Summer Cut

I’m pretty pumped right now because we leave for vacation in about 36 hours. We’re going to Charlevoix, MI again, but this time the kids and I get to stay for TWO WEEKS!! Unfortunately Brian is only staying a week, thanks to that whole “work” thing… womp womp. We’re staying in the same house where we vacationed last year, along with my parents, Zach, Laura, Owen and Stevie. The kids are super excited, both to be going back to Michigan and to get to vacation with their cousins. Jack already has his bucket list ready: Mackinac Island, finding more Petoskey stones, and eating a lot of fudge & taffy.

This week has been crazy. I know I say that every week, but I expected summer to be so chill and laid-back, and so far it is NOT. We finished up swimming lessons today and both kids made huge strides over the past 2 weeks (Isla required a few bribes, but I’m not above that). I spent most of today attempting to pack and then running errands for the trip. I’m the worst packer ever and put it off until the last possible second. Luckily Brian took tomorrow off of work (funny story- he actually thought our flight was Friday, not Saturday) so I’ll have an extra pair of hands… or at least someone to keep me accountable when I start procrastinating.

Jack’s hair had gotten so out of control that he finally asked for a haircut, which never happens. The kid HATES change, and every time I take him to see Miss Ginger, he just tells her to do the tiniest trim possible. This time he requested a summer ‘do, and it’s the shortest I’ve ever seen his hair!!

But soooo cute. He looks older, which makes me sad… but now I can see those big green eyes. He was getting really annoyed with me snapping pics.

I’m going to try to post a few times while we’re gone. Brian remembers the house having wi-fi, but I honestly can’t remember. Anyway, I’ll try my best!

Wish me luck packing… I need some of this energy:

Posted in June 2016 | Leave a comment

Instant Pot Red Curry

You know what I’m loving about this summer? SLEEP. No staying up late working on homework or projects, no getting up early to get the kids dressed and fed before school. Last night Brian and I actually made it to bed before 11- that never happens- and that was after catching up on Orange is the New Black (is this entire season going to be the prison riot??). Anyway, yay sleep.

We’ve kind of fallen into somewhat of a schedule: head to the gym for my 9:00 class, swing by Starbucks (cold brew + protein shake for me, the kids split a croissant), swimming lessons from 10:30-11:30, home for lunch, then a little quiet/rest time. The kids were begging to go swimming at my parents’ this afternoon, so I told them that I would take them IF they picked up all of their toys downstairs and cleaned their rooms. We’re working on chores buuuuuut it’s a slow process.

Anyway, they finally got everything picked up, swam for a couple of hours, then we swung by Trader Joe’s for groceries on the way home. I hadn’t used the Instant Pot in a while, but it’s really perfect for summer- doesn’t heat up the house like the oven, and I don’t have to hang out over the hot stove. I ended up making an improvised red curry with chicken. It was so simple:

Instant Pot Red Curry Chicken

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 can mushrooms
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders, cut into chunks
  • 1 jar Trader Joe’s red curry sauce
  • 1 can light coconut milk

Directions:

1. Set Instant Pot to Saute and heat olive oil. Add onions, peppers and sweet potato and saute for about 5 minutes.

2. Add chicken, mushrooms, curry sauce, coconut milk, and a little salt to taste. Stir to combine.

3. Set Instant Pot to manual for 20 minutes and close/seal lid.

4. After 20 minutes, quick release. Remove lid and set to saute. Simmer about 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens.

5. Serve with rice or naan. I also like to squeeze lime juice in mine… and add cilantro if you have it!

These 2 are key:

Voila… with TJ’s frozen naan:

Brian just set up our old Wii and the kids are FREAKING OUT. I guess it’s better than watching Minecraft videos on YouTube??

Posted in June 2017 | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Isla!

Isla turned 5 today! Does not seem possible. How do we have 2 school-age kids now??

This year was special because Isla had her birthday party ON her actual b-day. It was a crazy day, that’s for sure. Brian and I were up late working on party favors and getting all her presents ready:

Then sister jumped in our bed at 7am, SOOOO excited to go downstairs and open presents. She’s been waiting patiently since Wednesday to open her American Girl doll, and along with it she got: a Barbie with a dog that actually comes with fake dog poop and a pooper scooper (omg… she saw this at Target a month ago and couldn’t stop talking about it), a few of our staple summer H&M dresses ($5!!!), unicorn sunglasses, shrinky-dink jewelry kit, a big hula hoop/jump rope set. Jack gave her a new fidget spinner, some Lip Smackers and a bunch of stationery (so she’ll stop stealing all my envelopes, ha).

After presents she had her requested donut breakfast, then we spent the rest of the morning getting ready for her party. She had it at a local gymnastics place for the 2nd year in a row- girl knows what she likes!

And now for the photo dump…

After the party we came home to open gifts from my parents, then headed to Babe’s for dinner- her choice. I’m pretty sure she only ate biscuits and maybe one bite of chicken for dinner, but she loved having the staff sing to her and getting to wear the chicken hat.

On the way home she asked, “Is the day almost over? Because I don’t want it to be…” and then 5 minutes later was passed out in her carseat.

She definitely lives life to the fullest. Love that precious girl!!

Posted in June 2017 | 1 Comment

Big Girl Date

Tonight we took the kids to a movie night at the pool, which was so fun except for the fact that they can’t actually screen the movie until it’s dark… so after 9pm. The kids and I got to the pool around 5:30, they swam until 9 (with a short dinner break), then watched the first half of the movie. You know your kids are exhausted when they don’t even fight you about leaving in the middle of a movie. Jack actually apologized in the car, saying, “Sorry mom, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to stay awake the entire way home.”

Uhhh, mission accomplished?? You go right ahead, son.

(They both made it home awake though. Barely.)

Yesterday afternoon my dad took Jack down to the lake to go fishing. I was supposed to go to book club, but Brian and I decided to take advantage of the solo time with Isla to give her a little pre-birthday surprise (she turns 5 on Sunday… how???). I ran a few birthday errands with her, then we picked Brian up from work and took her to dinner at her favorite restaurant- Pie Five. Finally we drove her to the American Girl store and let her pick out a doll. She was in HEAVEN.

She ran around the store checking out literally every doll, cradling babies, chatting up other little girls. It was pretty precious.

In the end she picked out one of the the little Wellie Wisher dolls (those rain boots are CUTE). We told her that she would have to wait until her b-day on Sunday to open it, and she was actually fine with that… guess she’s growing up?? I still think she’s a little young for one of the big dolls. We’re going to see how she does with this one- meaning will it be naked and have a new haircut/tattoos by next week- and then maybe upgrade later.

Hope everyone has a fun weekend! We have a lot of birthday prep but that’s pretty much it.

Posted in June 2017 | 1 Comment

Costco Samples FTW

I think we crammed as much into today as humanly possible! Hit the gym at 9, then straight from there to swim lessons at 10:30. Sadly the kids aren’t in the same class this year, so we’re there for a whole hour while they each take their 30 minute lesson. After that it was home for lunch, then we headed to the pool for the first time this season. I feel like every year the pool gets more fun- first because their swimming skills improve (though I still feel like I spend 75% of our visit drowning at the bottom of the slides while I wait for the kids to come down), and because they run into more friends from school. They both had a blast and Isla was *thisclose* to passing out on the way home.

We took the kids to Costco on Sunday and they must have been starving, because both kids tried almost all of the samples. One guy was serving up these chile-lime marinated chicken breasts:

Jack was a fan, and I’m excited anytime they are willing to eat chicken that isn’t breaded. SO into the cart it went! We got a double package for around $16, which seemed high except when I realized that each package contained 6 big pieces. Tonight I baked one of the packages (375 for about 25-30 minutes):

That amount served 3 of us (Isla refused, shocker) with 2 big pieces leftover. Not bad! The flavor is great too- these would be really good cooked with peppers and onions for fajitas.

On the side we had roasted asparagus and this frozen mashed cauliflower from Trader Joe’s.

Weird little frozen nuggets…

It was our first time trying the cauliflower. Eh. It was ok but I wasn’t crazy about the texture- kind of watery and lumpy. More like grits than mashed potatoes. I’ve made mashed cauliflower several times in the food processor and it’s way better than this. I guess good in a pinch though.

So there’s our day! The kids both slept until almost 8 today, which was a huge win. Let’s hope they keep it up :)

Posted in June 2017 | Leave a comment

Meal Prep Sunday

I’m really starting to dig this summer break thing. Here it is Sunday night, and I’m not frantically tracking down school uniforms to wash, realizing at 9pm that we’re out of turkey for sandwiches, looking for library books to return… it’s pretty awesome. We had a great weekend, too. We did our usual Friday night tex-mex routine, then rushed home before it started pouring outside and caught up on Catastrophe and Scandal. Saturday was a little crazy- Isla had a swim party that morning and then we had another fun b-day party late Saturday afternoon. We ended up grabbing dinner with friends after the party (more tex-mex, ha).

Today was really productive, which was NEEDED after the past few weeks. Life has been so crazy with trips, my birthday and end of school year stuff- the house was a wreck. Also, in all the chaos I’d really fallen off the wagon with meal prep and eating healthy (see: Mexican food twice in one weekend). Luckily we managed to get the house pretty much cleaned up and did a big Costco trip too. I spent a little over an hour tonight prepping- which is nothing- and now I’m all set for breakfast, lunch and snacks for the week. Ahhhh…

Ok, so for breakfast I did my usual overnight oats: 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup skim milk, 1 Tbs chia seeds, handful of blueberries (from what we picked last weekend!). Shake up in a jar and store in the fridge. When it’s time to eat, top with honey, granola, nuts, etc.

For lunches I cut up a rotisserie chicken from Costco and divided the breast meat into 5 containers (3 oz of chicken each). I roasted a bunch of chopped asparagus (drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with seasoned salt) and divided that among the containers too. Finally I mixed up a couple of these quinoa, artichoke and roasted red pepper cups- also from Costco:

Then poured half the cup into each container.

At lunch I’ll just heat these up and maybe sprinkle with a little feta and balsamic.

Every day after I leave the gym, I stop at Starbucks on the way home and order a tall plain cold brew in a venti cup. Then I pour one of those chocolate Premier Protein shakes into the coffee and mix together. SO GOOD. It’s filling and the perfect little pick me up. I get a big box of the shakes at Costco (Brian does this with coffee too, but he likes the vanilla shakes better) and then grab one every morning before heading out.

And finally cut up some strawberries and limes for infused water. I already had watermelon and mint in the fridge for this too- it’s a great way to use up that fruit that’s starting to look a little sad… i.e., the stuff Isla would immediately demand that I remove from her plate. I also picked up a box of that Watermelon Lime Zinger tea from Target the other day. Not usually a tea person but it sounded good for summer, in case I need a La Croix break.

Sorry if this was a really boring post, but I’m the weirdo who gets excited about all those neat little containers lined up in the fridge. I *may* even search #mealprep hashtags on IG in my free time. This is 35, people. I could also do an entire post about collagen peptides and how I’m convinced they’re saving my old lady knee joints, but we’ll save that for another day. I don’t want to get y’all TOO excited…

Swim lessons start tomorrow. Pray for no rain!

Posted in June 2017 | 2 Comments

Summertime!

Well as of 9:15 this morning we are officially on SUMMER BREAK!! Woohoo! We hit the ground running, too. Jack had to go to school for a little over an hour this morning (for mass and then to pick up his report card), picked him up and headed to the gym, then after that both kids had a swim birthday party at 11. This week has felt all kinds of crazy and I’m really ready to just SLOW DOWN. Hopefully they’ll sleep in tomorrow… hahaha, yeah right. My kids are always up at the butt crack of dawn on weekends and holidays, but it’s impossible to drag them out of bed on school days. Why??

We ended up hanging out for a while after the party and didn’t get home until close to 3. By that time I was staaaaarving and desperately digging through the freezer for a lunch option. I came across a bag of frozen garlic naan from Trader Joe’s. I forget how good those are!! And they only need a few minutes in the oven. The bag says a minute and a half, but I left mine in there for closer to 5 minutes so it would be a tiny bit crispy.

The kids ate them plain as a snack, but I topped mine with hummus, chopped grilled chicken, chopped kalamata olives, feta and arugula. I also sprinkled with a little balsamic vinegar and lots of fresh pepper.

Omg, SO GOOD. This + watermelon made for the perfect lunch.

Happy start of summer!

Posted in June 2017 | Leave a comment

Ham & Cheese Tart

Well I headed to the gym today for the first time since Thursday and pretty much died. Punishment for a weekend full of good food, cocktails, and basically anything fun. Dangit.

Today was Isla’s last day of school!! My baby is a kindergartner! We have her prek picnic tomorrow and after that it’s SUMMER for her… Jack has a regular day of school tomorrow and then like an hour (annoying) on Thursday.

We had a playdate after school today and the kids ended up eating dinner at our friends’ house. I needed to run to Trader Joe’s after that so we didn’t get home until after 7. Brian and I were both exhausted so I grabbed the easiest option I could find out of the freezer:

Ham and gruyere tart from TJ’s. The box says 4 servings but it’s pretty tiny. I would say that this serves two for dinner if you pair it with a salad like we did… though I’m not going to lie, I definitely could have eaten that whole tart myself.

Served with my recent fave summery salad- butter lettuce, red onions, strawberries, avocado, blue cheese and poppy seed dressing.

Not too shabby for about 10 minutes of work!! The tart is actually really good and I’m not even a huge ham & cheese person. I think it would be fab paired with tomato soup, too- something to cut the creaminess maybe? A great option to keep on hand for nights when you just. can’t. even.

I have a feeling we’ll have a few of those this summer…

Posted in May 2017 | Leave a comment

Memorial Day 2017

I really couldn’t have asked for a better weekend: friends, lots of family time, swimming, hanging out at the lake, great food, some R&R. It was the perfect little preview for summer… and now we just have to get through TWO (one for Isla) more days of school!!

So Friday was my birthday. We did an early birthday dinner with my family on Wednesday, then on Thursday night Brian and I had a party to attend for some of our realtor friends. When we got home that night, our front yard was covered in 35 bright pink plastic flamingos, courtesy of my awesome book club/playgroup friends, along with a card and a super sweet gift. It was amazing! I kind of want to leave them out there year-round.

Friday itself was pretty low key- I met Brian for lunch at our favorite ramen place, Wabi House, then took the kids to a playdate after school. One of Jack’s oldest friends is moving to the suburbs and we are SO sad to see them go! We capped off the bday by meeting friends for dinner at Smoky Rose (new BBQ joint- fun place and great food) and then out for drinks after.

On Saturday we packed up and headed to the lake for the weekend. We got there late that afternoon but still had time for a quick first swim of the season. On Sunday we made a mini road trip to Blueberry Hill Farms in Edom.

Jack LOVED picking berries and kept thanking us for taking him there. Isla was totally over it about 5 minutes in and spent the rest of the visit complaining that there was stuff in her shoe and freaking out over ants. Good times! But it was a lot of fun and the weather was perfect- we had some pretty strong storms later Sunday afternoon but it stayed overcast and cool while we were picking.

Best reward ever? Fresh blueberry fro-yo.

Today we spent most of the day at the pool. The water was FREEZING so I let Brian take over swim duty until the sun came out. The kids had a blast.

(Don’t worry, he did NOT drive us to the pool…)

They basically had the whole pool to themselves this morning, probably because we were the only people crazy enough to get in that frigid water. Even the lifeguard was like, “NOPE!”

We ended up swimming for over 4 hours, so not surprisingly they both passed out as soon as we headed home, slept through the entire drive, then slept on the couch at home for another hour until I woke them for dinner. Win!

So there’s our weekend! And now I’m catching up on lots and lots of laundry…

Posted in May 2017 | Leave a comment

BLT Salad

Brian was in Vegas Sunday-Tuesday of this week, so by Tuesday afternoon I was DONE. The kids were really good, it’s just a lot of juggling. Last night I was in bed by 9:30, which is unheard of for me… though I have to admit, it was pretty awesome.

Anyway, I planned on making this BLT salad from How Sweet Eats for dinner on Monday, but by 5pm I was so wiped that I scrapped that plan and took the kids to Jason’s Deli instead ($3.50 kids meals!!! And ice cream!). I ended up making the salad for lunch today and enjoyed it while watching the first half of Mommy Dead and Dearest (fascinating, btw).

Pre-mixing. Butter lettuce, arugula, feta, tomatoes, fire roasted corn, avocado and bacon:

Mixed. I also added some chopped grilled chicken to up the protein and added a little honey to the dressing. I LOVE chopped salads like this.

Those are the lime and sea salt chips from Late July. PERFECT for scooping up this salad.

Off to bed for me, a little later than last night. Have I mentioned that I’m turning 35 on Friday?? I guess early bedtimes come with the territory.

Posted in May 2017 | Leave a comment