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Sunday, April 1, 2018

What's Up March 2018

Wow where has the month gone?! We have been crazy busy with family stuff and LOTS of work stuff, but I'm back to recap and share a little of what's been up around here. Linking up with Shay, Sheaffer, and Mel.

What we're eating this week:  Troy's parents returned from Florida on Sunday so we had them over for grilled chicken kabobs.  I've been traveling for work so it's been room service for me lately.  

What I'm reminiscing about: As we look ahead to Spring Break, I've been thinking back to our trip last year.  My mom and I took a road trip with my kiddos and we had a blast!

What I'm loving: I've been drinking a lot of herbal tea lately. 

What we've been up to:  This month has been BUSY! (Hence the silence on the blog lately). 

Dane started Learn to Skate and it is so adorable to watch all the littles on the ice!


Mila had ear tube surgery to try and solve the issue of seemingly constant ear infections for her. She did great and bounced right back the day of her surgery. We had to get a second brand of ear drops to help with the healing, but I think we're finally in the clear.

What I'm dreading:  Mila's Ear Nose and Throat Specialist is thinking she has a milk allergy so we are in the process of exploring that.  She has to be dairy-free for a week, then we will fill her up with milk and dairy foods to see if she has a reaction.  If she truly is allergic, I am so not looking forward to that.  I also have a milk allergy and back in college I went completely dairy and wheat free and it was very difficult.  It is in everything!  And of course, her favorite food is cheese!  If this is truly what has been causing her constant runny nose and ear infections, it will be difficult, but at least we will know how to improve things for her.

What I'm working on: Spring cleaning and lots of organizing.

What I'm excited about:  Spring break!  I can't wait for warm weather!!

What I'm watching:  Project Runway Allstars has been a favorite lately.  When I have time, I've been trying to catch episodes of The Challenge Vendettas, Will & Grace, and Survivor. I typically fall asleep, though, and almost never finish an entire episode at one time. Haha!

What I'm listening to: Lately, it's been a mix of Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, Greta Van Fleet.  As always, if the kids are in the car, we listen to The Message on SiriusXM and AltNation or Turbo if it's just me.

What I'm wearing:   Still loving LuLaRoe! This picture is a Gigi and older pants from the Limited.

What I'm doing this weekend:  Getting ready for our Florida trip!!

What I'm looking forward to next month: We will be seeing Skillet and For King & Country in concert for the Joy Unleashed tour!

What else is new: We got a new (to us) boat! Troy literally just picked it up this week so it's pretty exciting.

Monday, March 5, 2018

TBB Asks: Beauty

Happy Monday!  Before getting to today's post I want to start with a prayer request.  We are taking Mila to an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist today for an audiogram and to determine what to do about her chronic ear infections.  I assume she will have to get tubes in her ears, which is a rather common procedure, but it still has me a bit nervous.  Anyway, if you could please pray for good news and a good plan moving forward today for Mila, we would greatly appreciate it!!

Now, onto The Blended Blog Asks: Beauty Edition link-up!  

1. Eyelash curler? No. I usually use Lancome Hypnose mascara and it adds a bit of curl on its own.

2. Favorite nail shade? Lately, I've had a classic red on my toes. I hardly ever have my fingers painted because with two little ones ain't nobody got time for that. I tend to use the Maybelline Express Finish which dries in 60 seconds. I do love O.P.I. Lincoln Park After Dark in fall and winter, though. I just haven't worn it in a few years haha.

3. Favorite Lipstick Shade? Again, I'm pretty low-maintenance here. My go to is Burt's Bees Red Dahlia or Sweet Violet tinted lip balm. 

4. Blow Dry or Air Dry? Depends. If I'm getting ready for work in the morning, I definitely blow dry. If I'm showering at night or have nowhere to go on the weekend, I'll let my hair air dry.

5. Artificial nails? No. I used to have acrylics all through college and I loved them...until one day I actually calculated how much I was spending on fills each year. Yikes!

6. Foundation? Yes. I use Almay Clear Complexion.

7. Hair up or down? My hair is almost always down. 

8. Bar soap or body wash? Definitely body wash and loofah. 

9. Bath or shower? Shower. I do love a nice relaxing bath, but as the theme has been in this post this mama doesn't typically have that kind of time. Maybe one of these years I'll have the time to fill up the tub and soak in a bath of my own again haha!

10. Favorite body lotion? Either Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion or Doterra body lotion with a drop of lavender mixed in.

11. Do you wear perfume? Lately, I tend to just use essential oils blends. But Lancome's Hypnose will always be my favorite!

12. Do you shave your legs every day? Haha only in the summer!

13. Favorite lip balm? So many! I mentioned Burt's Bees above, but I also like Dr. Bronner's Lemon Lime lip balm and of course, the classic vanilla mint Chapstick.

14. How old were you when you started wearing makeup? I started with a little eye makeup and powder in middle school.  Unless you count Lip Smackers as makeup. ;)

*This post contained affiliate links.  If you click on a link, I may receive a few cents in commission.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Something to Celebrate: Pets

Today is National Love Your Pet Day and I thought I would celebrate by sharing a bit about our dog, Dusty.

Dusty is our 10-year-old yellow lab and he was our first baby.  Prior to him, I was never really a fan of big dogs. Troy had several growing up and one day he brought up how he'd like to contact Leader Dogs for the Blind about getting a dog from them. (When dogs don't make it through all four stages of training they make a "career change" and become a pet). To say I was less than thrilled was an understatement.  I wanted no part in getting a dog!  They were too hard to take care of and a lab is just too big! Well, a couple days went by and Troy told me that he had filled out an application to get a career change dog. "But don't worry, it can take months before they match us up with a dog!" I'm pretty sure steam was coming out of my ears at that point.  Literally less than a week later he told me "Leader Dogs called. They have a 68 pound yellow lab named Dusty that we can pick up tomorrow!" So much for months.  Apparently along with the application, Troy wrote a letter all about how he grew up with labs and what this would mean to him. Clearly it tipped the scales in our favor and bumped us up in line. 

So the next day we made the drive to Rochester to meet Dusty. When they brought him out, he was a little jumpy and hyper which didn't help my initial feelings about the whole thing.  However, once we got him home it was like a light switch and I fell so in love with sweet Dusty boy! He was so gentle, knew all his commands, and even knew to stand by the door when he had to go potty. Getting a trained dog at a year-and-a-half old is the way to go!  

Dusty has always been a huge teddy bear! He loves to snuggle and lays down with his front paws crossed.  He was our only baby for a long time, but when Dane came along, it's like he just knew to be extra loving with the little bundle.  Even though Dusty can have his hyper puppy moments, if the kids are around, he immediately calms down and is so gentle.  Mila is probably his biggest fan and it is so adorable to watch the two of them cuddle!

Shortly after we took Dusty home, Leader Dogs got us in contact with his puppy raisers who wrote us a long letter all about him and even sent us some pictures when he was a little puppy. Wasn't he adorable?!

Give your pets some extra snuggles today! :)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! We're starting off our long Mid-Winter break weekend today and I'm super excited for some time at home with my babies, especially since I was away at a work conference most of the week. Linking up with Andrea to share some favorites.

Last Friday, we had Snowmageddon around here and I got a snow day! When schools are closed in our district, I typically still have to go in, so this was a pleasant surprise. Snow days are my favorite!  The kids started out with some painting and crafting.

This picture that Dane drew is totally my favorite! He said, "I made YOU, Mom. Now I have to cut your hair!" So adorable!

We made sure to spend some time out in the winter wonderland. The kids and Troy made snow angels and he even pulled them around on a sled, which I'm pretty sure was Dane's favorite part.

I don't think I've mentioned on the blog yet, but another big favorite at our house this year has been the Road Coat by One Kid.  (By the way, this is in no way sponsored.  They have no idea who I am!) If you live where it's cold, you've probably heard that puffy coats and car seats don't mix. This company has created a fabulous solution!  They made the Road Coat with a double layer, so the puffy part goes over the buckle  No more blankets or taking the coats on and off and freezing in the car!  Plus, as you can see, the snow suits are great for playing in the snow!  

On Saturday, I had some very rare solo shopping time and it was definitely a favorite! I had a couple hours to go to Hobby Lobby, Target, and a cute little shop downtown, Polka Dot Pandas, where I got a couple things for the kids with a gift card from GG.  Dane has really been into superheroes lately, so I knew this Flash cape would be a new favorite of his.  I almost forgot how nice it can be to actually stroll around the aisles of a store without corralling toddlers. ;)

The other big favorite at our house this week has been the Olympics!  We are getting a little obsessed and are loving watching all the different winter sports.  Dane's favorites have been hockey,  curling (or "the sweepers" as he was referring to it), and also the luge.  
My most favorite moment of the week was when I got to snuggle my babies for the first time in three days last night!  I got the biggest smiles and hugs from my little ones and it made my heart so happy to be home! 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Girl Chat: How I Stay Organized

It's Thursday!  Which is like a Friday for us because after today, we're on a long weekend for Mid-Winter Break! :)  I'm joining Emily for more Girl Chat this month and sharing how I stay organized.

Some days, I feel like I have complete and utter Mom Brain (yes, I'm convinced that is a real thing- that or the fact that the pregnancy brain just never goes away haha!) and would probably forget my head if it wasn't attached.  Thanks to a good friend of mine, though, I can still stay organized even if my day-to-day schedule can feel a little scattered.

Yes, Google is my friend!  Google Calendar to be more specific.  I make sure I add in any appointments and even certain "to-do's" and set up reminder alerts to help make sure I stay on top of things.  I have also plugged in recurring monthly bill reminders a few days before they're due.  What's nice is that I can create multiple calendars and with it all synced up to my phone, I can see everything at once and still get those convenient reminders.  I have a work calendar, personal calendar, and a blog calendar.  When I was taking grad classes, I also used a course calendar to stay on track with assignments and due dates.  The other thing I love about Google Calendar is that you can easily send event invites to others (Troy) or even share your entire calendar and they will then have it on their phone.  I imagine that when our kiddos are older, into various activities and have their own phones, I could create and share calendars for them as another layer of keeping everyone organized.  

To help with staying organized around the house, I try to prepare ahead of time as much as possible.  Mornings can get a little crazy and rushed, so planning ahead is key.  One thing I have done for quite a while now is pick out my work outfits for the entire week.  I spend a little time on Saturday or Sunday and determine what I will wear each day.  I have a designated spot in my closet where I line up each outfit and accessory(ies) for the week. This has been a huge time-saver in the morning!  

I also try to make sure we plan out our dinner meals for the week.  Our weekday mornings are busy, but so are the evenings!  Meal planning also helps us to stay on a budget.  We typically do an "inventory" of the food in the house, quick review of coupons and plan our meals Saturday or Sunday.  Then I use the Kroger app to create the grocery list.  What's convenient is Troy has also added this app on his phone and it is all synced.  Lately, he has been the one to do the grocery shopping so it's a helpful way for us both to stay organized.  

What are your best organizational tips? I can't wait to read more in the link-up. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

10 Memories with the Hubby

Hey everyone!  Today, I'm joining Perfectly Port Family's link-up and sharing 10 memories with my hubby (in no particular order).  

1. Hawaii: We honeymooned in Hawaii and still think it is the most beautiful place! Two of our favorite things from that trip were snorkeling in Hanauma Bay and the North Shore. This was  the first time either of us had ever snorkeled and being salt water fish enthusiasts (Troy had several tanks in college), it was so cool to see so many different species swimming right next to us.  We also had the opportunity to take a trip on a submarine!  It is a goal of ours to plan another trip back there some day.  :)

2. Cancun: On spring break of our senior year in high school, we went to Cancun, Mexico with a bunch of friends.  It was a great trip, but I can't seem to find any of my pictures. :(

3. First Date:  Troy and I had our first date on St. Patrick's Day of our junior year in high school.  We went out to dinner at The Dorsey House in town and chuckled at the fact that at everyone around us was drinking green beer.  We went to see a movie after that, but whatever it was, it was so bad that we walked out after about 20 minutes.  Instead, we went to his house and ended up watching Howard Stern of all things!  (I clearly didn't have control of the remote).  It just makes me laugh when I think about it.  

4. Engagement: Troy proposed on my birthday at the Fogcutter restaurant.  I was completely surprised and loved the fact that he thought about every detail and had the waitress take pictures!  I blogged about this in more detail here.

5. Marais: On our sixth anniversary, we found this French restaurant in Grosse Pointe and decided to go all out.  We had champagne, wine, and the chef's full six course tasting menu. It was definitely not a place that we can afford to visit more than probably once a year, but it was so worth it!!! :)

6. Mt. Pleasant Parks:  Back in our CMU days, we used to spend some free time at the parks in Mt. Pleasant.  Troy would fish the river and I would often sit on the rocks, listen to the rushing water and read a book.  It was a nice, relaxing way to spend some time outside together.  

7. Hiking a Mountain: Another fun memory was when we visited our friend, Jake, when he lived in Pasadena, California.  He took us hiking up a huge mountain.  I remember thinking that it would be a piece of cake...we're just walking.  Holy cow was I sorely mistaken! :)  I learned very quickly that it was way more strenuous than I thought it would be.  Even though it was tough and I needed a few breaks along the trail, we admired the beautiful view and felt very accomplished afterwards!

8. Sunrise Boating: We trailored our boat up to the Port Sanilac marina a few times to enjoy a leisurely boat ride early in the morning.  The peace and beauty of a Lake Huron sunrise is just breathtaking.  Coasting along and sipping some coffee on the water is a great way to start a Saturday!

9. Washington D.C.:  We had the opportunity to attend a conference for work near Washington D.C. a few years back.  On a spur of the moment, we were able to attend a Nationals game in the evening on one of the nights we were there.  Troy and I love all things sports so this was a fun opportunity!

10. 30th Birthday:  Troy pulled off a surprise party for my 30th birthday!  I thought it was just going to be the two of us for dinner, but he had the terrace room at our favorite place, The Vintage Tavern, rented out with several of our family and friends waiting to party with us.  Plus, he was able to order a cake that looked just like a Coach purse!  (I used to sell these when I worked at Marshall Field's and had a serious obsession for a while).  :)

Troy and I are coming up on our 10th wedding anniversary this summer, and eighteen years together overall!  This list of memories probably could have gone on and on, but it sure was fun to reminisce while trying to narrow it down! 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Date Ideas

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, I thought I'd create a list of date ideas beyond the typical dinner and a movie.  Some one-on-one time is a necessity for any relationship.  Here are some fun suggestions.

1. Picnic at the Park Pack some sandwiches and/or snacks at spend a little quiet time together at the park.

2. Walk/hiking  Hit up a trail at a nature center, take a stroll downtown, or take a long walk in your neighborhood.  Just enjoy the outdoors together.

3. Go Shopping  Any type of leisurely shopping trip can be an option here.  Troy and I used to love walking around Pier 1 and finding home decorating ideas. 

4. Couples Spa Treatment  Enjoy a relaxing, romantic couples massage at the spa.

5. Wine/Beer Tasting  This could be at a winery or a brew pub, depending on your preference.  If you don't have a winery close by, head to a restaurant/bar and ask for some samplings.  Try out some options you haven't had before.  At our favorite place in town, The Vintage Tavern, you can order wine flights.  For another (probably cheaper) option, head to the grocery store and each of you select three new wines or craft brews and have your own tasting at home.

6. Board Game  Play a classic board game at home. 

7. Go for a Ride  Grab your favorite coffee drink and drive around to admire other neighborhoods.  Listen to a new play list while you're at it.

8. Go Ice Skating. We haven't done this since college, but I think it would be fun!  Feel like a kid again at the ice rink.

9. Watch a Sporting Event  Whether it's a pro game, college, or even high school, catch a game together.

10. Dancing Join a ballroom dance class or (if you're capable of staying up late, unlike me haha) feel 22 again and go to a club.  At Vicente's in Detroit, you can eat a yummy cuban dinner then get free salsa dancing lessons when they open up the dance floor at 10:30.

11. Chopped at Home  It's been quite a few years since Troy and I have done this, but it can be a lot of fun.  Either go to your pantry, or head to the grocery store and one of you grabs four "mystery ingredients."  Then as a team, you create a dish in 30 minutes.  Get creative in the kitchen!

12. Bike Ride  Take a leisurely spin around your neighborhood, try out a bike share downtown, or if you're feeling a little more adventurous, grab your mountain bikes and hit the trails.

What are your favorite kind of dates?  I'd love to hear in the comments below!