Friday, October 17, 2014

Favorite Finds Friday

Linking up again over at Friday Favorites....

Favorite Find #1: HGTV Magazine

My mom got me a subscription to this 2 years ago for my birthday, and I'm still loving it.  The magazine itself makes me happy even before I open it...the cover is always so bright and cheery and glossy!

I love that they always have a splurge or steal section for household items, handy tips about everyday issues that you can easily take care of yourself with the right directions, and of course, tours of other people's gorgeous homes (which is right up my alley, I love being nosy and seeing where other people live, haha!)

Favorite Find #2: Croft and Barrow Sole (sense)ability ballet flats

I was in Kohls over the summer and as I was getting ready to leave, something caught my eye on a clearance table.  It was a pair of ballet flats in a nice neutral/metallic color, with a cute little buckle on the top with a darker toe.  I turned over the shoes to check out the price....$9!  And I had a 15% off coupon...score!

I didn't wear them over the summer because I tend to stick to open toed shoes, but now that fall is here, I wear them nearly every day to work.  They are SO comfortable.  They're not super thin on the bottoms like some other ballet flats that I've had.  I'm that person who wears a pair of sneakers into work, then changes shoes once I'm at my office if said shoes are not 100% comfortable....but no changing is necessary with these, I wear them for the commute.

Lovely carpet in my office, yes?? :)  I can't find this exact pair online, but they have others that are similar in the same brand here: 

Favorite Find #3: Friday Night Lights (the real thing!)

Last Friday, Brian took Jake to our local high school's football game!  Our neighbor has been helping Brian out with some yard work and lawn mowing since his shoulder injury, and he happens to be the captain of the football team this year...Jake loves to go outside when he's working in our yard and ask him football questions and hear him talk about practices and games :)  So needless to say, Jake was super pumped to be going to see him play in person!!

All up in a snuggie.

 The game didn't start until 7:30, and Jake had been up late the night before at the Light the Night Walk....but that didn't stop him from making it to the very end (and he got to see them win!)  Brian said about an hour in, he was looking like he was going to fall asleep, but kept insisting that he was "wide awake" and wanted to watch the end.  (kind of sounds like me at night when I'm struggling to stay awake and watch some of my favorite shows....) 

What's a post with a reference to one of the best shows of all time without some quotes from the show?  You're welcome.

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Texas forever, ya'll.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Halloween Edition

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane of all the costumes of yesteryear :)  Enjoy!!

Gracie - 2006

Gracie - 2007

Me and Brian and Jake in the womb :)  (I went as a pregnant Britney Spears, Brian refused to be Kevin Federline for some reason....)

Jake - 2008
Jake - 2009
Jake - 2010
Jake and Liam - 2011
Jake and Liam - 2012
Liam - 2012
Jake - 2012
Jake and Liam - 2013

Stay tuned for the 2014 costume reveal.....  :-)

Monday, October 13, 2014

First Grade Fun

I thought maybe it was time to do a general update on how school's been going for Jake this year.  Overall, I'd say good...definitely a much better start than kindergarten, which was pretty rocky for him.  A much smoother transition this year.  I'm sure he took comfort in the fact that while he had a new teacher and new classmates, not everything was new...he knew his way around the school and there are now many familiar faces.

He really likes his teacher, and so do we.  She's been fantastic with communication (sends emails as necessary, sends home a weekly newsletter, etc), is very responsive, and seems very kind.  She gets bonus points from Jake because she has a Steelers themed classroom :)

She seems to have a great sense of humor, as I received this picture in my email from her over the weekend recently:

Her email said:

Seeing "Jake from State Farm" (jake frum stat form-- with backwards f's) was the BEST part of my week. We'll work on the f's and keep the sense of humor! Have a great weekend :)

In case you don't get the reference:

One thing that has really differentiated this year from last is the amount of homework.  Apparently, you really step it up in first grade!!  In addition to nearly nightly math worksheets, he also has an ongoing list of things he should be working on nightly (weekly sets of vocab words, sight words, and spelling words....they are tested on these once a week) 

Hard at work.
It's only a matter of time before he surpasses my ability to help him with math homework.  There have been a few assignments that have stumped me!  Here is a math test he took 2 weeks ago:

See on that last one how the teacher wrote "wanted to skip?"....yeah, I was about thisclose to writing back "I want to skip it, too!"  ( his teacher, nothing against her writing that....this was a test he did that they went over in class, she just asks that parents review it again at home so that we can report back if they are still having trouble grasping it since the students often won't speak up about that in class)  But seriously...look at those symbols, it's like pre-algebra for first graders!  I'll be in serious trouble by the time he hits middle school. 

He's been rocking his spelling, vocab, and sight word tests, which is awesome.  He also rocked his school picture this year....check out that pose! 

Picture of a picture, so not the best quality....but who is this handsome young man, looking oh so grown up?  I just know this year is going to fly by and he will be in 2nd grade before I know it....hold me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Favorite Finds Friday!

Linking up over at Friday Favorites again today....


Favorite Find #1: Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

This isn't really a "find" so much as just a favorite....for the past 2 years, our family has participated in the Light the Night Walk to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  We walk to support our dear friend's dad, who has been battling for over a year.  Obviously, it's not a favorite for the reason behind needing the walk....but it's a favorite for what an amazing, beautiful night is is.  Really, seeing all of the walkers, whether they are there to support someone like we are, or there because they are currently battling or are a's amazing. 

The kids come along and get to enjoy some activities before the fun starts (excuse the terrible editing job on Jake's shirt, I wanted to remove his school name):

Future Pitt Panther!

And there are fireworks after the walk:


A huge thank you to everyone who donated to the walk....our team raised over $3,000!!!!

Favorite Find #2: Elsa's Book of Secrets

A weird pick for a favorite, I know....but I had to mention it as a good gift for anyone looking for a younger girl.  I picked it up at the store Five Below (do you have one of these near you?  A great place to pick up arts and crafts kits for kids!) as part of a gift recently and plan on grabbing another one for a different party we have coming up.  It has a lock, which of course makes it cool immediately, but what I liked about it is that there are different writing prompts that I think are perfect for the 6-7 year old crowd who are just learning to write in full sentences.  The writing prompts are things like, "Who is your best friend?  What do you like best about him or her?"  "What is your favorite subject in school and why?"  There are also some spaces to include drawings and blank pages for free writing.  If you don't have a Five Below, it looks like it's available on amazon:

Favorite Find #3: Old Navy Plaid Flannel Boyfriend Shirts

I picked this up awhile ago when it was on super sale and I was able to stack it with a coupon (love when that happens!) and it looks like it's on super sale again, $15-$18 depending on the color.  I've been on a mission lately that if I buy an article of clothing, it has to fit 2 criteria:

1. I have to love it.  If I am not madly in love with it, it's not coming home with me.
2. I need to be able to wear it to both work and home. (pants being an exception...I don't like to wear real pants at home)

This shirt fit both of my new criteria...I'm actually rocking it at work today!!  Excuse the bathroom selfies.

Secret's out...I wear glasses almost all day at work!

It's hard to see, but on my nails is Essie's Carry On that I mentioned a few weeks ago as a friday, love, love it. 

Here's a better shot of the shirt on a model:

Shirt can be found here:

Happy Friday!!! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Update on my sleep progress and Brian's shoulder

It's funny to have shifted in a point in parenthood where I'm no longer writing posts about the sleep habits of my children, but rather about myself.  Full circle, I suppose.

You may recall that I wrote a post toward the end of September talking about my recently awful sleep habits, how I was starting to feel run down, and that my goal was to start going to bed at a decent time and stop slipping into a coma on the couch every night.  (post here:

I'm pleased to report that I'm making slow, but steady progress.  Things that were detrimental to my goal: ALL THE TV.  You guys.  I love TV.  And of course the week that I decide I should get more sleep is the same week that everything came back....just take a look at the 3 hour Shonda Rhimes marathon occurring every Thursday!!  I make exceptions for that Shonda fest of Greys Anatomy/Scandal/How to Get Away with Murder on Thursday nights, and exceptions for Steelers night games...but other than that, I have been inching closer to being in bed by 10:30, which is a full hour earlier than where I was a few weeks ago. woohoo!

One thing that has helped a lot is that Brian is much more mobile at this point, he's made great progress in just the past 3 weeks or so since he's been doing physical therapy 3 days per week.  This is helpful in that he can now do things like give the kids a bath and get their bedtime routine started so that I can clean up the kitchen during that time...leaving me with much less to do at 8:30 once the kids are in bed.  So YAY for recovery!  I'm happy for myself obviously for selfish purposes, but I'm also very happy for him...his spirits are definitely up and being able to drive has given him a sense of normalcy again (and made him less stir crazy!) 

I also worked toward my goal by taking a sick day last week at work...this is rare for me, and not because I'm super dedicated to my job but because I always seem to have this awful luck of being sick on weekends!  And if I'm not contagious, I have this tendency to drag myself into my office because of all the sick days I take for the kids throughout the year....I feel the need to stockpile them. But last Friday, I woke up with this awful headache....the kind that is blinding and makes you feel nauseated....normally, I might have attempted to go into work or at least contemplated it for a long period of time.  But last week?  Nope.  This girl wasn't having any of it.  I decided within a few minutes of moving around that deserved a sick day to myself to stay in my PJs, nod off on the couch, and watch awful TV to my heart's content.

Gracie was happy to be back on duty as a caretaker for the day:

We watched a lot of this:

Preach it, Ms. Gorga.

After sleeping for a large chunk of the morning, I was able to pull myself together by head was MUCH better.  Sometimes you just need one of those days, I guess.  Real Housewives of NJ is a cure all!! 

On a positive note, I'm still doing my torture total body fusion class on my lunch break at work two days a week.  I can say that I hate it slightly less than I did when I started at the beginning of summer, so...I guess there's that. 

Lessons learned from this post: do some exercise, get some rest, and watch some good shows!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Recipe: Crockpot Pot Roast

Welcome to my first Crocktober recipe sharing post!! 

Early this week, I tested out this recipe from with just a few tweaks.

Crockpot Pot Roast


  • A 2-5 lb roast. (any kind)  (mine was just an oven roast, about 3 lbs)
  • 1 envelope ranch dressing (dried) 
  •  1 packet of dried onion soup (this wasn't included in the original recipe, but it's what I have always put in my roasts, so I just threw it in anyway)
  • 1 envelope Italian dressing (I included the whole packet, but the next time I make it, I would probably only do about half....I think since I added in the onion soup mix it got a bit salty!) 
  • 1 envelope brown gravy mix (this is where I changed it a bit, I only had a large jar of aus ju brown gravy, so I just threw that in instead)
  • Potatoes and Carrots  (enough to fill a bottom layer on your CrockPot) (I used about 4 large potatoes and half bag of baby carrots)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cup water (I only added in about 1/4 cup of water since I had used the gravy instead of the dried packet, I didn't want the sauce to get super runny)


  1.  Put any carrots and potatoes in the bottom of your CrockPot. I usually quarter my potatoes and use baby carrots.
  2. Put Roast on top of vegetables. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all spice envelopes, jar of gravy, and small amount of water.  Pour on top of roast.
  4. Cook on LOW for 6-10 hours until tender and veggies cooked through.

The original recipe's title didn't lie...this was the best pot roast ever! (or at least the best one I've ever made!)  We will definitely be sticking with this option from now on. 
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