Monday, August 31, 2015

Currently | August 31, 2015

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  We were very productive here at our house: Victor painted our garage floor; we went to Costco, I did lots of floor cleaning (sweeping/Swiffering, vacuuming, and mopping); we hosted friends and family for the Redskins vs. Ravens preseason game (and naturally ate lots of junk food); we visited friends and their sweet little baby; and we had a lovely lazy Sunday afternoon/evening watching random movies on HBO and napping.

I figured I'd start the week out with a new Currently post.  My last one was in April!

I can't wait for fall!

  1. Listening: Max is watching Sesame Street, so that's what I'm listening to.  We watch Sesame Street every day; it's Max's favorite.  And therefore, I always have songs from the show stuck in my head. #mommyproblems
  2. Eating: nothing.  But pondering what we'll have for lunch.  
  3. Drinking: coffee.  Which is cold.
  4. Wearing: a fun yellow, blue, and white diagonal-striped dress from LOFT Outlet.  It's one of my faves.
  5. Feeling: tired.  I stayed up too late reading last night.  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is a page-turner!
  6. Weather: It's overcast today, but it's supposed to be hot...creeping into the upper 80s today and it's supposed to be in the low 90s all week.  Ew.  Bring on fall!
  7. Wanting: Pretty much everything from Ballard Designs.  Totally my style, decor-wise.  It's silly, but I really want this canvas tote, but I don't need it.  It would've been a great school bag when I was teaching!
  8. Needing: to get the guest rooms ready for my mom and sister's visit this weekend.  They have the essentials (bed, bedding, towels), but we've had wall decorations just sitting around on the floors for months, and we need to hang the curtains in those rooms, as well.
  9. Thinking: about potential craft projects.  I've got a creative urge but I just need to get everything set up so I can produce something fun!
  10. Enjoying: spending my days with my Max.  He's at such a fun age and I'm in awe of all that he's learning and doing.  He's such a blessing.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

20 questions...because, why not?

Since I can't think of anything better to post about, how 'bout a fun game of 20 questions?  Karli at September Farm did a 20 questions post the other day...and I stole borrowed her questions.  Enjoy!

  1. Favorite food?  Generally speaking: fruit.  Specifically: watermelon.  The main reason I enjoy summer is because it's watermelon season. 
  2. High heels or flip flops?  Flip flops (or sandals).  Hands down.  Even when it's not flip flop season, I steer clear of heels and wear flats.  I'm so whiny when I wear heels.
  3. Favorite places to shop...for myself?  LOFT.  Ann Taylor.  New York & Company is becoming a new favorite, as well.  Just ordered this (in black), this (also in black), and this!
  4. Standard coffee order?  Skinny cafe mocha at Starbucks.  I like it when my coffee tastes like chocolate.  But I honestly prefer coffee at home.
  5. Must-have road-trip snack?  Twizzlers.  The original strawberry kind.  My mom, sister, and I all require them.
  6. DIY or hire it out?  I'm a DIY girl all the way when it comes to things I could make myself as opposed to pay a ridiculous retail price for the same thing.  However, we hire out for big household things/jobs.  After I painted my tiny bedroom in high school (the show Trading Spaces had me thinking it would be totally fun.  It was not), I vowed never to paint a wall again.  And I haven't.
  7. Top 5 TV shows?  Real Housewives of Orange County, Ellen, Law & Order: SVU (preferably marathon/binge-watch style), Hollywood Game Night, Fixer Upper (I love Chip and Joanna!). Honorary 6th: Parenthood, but it's not on anymore.
  8. Favorite book?  I read A LOT.  Every night before bed.  I was updating my Goodreads account the other night and realized I've read at least 10 books this year.  They've all been great books too, so it's hard to choose a favorite.  Some authors I like are: Jodi Picoult, Lisa Genova, Liane Moriarty, Jonathan Tropper.  Also Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl; she's very dark, but a great writer).
  9. Favorite form of exercise?  Barre3: a combination of ballet barre, yoga, and pilates.  Plus you can do it barefoot, which is awesome because I don't like wearing socks/sneaks.
  10. How tall are you?  5' 4.5" (that half-inch is very important)
  11. Do you try something new at restaurants or stick to your favorites?  I'm a picky eater and a creature of habit...I tend to play it safe at restaurants.
  12. One makeup item you can't live without?  Mascara.  I've been going makeup-free a lot lately, especially this summer, and I'm enjoying it.  But I feel like I need at least mascara to feel/look "put together" (ish)
  13. What's on your nightstand?  Lamp; baby monitor; book I'm currently reading; and until this morning, 2 bobby pins, but Max stole them and now I can't find them anywhere.
  14. One thing motherhood has taught you?  That being a perfectionist is overrated and exhausting and futile because babies don't care.
  15. Music that reminds you of high school?  For some reason, music has real nostalgic powers with me, and hearing certain songs take me to specific times in my life.  Two songs that really take me back to senior year of high school are "Ignition (Remix)" by R. Kelly and "In Da Club" by 50 Cent.
  16. If you could live anywhere in the world other than your current city, where would it be?  Somewhere in Michigan on a lake.
  17. Something about you we might not know?  At night, after Max goes to sleep, I like to look at my past Instagram posts and remember him when he was a bitty. 
  18. Websites you read/browse besides blogs?  People, our local Patch website, Washington Post
  19. Morning person or night owl?  I used to be a combination of both; I could function on 5 or 6 hours of sleep and have no problem waking up with an alarm for work.  Then I had a baby who slept terribly for 6 months of his life and now that I'm getting 8 hours a night, I have a tough time waking up with an alarm and Max usually wakes me up.  I'm more of a night owl now, but only stay up till 11 or so.
  20. What's your best feature?  Physically?  My feet are the cutest.  They're tiny and have a high arch.  They were not the cutest during weeks 34-38 of pregnancy...I was afraid they'd always be swollen!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Recipes That Rock | Spicy Peanut Sauce

This week, I pulled out an oldie but a goodie in our house for dinner.  I've avoided it since Max started eating whatever we eat because I didn't think he could handle it, but I was able to adjust a few things to make it 15-month-old-friendly.  I don't remember where I originally found the recipe (the original was for "Spicy Peanut Noodles"), but I love it because it's very versatile.  I've made this sauce and served it with chicken or shrimp, over noodles or rice.  It works with it all!

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (I've also used pickled ginger, and last time I omitted it because I didn't have any...still was yummy!)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup very hot chicken broth
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor.  Blend/process until well-mixed, about 2 minutes.
  2. Pour sauce over your choice of noodles/rice, chicken/shrimp, and sauteed veggies and stir until well-coated.  **I prefer to pour the sauce over individual servings as opposed to over the entire batch, but that's a personal preference.
I like to make lots of sauteed veggies (onions, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli) to go with this dish, and I typically use sesame oil as opposed to my usual EVOO.  Goes great with this sauce.  This is a great way to use leftover baked chicken or sauteed shrimp.  To make it a little less spicy for Max, I simply put in a tad less cayenne pepper.  He enjoyed dipping his fish sticks and pepper slices in the sauce (obsessed with dipping).

This sauce is awesome the next day, too.  I store the leftover sauce separate from the other leftovers and spoon it over it all before heating it up to eat the next day.

Leftovers on the couch during naptime watching Monday's episode of RHOC.  Nothing better.

If you like Thai peanut dishes, this sauce is for you!  Give it a try!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#ParentOn | A Pep-Talk for my Fellow Parents

I shared this video on Facebook last week because it is so wonderfully brilliant and beautiful.

Well done, Tommee Tippee.  Well done.

I've been a parent for just over a year now, and I am by no means an expert on parenting (duh).  I've done my best to become as knowledgeable as possible through the help of parenting books, Mommy & Me classes, Google searches, pediatrician visits, advice from veteran mommies, and good ol' trial and error.  There are so many different parenting philosophies out there--it can be overwhelming!  Add to those philosophies all of the advice from your parents/grandparents/aunts and uncles...many of whom haven't had a baby in their care for 20+ years.  It's hard to know which advice to follow and believe.

First and foremost, you need to believe that you're an awesome parent.  You need to tell yourself that every single day.  There will be some days where you will feel less than awesome: days when your child throws tantrums in public, days when your baby won't nap, days when your baby is sick, days when your kid refuses to eat anything but cookies. days when it seems like everything you do is wrong.  Parenting is hard!  But...if your child is fed, clothed (on warm days, wearing a diaper counts as "clothed" in our house), safe, and relatively happy on a regular basis, you are a parenting ROCKSTAR!

When it comes to your parenting choices, there's always going to be someone offering unsolicited advice or gentle suggestions.  As of yet, I have not found an effective (and polite) way to end these unwanted pearls of wisdom.  No amount of whining to husband/friends after-the-fact or exasperated declarations of "I know what I'm doing!" in the heat of the moment have caused these activities to cease.  It seems as though they come with the parenting territory.

I have been told how to dress my baby for whatever season/temperature/occasion that is currently on the horizon.  I have been told exactly what to feed Max for lunch on a particular day.  It has been suggested that I'm spoiling my child by not keeping him confined to one space for playing.  It has also been suggested that I'm doing something "wrong" because I'm not doing it the same way that someone else did it.  Sometimes I wonder if I have "Moron Mommy" tattooed on my forehead when I hear some of these comments, as if I'm not qualified to make decisions for my own child.  It can be incredibly irritating and offensive.  I've found that the best way, for me, to handle these situations is to discretely roll my eyes and change the subject.

I've had 15 months to really think about what advice I feel is most important to give to other parents.  I could recommend lots of products, books, blogs, and practices that have worked for our family, but that doesn't mean they'll work for you.  Instead, I've come up with a few of my own "pearls of wisdom" to help you feel confident(ish) in your role as parent.

Just because you were offered a piece of advice doesn't mean you have to follow it.  Along with the role of "parent" comes this awesome thing called "parent intuition."  You may not notice that you have it when you first bring your new baby home, but as the weeks, months, and years pass by, you'll recognize its presence more and more and learn to trust it.  You'll consult many books, websites/blogs, medical professionals, friends and family, etc., in your journey to parenthood and throughout your tenure as mommy or daddy.  (Shoot, when I was a new mommy, I was a "by the book" mommy, meaning I only did what the books said and exactly what the books said.  I felt comfortable with that).  All of these resources can be very helpful...and sometimes they won't be helpful at all.  You have to decide which tips, tricks, and practices to implement into your family routine and which to pass by, and YOU are the most qualified person to make that decision.  A personal example: The Sleep Lady Method of sleep training.  Max was 6 months old and regularly waking up 3-7 times a night, every.single.night.  Max wasn't getting enough sleep, and neither was I, and it needed to be remedied STAT.  I did my preliminary research online and came across some Sleep Lady principles that really spoke to me, so I purchased the book and started studying.  Then I began implementing the principles and it was awful.  In the end, I ended up wasting about 3 months of my life forcing The Sleep Lady Method on my family, and we were all worse-off for it.  I eventually came to terms with the fact that it wasn't working for us, and we tried the Ferber Method instead.  Worked like a charm (with some hard work, patience, and consistency, of course) and now Max is a wonderful sleeper.  This is not to say that the Ferber Method will work for your family OR that the Sleep Lady Method won't work for you.  Just keep in mind that just because you decided to follow one bit of advice, you don't need to stick with it if it's not working.

Which brings me to my next piece of advice: do what you think is right for your baby (and your family) and to hell with all the baby books/blogs/Google searches/doctor recommendations/unsolicited advice.  YOU are the expert on your child.  Not your mom, not your mother-in-law, not even your child's pediatrician.  YOU ARE.  You'll know when to switch baby to the next size diaper or clothes.  When you and baby are ready, you'll put an end to room-sharing.  You'll know when it's time to sleep train or when it's time to wean off the swaddle/breast/bottle.  You'll know when it's time to introduce solids and whether you need to get rid of the pacifier.  You're the best judge of when you and your child need change or adjustment.  If you don't know exactly when to implement something new or how to do it, then you will know when to start asking/researching.  You'll figure it out.  Have faith in yourself and your choices as a parent.

There's no teacher better than experience.  You will learn a lot about parenting "the hard way."  Remember that story about sleep training?  Do you want to know how many times I asked myself "Why didn't I do this sooner?!?"  My most recent lesson is evidenced in the photo below, from our trip to the grocery store yesterday.

How many times have I taken Max to the grocery store with me?  Pretty much once a week since he was born, give or take.  He's very grabby lately, so while we're in the check-out line, I need to occupy him with something to keep him from emptying the shelves.  Yesterday, I gave him this magazine.  He loves looking at magazines, but it's only a matter of time before he's ripping it to shreds.  I thought I'd be done checking out before he'd have the chance to mutilate this one and we could put it back on the rack.  Clearly, I was not, so this magazine was purchased.  I thought the lesson learned here was to bring a book in my purse for him to look at, but after thinking about it, the real lesson is to give him a magazine I actually want to read so when he rips it up, I have to buy it.  Lolz.

You aren't going to be 100% prepared for everything all the time...and that's OK.  A personal example: I typically have a change of clothes for Max in his diaper bag for the unexpected diaper blow-out/spit up/drool-soaking incident.  However, last Easter, I forgot to bring a change of clothes with us to church.  As Max slept in his stroller during Mass, the angle at which he was sleeping combined with the stroller's crotch strap placement caused his pee to flow completely out of his diaper and all over his fancy Easter suit.  After changing his diaper in the car, Max had to ride home in just his diaper while his clothes dried in the back.  "You know, Rachel, you should always have a change of clothes in the diaper bag for times like this."  Yes, that was said to me.  Yes, it made me mad.  And yes, it also made me feel like a big fat Moron Mommy.  But then I realized that forgetting Max's change of clothes didn't put him in danger that day.  It didn't compromise his well-being at all.  In my haste to get out the door on time, I forgot to check the diaper bag for extra clothes.  Big. Flippin'. Deal.  Forgetting something doesn't make you a bad parent.  It makes you human.  And you know what?  When Max is old enough to benefit from a "teachable moment" such as that one, he'll learn a valuable lesson in being flexible and going with the flow when Mommy forgets something...because that's not the last time mommy will forget something important.  In fact, just a couple of weeks later, I forgot to pack pajamas for Max when we went to the beach for the weekend.  He's still too young to learn from that, though...

You're going to make mistakes, even when you know better, and even when you have the best of intentions.  A personal example:  Max fell off the couch on my watch.  He had thrown up a couple of times one evening after I put him to bed, and I wanted to keep a close eye on him in case he kept getting sick (didn't want to end up in the hospital again).  So Max and I were on the couch together at 2 AM.  He had been sleeping peacefully next to me for an hour or so, and I was dozing off myself.  In fear of him falling off the couch as I slept, I got up to make a bed for him on the floor.  I considered lying him on the floor while I made up the bed, but it was only going to take a second and I didn't want to move him twice and chance waking him up.  While I made the bed on the floor, Max squirmed a bit and slipped off the couch.  I saw it happen and rushed to catch him, but I didn't make it to him in time and he hit his head on the floor.  He woke up and screamed for a bit, then fell back asleep.  I cried and cursed myself repeatedly and didn't get a wink of sleep that night as I stared at him, asleep on the floor, checking for signs of head trauma.  Thankfully, the only injury that was sustained that night was a serious case of mommy guilt, and I learned a valuable lesson.  Making a mistake/bad judgment call with your kid doesn't make you a bad parent.  It makes you human.  Also, I have never left Max unattended on an elevated surface ever again, not even for a second.

Victor and I are raising Max alongside several sets of friends who are also raising young kids.  We're doing some things similarly and other things completely different.  Some of us use Pampers, others use Huggies, others use whatever's on sale.  Some of us co-sleep with our kids; some of us let our kids cry it out in their rooms.  Some of us breast-fed while some formula-fed.  Some go to daycare; some stay home with mom or grandma.  Some play with electronics and some have no interaction with technology at all.  Some use the grocery cart cover and some let their kid chew on the bare, germ-infested handle of the grocery cart (totally me).  Some of us put our kids to bed early, and some of us are flexible with our kids' bedtimes.  And you know what?  We all have happy, healthy, thriving kids.

There is no one perfect method for parenting, no end-all, be-all answer for what to do and when to do it.  Do what's right for your family.  Trust your judgment.  You're going to be a parent for many many years.  You're not going to get it "right" all the time.  You're going to screw up, people are going to disagree with you and even criticize your decisions.  But whatever you do, stand by your choices, forgive yourself when you mess up, and love that baby the best way you know how.  Remember, you're a parenting rockstar.

Parent of the Year: I let my kid wear his pajamas past lunch time and watch Sesame Street while sitting in his toy box.


Monday, August 24, 2015

10 reasons NOT to get bangs

If you've been following Little Blue Sailboat long enough, you might remember this post about my genius idea for a "Baby Busy Bag" and an announcement that I got bangs a la Taylor Swift.  I was desperate for a hair change at the time (last November), and T. Swift always looks fab in her fringe.  So naturally, that meant that I could rock bangs, too.  Which I guess I can.  I've jumped on the bangs bandwagon many times in my adult life--I actually had bangs when Victor and I met.  I've always been told I can pull them off.  I guess I have the right face shape or something.

However, something I always forget when I brave the bangs is that bangs require maintenance.  I'm a low-maintenance gal when it comes to hair/makeup.  Especially now that I'm a mommy.  I have vowed to keep my hair longer for that very reason.  Short hair styles for a gal who has hair with a mind of it's own is a battle I can very rarely win.  Bangs are no exception.  

This was an attempt at "side swept" bangs.  My bangs cooperated a little bit.
So, if you're thinking about getting bangs for yourself, consider these 10 reasons NOT to take the snip.  If you're not phased by these arguments, then snip away!

10 Reasons NOT to Get Bangs
  1. You will have to make peace with having hair on your forehead all the time.  It's a weird sensation to get used to.  Plus, if you're a head-sweater like me, this could wreak havoc on your bang style.
  2. Bangs + sleep don't mix well together.  Please refer to Exhibit A below. 

  3. You must get frequent bang trims if you want to keep your fringe looking fresh.  But you should NOT trim them yourself.  My hairdresser offers free bang trims, thank goodness.
    I was well overdue for a trim on New Year's Eve last year.
  4. When you first get them trimmed, they will be just a tad too short to look the way you want them to.  So you must wait it out.
  5. You eventually have to grow them out.
  6. You either have to style them every day or pin them back.  Very rarely can you just "air dry" with bangs.  This summer has been full of bobby pins and bang braids for me.
  7. Bangs do what they want.  If you have hair like me, no amount of styling product will make them comply with what you want.  They have a mind of their own.
  8. When you begin to grow them out, they will be stuck in this awful "in-between" stage where you can't style them normally because they're too long, and you can't tuck them behind your ear because they're too short, and you can't stylishly sweep them to the side because bangs don't give a rip.
  9. You are not Taylor Swift, nor do you have Taylor Swift's hair, therefore your bangs will never look like hers.  
    Hair perfection right there.
  10. At least once in your journey to growing your bangs out, you will curse your decision to ever get bangs in the first place.  
    This was taken a few days before I braved the bangs.  Those were the days...
Despite all the bangs bashing, I did have a few good hair days with bangs.

I never feel "put together" with my hair in a ponytail.  Bangs help classy-fy the ponytail for me.

My bangs were good to me on the day of Max's baptism.  I was prepared to pin them back, but they followed directions and stayed swept to the side!
I guess bangs aren't so bad.  I'm getting so restless with growing them out that I may just snip them again.  We'll see.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Recipes That Rock | Skinny Crab Cakes and Peach Summer Slaw

I'm not much of a seafood eater, but I'm trying to work it into my weekly meals more since the hubs has requested more fish-focused meals.  I make salmon once a week, but beyond that, I have a hard time feeling inspired to make fish dishes when I'm not a huge fish fan.

Lucky for me, I was flipping through Everyday with Rachael Ray a couple months ago and came across her Skinny Crab Cakes and Peach Summer Slaw recipe.  While I'm not big on most seafood, I LOVE a good crab cake, so I was super excited to whip these up.  I've always had good luck with Rachael's recipes, so I knew this was sure to be a winner.

Skinny Crab Cakes and Peach Summer Slaw
Serves 4

Crab cake Ingredients
  • 1.5 lb. lump or backfin crabmeat (I found a 1 lb. tub of lump crabmeat at Costco)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (I used dried parsley)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 tbsp. canola mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayo)
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil for cooking
Peach Slaw Ingredients
  • 1 bag (14 oz) coleslaw mix
  • 2 medium peaches, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 pickled hot cherry peppers, sliced (couldn't find these, so I omitted them)
  • 2.5 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. In a large bowl, toss the crabmeat, bell pepper and herbs.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, egg white, mayonnaise, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Add to the crab mixture and mix until combined.
  3. Add the panko to the crab mixture and mix gently.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, toss the coleslaw mix, peaches, cherry peppers, vinegar, sugar, olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Let stand, tossing often, for 30 minutes.
  5. Form the crab mixture into eight 1-inch-thick cakes.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1.5 tbsp. oil over medium.  Add 4 crab cakes; cook until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.  Place on a rack set in a baking sheet to keep crisp.  Repeat with remaining 1.5 tbsp. oil and crab cakes.  Serve with lemon wedges and slaw.

The crabmeat was a little expensive, but I loved knowing that my crab cakes were made from scratch and not full of "fillers."  These were a hit, even with Max!  I highly recommend trying it before the summer is over!

Friday, August 14, 2015


Sometimes people post funny recollections about silly or ridiculous conversations they overheard while out and about. Unfortunately for you, I don't have any of those. 

But what I do have are 5 things you may have overheard at Casa de Little Blue Sailboat if you had been a fly on our wall this week. Enjoy. 

1.  "That's a coaster, not a cookie."

2.  "No!  Don't blow a raspberry on my foot!!!"

3.  "Please take your finger out of my belly button."

4.  "It's not a booger. It's avocado."

5.  "OMG Sesame Street was soooo funny today!"

I'll let you guys have fun guessing who said what.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Recipes That Rock | Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you were an avid Friends watcher like me (I may or may not own the entire series on DVD...and a fancy collector's display case), you remember the episode where Monica was working tirelessly to figure out Phoebe's grandmother's top-secret chocolate chip cookie recipe by deconstructing the last cookie from a frozen batch.  At the end of the episode, Phoebe remembers her grandmother told her the recipe came from her French great-great grandmother, named "Nestley Toulouse."

Words don't do it justice, so I hope you enjoyed this short, pixely video with Spanish subtitles!

Anyway, it's no wonder that Monica thought Phoebe's grandmother's cookies were so scrumptious.  Have you ever followed the recipe on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag?  It rocks!  I've been following this recipe for a few years now, and it does NOT disappoint!  The original recipe calls for nuts, but I omit those.  Give this recipe a try!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • One 12 oz bag Milk Chocolate or Semi-sweet morsels
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.
  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large bowl until creamy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  6. Stir in morsels.
  7. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet.
  8. Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Tip: If you forget to remove the butter from the fridge ahead of time to let it soften, just place it on top of the oven as it preheats.  Works just fine!

I love my cookie scoop!

Max's first taste of mommy's cookies.  He thinks they're so yummy that he threw a tantrum when Mommy said he couldn't have any more.
Do you have a favorite cookie recipe?  Is it an old family recipe or one you found on your own?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

DIY T-shirt Tote Bag

I have a lot of t-shirts.  I'm a nostalgic t-shirt purchaser/hoarder.  Shirts from college, my favorite sports teams, the schools I've taught at, places I've visited...they're taking over my closet.  Problem is...I don't wear them much.  If I do, it's at bedtime--I rarely buy pajama sets anymore because I have so many t-shirts to wear to bed.  However, I can't seem to get rid of any because they hold some sort of sentimental value.

If this sounds like you, then this DIY is right up your alley.  This is a super-easy craft that takes a beloved t-shirt that you don't really wear and up-cycles it into something useful: a tote bag!  I came across this idea when I was searching for cute library book bag designs (I took Max to the library for the first time last week and didn't bring a was tough wrangling him and all the books we checked out that day with no bag!).  As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to create one!

Just a side note: this took 11 minutes, start to finish.  And I was being pretty poky.  I made a second one in 8 minutes.

DIY T-shirt Tote Bag

What you'll need:
  • t-shirt  **Remember, your bag will only be as strong as the t-shirt you use.  I wouldn't recommend using a super old, thin one.
  • fabric scissors
  • marker and plate or bowl for tracing
  • sewing machine with your choice of thread color (honestly, the color doesn't matter because you won't even see the stitch).  You could also easily sew by hand using a needle and thread.  If neither of these is an option for you, there is a no-sew variation here.  It follows the same techniques as making a no-sew fleece blanket.
  1. Lay out your t-shirt.  Then cut off the sleeves. 
  2. Use a plate or bowl to trace where you'll cut around the neckline for the bag opening.  For a sturdier-ish bag, keep as much of the top shoulder seams as possible. 
    You'll want to cut "below" the line you drew, so be careful where you line it up.  I wish I had gone a little higher on this one.
  3. Cut along the line you traced. 
  4. Turn shirt inside out and trace a line where you want the bottom of your bag to be.  Double check inside to make sure you're not cutting off any graphics. 
  5. Throw the shirt on your sewing machine and stitch along the straight line you drew.  Be sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end. 
  6. Cut off the excess fabric below the stitch. 
  7. Turn right-side-out and you're done! 
Told ya it was easy!  And it's totally washable, too!  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hour by Hour Weekend | August

I'm linking up with Astleigh at Hill Collection for the monthly Hour-by-Hour Weekend!  Astleigh has done a couple of these posts and I thought it would be fun to join in!  Basically, you take a photo of what you're doing every hour of your weekend and then write up a fun weekend recap post on Monday!  I have to admit, I forgot a couple of hours here and there, but it was fun to document the entire weekend in photos!


 8:00 PM >> Stopping by the fountains after a family dinner out.

9:00 PM >> {Not pictured} Victor and I watched The Book of Life in the theater room after Max was in bed.  Cute movie!


 9:00 AM >> Waffles for breakfast!

 10:00 AM >> Coffee and recipe hunting in the freshly dusted and vacuumed family room.  It was a mess 5 minutes later when Max decided to empty an entire box of tissues so he could "clean" the floor.  #lifewithkids

 11:00 AM >> We took a family wagon ride to the park!  I learned that kids have a natural inclination to climb UP the slide when that's all Max wanted to do.  Now I understand why it's such a tough rule for kids to follow on the playground at school!

 12:00 PM >> Lunchtime!  PB&J for Max.  Leftover spaghetti for me and Victor.  I think spaghetti always tastes better as leftovers.

 2:00 PM >> I organized the laundry room and folded laundry while Victor did yard work and Max napped.

 3:00 PM >>  I finally got around to steaming our master bedroom curtains.  It only took me 3 months.

 4:00 PM >> Max woke up from his nap and requested a watermelon snack.

 5:00 PM >> Max played with his Mega Blocks while Victor and I finished up some projects around the house.

6:00 PM >> {Not pictured} Driving to meet friends for dinner.

 7:00 PM >> A skinny guava-rita had my name all over it at Uncle Julio's.  So did some enchiladas, which Victor and I shared.

8:00 PM >> Besties window shopping.  They provided lots of entertainment for the crowds.

 9:00 PM >> A bottle and some Sesame Street before a late bedtime.

10:00 PM >> This is what happens when you carry the oats can by the lid.  I also almost put quinoa in my overnight oats.

10:30 PM >> Reading some Left Neglected by Lisa Genova before bed.  I've read 3 of her 4 books and they're all brilliant.


 8:30 AM >> My human alarm clock decided it was time to get up.  (My electronic one was set for 7 to get up and workout, but sleep sounded more appealing).

9:00 AM >> Family breakfast.  Waffles, yogurt, and fruit for Max.  A veggie omelet, waffle, and fruit for Victor.  Overnight oats with fruit for me.  And coffee.  Of course, coffee.

 10:00 AM >> "Church" with Joel Osteen.  Max was busy "dusting" with one of his t-shirts.

11:00 AM >> We finished setting up the workout room in the basement.  This panorama looks weird.  The room is a square.

 12:00 PM >> Lunch.  Chicken nuggets and pepper slices for Max.  Victor and I had our own variations of turkey and avocado sandwiches.  Max wanted to dip some crackers in the avocado.  He's obsessed with dipping stuff now.

 1:00 PM >> Naptime crafting.  Made a tote bag out of a t-shirt.  Look for a tutorial later this week.  Took 11 minutes, start to finish!

 2:30 PM >> Max "putting his socks on" so we can leave.

 4:00 PM >> We visited a couple of open houses in the area.  How beautiful is this master bathroom?!

 5:00 PM >> Helping dad find the bolts he needed at Home Depot.

 5:30 PM >> Had to put Max in a bucket to keep him from emptying all the shelves at Home Depot.  He turned himself into a living Jack-in-the-box, popping up and down!

 6:00 PM >> Dinner prep.  I made spinach-stuffed chicken breasts, a favorite in our house.

7:00 PM >> {Not pictured}  Dinner at our house with Victor's brother, his fiancee, and his fiancee's brother.

8:00 PM >> {Not pictured} Bottle, bath, and bed for Max.  He decided to poo in the tub tonight (2nd time he's done that in his life and likely not the last).  Again, #lifewithkids!

9:00 PM >> Relaxing and watching Ride Along after a productive weekend.  Kevin Hart cracks me up.

Whew!  What a weekend!  We got a lot done around the house and also had a little fun, too!  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!