Friday, June 27, 2014

5 on Friday

Happy Friday! It looks like the gals are going to be taking a break from the 5 on Friday link-up so I thought I'd do one final 5 to wrap things up for the Summer. I may continue to do some kind of weekly wrap up until 5 on Friday comes back this fall, but we shall see.

Here we go...

My wonderful husband bought me a FitBit and I'm a little obsessed. It probably doesn't help that 2 of  my friends have one and we can compete to see who gets the most steps. It does lots of amazing things, but I find myself using the step tracker and calories burned the most out of all the features.

The week after you come home from vacation sucks. I've looked at our vacation pictures so many times this week and it makes me both happy and depressed at the same time. I've honestly been trying to figure out a way I could make a career out of being a professional vacationer. 

I've been looking for a 4th of July recipe that's festive and at the same time not the typical strawberry, blueberry dessert. I'm thinking about making one of these for the holiday.

Sunday is Jack's birthday party since we were on the way back from beach on his actual birthday. Now that everyone has received their invitations I can finally show you them.
Are they not adorable?!? I was originally going to go with an all blue theme, but changed my mind at the last minute after I had already created different invitations. This theme fits him so much since he LOVES food and books. I ordered this off ETSY. Message me if you would like the name of the shop and I'll look it up, but there were lots of hungry caterpillar invitations and party supplies on the site.

How is June almost over? This month has flown by and I can't believe next week marks the beginning of July and husband's birthday month. As cliche as it is, I'm determined to make a bucket list for the rest of our summer if for no other reason than to help me remember some of the things I want to do.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jack {12 months}

Sweet Jack. The day has officially come and gone and you are the big one year old. I honestly cannot believe an entire year has gone by since we welcomed you into the world. 
You are so kind, funny, and pretty dang adorable. You've brought so much love into our lives and your big, toothy smile instantly brightens my day. You're starting to develop your own personality, complete with little melt-downs and all. With each day that passes I see less of my little baby and more of a toddler and this excites me and makes me sad all at the same time.

I can't wait to see how much you change and grow in this next year. I'm hoping time slows down and that I'm able to soak in every last bit of baby you have left. I plan to rock and cuddle you and sing You Are My Sunshine until you fight me off and then I plan to do it some more. 

We just love you so much Jackers. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

We're Baaaacccckkkkk!

Welp we're back from vacation and it's bittersweet. By the last day I was ready for my own bed and to walk around bare foot without sand sticking to my feet. By the time we got home and unpacked though I was already missing the beach, our incredible beach house, and not worrying about anything except what swimsuit to wear and what to eat for lunch. The life.

I had grand plans of getting posts scheduled for while we were gone, but time got away from me and I figured having a packed suitcase was more important than a recipe post.

I'll be recapping our trip in full the rest of this week, so get excited or scroll on past. I also want to mention that our sweet little baby turned one on Saturday and I silently cried in the corner. Until I get all the photos sorted out, I'll leave you with two of my favorite photos from the trip.

Pure joy at the ice cream shop

Playing hard in the sand means sand everywhere. Even in baby eyelashes.

It's good to be back!
Friday, June 13, 2014

5 on Friday

Happy Happy Friday everyone. We have had tons of rain this week so I hope the weather cooperates as we get ready for our beach vacation!

Let's get to it, shall we?

Yesterday Ben had a field trip with his school to the St. Louis Zoo. The rain held off until we left and it was a great time. Last year the zoo opened a new Sea Lion exhibit with one of those underwater tunnels where the animals swim over you. Such a neat view of these adorable animals!

I've been thinking about these Sweet Tea Lemonade Mojitos ever since Kristin over at Iowa Girl Eats posted the recipe. I think they would be awesome for the beach, don't you?

Ben went to his first overnight church camp at the beginning of the week. It was only one night and two days, but I missed him like crazy. Of course he had tons of fun and didn't miss us one bit. Ben's cousin's church does this camp every year and I think it's so great they have something for the younger kids. Did I mention it was in the woods? I went to church camp growing up, but it was a lot less wilderness-y than this.

I've never met a baby more obsessed with Mexican, specifically salsa, as Jack. Seeing him dip his chip in the salsa is beyond funny. Of course he doesn't actually eat the chip, he just likes the salsa off and then re-dips. You obviously don't want to be stuck having to share the salsa bowl with him.


Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Little Light

I've seen 2 rainbows in the past 3 weeks. Make that 3 if you count the double rainbow from yesterday.  I thought it might mean I'm lucky, but when I looked up all the possible meanings of rainbows everything but luck was on the list. Oh. At least we're not all gonna die by a giant flood covering the entire Earth.

Ben is totally my child. He was just as excited as I was to see it. I'm sure the people behind me thought I was crazy when I abrubtly pulled over to take pictures. We could see the rainbow the entire way home and Ben said the rainbow was sticking around because we were staying good things about it. Is that not the cutest?

I called J and told him to go outside RIGHT NOW and look at the huge rainbow. I was shocked when I rushed home and didn't find him standing in the middle of our street trying to get a peek. wtf. 

Hopefully this will brighten your day as we reach the down hill slide to Friday. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Random Thoughts on a Monday

Happy Monday Friends!

//This week is a short one for me as we'll be off to the beach in just a few short days//  

//After the kids went to bed Saturday night, J and I had a little date night at home and watched the movie Non-Stop with Liam Neeson. Pretty good action flick that will leave you tying to guess who done it throughout//

//Ben is such a great big brother. He is always trying to teach Jack what to do and not do. Like eat chalk:)//

//There's something about sleeping babies I can't get enough of//

//Have you all seen the commercial from Mass Mutual about the mom of a child with special needs? You'll definitely need a tissue//

//How come even though I do laundry all weekend, it still never gets caught up? #firstworldproblems//

//I've finally decided on a theme for Jack's 1st birthday and finished designing the invitations last night. After hemming and haing over a theme, I decided to go with blue. Yes, just the color blue. Easy, classic, and it leaves me with so many choices. You'll have to wait to see what the actual invites look like, but I did come across this banner while browsing Pinterest. Isn't it hilarious and such a cute idea?//

Cheers to the start of a great week!

Friday, June 6, 2014

5 on Friday

Happy Friday Friends!

This week's 5 is going to be a little different. Last night our first baby graduation for pre-k. I may have cried. Several times. A few times. So.... for today's 5 on Friday I'm going to list my top 5 moments from the last 5 years with our little guy who is not so little anymore (in no particular order).

Ben did AMAZING! He was the perfect child during the entire time-and I don't say often. Hardly ever if we're being honest; he's a boy. He smiled, sang, and received his diploma like a champ. He even let me a take million photos afterwards without whining. I am SO proud of him. And in case you need a cry, listen to Bruno Mars' song, 123, then imagine a bunch of 5 year olds singing it. Especially if you're reading this at work. It's the fastest way to get you labeled as the crazy person in the office.

I remember you being this small, but yet I can't imagine it looking at you now.

First Christmas
You were so excited even though you had no idea what it was all about.

I love watching you become involved with sports and the growth you make with each and every practice and game.

Becoming a brother
There are no words to describe how I felt at this moment except complete and total love.

Congrats on your graduation! Love you big man!
Thursday, June 5, 2014

One Eye Open

Now that Jack is walking and constantly on the move, it's important to be extra careful of where you lay down. And if you should find yourself falling fast asleep and within his reach, always keep one eye open. Or you just may find yourself getting woken up by a whack on your head or a finger in your eyeball. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Bachelorette Hits Chicago Part 2 {Places, Food, & Reviews)

Today I'm letting you all know about where we stayed, what we ate, and what we thought about it all. To see pictures of people not just food, check out this post.

Let's start with the hotel. We stayed at the Omni on Michigan Ave in a double bed suite. I would definitely recommend this hotel if you are going with a larger group. The couch in the living room pulls out to a queen size bed and you can also request a rollaway from the front desk. The location of the hotel was perfect and right in heart of everything. We were directly across from the Apple Store and next door to Zara on Michigan. The hotel staff was extremely friendly and housekeeping put up with our multiple requests for more towels without so much as a sigh.
pictures from the hotel website

Another great thing about the Omni is their bar and restaurant, 676. Our plan was to eat lunch when we arrived in the city, but due to a later start than planned and LOTS of traffic, we ended up getting to our hotel around 4:30pm. We didn't want to eat a big meal since we had dinner reservations at 8, so we headed to our hotel's restaurant where we tried out their drinks and shared some appetizers.

 Blood Orange Whiskey Sour
Honestly, it wasn't my favorite. It was pretty dang strong and I couldn't taste a drop of orange. I happened to pick Alissa's drink for her and of course it was delicious! I can't remember the name, but it had champagne and strawberries. Strawberry Cobbler? Find the correct name and then get that drink.

3 of us shared this spinach dip. I'm pretty picky about spinach dips and most are just so so. This was amazing. 

Our friend Jamie ordered this shrimp flat bread pizza. I've never had shrimp on pizza and before eating this had convinced myself I wouldn't like it. You guys. All of us were talking about this pizza afterwards. If people still used the phrase, it was the bomb, IT WAS THE BOMB.
Drinks at 676 run anywhere from $8-$15 dollars with beers being a little less expensive. This was about the typical price range we found for drinks at most places. Appetizers were also pretty standard  $7-$15 dollars, but sharable with multiple people.

Later that night we headed to RPM Italian, Giuliana and Bill Rancic's establishment. Unless you want to wait, reservations are a must. We got there a little before our 8:00pm reservation, headed over to the bar, and when our table was ready they sent a text to our phone. I was really hoping this place lived up to hype and it didn't disappoint.

Sorry for the pic quality. It was dark in there.

I can't remember the name of my drink, but it was pretty good.

We got a couple of appetizers to share and these stuffed roasted peppers were a perfect little bite. They are little and stuffed with a chunk of provolone cheese (I believe it's provolone). The peppers must also be pickled because they were slightly sweet as well. This wasn't what we were expecting at all when we read the name on the menu, but they were a pleasant and delicious surprise.

We also ordered the garlic truffle bread. There's truffle in it. Enough said.

One thing to note about RPM is that all of the portions are relatively small (or small as we think of it in the US). I got the lobster ravioli and it was delicious. All the pasta is homemade and you could definitely tell. The pasta dishes were comparable to what you can expect to pay at the Olive Garden, but obviously way better quality.
Add RPM on your list of places to eat if you love Italian, however if you are starving and want LOTS of food, you may find yourself disappointed.

The bellman at our hotel found us a hilarious and fast taxi driver to take us to RPM.  Bonus: he had lights like the cash cab. To our disappointment, he wasn't the cash cab. The driver's name was Dil and I'd highly recommend him. He gave us his cell phone and we called him when we were ready to be picked up. Let me know if you live or will be in the city and want to experience the experience that is Dil.

Saturday we ate breakfast at the Corner Bakery near our hotel. For a chain, the breakfast was pretty standard, but good. Next time, I'd skip the chain and head to a more local place like Brunch.

After some serious shopping we headed to Gino's East on Dearborn. Note that there are SEVERAL Gino's locations. So many in fact that half of our party was at a completely different one and our taxi driver dropped us off at yet another Gino's location that was also not the Dearborn one. The Ginos on Dearborn looked newer and had much more of a pub feel. If you want the Ginos where you can right on the wall, this is NOT the one. The weather was nice so we sat outside on their cute little patio. This location was also way less crowded and we didn't have to wait for a table.

It's not a bachelorette party without some of these. These were blueberry flavored and pretty tasty for a shot.

And no trip to Chicago is complete without the deep dish pizza. We got the vegetarian and as always it didn't disappoint. One piece is usually enough so order accordingly and remember the pizza's often take 45 minutes to bake because they are so deep (twss).

Before dinner Saturday night, a few of us headed back up to 676 in our hotel after a long day of walking around the city. I tried my first Moscow Mule and it was much better than I expected. This is the perfect refreshing drink and not too sweet. Plus, how cute are these coper mugs!

Dinner Saturday night was at the Packing House. Looking at the menu you might be a little scared, but trust me, try things you normally wouldn't. We all got different dishes and shared and each one was fantastic. I highly recommend the lamb, crab spaghettini, and the roasted chicken. This restaurant is pretty pricey and dishes range from $18-$40. The restaurant's also about a 10 minute car ride from the city so plan accordingly.

After dinner we took a much less fun taxi to Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar. This place was WAY more packed than we expected and there was little room to even move around. If we had to do it over again we would have reserved a table and gotten there earlier. There were several other bachelor/bachelorette parties that night as well. The concierge at our hotel had passes for free cover, which was $10. If you stay at a hotel with this service, take advantage of it. Concierge's usually have passes for free covers and may even be able to make reservations that you couldn't get.

Well I think that's all. Feel ready to conquer Chicago? Please email me with any other questions, even if it's something/somewhere that I didn't list above! This gal is also great a resource:)