Spring Break 2017

SPRING BREAK part 1:

We are lucky that our school district gives us 2 WEEKS for each break.  We always spend the first week back in Utah where all of our families live.  It’s such a fun time for us to catch up and spend countless hours playing with cousins.  We celebrated birthdays, did Easter crafts, got outdoors, saw 2 movies and of course, the girls ate Wendy’s at least 8 times. (They think it’s the greatest.)

Highlights:

The pink dinosaur that I’ve been been pictured with and meant to get this trip :/

 

Olivia’s 3rd BIRTHDAY

Moonshine Arch Hike

My hometown has so much to see and explore outside.

part 2:

It took the girls several days to catch up on sleep from UT.  We spent the 2nd week relaxing, catching up on house work, going to the mall and of course playing with neighbors and friends.

Magic tricks….I love love love watching their reactions to DJ’s magic.

Lunch at the mall.

                            

I love the fact that they play, but the aftermath!!!!!!!

The ZOO…….

  

Birthday dinner

3 Little Griddles…….

If you live in the Southlands area or near and haven’t been to get their breakfast, you need to go NOW!!!!  The 3 Little Griddles has the most amazing breakfast, everything on the menu is to die for.  It is just a small little restaurant that is always packed but worth the wait. I went with the french toast this time….AMAZING!!!!

My TOPSHOP tees were a go to for Spring Break and of course I wore my favorite Madewell jeans….similar here (I own loads of jeans, but as you all know, I wear this pair nonstop).  My Birkenstocks are another staple for me.

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Cold Shoulder Tops

Sometimes there are trends that are more specific for certain age groups, but the cold shoulder shirt is a style that looks great on everyone.  Shoulders are easy to show off because everyone has good shoulders;) I personally feel so much more feminine when I show my shoulders.  Last week at the mall I of course was in MADEWELL and found the perfect shirt for my girlfriends birthday party.  I can’t lie, I love it so much and want it in every color, I have refrained though!!!!! One of the main reasons I love this style of top is the fact that I don’t have to worry about it staying in place like when wearing my off the shoulder tops.  I ended up going up a size in this top because I wanted it to be a bit oversized.  The top is flowly, but I ended up doing the front tuck for a more polished look.

Madewell

Here are a few tops that I thought were great for the price point.  Gap, Old Navy and Banana are having 40%, no exclusions and Madewell always offers 15% off to teachers (I get it now that I took the preschool position :))  All these tops are great for spring and summer.

*Madewell jeans old, but similar here.

*J. Crew shoes old, but similar here.

 

Madewell in white

Madewell in denim

Banana Republic 40% off

Macy’s Jessica Simpson

FOREVER 21

OLD NAVY 40% off

LOFT

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Easter Gifts for Kids

Easter is one of my favorite holidays and I love creating a special Easter basket for the girls.  I like giving them something that can be of use for spring and summer….not just junk.  Every year they receive a new swimsuit and a pair of shoes.  I always like to replenish the outdoor chalk that they love and of course some yummy candy.  I also give them something for outdoors such as this adorable jump rope I came across on Amazon. (how cute is it???)  Another tradition that we do for our Easter egg hunt is to stuff our plastic eggs with fun things besides candy.  Some examples are: dollars, chapstick, gift cards to their favorite ice-cream places, movie tickets, blind bags and hair accessories (such as the cute bunny hair clips from Meri Meri). Be creative and think of things that can be of use to them.  What are some things you do for your Easter baskets????

Easter Basket Ideas:

  1.  Girls swimsuits here, here, here and here
  2. Girls flip flops/shoes here, here, here and here
  3. Girls Easter eggs
  4. Chocolate Bunny Candy
  5. Candy
  6. Boys swimsuits herehere, here and here
  7. Boys Easter eggs
  8. Bunny Hairclips
  9. Chalk
  10. Jump rope
  11. Boys flip flops/shoes herehere, here and here
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The Chambray Shirt

I think the Chambray shirt is a must in everyone’s closet.  It’s the shirt that can be worn from season to season with so many options.  My last favorite chambray shirt was from J. Crew…..I wore it so much that it finally got a hole in the armpit area.  (I had it for 4 years).  It is so soft, comfy and goes with everything and 30% off.  But last weekend when I took Gracie to the mall to get some spring clothes, I came across the perfect chambray shirt at GAP KIDS….crazy right?!?!  I decided to just go ahead and try it on and seriously it fit so perfectly. I ended up only paying $17.00 for it…..YAY!!!!  They also have this same shirt in the adult GAP for 40-50% as well.  They are both so soft, the color is perfect and I love the snap buttons.  For size reference, I got the XL in kids.  More options:  herehere , here and here.

My other favorite chambray shirt is from MADEWELL.  It is the short sleeve version and is soooo adorable.  This is the perfect spring and summer shirt.

GAP

Tips with a chambray shirt for spring and summer: 

  1. Wear it with white pants or shorts.
  2. Wear it with denim pants or shorts.
  3. Wear it with colored pants or shorts.
  4. Dress it up or down with shoes and jewelry.
  5. Tie it around your waist with a cute t-shirt dress.
  6. Wear it with skirt.
  7. Wear a ball cap.
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Spring Dresses

Like every other little girl, Hattie LOVES dresses.  Last weekend, we went shopping for a few new Spring dresses to add to our collection.  And as always, I ended up with way more than we actually need, but everything was super cheap…..good excuse right?!?! No seriously, I love cheap little dresses because kids are so rough on stuff.  With crazy spring weather, I love pairing these dresses with leggings, a denim jacket, and a variety of shoes.  I have also stocked up on the adorable CAT and JACK brand hair accessories at TARGET.

The dress that Hattie is wearing is from H&M, but isn’t available online.

So here are my favorite finds:

  

GAP: here, here, herehere, here

H&M: here, here

Old Navy: here

Hair Accessories

CAT and JACK hair accessories

JEAN JACKET

Gap: here

Old Navy: here

NEVER EVER buy GAP or Old Navy full price……I got all of my Gap dresses 50% off! They have a sale everyday.

H&M dress prices are amazing and honestly the quality is pretty dang good for the price!!!!  All of the dresses I bought were $4.99-$9.99.

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Crossbody Bags

Everyone knows I love my oversized handbags and thats all I’ve carried for years. They are convenient, spacious, and great when you have toddlers. (trust me, I will never get rid of my tote)  But recently, I’ve decided to switch over to a smaller cross-body bag for several reasons.  First off, I love the look and the convenience of the adjustable strap (which now straps can be worn high or low depending on what look you want).  I also like that it holds only what I need, phone, wallet, lipstick.  When I look in my tote bag, I literally feel like I am on an episode of Hoarders.  I constantly have my bag on the counter or floor digging for what I need.  I don’t even know why half of the stuff is in there or how it gets in the bag. Sadly, it’s not even the girls’ stuff, it is ALL mine.  So with all of that said, I’m excited to downsize to a new bag and become more organized.  Here are a few bags that I thought were cute, functional, and reasonably priced.  I’ll be excited to report back how this all goes….I can do this, right????

MADEWELL

MADEWELL

SOLE SOCIETY

OLD NAVY

FOSSIL

VINCE CAMUTO

After looking at the the bags at the mall, I ended up going with the MADEWELL bag because I loved it, I got it on SALE and I’m just a MADEWELL junky.  Honestly, all of the bags I shared are really great.  Very spacious and very functional.  The Vince Camuto bags at Nordstrom had awesome built in wallets which is a huge bonus.

I know it has only been 2 days, but I love my new bag.  I love the weight of it and how it stays so nicely to my body while I shop.

 

 

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Friday Night = PIZZA Night

For about 2 years now, we have been having family pizza night and it’s our FAVORITE night of the week….secretly DJ and I love it the most and we plan around it.  With the weekdays being so busy, this has become a fun tradition that we love.  It gives us the opportunity to slow down, live in the moment and enjoy something that we have created as a family. The best part is is that it is all homemade and very simple.

A few years ago for Fathers Day, I bought DJ the Breville pizza maker from Williams Sonoma and it quickly became our favorite appliance.  Seriously, if Breville contacted me, I would totally be their spokesman for this particular product 🙂  It is $150.00, but it often goes on sale for $99.00 around different holidays. Honestly, it is worth every penny. With everything new, it always takes a few tries to get things how you like them, but now we have this process down to a science and I could literally do everything with my eyes closed.  I am so excited to share our favorite recipes with everyone.  Even if you don’t have the pizza maker, you can bake it in the oven.

Through experience, I have learned to prepare everything ahead of time so I just have to make the dough. Just cook, slice and put in the refrigerator.

RECIPES

Pizza Dough

  1.  1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees) very warm, but not HOT
  2. 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (I use the Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast)
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)

Directions:

In your KitchenAid mixer bowl, stir in the water, sugar and yeast.  Let sit for about 10 min or until the yeast is foamy and dissolved.  With your hook attachment, start stirring and add the olive oil, salt and 1 1/2 cups flour.  Gradually mix in 2 more cups of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides. (I have to use a rubber spatula to push the flour off the side of my mixer).  If your dough seems a little wet, slowly add more flour until the dough barely sticks.  Once the dough is at the right consistency, knead in the mixer for another 3-5 min on medium low.

In a medium bowl, spray with cooking spray.  Add the dough to this bowl and cover quickly and tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise 1-2 hours. (mine typically seems to only take an hour)

After dough has doubled, remove from bowl.  Sprinkle your counter with some flour and knead your dough a couple of times.  From here, I divide the dough into 4 balls and cover with a towel for 15 min. (we each get our own ball to create our own pizza)

If you are using the Breville machine, it takes 30 min to warm up and then from there I put it on the medium crust setting.  If you are using your oven, preheat to 475 degrees.

On a piece of parchment paper, roll out your dough into a nice semi-thin circle. From here brush the edge of your crust with olive oil and garlic salt.  (I mix the garlic salt with a nice amount of olive oil  in a small bowl first) use a fork to prick holes in your crust.  Then add your sauce and toppings.

Parchment paper is a must in order to transfer your pizza to the stone.  If using the Breville machine, place your pizza on the parchment paper on the stone and close the lid.  After about 1 min, you can slide the pizza off the parchment paper and let it continue to cook, by just watching your crust.  Anywhere from 6-10 min.

In the oven, place your pizza on the parchment paper on a pizza stone or round circle pan and cook for 12 min and then broil for 2 min to get the cheese nice and melted.

SAUCE (seriously the best)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl:

  1.  2 cloves of garlic….I use the squeeze garlic and  typically squeeze out 2 to 3 squirts of garlic.
  2. 1 tablespoon of ground Oregano
  3. 1 (6oz.) tomato paste…..do not get the no salt added, salt is a must.
  4.  1 (15oz.) can of tomato sauce….again make sure it is the one with salt.
  5. 1 teaspoon paprika
  6. 1 tablespoon sugar
  7. 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning.

Toppings:  The possibilities are endless!!!!

Hattie’s pizza= just cheese bread because she refuses to try the sauce.  But is great for us to eat her extra pieces and dip in the sauce.

Gracie’s pizza=cheese pizza.

My pizza=everything…..Italian sausage, veggies, jalapenos, bacon, ricotta cheese(I use a spoon to just dollop it around my pizza), cheese and pepperoni. (I go ALL out on pizza night with no regrets!!!)

DJ’s pizza=Italian sausage, bacon, pepperonis, jalapenos, ricotta cheese and pizza cheese.

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My Favorite Jacket

Today I got thinking about my favorite jacket and how much I wear it year round even in the summer.  It is my green army jacket that I purchased at H&M when I lived in Pittsburgh.  Jackets of course add extra warmth, but they also make a great accessory to any outfit and can be worn with so much.  This style of jacket is not heavy and is very easy to move around in, I rarely take it off when I wear it.  My tip is to make sure that the jacket has a waistline to create a more finished and tailored look.  The outfit possibilities are endless with this jacket.

(I’ve been practicing using my tripod for pics;))

Black turtleneck sweater and booties

  

Black hoodie with white jeans and sneakers

My very adorable friend Emily wore her jacket with black pants, a white tee, an adorable scarf with her New Balances sneakers to lunch the other day.  ( I wish I would have snapped a pic)

Here are a few jackets that I found from a few of my favorite stores:

Here are the links to the jackets…Some come in a variety of colors and they are very cute and versatile as well.  Most of these jackets are on SALE!!!!!!

OLD NAVY , GAP and GAP, J. CREW, MADEWELL, and H&M

 

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THE SNEAKER TREND

I love that the sneaker trend is EVERYWHERE.  I can’t deny that I have fallen hard for this trend and that they are my go to shoes.  I love that they can be worn with literally EVERYTHING.  But one trend that I was a little hesitate with this fall was the old school, classic TENNIS shoe, the Adidas Superstar’s and Stan Smith’s. Now, as of 2 weeks ago, I own my very own pair and I love them.  It happened while I was doing some last minute trip shopping through Nordstrom. My mom begged me to just slip a pair on and immediately I was sold and I wore them out of the store.  Not only are they adorable, but very comfortable as well.  Just a side note:  I ended up buying a 5.5 when I typically wear a 6.5 in ALL of my other shoes.  Even if you are hesitant about these shoes, I do encourage you to at least try them on;)

But with all that being said, I know that this trend is not for everyone.  Thankfully it’s just one part of the whole sneaker trend.  So I wanted to share some of my other favorite sneaker choices.

Sneaker Trend=Problem

My all time favorite sneaker that I’ve been wearing for over 2 years is my pair of  Nike Internationalists.  Every season I buy a new sneaker, but tend to always go back to his pair.  Besides being comfortable, I tend to gravitate towards this brand because of how they look on my feet.  When I look down, I like that the toe is a bit slimmer (not snug though) and I love how they hold their shape through the body.  These shoes wash up very nicely in the washer.

Red and Black
Light Bone and Black
Cool Gray Wolf
Black and Gray
Blue

And course, you can never go wrong with New Balance.  They are comfortable, stylish and more than anything have the best color and style choices.  Here are a few of my favorites that I found on Nordstrom for the spring.  *note: I love buying from Nordstrom because of their 365 day return policy.

 

Turquoise
Mauve
Black
Gray
Ivory

 

Another trend I wasn’t sure about was the high top sneaker. But once I tried them on, I was sold.  They can seem hard at first, but just wear them as you would wear a bootie.  I love how easy and convenient they are;) Here are some high tops at a great price point.

Navy

 

Brindle

 

Black
Grout

 

After all said and done, you really  can’t go wrong with any sneaker you choose.  As a final note, I wanted to share a tip:  Always expose your ankles. It will help make the leg appear longer.  I buy a lot of ankle length pants, but for longer ones try cuffing them a couple of times, but keep the cuffs smaller.  Have fun and make sure to be creative when pairing sneakers with your outfits. Oh and one more must have shoe, the slip on converse.

 

 

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Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentines Day

I just love Valentines Day, it makes me so happy for so many reasons.  I love the candy, the decorations, the colors and making all of the heart treats.  But most of all, I love watching the girls pick out their favorite Valentines and getting them ready for friends…..(I still try to persuade them on choosing the “Pinterest” valentine, but I keep losing).  In the long run, their choice is a lot less stressful for me and more meaningful to them.

A few of my favorite things this Valentines were:

1.) Watching Gracie be very careful and thoughtful of who got what Valentine, especially the boys.

2.)  Hattie writing her name on every Valentine so quickly.

3.)  Making Valentine boxes and laughing how the foam hearts say “text” or “tweet” me.

4.)  Talking about love and watching the expression of disgust on their faces.

5.) Making and sharing Valentines cookies.

6.) All of the joy and happiness that they had opening all of their school Valentines.

xoxoxoxoxo

We love giving treats to the neighbors for every holiday and here is what we did:

Cookie Decorating Kit

This was super easy, inexpensive and cute.

What you need:

1.) 8×8 cake/cookies boxes

2. Squeeze bottles (found in the baking section)

3. Plastic condiment cups, small bags, or prepackaged sprinkles.

4.  Homemade cookies and icing (recipe here) I love her recipes.

5. Baking twine or ribbon for the finishing touches.

*After making my icing, I transferred it into a large baggie.  I then cut a hole in the corner and squeezed it into my bottles.

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