Ok, it’s official- buying things for girls is twenty zillion times more fun than buying things for boys. Sharing a few of my favorites (so far!) with all of the other girl mommas out there and trying not to buy all of the things 🙂
1 // This was the very first thing I bought, literally within hours of finding out we were having a girl. It’s a (huge) swaddle blanket from Clementine Kids, and it’s going to be perfect for snuggling a spring babe!
2 // These swaddles are from Little Unicorn and I’m in love. This particular set is only available on their web site, but they have a lot of other things (like these bandana bibs) at Target.
3 // This ballerina pillow from Pillowfort is something I spotted to coordinate with the nursery I’m planning for Izzy, which is hopefully going to look something like this!
4 // These. Books. I’ve been dying to get my hands on these! There are plenty of titles for boys, but A Little Princess? My heart, you guys. And they will look gorgeous on her bookshelves!
5 // I found this little bow shop via a photographer I follow on Instagram. How sweet are they?! There are a ton of shops on Etsy I’ve favorited recently, too, but I’m trying to pace myself 🙂
My rookie style board creating abilities aside, how amazing are all of these things?! Sharing them with you because back to school shopping doesn’t have to be just for the little people in your life 😉
1 // The shirt that’s pictured was a Marshalls find (in a gorgeous green-gray) that I can’t find anywhere online SO here’s a link to something similar! I could- and probably will, sorry in advance- wear it every day because it’s that comfortable. If you live local to me, head over to Marshalls and grab one before I buy them all (literally).
2 // How perfect is this scarf? It’s lightweight and a fun pop of color in my otherwise neutral wardrobe. It’s especially perfect if you, like me, are in denial that summer is basically over. On sale at Old Navy!
3 // These rose gold studs are a great way to dress up any outfit without being over the top. LC Lauren Conrad at Kohls for $10, but don’t pay that because I’m sure you can snag at least 20% off if you head over to RetailMeNot 😉
4 // I love a good light pink neutral nail color, but always seem to buy shades that either err on the side of Barbie or her great-great-grandmother. This one was a win! Do a quick Google search to see it actually on (which is what I did in Target) and you’ll see it’s amazing and totally worth the $10.
5 // TOMS. Why am I so late to this party?! I have always loathed buying shoes of any kind with the exception of sandals. I can never find a style I like, they’re uncomfortable, etc. etc. And then I ordered these shoes. It is taking everything inside me not to order them in multiple colors. Free shipping through midnight tomorrow, and 15% off if you’re a teacher or student!
6 // This. Bag. It’s been in my online shopping cart for a month and I’ve visited the page so many times that it pops up as an ad on literally every other web page I open. I haven’t taken the leap yet, but it’s coming! We let Landon splurge on his backpack in exchange for chores around the house.. maybe I can strike a similar deal?
I don’t shop for myself often, so when I do it’s pretty intentional! Each of the pieces I’m sharing fill some sort of a gap I noticed in what I already have. If you haven’t lately, it is so worth the time to take stock of what’s in your closet- donate the things that don’t fit or that you don’t actually wear. Put things on individual hangers so you can see what’s in there! It might sound silly or tedious but it’s definitely made a difference in how I shop for myself, and helps me not wear the same three outfits on rotation 🙂
By the time I made it through the torrential downpour last night and survived the drive home, it was pushing 6:30PM and I had exactly zero motivation to cook or clean or be vertical, really. Luckily, Mike already had the kids and the dinner situation under control (my hero, as always), but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes he’s working late or the kids are a tornado of crazy and before we know it, it’s way past dinnertime and we’re reaching for whatever we can pop in the microwave.
Because stress-eating Nutella does not count as a meal, I’ve had to put some work into a little endeavor I’d like to call, “Making Dinner That Doesn’t Include Hot Dogs or Chicken Nuggets After Sitting in Traffic for Approximately Two Hours.” Since that isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing title, we’ll just go with Easy Weeknight Dinners.
And they are! Pinky swear. They are also low-maintenance when it comes to ingredients- things you probably already have on your grocery list or in your pantry. Get yourself a sheet pan, though, because that’s where most of this is heading. My favorite is this one from Target 🙂
Sheet Pan Fajitas // This literally could not have been any easier. Chop up a couple peppers, two or three chicken breasts, and put it all on a sheet pan. Mix olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt and drizzle it on top. Bake for about 25 minutes, done and done! No hot dogs in sight.
Mini Meatloaves // I grabbed this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers (follow the link to check out her post about this and other weeknight meals!) and Landon gave it all the thumbs up. I’ve never actually made meatloaf before, probably a result of the time my dad made “porkloaf” and the whole idea of meat in loaf form lost its appeal- love ya, Dad 🙂. These little minis can be made in a cupcake pan! Just a handful of ingredients, low-prep, big hit.
Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Tilapia // This is such a great, light, summertime meal! The lemon garlic butter makes the tilapia taste very Bonefish. Mike plated his so that he got a little asparagus, tomato, and tilapia in each bite and it was ah-mazing.
Chicken Fried Rice // This one is slightly more high-maintenance, but still something that can be thrown together in about thirty minutes! All you need are two cups of cooked white rice, frozen mixed vegetables, soy sauce, vegetable oil, two scrambled eggs, and chicken. Sometimes I grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store on the way home. If I have a little more time, I bread and fry the chicken instead- whatever works! Combine the rice and vegetables in a large skillet with about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and soy sauce to taste, then add in everything else.
Tortellini and Breadsticks // This is probably the least earth-shattering of the recipes I’m sharing, mostly because it isn’t so much a recipe as it is boiling frozen pasta and heating up a jar of pasta sauce. However, when you’re crawling toward the weekend, it’s a great secret weapon. Add some Texas Toast breadsticks and a salad and no one would ever know the entire process of “cooking” this meal took all of ten minutes. You’re welcome 🙂
Sheet Pan Nachos and S’mores Dip // Ok, so these aren’t meals. We’re having some friends over this weekend though, and I’m looking forward to trying them out!
What are your go-to weeknight meals? I feel like I always end up with the same handful on rotation, so I’d love to get some new ideas! You know where to find me 🙂
1 // So excited to share some official brandingfor ETG! I fell off the face of the blogging planet for most of 2016 (new job, small children, unhealthy amounts of Netflix) and I’m realizing how much I need this space. And even if it’s just for me, investing in it feels like a kind of self-care that is so necessary when everything else is for everyone else.
Jamie Sebby is nothing short of a rockstar when it comes to hand lettering and custom design! This is the third time I’ve asked for her help with a project, and I am in love with the banner she created. Definitely check out her shop on Etsy!
2 // Living that commuter life for the next couple of weeks! I can’t say it’s something I would want to do every day, but I’ve figured out how to manage it with lots of iced coffee and low expectations. Yes, I’m talking about you, Friday Rush Hour.
The Coffee + Crumbs podcast is my go-to in the mornings, brought to you by the writers of The Magic of Motherhood, which I’ve already raved about all over social media. So good. Each episode is roughly the length of my drive, and it feels like I’m sitting in on a conversation with my best friends.
This recipe for breakfast-on-the-go gets all the thumbs up! I made a batch on Sunday night (with sausage instead of spinach) and they were good for four days. I have a solid hour of planning before the kids arrive, and having a real, non-donut breakfast after the drive in was a great way to get the day started.
3 // Teaching a course called “Be a Scientist!” with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth! So far this week, we’ve explored chemistry, biology, forensics, genetics, and physiology. PHEW. It sounds very Ms. Frizzle but feels more like my brain is going to explode. The last time I had to know/care about the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells was ninth grade but ask me now! Forensics has been my favorite to teach so far overall, but the gross-factor of the digestive system model we made today might make it a close second 🙂
4 // Taking Landon shopping for school supplies and back-to-school clothes this weekend and I can’t even. Kindergarten? KINDERGARTEN. It’s happening. Pre-K graduation wasn’t all that long ago, and even in this short amount of time it’s crazy how he’s grown up. We’ve started reading chapter books at bedtime, he’s newly obsessed with playing video games, and he’s figuring out sarcasm and trying it on for size (and it’s hilarious). Who is this big kid???
Oshkosh is having a huge sale on all of the back-to-school essentials, so that’s where we’re heading! I’ll be the one crying over the baby clothes that are conveniently positioned right outside the dressing room while my five-year-old tries on jeans by himself 😦
We’re all looking for someone to give us permission to slow down- to be perfectly imperfect and uniquely different. So here it is. You have permission.
If we take care of ourselves the way we take care of everyone else, we’ll find all sorts of joy and be better for everyone we love.
PRAISE. HANDS. Right now that self-care looks like podcasts and breakfast-on-the-go and investing in this corner of the internet, but even those small things matter when we have to be so many things to so many people.
Ah, Summer Break. Unbelievably happy that you’re here (and seemingly unending). I am soaking up this time with the boys, but also feeling zero mom-guilt about sending them to daycare two days a week because sanity. Two days to do grown-up things like clean and walk laps around Target and eat snacks without hiding in my bathroom.
In the event that you, too, are relishing a few kid-free days and have big plans to check cleaning off of your list, this “how to” guide might just be the one for you.
How to Clean Your House in 15 Easy Steps!
1 // Take the children to daycare.
2 // Come home and immediately change back into your PJs.
3 // Actually, maybe a shower would be nice. Yes, while the children are at daycare and can’t barge in every few minutes to ask, Are you naked in there? and Did you know girls only have butts?
4 // Sweatpants.
5 // Get sucked into four episodes of Mad Men/Gilmore Girls/etc. Consider starting a load of laundry multiple times. Do not leave the bed.
7 // Carry the laundry downstairs because it’s noon and, well, that’s a start!
8 // Realize you haven’t eaten yet.
9 // Stop in the kitchen to make lunch and share it with no one. Eat it all in one sitting. This is amazing.
10 // Actually take the laundry to the laundry room.
11 // Pick up one of the two-year-old’s shirts and wonder how he ever got this big. Spend the next hour reminiscing by trolling your own Instagram.
12 // IT’S THREE O’CLOCK?!
13 // Clorox wipe everything. Run the vacuum like you’re being chased. Do two loads of laundry on the “quick wash” cycle.
14 // Pick up the children from daycare.
15 // Watch as the two-year-old spills his snacks and the five-year-old crushes them into crumbs on the carpet on his way to tear out every toy you own. It’s okay! There’s always tomorrow 🙂
In addition to all of the things you obviously need, these products and tricks of the trade are seriously life changing if you are seriously on a mission to clean. I use them, I love them, and they are essential to my cleaning routine (which is basically just Step #13, let’s be real).
The big secret about motherhood is that no one has any idea what they’re doing.
Especially with those firstborns (sorry, Landon).
There are plenty of books and blog posts and pictures on your Instagram feed that may make you feel otherwise, like someone out there must have this thing figured out. But what they don’t show are all the ways we’re trying and feel like we’re failing; all the time we spend worrying over how we handled that question or tantrum or request for a seventeenth snack; all of the neurotic Google searches about things like developmental milestones and does this rash look normal?
The closest thing anyone has to an “expert” on motherhood is other mothers.
Other mothers have tried and failed and learned something. They can assure you that you’re fine and they’re fine and they know when that rash is actually hand, foot, and mouth disease so clean everything in your house and we’ll see you in a week.
Other mothers know the struggles of making it to bedtime on a Wednesday night. They’re the ones we text when it’s 3AM and one is throwing up while the other is ready to greet the day and you’re wondering how many cups of coffee it’s going to take to be a functional human being in the morning. They know that even though this part is hard, you’re going to miss it someday, so hold on tight.
The best example of motherhood is, of course, my own mother!
She’s such an incredible example of what it looks like to work hard, love selflessly and unconditionally, and makes this job look easy. She’s the encouragement I need when I feel like I’m doing this all wrong, the one I text for advice or just the reassurance that everyone is alive so I’m doing okay.
She’s the best Gigi in the world! She’s always up for a Justin Timberlake concert or a Birthmas trip or running across Washington Square Park in the middle of the night to make it to a comedy show 🙂 She constantly goes out of her way to take care of us, and we would all be lost without her.
Everyone jokes about the horrors of realizing you’re turning into your mother, but it turns out it isn’t so bad. If I can be half the mother she is, I’ll be doing okay.
Mommas, we’re all doing okay. To all the women who hold us up and keep us going, Happy Mother’s Day!
Mike has been in Hawaii for a week, closing out a very full couple of months of traveling, and we are WAY ready for him to come home! Landon has been more emotional than a thirteen-year-old girl, and Alex demands that we play “Life’s a Happy Song” by “the BUPPETS!” on a loop. I may very well, in fact, lose my mind up in here, up in here. Hurry home, babe!
2 // Binge-watching The Mindy Project and considering re-bingeing Mad Men for the third time, because why not? Counting down until The Handmaid’s Tale and the new season of House of Cards premiere later this spring!
3 // Planning my spring break reading list! Here are a few of the books on my radar:
Jennifer Close and Taylor Jenkins Reid are two of my favorite authors, and the preview I read of Modern Lovers hooked me from the beginning. If you haven’t read Close or Reid’s other books, do it! You won’t want to put them down.
I could live in all of these clothes, probably because they’re #sobasic. Love the idea of a capsule wardrobe around a few essentials! Might save me from staring into my closet forever every morning so I can pack a lunch for work like a real grown-up. Thinking I could probably build one with the clothes I already have, but I’m definitely crazy-enamored these three shirts, accessories, and with these pants!
5 // So proud of our little preschool nugget!
He started a sight word challenge last week, and has already learned twenty-eight sight words. Seriously, who is this smart cookie?
He’s been with mostly the same crew since they were two years old, and his preschool recently created a separate class for ten of the kiddos who were ready for more of a challenge. How awesome is that?! Landon loves to learn, and we couldn’t imagine a more perfect place with more amazing teachers to help him grow 🙂
Today’s sermon– and the whole Love Songs series- has really made me appreciate the guy I get to share this life with! Definitely worth watching or re-watching (and how gorgeous is that print from JS Lettering?!).
7 // Looking forward to lots of fun this spring and summer! Mike and I are heading to relive our pre-kid glory days at a John Mayer concert in DC in April, and we are traveling to Florida in June for our first family vacation since, oh, 2012. We have big plans for the beach and a day trip to Disney, but Landon is mostly just excited about being on an airplane.
Also looking forward to the impending blizzard, because who doesn’t love a couple of snow days?? Here’s hoping the meteorologists got it right and we’ll be snuggled up in our PJs for a few days this week 🙂