Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I'm back with Friday Favorites. This summer kicked my blogging booty and my posts were few and far between. I love this little space of mine but have had a hard time keeping up with it over the summer and now half way into September. I'm hoping to be back much more consistently this Fall especially now that we have a routine! Today, I am  linking up with ErikaNarci, and Andrea with some of my favorites lately.

ONE.
School was out on Wednesday here and taking these six to do something is always a favorite around here so we headed to the Jelly Belly Warehouse in Wisconsin for a little tour. It was simple and interesting (I love learning about that stuff!). And of course, a favorite for the kids was the "train ride" throughout the warehouse and the candy :)

TWO.
Last week I posted my the books I had read in August here and one of them may just be my favorite this year!

THREE.
Gabriella started back at dance last week and that is her favorite activity each week! Speaking of activities, going from nothing to everything starting again is kicking my butt a little bit. I am so tired by the end of the week (and everyone with more than one kid in activities is laughing right now!).

FOUR.
On Tuesday, I blogged about our Fall Bucket List here. We are loving all things FALL and loving that the leaves and weather are starting to turn!

FIVE.

This past weekend we got to see my cousin and his Nebraska Weslayan soccer team play about an hour away from us in Naperville, IL (the cutest town by the way!). Seeing family is always a favorite, and I love getting to see mine so much more now that we live in the Midwest.

That's a wrap for this Friday! Happy Weekend!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fall Bucket List

Happy Tuesday! Today I am linking up with Erika and Ashley for Tuesday Talk and am talking about our Fall Bucket List. My kids are still a little young to understand the whole bucket list thing, but I love a bucket list so I made one anyways :)

Fall is my favorite season, and after 9 years I finally get to experience a real one complete with leaves changing colors and cooler temperatures now that we live back in the Midwest! Here is our list for the Fall (and please comment below with fun things you do too because I am always looking for other ideas!)....



1. Make a pumpkin cake
Some relatives gave us a pumpkin shaped cake pan so we plan to make a cake with it. My 4 year old is all about baking and helping in the kitchen so this should be fun.

2. Jump in a pile of leaves
We never had the chance to do this while living in California :)

3. Apple Holler
This is one of my favorite places! Apple Holler is an apple orchard and farm park just over the border in Wisconsin (about a 30 minute drive for us). I used to bring my kids when we would visit our family here and am excited that we can now go whenever we want. My kids like the farmyard park complete with goats, chickens, bunnies, ponies, slides, and lots of other farm activities. Apple Holler has a cute little store and a restaurant (we haven't tried the restaurant yet).  One year while visiting over Christmas, we came and did a sleigh ride and had a bonfire. We have visited once so far this Fall and I'm sure we will be back again. 




4. Country Bumpkin
Country Bumpkin is a fun little pumpkin patch in the area that I have heard is cute! We love a good pumpkin patch so we are excited to try a new one out this year (since we live in a new state). 

5. Send Halloween cards
I found this idea on pinterest and thought it was cute. Plus, my in-laws love Halloween and now that we don't live by them I thought it would be a fun thing to do. I'm planning to take pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes and then send halloween cards out. Since our Christmas cards will go out a month or so later, I thought I would keep it simple and just send them to family. 

6. Paint pumpkins
 I'm planning on buying little pumpkins and letting my kids paint their hearts out :)

7. Halloween movie night
I thought it would be fun to have a little halloween movie night complete with snacks for our kids. Now I just need to find halloween movies that my 2 and 4 year olds would enjoy. If you have any that your little kids love, please let me know!

8. Decorate Halloween cookies
Who doesn't love to decorate cookies?!?

9. Carve pumpkins
This is something I thought I would let my husband do with the kids (and I will watch haha)! I know they will love this, especially seeing their pumpkins lit up outside. 

10. Go apple picking
We did this one last Friday and loved it so I think we will be back. Our town has this cute little family run orchard. It is no frills and just an orchard with an easy up where you pay at the entrance and then go pick, but I thought it was perfect and my kids loved it. 



What's on your Fall Bucket List?! I am always looking for other ideas!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Books (August 2018)


Happy Tuesday! It's one of my favorite days of the month because I love sharing what I have been reading and then linking up and finding more books to read! :) I set a goal at the beginning of summer to read 18 books between Memorial Day and Labor Day and I finished out reading... 26! I'm hoping for the Fall months to read at least 6 books a month, but we'll see since we have a  lot more in our schedule. Ok onto the 8 books I read this month....

First up was Crazy Rich Asians. So I had looked into this book awhile ago and didn't really think it sounded like something I would be interested in. Then I saw previews for the movie and decided that I would be totally interested but had to read the book first. 
This book is about three super rich Chinese families and a lot of gossip and scheming when the son of one of the families decides to bring his American born Chinese girlfriend home for the summer. The book alternated between a lot of different characters (I definitely had a hard time keeping track of who was who) and is told from lots of points of view. I really liked the storylines for Nick and Rachel (the son who brings his girlfriend home) and Astrid (Nick's cousin) but didn't care for much else so I was torn with this one.

I read Ali Wentworth's book Go Ask Ali and loved it so I couldn't wait to read this one. I would say this book was so so for me. I enjoyed parts of it and others didn't interest me at all. It was a quick and easy read though.

I love all things about simple living etc so this book was perfect for me! The author, Brooke McAlary, is on a mission to help people create a life filled with things that really matter to them, and this book gives practical advice and some insights into that. Some of it I already knew but some really got me thinking, and I walked away with some practical tips and just encouragement in general to live slower!

This book is just what the description says on the book-practical advice and encouragement for shaping the next generation of women. I enjoyed this book, the insights, the encouragement, and couldn't believe how much I have actually forgotten from being a little girl up to high school etc. I think I say this every time I read a parenting book and this is no different-I take some advice and leave some, but overall, I enjoyed this book!

It's been awhile since I've read a suspenseful book, and I could not put this one down. Zoe Whittaker is living a great life in New York City. She is married to a wonderful man and has everything she could ever want right at her fingertips. But what no one knows is that five years before, Zoe had walked away from a dangerous life, changing her identity and rebuilding a new life in NYC. In this book, Zoe's past and present collide, and she is left wondering who she an trust and who she really is. I loved this book! There were twists, it was a quick read. and I thought it wrapped up really well.

This may just be my favorite book this year. I've had this book on my list for awhile and it sat on my nightstand even longer because the description wasn't all that enticing for me, but I had heard good things about it. Well I finally gave it a chance, and I was hooked! The description does not even do the book any justice and is actually pretty vague considering the intensity of this book. Without giving to much away, a woman named Lily begins to build her life in Boston and meets a gorgeous young neurosurgeon and eventually falls for him. During this time, Lily comes across and begins reading her old diary entries, and we are introduced to her first love from when she was 15. As you can probably guess, while falling in love with the neurosurgeon, she runs into her first love. I'm going to stop right there so I don't give anything away, but I loved this one. It was intense, emotional, it sucked me right in, I felt really invested in all of the characters, things caught me off guard, and I am still thinking about it. I also have to say it wraps up really well too!

Last month, I read Sean Lowe's book, and he obviously talked about Emily Maynard so I wanted to read her book when I saw she had one out. This book was just ok for me. I enjoyed reading a little of her backstory and about her time on the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, but I would say she was pretty vague. I definitely learned a lot more about experiences on the Bachelor and Bachelorette with Sean Lowe's book.

This book is about a woman whose husband disappeared five years prior and was finally declared dead by the state of TN. Around the five year anniversary, a few people enter the woman's life and she starts wondering even more what happened to her husband. This book alternates between a few different perspectives and time frames (her husband's included). I read through the entire book having no clue what happened, who was good and who was bad, etc. And of course, there were a few twists at the end of the book that I didn't see coming. While I really liked reading through this book, the ending left me with a lot of questions and I didn't feel like it wrapped up all that great. I needed more closure I guess :)

That's it for August. What have you been reading lately?!

Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I'm back finally with Friday Favorites. This summer kicked my blogging booty and my posts were few and far between. I love this little space of mine and plan to be back much more consistently this Fall (especially when we have a routine!).  Today, I am  linking up with ErikaNarci, and Andrea with some of my favorites lately.


My favorite little girl turned 4 a few weeks ago and we had a blast celebrating her! We spent the majority of our day downtown Chicago. I blogged about her special day here.


Reading is one of my very favorite things to do and I reviewed the 10 books I read in July here. I set a goal this summer (between Memorial day and Labor day) to read 18 books, and I met that goal at the end of July! 


I am not a DIYer at all but I had fun helping my mom make some updates in her house. We painted (which took a lot longer than we thought) and then transformed this little space in her kitchen. It is one of our favorite spaces now. We sit and chat, the kids play with their toys there, and it really opened up the kitchen! (Disclaimer: I am no photographer so don't mind the pictures but you get the idea!)

Before...


After....




Have you heard of the parking space app called SpotHero ?! Spending the day in Chicago is one of our favorite things to do and this app has definitely become a favorite too because we can find parking spaces for MUCH cheaper. I would say we typically find them for between $8-$12 for a 4-5 hour block, and we used this app when we stayed downtown Chicago for our anniversary. Parking at our hotel was going to be $70 overnight and we paid $20 by using the app and finding a parking space close by! 

Speaking of Chicago, we discovered this little gem at the Water Tower Place last time we were downtown and it was AWESOME! The cookie dough is really rich so we shared the smallest size and it was perfect. If you are ever in Chicago, check this out! 

That's a wrap for this Friday! I'm looking forward to a weekend with no plans and hoping to get some things on my "To Do" list marked off! Happy Friday!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Gabriella's 4th Birthday

On July 28th, Gabriella turned 4 years old! She is obsessed with all things blue so we turned it into a little *frozen* birthday, and she loved it!

She had a donut for breakfast and then opened her gifts before we headed....

downtown Chicago for the day!

We started by exploring Millenium Park and playing at Maggie Daley Park. This was our first time at this park and it was awesome!



We headed to our favorite pizza place-Giordanos for lunch!

2/4 with their eyes open haha

We met up with some friends who were in town and then walked down Michigan Avenue to the Water Tower Place so we could try this out...

It was amazing! The cookie dough is really rich so the smallest size was perfect for us to share. 

We headed to Build-a-Bear so that our stuffed animal lover could make her own. Of course, she picked out the ugliest one #yesmommoment

And then we walked around a little to kill time while Manny waited for the elevator (thanks to having a stroller). 




We spent a good 7 hours in the city and had a blast but were definitely ready to finish the celebrating at home. 



**********************************
A few days before Gabriella's birthday we celebrated with my parents before they left for vacation. We ate dinner together...



and then my mom and I took Gabriella to get a manicure and a pedicure. She LOVED both!


As always, we had a blast celebrating our sweet Gabriella Reese turning 4!