What’s Up Wednesday

This has been a crazy few weeks. Between final exams, the short turn around from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and other life stuff, I felt like we needed to do a bit of a check in. So I’m linking up today with Mix and Match Mama and Sheaffer Told Me To to do a what’s up Wednesday.

1: WHAT WE’RE EATING THIS WEEK:

Corn chowder, potatoes au gratin, chicken and broccoli roll-ups, carnitas, and salmon with rice.

2. WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:

Planning for Disney trips! We aren’t doing that right now because of our house building and I miss it. Also, this awesome hot chocolate with a cookie I had last weekend:

3. WHAT I’M LOVING:

This sugar caramel lip balm. I put it on at night after I shower and then I follow it up with Kiehls lip balm before I go to bed.

4. WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

Basketball! And school, work, last minute Christmas shopping, etc.

5. WHAT I’M DREADING:

I’ve got to take the boys to get their hair cut this week. The barber that cuts their hair does a great job, but it’s the process, time, and the fact that I can’t schedule an appointment (they only take walk-ins).

6. WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

I’m up for reappointment at my job in January which means I’ve been multitasking working on my dossier:

And wrapping presents:

7. WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:

Christmas! And having two weeks of no school, so sleeping in and lazy mornings.

8: WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

I’m half-way through The Giver of Stars, but I’ve had The Conviction on hold at the library and it just became available, so I’m going to need to read that fast once I get it before it’s due back in two weeks.

I watched all of the new season of Fuller House and I’ve been finishing out The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt series while working on present wrapping. The boys and I are working our way through Holiday Baking Championship and, of course, The Mandalorian.

9: WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

Besides Christmas music on repeat, I finished another podcast episode of Forever Thirty-Five, and I’m currently listening to this episode of The Splendid Table. I also really like Conan O’ Brien Needs a Friend podcast.

10: WHAT I’M WEARING:

Layers on repeat because we’re having thirty degree weather swings this week.

11: WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:

A whole lot of baking and B’s parents are coming to town for a couple of days. I made lemon chocolate chip cookies this past weekend for a work event for B and I need to make another batch for the boys.

12: WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:

Honestly, getting my dossier done and turned in is high on that list. Also, a new Semester! I’m excited for the new class formats I’m teaching in and meeting all my new students.

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Building a little investment

We have taken a big leap at the end of this year, and we’re moving! We’ve decided to build a house, and will be selling our home in the Spring. It’s been a faith filled journey, as we very much love our current home, but we are just completely out of space. The boys need more indoor space, and we need an office that doesn’t have Fortnite being played in it. We have thought a lot, prayed more, and even though it’s scary for four people who don’t like change, we are walking in confidence that this is the right move. And the final move. I think B and I say “and we are never moving again after this” at least once a day.

With our new house we get to make quite a few more design and decor decisions than we did in our last house. These past few weeks have been a lot of this or that. Such as:

This or that mirror:

This or that cabinets & this or that countertops:

These blinds that come with the house or purchase on our own:

If you follow me on Pinterest you’ll notice the deluge of pictures of kitchens and cabinets. I’m excited to share the process on here as we go through it! I’ve created a specific board on Pinterest entitled Our Red Brick House if you want to follow along with all of my design ideas and choices connected to our new house.

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Fall Everlasting

Happy Veterans Day! Our families are represented by every branch of the armed services, so this is truly a special day to remember all our loved ones who have served and are currently serving in the military. This weekend we went shopping for Operation Christmas Child, and, per our usual, it was a family affair:

Shopping for shoeboxes to send is one of the ways we usher in the holiday season every year. And while the boys are itching to put up all the Christmas decorations, this year I’m taking things a bit slower. We have recently been considering a big step towards building a new home, and while the prospect is exciting, we love our house. With that in mind I’ve been fully embracing our home in each season. Instead of going directly from Halloween to Christmas I’m hanging in the in between, tapping into the Thanksgiving season with lots of gratitude. I’ve been keeping up with my gratitude yoga(J has hopped on the yoga train with me), steadily reading through the Kings reading series, and enjoying the simplicity of our fall decor.

Just a bit on the mantle:

A few touches on the hutch:

And in our plant corner:

Our foyer has a few pops of Fall and a gratitude reminder:

And our Nespresso/Tea station features some perfect mugs:

Even though things are kind of speeding up around here, I’m working really hard to slow down and just take every day as it is. Good for all of us and good for gratitude.

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Puzzle of the month

Putting together puzzles has become one of our favorite wind down activities during the week. I purchase one every month or so, and we slowly put it together, doing just a few pieces (or more) at a time. I’ve found that it keeps me from sitting down and immediately checking social media. I’ve collected up some of our favorites to share!

Popsicles

New York City Subway

Summer at the Amusement Park

World Map

Winter Wonderland

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Week of Outfits

 

 

Tuesday: Anthropologie top (similar here), Anthropologie tank, JCrew skirt, DSW wedges (old similar here)

Wednesday: JCrew top, JCrew skirt, Sandals (old similar here)

Thursday: JCrew Factory cardigan, Target tank, Banana Republic pants, Nordstrom sandals

Friday: Anthropologie sweatshirt, Gap pants (current season style), Nordstrom wedges (similar here)

The best part of the week was my sister and I showing up to school pick-up in coordinating outfits, down to our shoes:

Must be our sister brain!

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Camping Monte Sano

This past weekend we rented a camper and headed out to spend the evening at one of our favorite local parks. In high allergy season, B wanted to take the boys camping, but sleeping out in a tent would lead to lots of allergy issues for everybody. As a compromise, B rented a trailer. We headed out with a very simple plan, hike a bit, make hot dogs and s’mores, and play Go Fish. Monte Sano has a multitude of trails, and although we have hiked many of them, we haven’t yet hiked them all. We did a portion of the fire tower trail and blue trail to take a tour of the camp ground areas:

And we also cut through the Japanese Gardens:

This is definitely one of the gems of Monte Sano, we love this spot:

And the bamboo forrest:

I think one of the boys’ favorite things from the trip was all of the deer. We saw several, including a fawn (that I couldn’t capture a picture of), but I did get this one:

Although it’s still pretty hot here, the abundant tree cover on these trails keeps it much cooler:

We had a fun time and the boys are already talking about the next time we go!

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Prime day deals

We purchased a few things on “Prime Day”. I thought I’d share some of our best deals, and some of our favorites!

First up, these are the specific prime day deals…

The ring doorbell. This has been a long time coming in our house. Our front door has limited visibility, so this was something we’ve had on our list for awhile.

Sports thermoses for the boys. Another necessary item…all of ours are lost or broken.

Collagen peptides. A scoop of this goes in my coffee every day.

 

I’m starting on back to school shopping and copy paper is on the list (I bought the three reams 30% recycled for the best deal) .

This could be the best deal of the day for me, and I put it on my birthday list for B to purchase:

I also picked up this rarely on sale Stila liner:

Second, these aren’t prime day deals specifically, but were good prices:

Under Armour shoes for A:

Composition notebook packs for school supply list:

T-shirt sets for the boys:

Happy shopping!

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This and That

This week we tested out Picky Palate’s Fire-Fly Disneyland recipe:

It turned out really tasty and the boys loved that they thought at first we were only having Fritos for dinner:

I actually browned the meat (I didn’t use sausage) and then added all the ingredients into my slow cooker on low for about 7 hours. This is awesome for a group or party!

We also made red, white, and blue popcorn this week:

And went to a local Concert in the Park that the kids had a blast at:

And I had a crab cake sandwich that I might be headed back to Concerts in the Park in July to have again:

It was from one of our local food trucks, In the Bun, and it was so good!

And I’ve also got this coffee on my list to get next time we’re at the Arsenal Coffee truck:

And finally, my parents’ pool is open! The boys are going to have a blast!

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What’s Up Wednesday

I always enjoy these monthly check-ins on my favorite blogs to follow, so I thought I’d join in on the fun!

1. What we’re eating this week:

S- freezer white chicken chili with corn bread

M-  tomato soup and grilled cheese

T- freezer pork chops with sweet potatoes 

W – cilantro lime chicken with brown rice

Th- penne with marinara and salad

And these AMAZING cookies:

2. What I’m reminiscing about:

Painting class with my Mom! I can’t wait to go again.

3. What I’m loving:

My new lamp in our reading corner

And my one tulip that survived the cold snap and winds out front:

4. What we’ve been up to:

Work, school, baseball

5. What I’m dreading:

The pile of papers that is about to flood my grading inbox.

6. What I’m working on:

My new Crisis Communication course I’m teaching this fall, and grading all those papers I just mentioned. I’m happiest when my inbox looks like this:

7. What I’m excited about:

Heading to the beach in just a few months!

8: What I’m watching/reading:

I’m binge watching Schitt’s Creek and it is hilarious and my new favorite show.

I’m finishing up reading A Bite Sized History of France:

And I’m really enjoying the daily study on She Reads Truth.

9. What I’m listening to:

Forver 35 Podcast & Matt Goulding’s interview on Milk Street Radio Podcast

10. What I’m wearing:

My current favorite Spring sweatshirt and jean skirt.

And my trio of Nordstrom sandals (beige, striped-updated version here, orange):

11. What I’m doing this weekend:

Dinner with friends! We’re making penne alla Betsy, salad, and crusty bread.

And we’re probably sitting at a baseball practice at some point.

12. What I’m looking forward to next month:

Easter! I’m already working on the boys’ Easter baskets and I’m particularly excited about these devotional studies I found for them (and one for me).

Bonus Question: what’s my favorite Easter side dish:

Deviled eggs, no question!

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This and That

This is how the boys usually wake up during the week:

 

This is A helping me shop at Whole Foods, one of our new favorite stops:

These are the puzzle pieces of our popsicle puzzle that we are currently working on:

These are the watermelon margaritas B and I had with our nachos and tacos Friday night:

This is the great shrimp lo mein B made this Saturday night:

And this is the Mickey from Mickey’s 90th Birthday Tsum Tsum set that A got for J’s upcoming birthday:

Birthday Tsum Tsums will make for a very excited seven year old!

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