed to be her mommy. :)

Organization Must-Haves

A week has gone by since my last post and I feel like it has been forever!  In lieu of a Monday Loveday post, I wanted to share some ideas on one of my goals for 2014: ORGANIZATION!  This includes many things - our kitchen pantry, Evie's toys, our office, etc.  I've been on the hunt for the best in organization, and at prices I can afford.  Luckily, Pinterest gave me some great ideas...as did many retailer websites!

I am loving the fun colors I have been finding and all the designs and materials for storage pieces!  I'm very much into simplicity and solid colors but there are an endless amount of possibilities if you use your imagination.  

Take a peek at some of the must-haves I found online.  I am really looking forward to organizing this month and having fun with it!


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*** Snow Day ***

As the weathermen predicted, today we woke up to temperatures that I shiver to even type: -18 degrees Fahrenheit.  And yes, that is the REAL temperature.  The wind chills brought us down to around -42.  Put simply: ridiculous.  Needless to say, it was NOT safe to take my little Evie outside.  I made the decision to work from home today...which by the way is awesome.  I am STILL in my PJs and it's almost time to put Evie to bed.    

Anticipating the arrival of this "polar vortex," we took advantage of the snow this past weekend, while it was in the 30s (warm compared to this!).  While we have taken Evie sledding outside our house once before, this was her first time actually getting to walk around and play in it.  She was a little frightened at first but then started trekking around the park and did not want to leave!


As her tiny little nose started to turn a brighter shade of red, I knew it was time to call it a day.  We decided to treat ourselves to some warm coffee and treat Evie to some organic juice - Starbucks it was!  Evie made herself right at home.  :)


We had a blast this weekend and can't wait to enjoy some more winter activities once the extreme cold sweeps back out of the Midwest.  We're really looking forward to building a snowman, for example, but the snow has been too light.  Hopefully soon!  

I hope all of you are staying warm!!!  One of these always helps... :)



Oh, Hello 2014!

Happy 2014 everyone!  I hope everyone had a fun and safe NYE celebrating with loved ones!  Our New Years Eve was wonderful.  We kicked off the celebrations with a festive NYE fruit snack for Evie.  I just love doing cute snacks like this.  I'm sure she doesn't understand why mommy doesn't just throw the fruit in a bowl and call it a day, but I love doing fun things like this...and why the heck not?!  I can't wait until she is a bit older and really gets a kick out of this stuff. 


Later in the evening we got dressed to go to my sister-in-law's house for some NYE fun.  I attempted to take a picture of my HAPPY girl, but she just wouldn't smile for the camera! :(  We need to work on her picture posing skills this year!! 


Our new years celebration was a blast!  It consisted of yummy food, desserts, and plenty of booze!  Evie and her cousins ran around the entire time screaming and jumping, basically having the the time of their lives.  Can you believe this little munchkin made it to midnight?!  I was so happy to ring in the new year and give Evie a big wet kiss when the clock struck 12!  Literally 5 minutes later, she was out like a light.  :)

I also wanted to take a second and thank everyone who has been reading the blog.  I'm still fairly new to this, but the last couple months have been so much fun!  I love getting inspiration from other bloggers and have been loving sharing our world with all of you.  Can't wait for more blogging this year!  Happy Happy Happy New Year again to all of you!!!



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