It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…

At 6:45 tonight, Isla announced, “I ready to go to bed!” and trotted back to her room. Poor thing- we have had a really busy weekend. So both kids were in bed, asleep by 7:45. Whaaaat?

Jack had a half day on Friday. I picked him up from school and we headed straight downtown to see Santa at Neiman’s. I refuse to fight the Northpark crowds to see Santa (and I’ve heard he’s pretty grouchy anyway), and the Neiman’s set up is so great. No lines and the photographer is REALLY good at getting the kids to smile.

On Friday night we met the Wallaces and the Hartgroves for dinner at La Calle Doce and then took the kids to look at Christmas lights. My fave is this house on Southwestern (between Hillcrest & Preston):

Cuties!! They had so much fun:

On Saturday night my parents watched the kids so we could go to Brian’s firm’s Christmas party. I even managed to sneak in a Drybar appointment (at the mall- not so smart) AND get my nails done beforehand. ALSO- I won a Visa gift card at the party and we ended the evening with Cards Against Humanity. Sooooo… kind of the perfect day.

And finally, we spent pretty much all day at my parents’ house today for an early friend/family Christmas celebration. Totally did not intend to hang out there until 5:00, but it was such a fun day that we just stayed… and stayed…

So all in all a great weekend! I’m pretty excited about this week. With Jack in school 5 days, he and Isla don’t get a ton of time to play together. I love that they’ll have the next 2 weeks to hang out and just play without school or activities. (I may change my tune in a few days when they’re screaming at each other and fighting over toys.)

Off to enjoy my super quiet house! Night!

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Lunch Break

I can’t believe that tomorrow is Jack’s last day before Christmas break. It’s crunch time!! He actually only has a half day, and he gets to wear his PJ’s for a little party- which he’s pretty pumped about.

Isla and I spent the morning chilling at home. Well, she chilled. I cleaned up the kitchen, did laundry, vacuumed and basically tried to make up for neglecting my house for 2 weeks. I actually paid Jack to dust baseboards this afternoon- which either makes me a really evil mom or super smart. Hey, he’s still at an age where “helping” is kind of fun… I have to take advantage while I can.

How ’bout a lunch post? Isla and I were out running errands, and between Spec’s and World Market we grabbed lunch at Cowboy Chicken. I had the Southwest Chicken Salad:

I forget how much I love Cowboy Chicken. The guy next to me had the grilled chicken platter with a sweet potato, and it kind of gave me buyer’s remorse. And they actually deliver to our house, so I don’t know why we don’t take advantage of that more.

After that we attempted to run in World Market for wrapping stuff, but Isla was being such a terror that I literally left my (full) basket in the middle of the store and just walked out. Don’t worry, I took her with me. Ugh, I may not survive the 2′s.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Christmas Traditions

Tonight we had Brian’s Exchange Club Christmas party. It was so much fun and great to have a little date night, but I think poor Jack is ready for us to quit it with all of the holiday parties. We got a call around 9:45 saying that he refused to go to bed because he missed us. That’s either really sad… or he’s a 5 year old evil genius. Luckily that’s our last party for the next few nights (and we really only have 1 party left) so he’s stuck with us.

I feel like I haven’t cooked in forever. BUT we have been doing lots of Christmas-y things, so I thought I would share one of our recent faves. I think this may become an annual tradition.

I love Christmas books, and we have a LOT of them. I read somewhere (probably Pinterest) about wrapping 24 Christmas books and having the kids choose one wrapped book to read each night between Dec 1-24. I pulled The Night before Christmas and wrapped that one in special paper so that we would know to read it Christmas Eve, but other than that they take turns opening one each night:

Wrapping all of those took a while, but it’s been SO MUCH FUN. As I said, we already had quite a few Christmas books, but I scoured Amazon to find the rest. I actually found that Amazon was a lot cheaper than Half-Price Books. Here are a few of our faves:

1. The Bear Stays Up for Christmas

2. Santa’s Favorite Story: Santa Tells the Story of the First Christmas

3. The Sweet Smell of Christmas (scratch & sniff!)

4. The Story of Christmas

5. Llama Llama Holiday Drama

6. The Christmas Wish (Brian disagrees, but I really like the pictures)

7. Santa Is Coming to Dallas

I’m sure there are more, but they’re probably still wrapped and I’m too old and tired to remember what they are. So it’s a surprise for everyone!!

Just thought that was a fun little activity to pass along- it’s like an Advent calendar but without the chocolate (though we have one of those too… thanks, Trader Joe’s!). I’m always eager to hear of other holiday traditions, so let me know if you have any to share!!

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Cranberry-Jalapeno Dip

Hey! Sorry for not posting last night. Our playgroup moms had a Christmas party and I didn’t get home until late. Have I mentioned that we have FOUR parties this week? It’s a little insane. I really just want a nap.

Tonight my parents watched the kids so that Brian and I could do some Christmas shopping. I was under the impression that Isla’s last day of school was Thursday, but NOPE! Today was the last day. Anyway, it was super helpful to be able to shop tonight since I won’t be able to be productive at all on Thursday.

(Any 5 year old boy gift ideas??? I feel like I used all of my good ideas on his birthday presents…)

So thanks to all of these parties, I have yet another holiday appetizer idea for you! I’ve been spending a lot of time searching Pinterest, haha. This one was really easy: Cranberry-Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip. I just threw all of the ingredients (fresh cranberries, jalapeno, cilantro, lemon juice, sugar, cumin and salt) in the food processor and pulsed until it was chopped and well mixed. Actually, I used the Ninja and cut the crap out of my finger- those blades are no joke. Then you let the mixture marinate in the fridge for a few hours to draw out the bitterness in the cranberries.

Pour over cream cheese and serve with crackers. I wish I’d gotten a pic of the final product! It was a lot prettier than what you see above. Next time I might reduce the sugar and increase the lemon juice- it was a little more sweet than tart.

Hope everyone is having a festive week!

Posted in December 2014 | 1 Comment

Cheese Balls

Hey guys! Can’t believe it’s Sunday night already. We had another *festive* weekend. On Friday we had Jack’s super sweet Christmas program at school. He was an adorable little caroler and so proud to perform! Then Friday night I had my MOPS table Christmas party. We spent Saturday getting a little Christmas shopping done and then met friends for dinner at Cedar’s. Today we met my parents for breakfast and then braved Northpark to pick up a few more gifts. Aaaaand finally tonight I attended an ornament exchange party at my friend Kira’s house. Of course I waited until the last minute to figure out what appetizer to bring, but I found these really cute mini cheeseball bites on Pinterest. They’re so easy- you just combine cream cheese, blue cheese and diced Craisins, then roll into balls and refrigerate for 2 hours. Coat in chopped, toasted pecans and stab with a pretzel stick:

Cute and such a simple app to throw together. I love anything with blue cheese or cream cheese, so these were winners in my book.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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Caroling

Poor Isla spiked a fever this afternoon. She was pretty lethargic (until the Tylenol kicked in), but other than that no real symptoms. She’s definitely my fever-prone child, so hopefully it’s nothing serious and she’ll be back to normal tomorrow. I just hate when she’s feeling puny- it’s such a 180 from her usual “spirited” self.

Jack’s school Christmas program is tomorrow. Brian’s putting him to bed right now and I can hear them practicing Christmas carols. His official role is “Caroler” so I’m glad he’s taking his job seriously, haha. Anyway, I can’t wait… annnnd, will probably bring the tissues.

For dinner tonight I heated up some Trader Joe’s turkey burgers and cooked a batch of my fave eggplant fries.

I can’t emphasize enough how GOOD those fries are, especially if you add a lot of garlic salt to the almond flour. Also avocado for some healthy fat (and deliciousness) and pickled cabbage salad. God, how many times have I made that salad in the past month? Still not tired of it. Nope.

I grabbed lunch at the new Vietnamese restaurant at Northpark today. The food court was nuts and I got overwhelmed and just ended up ordering chicken spring rolls. Ok, not impressed. All of their food LOOKED really good (especially the bahn mi), but the spring rolls were pretty flavorless. The peanut sauce that came on the side was really watery and underwhelming. I’ll stick with my chicken-mango rolls at Roll N Go from now on. Because those are the bomb… and cheeeeeeap.

Wow, tomorrow is Friday?? This week flew by. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Chores & Smoothies

Isla and I had a very chill day. We dropped Jack off at school and literally didn’t leave the house again until it was time to pick him up. It was pretty awesome. I’m notorious for going stir-crazy at home, but some days it’s really nice to just hunker down and relax.

I was scheduled to bring dinner to a friend tonight, so I spent the morning making soup, puttering around the kitchen and getting various annoying chores done (putting up laundry… THE WORST). Isla did amazingly well just hanging out and playing. She’s actually really good about playing independently- is that a girl thing? Because Jack wants me right next to him all the time. Interesting.

Anyway- I made a double batch of my old standby, turkey taco soup, so that’s what we had for dinner, along with green salad and pickled cabbage salad:

Lunch = turkey patty in an Ezekiel wrap with beet hummus, spinach and avocado.

Snack = pistachios, dried cherries and coconut chips. LOVE.

OH! We bought a Ninja blender last night! Lately I’ve been drinking smoothies for breakfast every morning, and now Brian’s jumped on the bandwagon too. We already have a really good food processor so I couldn’t see splurging on a Vitamix/Blendtec just for smoothies (though I know they’re amazing). Plus the Ninja was on sale at Target AND we had a 20% off coupon, so it ended up being about $50 less than normal. I tried it this AM and loved it! Way smoother than our old Oster- no spinach chunks! Woohoo! And I love the single cup option.

So there’s my exciting day, haha. Chores and smoothies.

Posted in December 2014 | 2 Comments

My Little Snowflake

AS PROMISED… a million ballet recital pics. Let me just say how excited I was about this afternoon. I spent 20 minutes wrestling Isla’s hair into a bun (Are there classes on how to “do” little girl hair? There should be…), turned around halfway to the dance studio because I realized we left her ballet bag in the house, flew back to the studio with 10 minutes to spare and was pretty darn proud of myself for making it there on time, in one piece and (most importantly) with hair intact. So Brian meets us at the car and takes Isla’s hand in the parking lot, and she proceeds to try to wiggle free and bolt across the street. He tells her “Isla, NO!” and she LOSES IT. Like full on meltdown, tantrum in the middle of the street in front of the dance studio. Waaaaaaaailing. And we were so close. Anyway, I can’t calm her down, so her teacher took her from me and said that she would be fine once they got her in costume. Well. We’re waiting in the performance room down the hall and I can hear her shrieking OVER the practice music. Shit. At this point I’M almost in tears. Long story short (ha, not really), after a few hugs and a LOT of bribery, she calmed down and marched right to her spot for the performance. Whew. And it was adorable.

Girl LOVED performing!! She didn’t have an ounce of stage fright and just danced her sweet little heart out.

Getting her snowflake from her teacher:

With her cheering section, Aunt Kathy and Baba:

Love that little diva! I’m so proud of her.

Posted in December 2014 | 1 Comment

Beets

This morning we had playgroup at Lauren’s, and it was my day “off” (we rotate- one mom gets to leave and the rest of the moms stay and watch the kids) so I headed to Trader Joe’s for some solo shopping. It was glorious!! I HATE taking the kids there. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but those tiny carts are the bane of my existence. The kids are really good at ramming them into my heel, and last time we were there Isla somehow managed to turn the entire (full) cart over in the middle of an aisle. Of course Isla and Jack love going because they get suckers and cute stickers.

Anyway, no kids = lots of time to browse for new finds. Like this:

Beet hummus! I’m really not a huge beet fan, but I aspire to be. Reaching for the stars. Anyway, I made a turkey wrap for lunch (Ezekiel tortilla with beet hummus, spinach, avocado, turkey and pickles) and the hummus is GOOD. It doesn’t really taste like hummus- it’s a little sweet and vinegary. You just get a hint of the beet flavor (yeah, “earthy”) at the very end. And look how pretty and pink it is!

For dinner I made this honey garlic salmon. I forgot about the glaze on the stove and let it cook a little too long, so it was pretty thick. Still tasted okay though! Overall I thought this turned out great, and Jack and Brian liked it too. Will definitely make again! Served with roasted broccoli and a baked sweet potato with butter and cinnamon.

Isla’s first dance recital is tomorrow and I’m SO excited. Brace yourself for a million pics.

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Celebrate

I don’t think we could have crammed any more celebrations into this weekend if we tried! On Friday Brian’s firm held their annual Santa party. Santa comes to the office and hands out toys to each child- Jack and Isla LOVED it. Jack’s gift even went with the one he received last year. Santa really has his act together!!

On Saturday Brian took Jack to a birthday party and I took Isla to our friends’ Santa & S’mores party. It was so cute! They had a hot chocolate bar, bounce house, s’mores bar (with homemade flavored marshmallows!) and, of course, Santa! Isla was in heaven.

Brian and Jack met us at the party late, then we all headed to dinner at Chuy’s. Jack was asleep 5 minutes into the ride to dinner. Poor guy. Weekends are tough!

Then today we had Jack’s birthday party at Pump It Up. We had an amazing turnout, which is awesome but not the norm for his bday- usually we have a lot of no’s due to holiday party conflicts. Anyway, we had WAY more kids than I thought we would! It was crazy and I was worried that we would run out of cupcakes and pizza, but everything turned out great! Jack came up to me in the middle and said, “This is the best party EVER!”… so I’d call that a win.

Aaaaand now I’m going to pass out. Whew. Luckily this week seems (relatively) calm so hopefully we’ll get some time to relax and recharge our batteries. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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