Friday, July 31, 2015

Farewell, July!

Happy Friday! I can't believe July is OVER! The summer is FLYING by, but still lots left to enjoy. We are excited for Seafair weekend here in Seattle and another 90+ degree weekend with lots of sunshine! 

In case you missed it, this week I shared one of my favorite simple weeknight dinners, what we've been up to lately, and some of my "loves & hates." Thanks for all your fun comments - apparently I'm not alone with my love/hate list! 

We spent much of the week outdoors enjoying the weather ... here are my favorites from the week!!

+ Girl Time. Lila's been a bit "sassy" (aka, crying a lot) after school and I think it's because she's exhausted and doesn't eat enough (lately she's been super picky). Lord knows if I'm tired and hungry it isn't pretty. So yesterday, I picked her up early from school for special girl time of her choice - she wanted to go to Starbucks and got a mini Frapp and popcorn. We sat outside and chatted about her day. She LOVED this 1:1 time and was in a much better mood that evening. I love this sweet girl so much! 

+ Dahlias. I love fresh flowers and Grant and I both decided we want to do a Dahlia section in our yard next year! I love these huge blooms we saw on our mini hike - it inspired us to take the plunge! My grandpa had a huge dahlia garden and I had them as my wedding bouquet, so they are a bit sentimental to me too. 

+ Elsa. Oh dear. I mentioned I bought all of our Halloween costumes early, and SOMEONE just couldn't wait for theirs. Naturally, she has to be Elsa. Hahaha. And that wig. Looks more like George Washington in person, but so funny how it's falling off and Lila continues prancing around flinging her braid like Elsa. So cute. 

+ Treats. My obsession with coffee continues and the other day I had a rice krispie treat with my afternoon cup. I'd forgotten how delicious these are!!!! I need to switch my snack to celery and water at this rate - #outofcontrol. 

+ Ice Pops. Evenings in the backyard call for ice pops! Both kids love them and it's so cute to sit and chat with them after dinner. I'm really going to miss this time once winter hits and it's too dark/cold out to have our little after dinner time outside. 

Hope you had a great week!!


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Loves & Hates

Gazing at the ocean can calm me any day any time :D

I always love when people post about their "pet peeves" but always feel bad being negative and try to focus on the positive instead. But! I was so excited to be "tagged" by the lovely Mattie of Northwest Native to post mine, so I'm going for it. I figured the balance of "loves" with the hates made it more positive right?!

So, without further ado, here are mine ...

Let's start on a positive note with my loves! I'm not going to go too obvious with things like "my kids" and "my family/friends" so just assume this is my list beyond those things ;)


1. COFFEE. OK this is ridiculous, but coffee brings me SO much joy. I've mentioned that I'm trying to become more of a morning person and I seriously love having a warm cup of coffee every morning, alone, in the quiet house. I relish it. That said, I now drink coffee all day long. It's probably somewhat unhealthy, but I love it. LOVE! 

2. SUNSHINE. I'm a summer gal. I love warm sun, hot weather and tropical vacations. If you ask me to go on vacation somewhere that doesn't include beach time, it feels like more than a "trip" to me than a vacation. 

3. FALL. Summer is definitely my favorite season, but fall is a close second for many reasons. For me, first, I love the clothes. Cozy sweaters, boots, scarves, etc. The colors are beautiful and the smells are some of my favorite. Also, it's a nice change from the heat of summer, but isn't freezing yet. Also, my birthday is in October, and I feel like it's the gateway to the holidays! So many exciting things to look forward to between that, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas! 

4. MAGAZINES. I love to read and magazines are my guilty pleasure!! I love all kinds!! Last year two kids in our neighborhood were selling magazine subscriptions as a school fundraiser and I may have gone slightly overboard - but it was a nice excuse to subscribe to more than usual. 

5. CHRISTMAS. Now that we have kids, I just love how Christmas is so festive and magical. I now require we get our tree IMMEDIATELY after Thanksgiving (although I have contemplated doing it before Thanksgiving, I just can't - yet). I want the season to last as long as possible!!

6. HOSTING. I love to eat! But I also love to cook! I love having holidays at our home, hosting our family and spending hours pouring over recipe magazines and various blogs to curate the perfect menu. I'm known for making way too much food and always go a bit overboard (I'm trying to get better), but I love it. I am not so great at decorating for hosting, which is going to be one of my goals for this "season" but I love making fun new dishes and always having a signature cocktail to go with!

7. LAUGHS. I'm a pretty goofy person, and I've noticed the kids are starting to become that way too. We have our own little inside jokes/things we laugh about and it's so cute to have even little Owen try to make us laugh by doing goofy/silly things! He even tells knock knock jokes!!! 

8. BLOGS. I love reading blogs!!! I read so many and my list keeps growing and growing. The internet is a very weird thing. You can feel like you know people you've never met! Very cool. 

9. SALTWATER AIR. Growing up in the PNW (that's Pacific Northwest), I love when you step outside near the water and get the overwhelming fresh smell of saltwater air. I love it and it reminds me of home and the beach - my happy places! 

10. TRADITIONS. I am a routine gal, almost to a fault. I love having the same routine every day, no surprises and having traditions to go along with it. Grant is the complete opposite. He is all over the map when it comes to routines. At a restaurant, I order the same things over and over. He always orders something new. Also, having kids was a huge rude awakening for me. No matter how much I "planned" or tried to get a routine going, babies aren't routine - so I had to adjust. Despite this, I LOVE family traditions. I haven't really established these yet, but I want to have pizza Fridays, or have a "family spot" we always go for breakfast on Sundays. Something like that. I also love little holiday traditions and last year I tried to start a few -- for example, on Thanksgiving we gave the kids Christmas PJs and Christmas books to "kick off" the season. I can't wait to come up with more - if you have any great ones, please share!!

HATES. (I have my mom's voice ringing in my ears - don't say HATE, say "strongly dislike")

1. GETTING TOO LITTLE SLEEP. Again, having kids was a huge rude awakening for me, but I need a lot of sleep. 

2. "HOT" TERMS. OK, seriously, maybe I'm too old now, but terms like "bae" and "on fleek" drive me nuts. Bae sort of sounds like babe/baby, but then some people use it like "Someone is bae..." ?! What? That sounds like bad grammar or something. Also I don't understand "on fleek" ... who made that one up? 

3. "HOT" Menu Trends. I don't like it when something seems forced, and it seems like every restaurant in this area now has a kale salad, bacon-infused something, an egg with runny yolk on top of everything, and small plates (I want my own plate!). I get it, but I think being unique or not trying to conform is more fun! 

4. TALKING ON THE PHONE. Stealing this one from Mattie. I am so bad! Often, if someone calls me, I text or email back. I really don't like "chatting" - unless it's my parents. Then it doesn't bug me for some reason. 

5. SMALL TALK. I feel bad saying this, but I hate being forced into small talk with people when I'm out running errands, etc. Maybe it's because I don't get much alone time anymore and want some peace when I'm finally alone.  

6. OYSTERS. Sad but true. I want to like them. They are so elegant - yet I just can't. 

7. PEOPLE THAT LIKE TO TALK ABOUT "DRINKING." OK, we're not 21 anymore - it's not cool to talk about wanting to get drunk. I hate that!!!!!

8. COMMENTS ON YOUR PURCHASES. I know they mean well and are trying to make conversation, but I HATE it when grocery or store check out people make comments on what you are buying. "Ohh, having tacos tonight I see?" I feel bad being bothered by it, but that means they also notice things like - tampons and indigestion medicine, haha! No comments please, good or bad! 

9. MOM ADVICE. And by this I'm talking parenting advice, mom advice, bad baby name suggestions, pregnancy comments - anything in this realm. I don't mind the "well, we had to do this because XYZ." But I hate the "Ohhhh ... you use pacifiers?" or ... "OHH yeah my kids only eat natural/perfect foods and would NEVER want to eat chicken nuggets!" It's also shocking how many people comment on pregnancy size. I never minded a "when are you due?" but the "WOW! You are SO BIG!" - seriously!? Nobody wants to hear that! 

10. SWEATING. I shouldn't admit this but I hate sweating. I love classes like swimming because you don't get all hot and sweaty but get a good work out. I'm one of those people that gets a BEET red face when I work out so maybe that's why. 

So there you have it!!! I am not tagging anyone, but if you want to do it, PLEASE DO!!!!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What's Up Wednesday!

It's midweek already! Yay! This summer is FLYING by, I can't believe it's already almost August. It may as well be December - eek! Ok, that's dramatic, but seriously can't believe summer's going by so quickly...

Today I'm joining What's Up Wednesday with what's been going on in our house!!

Here are the questions ...
What we're eating this week ... We've been grilling a TON! We grill all year round, but this time of year especially we grill almost every meal. We've made burgers, salmon, steak, chicken - even pizza! All on the grill. Delish!

What I'm reminiscing about ... Single and carefree days when we used to vacation several times a year. It's harder with two kids to get off to Mexico multiple times a year, isn't it!? And more expensive. Grant and I have been wishing we could do a little mama/papa getaway sometime soon ... but until then I can reminisce with our old pictures!
What I'm loving ... the sunshine!! We've seriously had the nicest summer weather I can ever remember. It's been fabulous!!

What we've been up to ... a lot of hanging around home and doing little day trips here and there. The kids are so cute and love playing together now, so every evening we sit outside and we all play/chase/run/etc. It's so fun!
What I'm dreading ... Hmm, nothing major at this point. I guess the end of summer, but there's so much to look forward to after summer it doesn't seem quite so bad.
What I'm working on ... getting my closet in order!!! I need a major overhaul. I have tons of clothes I don't wear, and tons of new clothes that need to be organized properly. I have been considering starting with new hangers - something like these ... right now I have all different shapes and sizes and they get tangled on each other. Any other ideas?
What I'm excited about ... summer outings! I've been making a little list of day trip ideas and am looking forward to actually doing a few of them.

What I'm watching/reading ... I haven't been watching much of anything, but have been reading a lot! I keep seeing "Royal We" on everyone's must read lists, so I think that'll be next on my list!
What I'm listening to ... Lila and I LOVE to jam in the car to whatever the current hits are. She knows a surprising about of song lyrics and can sing all the newest hits!! Her favorite is "Shut up and Dance" :)
What I'm wearing ... OK so I may have gone slightly overboard at the Nordstrom sale. THESE have to be my favorite purchase so far! Even though I'm so short, I love these flats - they look fancy and are so comfy!

What I'm doing this weekend ... It's Seafair in Seattle! That means lots of fun on the water and in the air (the Blue Angels come do their aerial performance every year).
What I'm looking forward to next month ... Our 7 year wedding anniversary!! I can't believe it's been that long ...

What else is new? I will admit that I've already planned/bought all of our Halloween costumes - hehe!! Let's just say Grant and Lila will both be "Frozen" themed, and that his costume may or may not be a giant Men's Olaf onesie ... haha!!!!
Bonus - What will you miss most about SUMMER? The weather!!! Our fall/winters can be QUITE dreary and it's been so nice this year that I fear it'll be a brutal adjustment!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Simple weeknight dinner

Sometimes simple dinners are best. This is one of my go-to pasta recipes for that very reason - it's simple, quick and we usually have all the ingredients at home. I love to make this on nights when Grant is out or if we eat after the kids go to bed. This dish is light and includes one of my new favorite herbs - fresh Italian parsley. I swear I always thought parsley was gross, but Italian parsley gives such great flavor! And so, I give you my simple pasta dish.

Simple Pasta 
9 oz linguine 
2 TBL butter
2 TBL garlic, minced
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook your pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, melt butter over low heat in a medium skillet. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Drain your pasta and add cooked noodles to your skillet. Mix well with butter/garlic mixture (you may want to reserve a small amount of the cooking water to add incase you need a bit more liquid to mix in. Add cheeses and mix. Add salt and pepper. Top with fresh parsley. You could also add grilled chicken or prawns to this! 


Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Monday

Good morning!! Hope you had a nice weekend. It was actually rainy and cool here, which was a welcome change from the 90+ weather we've had for the past several weeks! Saturday and Sunday were both misty and cool, and made me think of Fall! 

This weekend we enjoyed a lot of R&R and a few fun outings. Per our typical weekend tradition, we went to the zoo and it was nice to wear tennis shoes and a sweatshirt again without being super hot! This picture looks more like November than July!

The kids had fun as always. Here they are in one of the African Savannah huts. Owen didn't want to leave! 

One of my favorite parts is the beautiful foliage. These looked like tropical flowers to me, so pretty!

And of course, the kids' favorite part is the abundance of treats! Lila loved her little butterfly lollipop ... 

Owen was a wild man all weekend and Lila gladly occupied the open stroller during the rains!

Sunday rained pretty much all day, but we still ventured out for a hike. We all got soaked but had fun on our little adventure! Family selfie featuring wet hair - so attractive!!

The rest of the day, we made soup and played inside. It was so nice to relax and stay cozy indoors. And of course, just in time for it to reach over 90 again this week!

Hope you had a nice weekend!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

I'm home!

I'm home! After a super long week of travel, that included leaving home on Monday at 2 a.m., I'm finally home after a 6 hour flight last night. After a week-long conference, cross-country travel, and changing time zones, I'm ready for the weekend. 

The one nice thing was, as usual, my favorite part about work travel - ordering room service and enjoying the quiet (staying alone in a hotel room is surprisingly nice when you're used to wild toddlers and a loud house!). So naturally, this trip was no different. My room had a nice balcony where I enjoyed buttermilk pancakes and my morning coffee al fresco (with a major side of humidity).

Selfie before our first night reception! I swear, what do you Southern gals do with your hair!? You must either stay inside or use special products. My hair was a disaster at the end of every day!

Long days followed by more room service in bed! YES! I had about three caprese salads on this trip at various places and it's always one of my favorites!

But fries in bed are always a good idea too ... 

But now I'm back home and planning to enjoy lots of R&R this weekend and give my little family lots of LOVE! I've missed my sweet kiddos so much!! 


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Happiness is ...

While I'm off having a crazy work week, I thought I'd share a few things I've been enjoying lately! 

Here you go ... 

Flats. Namely, sandals. I don't know if it's me getting old or having little kids or what, but I can't handle heels all day the way I used to! I'ts been so hot lately too that I've been wearing tons of sandals. I LOVE these sandals from Target. They are semi-Birkenstock-ish in terms of comfort but I love the bright colors too! You would NOT know they were from Target. They are super comfy and well made. I love them! Unfortunately I don't think they have them anymore ... otherwise I would have bought the black ones too!

The Car Cart. Oh-my-goodness. You'd think Lila just won the lotto or something when we get this cart. It's in "such high demand" at our local grocery story it's usually never available, but last weekend the stars aligned and AHHH there it was just waiting for us!!! These things are SO hard to steer, but the kids were so happy it was worth it (PS, don't mind Owen's drool, he's teething again!)

Fresh Cocktails. Grant made this amazing watermelon lemonade cocktail last weekend using frozen watermelon, lemon, simple syrup and vodka. It was so refreshing and delish! And cute, which always adds to the fun. 

Pedicures. Wearing sandals so often means my feet need extra TLC! I got dark purple, which isn't very summery and then Lila asked me why my toes were black - haha. Oh well, I like it!! 

New View. On an early morning drive to work I saw these two hot air balloons floating above the trees. It seems like it'd be terrifying but amazing. Can you imagine seeing the sunrise via hot air balloon? Will have to try it someday ... 

Goofy Dates. We don't get out much - can you tell!?!? Thankfully, the summer weather means we've been having fun eating outside and having campfires for two after the kids go to bed. Makes it seem more like a date night than a normal night watching Netflix on the couch. 

Campfires. We've been using the new little fire pit my parents gave Grant at least a couple times a week! It's so fun to sit outside by the fire, watch the sunset and relax. We also keep discussing how addicting it is to "watch" fire. You can really stare at it forever and it somehow seems interesting. 

Sometimes it's the little reminders to show how blessed I am! What are you loving lately?


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sunshine state

Hello! I'm in Orlando this week for work. I've seriously been here 4-5 times now - ALWAYS for work, never for fun. It's so weird to be somewhere "resort-like" without the fam!! Oh well. I prefer this kind of trip to, say, Chicago in January. 

Yesterday I left the house at 2 a.m. Does that mean I left at night, or in the morning?! I couldn't decide. Either way, I was TIRED. here I am at the airport, bleary eyed with a giant coffee. 

After a LONG travel day, I landed, took a cab to my hotel, checked in, threw on my swim suit and headed immediately to the pool. After a long stuffy day in airports and airplanes, a swim was exactly what I needed. Thankfully, it was sunny, warm and beautiful. I will NEVER tire of seeing palm trees!

The pool was so warm. Just what my feet needed after a long day. 

Pure bliss!!!!!!!! Empty pool all to myself. 

Nothing better than sunshine streaming down! After this picture I went for a long swim, followed by a room service dinner, eaten in bed while watching the Bachelorette. Can life get any better!? Lol ... 

Thankfully I was able to Skype with Grant and the kiddos and say goodnight before I went to bed early!!!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Travel Monday

Good morning! I'm jetting off EARLY today (as in my flight left at 5:15 a.m.) for a work conference in Orlando. Hoping for on-time flights and lots of coffee - zzzzz!!!! 

It's always hard to leave the kids for the week (thank you Grant!) but thankfully we had lots of fun this weekend and I'll be back Thursday night. 

On Saturday we spent the day at the Ballard Locks in Seattle. This is where the boats leave the salt water of Puget Sound to the fresh water of the Ship Canal, which is the gateway to Lake Union and Lake Washington! Very cool! 

The kids love The Locks because there are tons of boats, AND train tracks along (see the big bridge in the background has a train on it in this pic) - both make for pure heaven for the kids!

Lila posing by cool wave sculptures!

This was one of the giant yachts coming through. It was 120+ feet! I looked for Beyonce or any other celebs, but didn't look to be occupied by anyone other than crew :) 

They also have a viewing area of the salmon ladders for traveling salmon! 

And on an unrelated note, Grant made 4 lbs of smoked salmon this weekend - mmmm!!! So delicious. 

Saturday night we had a little "at home" date night dinner with our Farmers Market goodies after the kids went to bed. Fresh spinach pasta with a lemon shallot sauce, seared scallops and mixed greens salad with raspberries from our yard! Love all this fresh and delicious local food! 

Blurry date selfie!! ;) 

Our dinner was followed by a GORGEOUS Seattle sunset and a campfire. 

Hope you had a great weekend!!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday favs

Happy Friday! This week has been crazy prepping for a big work event next week at my new job, which I am traveling to. I love it though so that is an awesome change! Before I fly out on Monday I'm hoping for lots of R&R this weekend, and a little fun too - it's supposed to be back in the 90s this weekend too so I see lots of summer activities in our future. 

First, in case you missed it - 
+ Check out some of my favorite summer cocktails here, which I featured yesterday!
+ Yay! Nordies sale Friday is finally here! Since I don't have a Nordies card (for my financial security, lol), I have had a wish list going all week - check out my favorites. Which should I buy first!?
+ You all know I LOVE me some Amazon Prime, but "Prime Day" was so anti-climactic (Grant bought dish soap and we aren't even sure if it was that good of a deal, haha!) If you heard about the hype you have to read THIS hilarious article from Buzzfeed - "The 26 Best Responses to Amazon Prime Day." HILARIOUS!

Here are some of my other favorites of the week!

Owen's sweeter than ever at 18 months and just loves to laugh and have fun doing whatever we are doing. He loves going on daily walks to see the "quack quacks" - so cute! 

Here are Mama and baby ducks and sweet Owen checking them out! 

Speaking of summer fun, lots of our Seattle area beaches are next to train tracks, which the kids LOVE!!! They wave and the conductors usually wave back too which makes them squeeeeal with joy. Too cute.

We've been trying to go on more hikes as a family (yes not so easy) but hoping to do more like this trip to the Snohomish River last weekend. Look at that sky!!

Speaking of, there's a trail behind one of the playgrounds in our neighborhood and we love taking little strolls in the trees - doesn't this look like a scene out of Twilight?? 

Ahh, there's no better treat for me than a good latte and since mine are usually in a to-go cup of some sort, I love when I get enough time to enjoy a coffee in a real mug with pretty "foam" art!! I even enjoyed this one outside in the warm sun which was heaven. 

Hope you have a great weekend!! I will check in next week while I'm in Orlando. In the 100 degree heat. Sporting humidity hair. Hawt! 


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