Thursday, September 18, 2014

at the moment

Adjusting to second grade has definitely been a challenge...for me.  Tommy seems to be handling everything with relative ease and adaptability but I can't exactly say the same about myself.  Here's what I found out about second grade:  it's like, for real school.  It's studying for tests and projects assigned the first week of school and weekly math and spelling homework instead of monthly.  It's crazy and fast-paced and if this is second grade how on earth am I gonna handle third and fourth and seventh and tenth and.....I can't even go there yet.  Too far away, right?  Right?!  Part of the craziness is the time crunch that happens between 4:30 and 8pm every night and part of it is the fact that there was baseball on Monday and Wednesday this week and tonight we're going to see "Frozen On Ice" (!!) and in addition to those nightly activities there was dinner and studying spelling words and math worksheets and showers and nightly reading and math equations.  

Did you see what I just did there in that last sentence?  Can you see how the crazy schedule is affecting (or is it effecting?  I don't know anymore!) me?  I've all but forgotten how to use proper sentence structure and punctuation.  I need to get a grip.  

Ok, enough of the rant.  Things will slow down, we'll get used to the schedule and all will be well.  But for now, I'm finding a little bit of peace in the crazy with these things I'm loving at the moment...

 in my basket

Although I spent last spring and most of the summer in a serious knitting slump, after reading a couple of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's books (this one and then this one) I was ready to pick up my needles again.  I quickly finished off a couple of blankets that have been sitting in my basket mocking me for quite awhile.

Now I'm working on this pretty purple and hope to have it complete sometime soon as well.
 When I was waiting for Annabel to finish up at preschool the other day, I headed to the library and ended up bringing these books home to look through.  Hopefully, after knitting so many blankets, there will be some smaller projects in my near future...socks (two-at-a-time!!) and an adorable sweater from the "Junior Knits" on the bottom.

at the table

Baked Potato Bar
 Despite our crazy schedule, I've actually been doing a fair bit of cooking these days.  I didn't get very far on my cook-through of "Dinner:  A Love Story" last fall since I was still struggling through my celiac issues so I've decided to go about cooking from my cookbooks in a different way these days.  Each week I'll choose one book and make several recipes.  We'll keep what we like and scratch the ones we don't.  This week I've been cooking from The Pioneer Woman's website and have had some really good success.  We loved her Chicken Mozzarella Pasta and Sunday Frittata (though we added onion, ham, cheese, and spinach to ours instead), and I really enjoyed her Easy Calzones but the rest of my family wasn't too excited about them.  I think it was the ricotta cheese.  We're also making her paninis, sloppy joes, and pancake muffins this week.

on my nightstand

 I picked up this book on my birthday-money-book-buying spree back in July and just recently saw the trailer for the movie coming out tomorrow!  Looking forward to reading it and then seeing how well it matches up with the movie.

in the mail

 The new issue of Taproot arrived in my mailbox late last week and oh my, just look at that beautiful cover!  I haven't had a chance to read many articles yet, but that cover is definitely my favorite one yet.

with the kids

 Annabel has been spending lots of time with "Baby" recently and let me tell you, that baby sure is adventurous.  She went for a joy-ride on the Batmobile, drove my car, and had a party with her other baby friends on our bed.  I may have to have a little talk with her here soon.  In other exciting news, I am now officially done buying and changing least until the younger WeThree's get to having more babies!  :)

 Tommy's killing it in his first baseball season with some great hits, smart base-running, good fielding, and awesome throwing.  He told me the other day that he thinks he's found "his sport."  As a long-time softball player myself, I couldn't be happier.  Well, I might be a little happier if their team name wasn't the Yankees (Go SOX!!), but I suppose I can suck it up for one season.

in the garden

 No garden for me this year, but my sunflowers were beautiful so I was ok with it.  I was able to pick a few tomatoes recently and have been eating fresh basil all summer.  Getting ready to pick what's left out there and make some fried green tomatoes and hopefully freeze some pesto this weekend.

in the morning

Not much better at 5:45am than good coffee, the new Taproot, and our cozy blue blanket knitted for us by my amazingly talented grandmother (who taught me how to knit!!).  Love you, Gram.

So that's what I've been enjoying these days.  What are you loving right now?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wishful Wedding

As each day passes, Robert and I are getting closer and closer to our wedding date! And though it's still about a year away, we're already starting to cross some of the big things off the list. For instance: wedding date - check!, reception venue - check!, tuxes - check!, bridesmaid dresses - check!, DJ - check!, caterer - not checked yet, but we're certainly getting closer to a decision. 

I've had a wedding board on Pinterest for months now, and as we move though the planning I'm definitely starting to pull some ideas to help shape the look of our day. Below are a few inspiration shots, if you'd like to see!

[This is the bouquet that I'd like to carry. As you'll see in the photos below, the look of the flowers is definitely centered around Craspedia Billy Balls. I really love their simplicity. That being said, I got the most beautiful white roses as a gift at work a few weeks ago, and they almost changed my mind entirely. I was happy to find this bouquet - a combination of both!]

[I would love for my bridesmaids (the rest of WeThree and my two best friends) to carry slightly smaller versions of these bouquets. Our wedding is in late August and I think the golden yellow color compliments the late summer season nicely.]

[I love these miniature vases as centerpieces, and my goal is to find 75% of them at local antique stores. This may be a subtle way of penny pinching, but it is also kind of neat that each little vase will have its own story. Plus, they have the potential to double as a favor.]

[I have loved this simple J. Crew gown for so, so long. I have yet to try on wedding dresses, but my plan is to visit Dani out near Philly for a fitting at King of Prussia mall. Fingers crossed that it fits, because I really have my heart set on it!]

[For bridesmaid dresses, we went with this gray, lace "Pamela Dress" from J.Crew. I know that every bride says that the bridesmaid dresses are "totally wearable," so perhaps I'm being partial, but I really think these ones are! With a navy blue sweater and cute pair of flats, this could totally be worn to work. Right!?]

[Gorgeous hair. I was originally thinking of wearing mine down, but I think it would just add stress to the day. I'm really hoping my hairstylist can recreate this look!]

[I still have my heart set on getting our wedding cake from Sweet Haus, but regardless, it's going to be simple. I love the idea of a slightly rustic, plain, white cake with a nice wedding topper. A couple of weeks ago, my Gramma found hers in a trunk, and I'm thinking it may have to be our something borrowed.]

[This is a subtle detail, but how adorable are these forks? And guess what!? Mary (Brigid's sister, and one of my bridesmaids) bought these for us! I was so excited when I opened them. Thanks again, Mare!]

[I love the idea of making a path to the reception with chalk hearts. I'm thinking I could put my nephew up to this -- he has pretty awesome side-walk chalk skills ;).]

[And this may be wishful thinking, but how gorgeous are these Thai lanterns? Over the summer I saw, probably one hundred of these, being set off into the sky after a wedding. I can't think of a more beautiful send-off.]

So what do you think? Any suggestions?? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Toddler Talk

Did you know that having an almost 3 year old around makes for pretty amusing conversation?  We have been keeping track of a few of the funny things our girl says. Here are a few if you'd like to read...

While walking outside on a foggy day:
S: It's so dusty outside.  I can't see anysing.
D: I think you mean foggy?
S: Yea, it's so foggy and dusty.

While swinging at the park:
D: Why don't you try to pump your legs?
S: I can't do that.  Maybe in a couple-four days...on Tuesday.

While playing pirates:
S: ARRRR, Maybe!! 

While she is supposed to be sleeping but she's laying awake in her crib:
"AGS -- Go Eagles!"

When she gets frustrated:
"Oh pumpers!"

Monday, September 15, 2014

a peek inside: Annabel's room

Since Will's no longer working weekends, we've had a bunch of extra time to get some pictures hung and rooms pulled together a little more around the house.  We worked in Annabel's room last weekend, and I think she's pretty happy with how it turned out.

She's pretty much the queen of purple these days and loves her purple room and matching purple blanket.  I made the "dream" banner for her just after she was born, using a pattern from this book.  The quilt on the end of her bed was my baby quilt, and the patchwork blanket on the chair at the foot of the bed was a handmade gift to Annabel from her great-grandmother.  Eventually we want to get her a new bed, but for now, her brother's old Cargo bed works just fine.

 On the shorter wall of her room, along with her dresser and a little table for toys, we made her a dress-up corner, which she and Tommy are really into these days (her - princess dresses; him - Batman/Iron Man/Turtle/Red Ranger costume).  On the far wall next to the bathroom entrance (Tommy and Annabel share a "Jack-and-Jill" bathroom so her sink is through that door) is her doll crib that was made and given to her by Dani's talented father-in-law.  And the framed pictures above the crib were painted by Carrie!  I love the mix of handmade, hand-me-down, and brand new furniture/artwork/toys/blankets in Annabel's room! (And for the record, Annabel's dress-up corner does not even begin to compare to the amazing dress-up closet we had at my Nanny's house.  She let us wear all of her old dresses and shoes and hats and bags.  So amazing and hours of fun.)

Here's a close-up of her dress-up corner.  She spends a lot of time admiring herself in that mirror...

 See?  :)

At the foot of her bed, we made a little space for reading with her big cozy chair, over-sized Kanga stuffed animal, and a sweet little bookshelf that holds whatever favorite books she's reading at the moment.

 One thing there's no shortage of around here is good books.  We have a lot of children's books and keep big shelves of them in both of the kids rooms so they always have quick access to something fun to read.

 Under the big beautiful window in her room (it overlooks the woods behind the house - love) we've put her doll house and tree house.  Lately I've found her kneeling in front of them, dolls or fairies in hand, making them go up and down the stairs, swing on the swing, or head to bed in the 3rd floor bunk room.  This makes me happy.

Sweet sleepy girl.  Can't believe how fast she's growing up!  It wasn't long ago that her room held a crib and bouncy seat instead of a twin bed and dress-ups.  I love having a three-year-old.

So that's her room!  Hopefully I'll be able to share Tommy's sometime soon...if he ever cleans it up.  It looks like a giant Lego monster exploded in there.  Have a great week, and I'll see you back here on Thursday for "at the moment."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Photo Friday!

Last weekend Robert and I combined our cell phone plans and I finally joined the current century by getting a "smart phone." And though I was holding off for valid reasons, I can already tell that instagram is a game-changer;). Thanks for reading this week! Have a fall-ish weekend (have you checked those temps, central PA?!)

My sweet little girl is always (and I mean always) carrying around her baby.  She is quick to remind me daily that she is "not a baby anymore, Mama.  I a big girl now." She is the sweetest.  Have a great weekend!
xo Dana

My sunflowers bloomed!
Well, we've almost made it successfully through our first week of having two kids in school.  And it's been the longest week I've had in a long time.  So glad it's Friday!  Looking forward to a weekend full of friends, baseball, and family.  Have a good one!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cheerio, Old Chap!

It is very safe to say that I go through food phases. Just this year, in fact, I've had mild obsessions with grapefruit, fancy toast & veggie burgers, & I won't even get into my love of the butternut squash. But after purchasing these peanut butter cheerios at the grocery store a few weeks back, my obsession has officially switched to the beloved General Mills cereal, originally in the yellow box. 

For those of you who haven't been down the cereal aisle lately, you'll be shocked to see the variety in the Cheerios brand. Growing up, I remember enjoying classic and honey nut cheerios, and I even remember when multi-grain and frosted made their way into the market. But today! Today you have real options. From dark chocolate crunch to apple cinnamon, Dulce de Leche to banana nut, you could probably go at least a couple of months trying one new variety per week. And that's not even counting the flavors you can get by mixing -- ie. peanut butter cheerios + chocolate cheerios = peanut butter cup cheerios! 

But this week I was feeling bright, and so I went with fruity cheerios - a cereal with a taste relatively similar to Fruit Loops, but with more substance. And I love them! I have been looking forward to my breakfast every day this week and a couple of nights ago, I cheated and had a teeny-tiny bowl for "dessert." But as this dessert had only 100 calories (& 16g of whole grains!), there wasn't much to feel guilty about.

[Seeya, cereal!]

Other Breakfast Options:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lancaster Craft Beerfest

Last year, shortly after Robert and I started dating, he bought us (& a few friends) tickets to the Lancaster Craft Beerfest, obviously located in Lancaster, PA. Since I'm not typically a huge fan of beer (I prefer wine or cider, predominantly), I agreed to be the designated driver. And despite the fact that being one of the few people not drinking in a sea of thousands can be, well, a little less fun than the alternative, it was a really great time. There were tons of beer options for non-designated drivers to try, a nice selection of food trucks to choose from & tons of people to socialize with (not to mention, some delicious root beer for yours truly). We vowed to return again, & this year, we got smart and booked a hotel room not far from the venue so that we could all enjoy the beverages. With an expanded venue & a few new food trucks to try, it's safe to say that this trip might become an annual tradition. Below are a new photographs, if you'd like to see!

[Every time I went to take a picture a somewhere-on-the-scale-from-tipsy-to-drunk person jumped in front of my camera.  In this particular case, I think the photo was made more interesting!]

[sprawling Lancaster metropolis -- aka, the view from our hotel]

[We started the day off in our hotel bar because it was raining cats and dogs. Luckily, after a beer (or two, depending on your name;) and an appetizer, the skies cleared and miraculously stayed that way, despite a pretty shaky forecast.]

[I started off with Amstel Light, my favorite beer by a long shot. Funny fact: I started drinking this after college because I read in a magazine that you appeared "cool and laid back" to guys if you ordered it. I'm not sure if that was ever the truth, but I'm still indulging!]

[kettle chips with goat cheese and jam appetizer]

[Robert likes bacon an awful lot, so when we saw this thick cut bacon on the appetizer menu, we knew it going to happen. And let me tell you, guys, it was so delicious. I think the first bite was the happiest look I saw on Rob's face all weekend.]

[beer selfie]

[Inside the festival, you get your own little mug to fill and re-fill. There were a lot of seasonal varieties to try (pumpkin beer, anyone?) and a few ciders, too! They made me the happiest.]

[I was in gooooood company.]

[Me and my future hubs;). We got him mid-sentence, but I still think he looks awfully cute.]


[the crowd]

[Okay, so it would be true to say that I was as excited for foodtrucks as I was for beer. This delicious pork bun was from Baron von Schwein and was absolutely worth the wait.]

[Robert went with cheese curds from The Cow & the Curd, and I am honestly kicking myself for not having more than one bite of these. They were obscenely good.]

[Iron Hill Brewery had good beer & a short line. Pretty good stats, in our opinion!]

[My favorite cider of the day.]

After the festival, we hit a couple of familiar places downtown before tucking in for the night. I was feeling pretty good the following morning, but a pecan waffle and bottom-less coffee from Waffle house still sounded like the best plan, and let me tell you, it was.

Until next year, Lancaster!