Friday, October 2, 2020

Fall Bucket List, Recipes, and Other Fun Things

Happy fall, friends! Here we are, already in October with over a month of school behind us and me fully back to work. The leaves are changing, the temperatures are dropping, and we're doing our best to make this season fun despite the life suck that is COVID. We always put together a list of things we want to do together, and though it looks a little different, it's still my favorite time of year. 

I always love to download Kelle Hampton's Fall Bucket List every year. She makes one for each season, but fall is always the best. We hang this one the refrigerator and check things off as we go. This year's is even COVID friendly  — all items you can do safely with your families, friends or alone in your cozy little house. Plus, it gives me an excuse to buy some comfy sweatpants.

I put together some Halloween baskets for the boys and baby, delivered a little early to build some fall excitement. Oskar's been wearing cat ears every single day, and August's first question every morning is, "Does my Hey Boo shirt match with these pants?" Other favorite items were this fake snake and spider, glow in the dark bath bombs, this book on the body, and these I Can Read Spooky Story books.

We kicked off our soup Sunday tradition again, making our tried and true favorites while also adding in some new recipes to try this year. The latest win: this veggie minestrone soup with warm crusty bread. There's nothing like a huge pot of soup simmering all day on a crisp and lazy fall Sunday. 

Hand in hand with lazy Sundays comes this Countdown to Halloween movie list, so many of which are from the 90's and I'm loving it almost as much as the boys.

I've rounded up some fun fall treats that we've already made or have on the docket, including these amazing oatmeal cream pies, these pumpkin s'mores cookies, and this amazing cranberry pistachio biscotti. 


We're talking about--and changing our minds on--Halloween costumes just about every day (looking at you, Oskar), so I really have no idea what the boys will finally decide. August is pretty set on Luigi, but he dresses up as him every single day anyway, so Halloween won't be much different as far as that goes. Maren has the perfect jack-o-lantern half smile, so she's really destined to be a pumpkin. Stay tuned.



A few things that I've bought for myself and LOVED: this tee, SO perfect for layering, these woven mules in saddle brown, and this super soft mock neck boxy tee.

Wishing you guys a happy and healthy fall. Thanks for reading along, especially now that posts are a little harder to get together around here. Hoping to report back for Prime Day in a few weeks to kick off holiday shopping :).

Friday, September 4, 2020

6 to 9 Month Favorites for Baby

Happy happy Friday, friends! My last one before starting work next week. It's hard to believe it's been 6 whole months. I thought I was ready to go back, and now that Tuesday looms ahead, I'm feeling a huge pit in my stomach, not knowing how I'm going to balance it all with the added joys of virtual learning and taking care of an infant on the side. Though the boys have a teacher, they'll still be at home, which is also where I'll be working from. We weren't comfortable sending Maren to daycare, so she'll be my tiny wing woman for the time being, with my mom and Matt's mom helping to take care of her when they can, and Matt taking vacation days to fill in the gaps. It'll be a circus around here, but all we can do is take it a day at a time. 

On to the goods. I rounded up all of Maren's and my FAVORITE things for her age, which just so happens to be one of the best. I love how aware, alert, charismatic, and curious she is. She's learning how to sit, started sleeping in a crib through the night, and BEST OF ALL, she REACHES FOR ME. Is there ANYTHING BETTER than that?

Owlet: This small sock on baby's foot reads heartbeat and oxygenation levels throughout the night, so instead of me constantly waking and checking on her like I used to do, this puts my mind at ease. This is right around the age where babies move to cribs and SIDS rates are at their highest, and the peace of mind that this little gadget provides has provided me many added hours of sleep.

Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair: The high chair I always wanted but was priced out of until I found it on Nordstrom’s Anniversary sale and price matched elsewhere once they sold out of it. Not only is it beautiful, it’s so dang functional and perfect for Maren to sit at the table with all of us. After reading articles written by occupational therapists, I came to understand the importance of a solid foundation for feet while eating. Without a footrest, babies and toddlers feel imbalanced and insecure, which makes eating more of a challenge. This chair should transition well into the toddler years by removing the baby seat. Plus, once we’re all done with it, the resale value holds strong.

Sleep Sack: The comfiest, coziest, PRETTIEST sleep sack that there ever was. Maren slept through her entire first night in her crib in this. Hanna Andersson quality at an Amazon price. I adore these.

Playtime Peekaboo Books: The absolute best books for this age. I swear by these, and started my boys on them when they were babies. Maren has already learned to lift the flaps and anticipates the pop up pictures. Perfect before bedtime to establish the bath/books/bed routine.

Teethers: Maren's favorite things in life. So easy to grip and for little hands to hold. Everything goes right into the mouth these days, and these are great for little teething gums to gnaw.

Outward Facing Carrier: I moved Maren into this outward facing carrier after she outgrew her infant carrier (from my 0-3 months favorites post, here).  She's so much more alert, aware, and curious about her surroundings, and facing outward on our daily walks makes her squeal with glee.

Baby Swing: We've had this since Oskar was a baby, and it's just as big of a hit for her as it was for him. One of my very favorite things to do with her on cooler mornings or on pretty fall days.

Baby Walker: I don't know what else I can say over the 22,000 5-star reviews that this thing has, but it's a classic for a reason. The front board comes off to play with on the floor for tummy time or for sitters, and clips back on to be pushed around for cruisers. We sing these songs all darn day.

Leaf Spoons: The very best spoons for solids, these get EVERY last bit of food and are so satisfying and gentle on baby's gums.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Our Remote School Room

Happy (?) back to school 😖! This isn't where I had hoped we would be this many months into the pandemic, but alas, here we are. We opted for remote school for our boys for a whole slew of reasons, and are doing our best to make some magical lemonade out of the really shitty lemons we've been given. To be honest, this whole situation brings up a lot of emotions, and at materials pick-up for Oskar yesterday I really fought back tears seeing his in-classroom peers all in masks, holding their hands out in front of them while walking as to maintain social distancing, standing next to a taped off playground that is closed for the indefinite future. It felt so apocalyptic and surreal, and while I know that kids are SO resilient (and likely JUST fine), I couldn't help feeling overwhelmed with sadness. So anyways. I've been feeling the feels and then letting them go, and really trying to focus on the positive, especially for the boys. Oskar is my empath and picks up on and internalizes other people's feelings super easily, so I'm doing my best to be cognizant of that as we go into the school year together. One of the things we've done is put together a fun remote school room for both brothers to learn in, with a teacher that will be with them daily going over their school district curriculum and supplementing with her own. So Kindergarten and Pre-K, HERE. WE. GO.

We turned our dining room into a learning space, with a nice oversized table that gives them lots of room to spread out with Oskar's computer, their papers, arts, crafts, and projects. I decorated with neutral-ish decor in that hopes that one day soon, this can transform back into what it originally served as, and the boys are able to return to a traditional classroom setting.

The supply cart is super handy because the boys can pull out whatever drawer they need, bring it to the table, and return it when they're done. I loved the look of the open carts, but knew that ours would end up a mess and never stay organized. This one keeps everything tucked neatly inside where I can't see it. And everything has a home. 


I added the grid board to hang important papers or what they're working on, and will probably also add a wire line to hang art projects for display or to dry. 

The calendar was a fun DIY. August and I shopped for materials (his jam), and Oskar and I painted. Lowes or Home Depot carry sheets of acrylic on the cheap, and you can use either whiteboard markers or chalkboard markers to add your days and months. 

Finally, I got them new book bags and ironed on their first initials for a personalized touch and stuffed them to the brim with school supplies--things they'll need anyway, but still new and exciting to them. They also got new shoes and new water bottles--kind of like getting underwear on Christmas, but they loved it anyway.

Wishing EVERYONE a happy, safe, and healthy school year, no matter how that looks for you. We got this.




Letter Board

Glass Bottle

Marigolds & Vase

Home Sweet Homeschool sign and Frame

Grid Board

Feels Good to be Home sign

Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Day of School flags

Be Kind and Brave Banner

Star Garland

Pom Garland

Bookbags (iron on letters from Michaels for ~$1)

..anything else, just ask!


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Our Coronavirus Bathroom DIY

Hi everyone! Here with a fun post today. I super impulsively suggested (and then made Matt dive into) a bathroom renovation DIY over the last month. What I thought would be SUPER simple, well...wasn't exactly that in the end, but we still made a pretty drastic improvement with not a huge investment. We were forced to keep the vanity because when we first moved into our house, we replaced all of the crazy, mismatched flooring with hardwoods throughout, but didn't remove the bathroom vanity to place flooring underneath it. If we were to have removed the vanity now, that would have meant having to lay hardwood underneath it this many years later, and it just so happened that the flooring that we had selected 5 years ago has since been discontinued. SO. The original vanity had to stay. What I didn't know before I signed us up for this project was that the vanity was a totally custom size, which meant we couldn't simply order a new vanity top online. The biggest chunk of money went into the granite that we picked from a scrap pile left over from someone else's kitchen reno, which we then had sized and edged to fit our bathroom. Otherwise, it was fairly smooth sailing. We did everything else ourselves (really, it was mostly Matt), and even the wallpaper wasn't that big of a deal when all was said and done, though that's the part that we were dreading most. The toilet leaked a few times and the sink gave us a week worth of trouble that required Matt's dad to come in for reinforcement, but I'm happy to report that it's all in working order now. So here it is, the final product!

First, some before pictures. This space went pretty much untouched from the time we moved in. We used to call this the men's locker room because it reminded us of exactly that.

And here, the beautiful afters! Sources are all below if you have questions on where anything is from.


Hardware: cabinet pulls and hinges

Have you taken on any coronavirus projects while cooped inside? Would love to hear about anything you've DIY'ed in the last few months! No more reno for us until we're ready to tackle the very last project in our house: the guest bathroom upstairs. We'll save that beast for another year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

June Amazon Favorites

Hi! It's getting harder and harder to make time to get anything on the blog these days, but I really wanted to round up my favorite Amazon finds from June because THERE WERE SO MANY GOOD ONES. Several of these I received as birthday gifts, others I gifted myself since I'm 3-on-1 for 12 hours a day and, well, online shopping is my friend. The perfect little summer line up, if I do say so myself.

1. Lacoste Hat: I've been wearing this almost daily on my walks with the kids. It's a men's hat but fits and flatters my head so much better than a women's hat, and I love it.

2. Sunglasses: I've had the same old Ray Bans for 10 years, but find myself reaching for these even more. They're so fun for summer and are cheap enough to toss into a diaper bag and not have to worry about losing or breaking them.

3. T Shirt Dress: The easiest, comfiest, semi-put together summer outfit.

4. Cover Up: This is gorgeous. We have a pool, and am almost always in a swimsuit with this over top these days.

5.Coin Necklace: The most beautiful necklace that pairs with nearly anything. I love the chunkier chain and the coin pendant--really I just love it all.

6. Salt Spray: I love this salt spray to give my hair some texture and volume.

7. Lotion: Smells like heaven. The perfect lotion for summertime skin.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Our Family "Porchraits"

Hi friends! Here to share some of our family "porchraits" that we had taken a few weeks back--a way to document our growing family while still maintaining social distancing. I love that these were taken at our home, where the boys feel happiest and most comfortable, and where we've spent a pretty continuous (and not always easy) 4 months together. These will serve as pretty nice covers to their quarantine scrapbooks, a way to look back at this sh*tshow of a year and to remember all the uncertainty and chaos. A piece of history, right?

With cases exploding again, stay safe, stay home. We're (still) all in this together.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Funny Kid Quotes: Oskar and August Edition

I was updating some baby books today and ended up reminiscing by pulling out one of our favorite things to flip through: this "My Quotable Kid" book in which we've written all of the funny things the boys have said over the years. I thought I'd share some favorites, below. Some of them really make me laugh out loud just thinking about them. Side note: highly recommend this as a gift for any toddlers in your lives.

Matt: Oskar, I love reading to you so much.
Oskar: Turn the page, weirdo.

August: They were talking about my eye while I was sleeping.
Matt: Behind your back?
August: No, my eye.

Matt: We're so lucky to have your mama.
Oskar: I know.
Matt: She's so beautiful.
Oskar: You're right, she is.
Matt: And she's always nice.
Oskar: She always is.
Matt: And she never yells.
Oskar: Yeah, she does yell.

August: Eeney meeney miney mo / Catch a tiger by the toe / If he hollers than you catch him.

After smashing my toe and breaking my toenail, I cried out in pain. Oskar came to the rescue to comfort me and told me, "It's OK mama, now you can put your toenail in your baby book."

August, in reference to toys he left outside: Oh great. Now they're all thunderstormed.

Oskar (as he picks a red card in candy land): "DAN. Oh. Sorry." (thinking he swore)

Nana took Oskar to the store, where a mom lost her patience with her daughter and yelled at her. Oskar turned to Nana and said, "She's probably a step-mother."

August: Can we play...can we play Super...Super Super Mario Party. How did I remember that?! I have such a bad memory, like Mummo (their grandma)!

Oskar: Do I have to work when I grow up?
Matt: Yes, because you need money.
Oskar: Why?
Matt: For food.
Oskar: I am going to make my workers give me candy.

Oskar, going downstairs: Be brave, be brave, be brave...HEY COME DOWN HERE, I CAN'T BE BRAVE.


August: Pick on your own smell (instead of size).

Oskar, while looking at a gold cross he got for his baptism: "Look mama! It's the Jesus logo."

August: In the Steelers game, do the Steelers kiss?

August, half asleep on the couch: "...can you....put...olives in my hand?"

Oskar: Dada, what are you reading about?
Matt: It's abougt a golfer.
Oskar: What happened to him?
Matt: Nothing, he just grew up near Pittsburgh and got famous.
Oskar: Did he die?
Matt: Well, yeah...but...
Oskar: I knew that would happen to him.

I hope these brightened your Monday like they did mine. Have a great week, my friends, and always pick on your own smell.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

A Letter to Oskar on his 6th Birthday

Today, you’re six whole years.  Still up at 6am every day, still so incredibly full of life. You spend every second talking, analyzing, planning, sucking up every last bit of your days. This year held the most growth and change of any prior years combined for you (except for probably the first) and it’s hard to wrap it all up into a few short paragraphs. You're just such a big kid now, and I'm both proud and a little sad that you're growing up so fast.

You started the year in a preparatory Kindergarten classroom, getting you ready for Kindergarten at our public school this coming fall. Oh, how you’ve thrived and learned, with your best friends alongside of you. I’ll always remember you with your Solar System backpack on your back and sheets of homework that you loved doing stuffed inside. I know all parents say this, but you, Oskar, are the smartest 6-year-old I’ve ever known. You read and write so beautifully and are so incredibly inquisitive, wanting to understand every part of the world around you. You’ve poured through chapter books these last few months, gobbling up the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, “I Survived” and Pokémon series. You’re a perfectionist and are unbelievably particular, leaving not a darn thing unnoticed.  You LOVE to learn and don’t give up until you get it, even if that means tears of frustration along the way. For so long we debated whether to send you to Kindergarten at age 5 or to give you the extra year, and now, reflecting back, there’s not a doubt in my mind that we did the best thing for you. You’re SO unbelievably ready to be a leader and a helper to others this coming school year, which is exactly where you thrive the most.

You’re still a sensitive soul and feel things so deeply. Your feelings get hurt easily but you’re also very much an empath—it hurts you to see others hurting too. You love so big, closer and more attached to mama as ever, needing hugged and cuddled throughout the day, wanting to fall asleep holding my hand.

This year really narrowed the 21 month age gap between you and August, mostly because August adores you and emulates everything you do. You’re his hero. You’re always side by side, either swimming in the pool, watching a show together, playing Nintendo, or playing some imaginary game. You're such a LEGO master, building sets for you or your brother almost obsessively, putting together hundreds of pieces meant for ages 8 and up without even blinking an eye. Or then, of course, you’re fighting, which happens a lot, too. Lately you two "jinx" each other non-stop, or race while taunting that "first is the worst and second is the best", not really knowing whether you want to win or not, driving me absolutely insane. The constant bear-cub wrestling is slowing (though certainly not gone), replaced by games between two boys that are slowly growing up. You love Star Wars and Pokemon and have filled your room with LEGO ships that you’ve built or cards that you’ve collected and memorized. You also have the sweetest group of best buds from school that you’ve grown up with, and it makes me so sad that you’ll be going to different elementary schools next year. I know you’re so sad about it too, nervous for a year ahead without those familiar faces or inside jokes to help you with such a big transition. Thank goodness for our sweet neighbors who will be getting on the school bus with you, some of your very best friends that have become family. 

You were excelling at both karate and in a swimming class this year—your need to move satisfied perfectly by both. You also played a season of t-ball, nervous as ever to try something unfamiliar that might not come to you right away. You got into a groove a few games later, and watching you play in your oversized shirt and eye black made you look so grown up. Between school and your activities, you had lots of structured, predictable time built into your days, which is really what you needed. The Type A in both you and me. So when COVID-19 came and our worlds stopped as we knew them, I really worried about how to handle your idle days. You’ve never done well being bored. What I’ve learned, however, is that pushing you into that uncomfortable space of having to figure out what to do has done wonders for you, and you’ve adapted so much better than I thought you would. 

Which brings me to the biggest change this year. Your baby sister, born just days before the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, a double whammy of how your life would turn upside down. I’ll never forget your face meeting her at the hospital. You were so in love. You’re always holding her, cooing at her, giggling with excitement when you make her smile. You help me with everything—getting diapers when I need them or watching her while I take a shower. Most recently I let you feed her a bottle of pumped milk and I thought your heart was going to explode with happiness. Watching you love her is exactly what I had dreamed. This is only the beginning of something really special between you two, I just know it. 

We’ve been home since March 7th together, quarantined and trying to stay safe and healthy from the COVID-19 pandemic. Somehow, we’re surviving together. You’ve finished hundreds of pages academic workbooks, but we've also learned so much together. We take daily walks, you on your bike, zooming around and trying out new tricks for me to score. In a lot of ways, this quarantine has certainly been difficult, but it’s not often—if ever— that you’re given the gift of time. This is the most I’ve ever been able to spend with you and I’m fairly certain I’ll look back in another 6 years, thankful for this moment, a freeze frame of your childhood that for once, didn’t go too darn fast.

Happy happy birthday my beautiful six-year-old big kid. Your biggest birthday wish was for a hover board but concluded that it was probably way too much money and never asked for it again. I can’t wait to see your face when you unwrap it today. Always be confident in yourself and stay the sweet and gentle boy that you are. Sensitivity and vulnerability are your biggest strengths, so don’t ever let the world harden you. I’ll hold your hand forever if you’ll let me.



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