Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer reads, Volume 2

So, I'm still having post-vacation blues.
I'd much rather be on my lake floatie with a drink in hand under the hot summer sun (a.k.a. my new happy place), but alas, I'm back at dreaded work.
Vacay photos to come, I swear.

Meanwhile, I finished reading this on our trip:

A love story between two "cancer kids" which is so romantic and ever so sad.
If you don't mind having a Kleenex box at the ready for a good wholesome dose of "life's not fair", then I definitely recommend this one.  It's just so very sweet.

Spoiler alert:  Do NOT watch the movie before reading the book.
It just won't be as good, I promise you.

P.S.  Pretty sure Hazel actually said (something like) that, not Gus.  But whatever.  Still one of my favorite lines.

Happy {summer} reading!

~ images via wikipedia & passionateddigitalartist.com ~

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Friday Five

OMG, how is it freaking Friday already?!
This week has just zipped right by.
We've been busy with zoo camp, ice cream socials, preschool field trips and summer library programs, tending to the garden (a.k.a. the current bane of my existence) and planning for a relaxing week up north (followed immediately by my not-so-relaxing return to work)....hence, the lack of blogging.

But in the words of Olaf, "all good things, all good things."

Regardless, I'm looking forward to all the R&R that next week will bring.
Moreover, here's what's making me smile this week...

Heard this little tune at the end of "This is Where I Leave You".
(Fact:  Sometimes novels on your reading list become movies movies on HBO before you actually get around to reading them.)

My new wavy, mid-length hair.
Let's call it a "beachy lob".
I took these pics to my amazing hair stylist,
who embraced my reality of air drying 90% of the time
and created a fun, minimal effort 'do for my naturally wavy hair.
Thus, the unavoidable Midwestern summer humidity just became my bff.
You just need one of these for touch-ups.

Mortified, the podcast.
If you haven't checked this out, do so immediately.
Adults reading embarrassing things they wrote as kids - from diaries to fan letters to song lyrics.  Freaking hilarious!  And definitely makes my morning commute a wee bit better.

Zoo camp @ the Milwaukee County Zoo
Local parents, worth the ~$20/class!
Well, let me re-phrase that.
If your child is at least 3 (or maybe the later half of 2), it's worth the money!
My 3 year old had a blast learning all about his favorite zoo animal - the hippo.  The classroom was full of different crafting stations (including the making of a full hippo costume) followed by pretending to be hippos.  The hour-and-a-half class also included "circle time" learning, a short movie while munching on a hippo-like snack, along with a variety of books & puzzles (for the tikes who can't sit still that long).  The class ended by walking to see the real hippos and talking to their zookeeper.  So fun!  Even I learned some cool facts.
Still a few open classes left! {HERE}

All things "Father's Day"
My little ones have been busy crafting away at preschool/day care in preparation.  And I've been busy assembling treat bags myself!
I'd tell you more, but of course, it's a surprise.
Since I've been a major slacker on gift guides this year,
I will at least share this adorable piece on fatherly advice...

And a few more links, just because...

Fun earrings - and currently 30% off!

Side note:  J. Crew is about to become even more rad.

I think I also need this cookbook.

Great financial news for my fellow NP's out there!
(Though apparently my employer needs to get on this same page! Hint, hint.)

RIP beards!
(Husband, are you reading?! Peeeeeace!)

How to exercise at your desk.  Haha!

Summer tag sale over at anthropologie! a.k.a. up to 50% off.
You're welcome.

Some amazing summer homes over at Vogue.

And one more lovely little fatherly sentiment to end this post...

Happy {Father's Day} Weekend!

~ images via prettydesigns.com, getmortified.com / photos by bits of breezy ~

Monday, June 15, 2015

Weekend recap

What a whirlwind weekend...
celebrating a fabulous couple
(who looked a-mazing and threw one fantastic party!)
and cramming in as many favorite activities as one possibly can
during <48 hours in your hometown along the mighty Mississip'!

I'm so happy to be off this week,
as we are all exhausted from all the travel and fun.

Here's a quick reflection on the weekend's highlights
before I spend the remainder of my childrens' naps
up to my neck in laundry and unpacking
(only to re-pack again for our upcoming week up north!)

Here's hoping your weekend was just as lovely.

~ photos by bits of breezy ~

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Friday Five

Another crazy week of work,
each day followed by a busy domestic shift at home.
I am le tired.
TGIF - here's what's good...

Headed back to my hometown for a wedding weekend.
Driving with the huzz, this most likely equates to us listening to a lot of T-Swizzle.  (I know.  I KNOW.)
But even my kids like this one, so who am I to resist?

Summer is almost here!
Outdoor festivals + block parties!  Beach day!  Yard games!
Finally, some weather and activities that make us feel like never coming inside.

BB creams.
Namely, this one by Dr. Jart+.
I think this one is technically a tinted moisturizer, but regardless, I love how soft and slightly glowing it leaves my skin.

Downtown Dining Week
We chose Onesto - a "modern twist on Italian".  It was pretty good!
Though nothing beats a glass (or two) of good vino and al fresco dining.
Throw in your mom and mom-in-law for good company?  Winning!

This sentiment:

Breathe, mama.
And don't forget to sneak moments for yourself,
not only to remain sane, but also to feel like your very best self -
for you and everyone that loves you!

A few more interesting links for you...

Speaking of downtown dining, here are the 14 best places to grab brunch in MKE.

I am a huge proponent of freshly ground and brewed drip coffee from local roasters, like Anodyne.  But, here's even more reason to ditch those K-cups.

How to spray perfume so it lasts.

A Judy Blume novel for adults?!  This probably needs to be read.

A marriage proposal measured in heartbeats.  Precious.

Wedding registry gifts you'll use 10 years later (and ones you won't).  Great list!

I'm getting a haircut today, and this thought couldn't be more accurate.

Have a great weekend!

~ images via sephora, hospitalitydemocracy.com/onesto,  mrcloudmotivation@tumblr.com ~

Thursday, June 11, 2015

West Elm, Milwaukee style

Last week, I mentioned how ecstatic I am that West Elm has opened a store in Milwaukee's historic third ward.  Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of shopping after-hours at a special opening week event!  

Here are some of my favorites...
(I would actually like them to style my mid-century ranch from top to bottom.  Okay?  Thanks.)

Loving this mix of throw pillows, the light pendants,
the pops of color, and that couch!

Up to 30% off rugs!

This little cluster of light fixtures is like the glass equivalent
of Nelson bubble lamps and I am in love.

Adorable little mercury glass tea light votives!
How perfect for your summery evening tablescapes...

I'm not sure how, but I managed to escape
with only a throw pillow and hand towel.  
(Probably because I was shopping here moments before.)

They are so incredibly lucky to have such a gorgeous store space
(that natural light! swooning!)
in an ideal downtown location, just across from the Public Market.
When can I move in?

Check out their facebook page to claim a 15% off your entire purchase coupon through June 21st!
(Or, 20% off your entire purchase if you open a credit card.)

You're welcome.

~ photos by bits of breezy / image of votives via west elm ~

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer reads, Volume 1

Put this book on your summer reading list immediately:

I literally read it within one week!
(If you are a mom of two,
you will know that this means it was good because
who. has. the. time.)

An intertwining story of a letter from a husband that was never meant to be found or read, and has the potential to change the lives of everyone.  Suspense!  A little romance! Definitely a "summer read" you won't want to put down.

Get it {HERE}.

What's a "must" on your summer reading list?

~ photo via tinyoranges.com ~

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mama Mondays : Pedialyte cubes

A 24-hour stomach bug usually hits your poor little babes when least expected.  As in, you sleepily walk into a crying babe's room only to be immediately awoken accosted by the sour smell of vomit and the next thing you know, you and your spouse are thrown into a relentless cycle of middle-of-the-night bathing/laundering/linen changing/comforting.  Parenting Olympics!
But, you can feel a little more prepared with a few simple steps...

Having a bottle of Pedialyte (electrolyte replenishment)
on hand is essential - you can even get a generic version at the $1 store!

While unopened Pedialyte has a long shelf life,
once opened, you have to use it up within days, and
I always seem to have a bunch left!
What to do?

Enter: Mama Life Hack - Pedialyte Ice Cubes!

All you need is an ice cube tray.

Simply freeze, place the frozen cubes in a labeled ziplock bag,
and store in your freezer.

Not only will half the bottle not go to waste,
but the next time the diarrhea or vomit monster comes a knockin',
all you have to do is pop in a few cubes to your babe's water.


~ photos by bits of breezy ~ 

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Friday Five

This (work) week has been rather atrocious.
Here's what's good...

Lord Huron.
That is all.

West Elm MKE!
Opened yesterday!  So, so exciting.

The Pioneer Women's Breakfast Quesadillas
That's right, I said quesa-DILLA.
I made us a sausage and onion version the other weekend,
and they were pretty much Tits McGee.
Recipe {HERE}.  You're welcome.

Columbia Crest H3 Red Blend
A 91-point red blend from Washington State in the <$15 vicinity.
Robust yet silky with dark red fruit flavors and hints of chocolate
(that help make it go down waaaaaay too smoothly...glug, glug, glug!)
Get some to pair with all of your inevitable BBQ-ing meatiness!
P.S. If you live in the greater Milwaukee area,
you can find it at your local Sendik's.

blue + gray
Loving this color combination this spring!
Especially paired with a bright pop of color on the nails...

And a few more fun links...

Caitlyn Jenner is all the rage this week.  As she should be, no?  Looking fab.

Amy Schumer dissing JJ on The Bachelorette.  Perfection!
(Because he - and his constant red wine teeth - are the absolute worst.)

I probably need this tote, don't you think?

The worst sunscreens for kids.  Good to know!
(Although, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that pretty much any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen if given the option!)

This ear crawler is super fun (and would add some pizzazz to summer basics.)

Haha!  Sad...but true.

~ images via @westelmtulsa on instagram, The Pioneer Women, Sendik's, & shopstyle.com ~

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Twofer Tuesday!

Make that, a twofer taco Tuesday!
Even better.

Part I:

I made {THESE} fish taco bowls the other week.
With the addition of fresh jalapenos and some fresh mango,
to combat all that the spice.
Drool on.

You can even turn this recipe into a freezer meal by:

Seasoning your fresh (or frozen) fish according to the original recipe.
(Reminder: Never thaw and then re-freeze meat of any kind!)

Place in freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw the fish in the fridge the day you plan to cook it.

That evening, simply throw the fish on the grill or bake in the oven, while assembling the rest of the recipe!

Easy, peasy.

Part II:

If you are like me and have leftover bean/veggie mixture, have no fear.
This can quickly become the most amazing breakfast hash you have ever tasted.

Simply par-cook a sweet potato in the microwave.
(To do so, just pierce the skin, wrap in damp paper towel, and nuke for a couple minutes. Voila!)

Peel and chop the sweet potato once it's cool enough to handle.

Saute some spicy chicken sausage in a skillet.
You could also add some mushrooms, if you fancy. 
(Or whatever else you have lurking in the fridge.)
Then, add the sweet potato with a pinch of salt and some olive (or coconut) oil.

Once the potato and sausage bits are browned, stir in the bean/veggie mixture and heat through.

Top with some eggs cooked to your liking - the runnier the yolk the better, if you're asking me - along with your favorite fixings (e.g. salsa, fresh jalapenos, scallions, avocado, shredded cheese, etc.)

Who doesn't like a two-fer?!
And this one's just so dang tasty (and easy!).

Bon appetit!

~ first image via The Live-In Kitchen / photos by bits of breezy ~

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mama Mondays : Helicopter Parenting

I am literally typing this in a cafe where I am watching a major helicopter mom micromanage every single second of her poor preschooler's lunch... 

Are you okay?
It's lunch time, honey, can you sit down?
No, not right there, right here.
Do you need help getting up on the chair?
No? (waits a nano second)  Here, let mommy help you.
Wait, let's take a selfie first.
Ready, set, cheese!
Honey, that wasn't a good one.  Can you please smile for the camera?
Do you want mommy to cut up your chicken into smaller pieces?
No? Okay. (Proceeds to chop chicken into micro bits anyway.)
(Child drops fork on the floor.)
Uh-oh! Are you okay, honey?
You have to be careful!  You could hurt yourself with that sharp fork!
(Note: fork is plastic)
Here, honey...hold mommy's hand and we'll go get a new fork.
What's the matter, honey?
Are you not hungry?
Are you not feeling good?
What can mommy do to help?

 Ho-ly sh!t.
I cannot even imagine what potty time entails,
let alone what the hell his future school years hold.
Am I that bad?!?!
For the love of God, I hope not.
If I am this stressed out by < 5 minutes with his mom,
I imagine this poor kid's on the brink of a nervous breakdown!

I usually only notice the helicopter moms on the playgrounds.
Do you know who I'm talking about?
Enter: The 9 Worse Parents at the Playground

The worst are the ones who, in between hovering over their own kids,
shoot you the stink eye as if wondering why the hell you're not doing the same with your own.  I know it's not the 1990's (and earlier eras), when kids were allowed to ride bikes to the pool or go exploring the neighborhood on their own.  Parents nowadays are so worried, bordering on paranoia, about their children.  I also believe these "helicopter parents" have only their children's best interests in mind, which are unfortunately amplified by the crazy, and sometimes cruel, world we live in.

 I am certainly guilty of some helicoptering behaviors myself (especially with my wild child / dare devil disguised as an 18 month old).  Being one that hates a mess does not help matters.

However, aren't there times when kids can just be kids and not have a grown-up critiquing every move and literally telling them how to play?  Isn't that one of the best gifts we can give to our children - time to explore and play (and thereby learn) on their own terms? I feel like some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around that luxury of  unstructured "time"...
Time to just lay in the grass and observe the clouds changing shapes in the sky.
Time to ride your bike with the neighborhood kids with no destination in mind.
Time to observe ant hills or chase the dog for hours on end.
Time to make-up games with friends.
Time to hang out in forts and tree houses where no parents are allowed.

One of my most important "mom goals" is to allow my boys to do as they please during "play time" (with age-appropriate and safety limitations, of course).  I ultimately want them to be able to learn from their mistakes as well as learn how to share and navigate through social conflicts on their own.  It has to start somewhere, right? So, why not on the playground?

Needless to say, this book is definitely on my "to read" list:

And here's another great helicopter parenting read, if you're interested!

Deep breaths, mama.
They might get a little wet and a little dirty.
They might skin their knees.
They might tell you so-and-so is mean or didn't wait his turn.
they're going to be just fine out there.

So sit back and soak in their wonderment
as they explore their own little worlds....

~ image via parenting.com & Amazon.com / photo by bits of breezy ~