Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Butterfly House

This past weekend I went with my friend and her little one to The Butterfly House.  It's a really neat place that has a greenhouse area with all the butterflies and lots of neat plants.  The building also houses a little gift shop, a learning area for kids, and a place to watch a movie.  Not only are there butterflies, but outside the greenhouse, there are also tanks with different bugs.  There is an outdoor garden, with more flowers and different photo ops, specifically set up for Halloween.  The cost was $6/adult and then my friend's daughter was free!  The greenhouse section was really neat - the butterflies were gorgeous.  I always hate the bird area at the zoo, so I was a little worried it might be too much flying around, but it wasn't like that at all!  I saw a gorgeous periwinkle and black butterfly.  That was probably a favorite, but it never landed for me to snap a picture.  I did get some other really great ones, and one even landed on my shoe!  We missed the movie time, but still enjoyed looking at everything else there was to offer.  The outside area was really nice, and it even had an event space.  Before you even get into The Butterfly House, they have some great photo ops outside, along with a big pond and fountain.  Just really pretty!  The Butterfly House is located in Faust Park, which has a bunch of other neat spots within.  We checked out the play area, which was just packed with kids.  It was the perfect day, so I can see why everyone was out!  A little further away, we saw all these old timey buildings.  I am not really sure what they are there for, but we saw a few wedding parties taking pictures, as well as some senior pictures.  I need to look up what goes on there, because it seemed really neat!  Such a fun little afternoon outing!

Linking up with Annie.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What's Up Wednesday: October 2016

Another month has come and almost gone.  It's hard to believe - soon it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas!  I am linking up with my usual Wednesday girls - Jessi and Jenn for What's Hap-pinning Wednesday and Shay for What's Up Wednesday.

What I'm eating this week...

Monday: Veggie Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Tuesday:  Beef Fasolia
Wednesday: up in the air - may be a good night to pick up or order out!
Thursday:  Andrea's Pulled Pork
Friday:  BBQ Quesadillas

What I'm reminiscing about...same as last month - nothing really!  If anything, I would have to say those nights where you leave work on time and have all evening to do whatever you want, catch up on DVR, read a book, that type of evening!

What I'm loving...the cooler weather.  Seriously, it's just the best.  Although Friday is supposed to have a high of 80 (what in the world?!), the rest of the week has been and will be your ideal fall weather.

What I've been up, work, work during the week!  Earlier this month, I hit up Vintage Market Days, a Jaguar car show, headed home for my cousin's wedding AND celebrated my mom's birthday!

What I'm dreading...we have some big stuff at work this week, so while I am not dreading it, I am a bit nervous and anxious!

What I'm working on...finding a fitness routine that works for me.  I have been getting a bit bored with what I normally do, so I am trying to find effective ways to switch it up.  Any suggestions?

What I'm excited about...I am really excited for Thanksgiving.  I love getting together with family and eating all that delicious food.  I also love the fact that it is just holiday season - Thanksgiving to Christmas is probably my favorite time of year.  I just love the anticipation and build up!

What I'm watching...a lot of the same as before - Madame Secretary, Elementary, This is Us, Designated Survivor, RHONJ, RHOC, Manzo'd with Children, the list really just goes on.  My DVR is FULL!

What I'm listening to...nothing at the moment, but I think Christmas music may make an appearance sooner than later.  My mom is probably shaking her head right now.  Growing up, and still now, Christmas music was always reserved for the way home from my Grandma's on Thanksgiving.  So after we give Thanksgiving it's due, then we listen to the music, not before!

What I'm new boots!  I realize I have already mentioned them a few times, but it's true.  I wore them last weekend and can't wait to break them out again.  Jackets are finally becoming necessary, too, which I don't mind at all since I picked up this military one during the Nordstrom sale.  It's just been waiting my closet to be worn!

What I'm doing this weekend...I am hoping to a weekend very similar to the last - productive, but relaxing.

What I'm looking forward to next month...Thanksgiving!  Black Friday!  Hopefully some time off of work, too!

Bonus Question: What is your favorite Halloween memory/picture/tradition...I think one of my favorite memories is going trick or treating in the rain.  It was really, really raining and I think we only made it on our street, like the one block, but I remember thinking we just HAD to go trick or treating, even though the weather was bad.  My favorite picture is by far from when I was little.  I was a Care Bear, I think Sleepy Bear, but if you saw the look on my face, I would have been a much better Grumpy Bear.  I am going to see if my mom can find that picture by the end of the week to share!  While I don't know if you would count this as a tradition, but I loved when my aunt would bring over my cousins to trick or treat.  They are younger, so when I was too old, it was so fun seeing them come all dressed up!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Christmas Is Coming!

One of my October Goals was to get started on my Christmas shopping.  While I like to give fall and Thanksgiving their due, I do like to at least start thinking of Christmas early on to get prepared.

Shelby over at Life as The Coats, shared some super cute, and super helpful Christmas printables.  When I saw her post, I immediately printed them off and started filling them in.  I love how she has different pages for each gift "category," like immediate family, friends and co-workers / other.  It was a perfect way for me to collect my thoughts on who I needed to buy for and organize what I was going to get them.

Another handy printable she had was for Christmas cards.  I LOVE Christmas cards.  I haven't sent any out recently, but I decided to change that this year.  Enter Paperless Post, a website I was recently introduced to.  They offer some really great Christmas card options, among other things.  You can get them either printed, or also shop online card options if you prefer to send via email.  For the printed cards, envelope addressing is free, as well as proofing and photo editing.  For me, I love that they have both the cards that you can include a photo, as well as a card with no photo option.  Let's be real, my grandma and my parents are probably the only people that would be interested in a Christmas card with just my picture on it.  I am still in the process of choosing which to go with - below are a few of my favorites.

direct link

Right now, with code ENTERTAIN, new customers can save 15% off at Paperless Post. 

Linking up with Whitney.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Weekend Recap

Hey all!  Happy Monday!  Another weekend has come and gone.  Mine was low-key, but pretty productive.

After work on Friday, I went straight to the grocery store.  I have been working on getting my list done prior to the weekend, that way if I have time after work, I can just get there and get done.  I had a surprise when I got home - the dress I just ordered from Nordstrom had already arrived!  It wasn't supposed to ship until this week so I was pretty excited to see that!  I was craving something sweet, so I decided to make Mix and Match Mama's Creamy Peanut Butter Pie.  Now, I really don't like pie at all, but I had peanut butter pie once time and it was amazing.  This seemed so easy, so I decided to give it ago.  I changed things up with getting a Oreo cookies crust, instead of regular or graham cracker as the recipe calls for.  Since I just wanted a sweets fix, I am taking the majority of the pie to work today.  It was an early evening, as I could barely keep my eyes open!

I headed to the gym first thing Saturday morning to get it out of the way.  I made a yummy breakfast - I have really been loving scrambled eggs with cut up tomatoes and greens mixed in.  Paired with bacon and an apple mimosa, it was the perfect breakfast!  I just used the Simply Apple juice with champagne - so good!  A movie was on deck for the late morning, The Accountant.  Since I used to work in an accounting position, I had to see it, especially since it had Ben Affleck in it!  The movie was super good.  It didn't get the best reviews, which I don't quite understand, because it was really, really good.  It keeps you guessing which way the movie will actually turn out, which makes it so interesting.  Definitely good see this movie!  Later that afternoon I headed to The Butterfly House with a friend and her little one.  The Butterfly House is in a park, one I had never been to before.  It was neat walking around and see what else was all there.  More on that later this week!  I tried a new recipe for dinner, which was delicious.  I have been on a new recipe kick lately, and have found some really good ones.  I plan on pulling them all together in one post to share.  Another early night - I couldn't even stay up to watch the Cubs win!

I saw the very end of the Cubs game when I woke up on Sunday.  I have to say, I had a few tears in my eyes after hearing the announcer talking about what an emotional time it was for fans who grew up with grandparents, moms, dads who were such huge fans.  The phrase, I hope to see them win in my lifetime, is one that is heard often.  Unfortunately, two of the biggest Cubs fans I knew, my grandpa (mom's side) and grandma (dad's side) didn't make it to see them get to the World Series.  I wish they were still here to witness this, but I can just imagine them smiling down and celebrating the big win.  Such an exciting time for Cubs fans!  I decided to enjoy the cool morning and go for a walk instead of heading to the gym.  It was gorgeous out and I got to check off one of my fall bucket list items - crunching the leaves underneath my feet!  I spent the rest of the morning in the kitchen.  I made beef fasolia for dinner that night, another breakfast of scrambled eggs, then hamburgers and green beans for lunches this week.  An afternoon of laundry, reading and DVR catch up finished out the day, with a little break in there to take a drive to check out some of the fall colors - another fall bucket list item!

Image result for a sunday well spent brings a week of content

Linking up with Biana.  

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Favorites 10.21.16

Friday, I am so glad you are here!

1.  One of my favorites, Sarah, shared this passage yesterday and the story behind it.  It really struck a cord with me and is definitely a favorite for this week. 
Image result for isaiah 26 3-4

2.  On a much lighter note, these boots showed up at my apartment last weekend and I have to say, I am OBSESSED!  The color is gorgeous, the fit is perfect and they are super comfy.  I put them on and just instantly felt good, which sounds kind of silly, but it's true.  I am hoping with the cooler temps this weekend, I will get a chance to wear them!
Product Image, click to zoom
3.  I have been in a bit of a shopping kick right now, so when I saw this dress on sale the other day, I couldn't say no.  I know it was purchased by many during the Nordstrom sale, and I can totally see why.  I plan on wearing it for all seasons, layered for the cooler weather and by itself for those warmer days.  At just under $26 with tax, you can't beat the price!
Product Image, click to zoom
4.  I am actually really excited about this weekend.  I don't have many plans and that is just fine by me.  I feel like I am still recovering from the past weekend!  Relaxing with a good book sounds like the perfect way to unwind.      

5.  My brother turned 32 yesterday - happy, happy birthday Matt!  You are the best brother and just the best dad!      

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with AndreaAprilKatie and Amanda. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Kitchen Favorites

I love to cook and bake, so it's no surprise that I also love all different types of kitchen gadgets.  Take me to Crate & Barrel or William-Sonoma or pretty much anywhere with a bunch of kitchen / cooking goodies and you will have one happy girl.  I love reading about others "must-haves" so I thought I would share some of my favorites with you (in particular order). 

1.  Batter Bowls
Classic Batter BowlSmall Batter Bowl
These bowls are the best.  I have both the classic and small size and use at least one of them every week, if not multiple times.  Mine are a bit older so they aren't exactly the same as what is pictured, but they are basically the same.  They are great for measuring, mixing, storing - pretty much anything!

2.  Multi Jar Opener   
Multi Jar Opener
This is a lifesaver.  As the name says, it is a multi way opener.  I mostly use it for a bottle opener and a jar opener.  So handy when you are by yourself and just cannot get that dang lid off!

3.  Tongs 
OXO ® Large Stainless and Nylon Tongs

I decided I wanted tongs after watching The Pioneer Woman use them for pretty much everything on her show.  After having them, I can definitely see why she uses them so often.  They are so multi-functional.  I have the large and small and use them both.  One thing I really like about this particular brand is the easy open / close at the bottom, and the top part is nylon, which keeps them from scratching non-stick pots and pans.
4.  Mix 'N Chop Tool 
Mix 'N Chop
I think of this as the ground meat tool.  It is the perfect thing to use when you are browning ground meat.  You can really get the meat broken up nicely, so you don't have super big chunks.  I actually didn't really like this utensil at first, but since I have been using it, I have definitely become a believer.  

5.  Box Grater
I love cheese, and you can't beat freshly grated cheese.  Funny story, when I was little, I am pretty sure I used to complain on taco night when my mom would grate cheese.  I wanted the bagged shredded cheese!  Obviously I have changed my ways since then, because I almost always shred my own cheese now.  I love that this grater came with a little box, although honestly, I usually just put a grater on a plate instead of using the box.  It is handy if you are looking to get a specific amount, though, with measurements on the side.  You can also use this for other things, although I mainly stick to grating cheese.    

6.  Cookie Scoop 
Medium Scoop
If you love to make cookies, you need this scoop.  While it seems like a extra tool that you don't really need, it is just so nice to have.  You get uniformed cookies, no messing with the dough - just easy peasy!

7.  Measuring Spoons
I love these spoons.  You get so many different sizes, which is perfect for when a recipe calls for an "off" measurement.  They even come on a ring to keep them all together.

I highly suggest all these items if you are looking to get a head start on your Christmas shopping.  I am pretty sure they all have been Christmas presents given to me over the years!  I'd love to hear from you - what are your kitchen must-haves?

Linking up with Annie.  


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Loving Lately

I wanted to share two things I have been loving lately.  


First off, the wooden tiered tray I ordered after missing out on it at Vintage Day Markets a few weekends ago.  I haven't quite figured out where its home is going to be in my apartment, but I just love it.  I was a little confused at first, because it was actually sent in pieces, but it was ridiculously easy to put together.  You can't beat the price either, I saw the same tray for $30 dollars more on a different website.  While it is still not exactly inexpensive, I think it's a great price for something that I know I can use in so many different ways and plan on having for the long haul.  The shipping was quick, too, which is always a plus!

Scotch Plaid Shirt, Slightly Fitted

Scotch Plaid Shirt, Slightly FittedScotch Plaid Shirt, Slightly Fitted
I ordered this flannel shirt awhile ago to give it a try - I had only heard / read good things about L.L. Bean's flannel shirts.  I decided to go with the Slightly Fitted, because I didn't want it to be too big and boxy.  I actually ordered two different sizes, because some of the reviews said that it still ran big, however, I did not have that problem.  My normal size was the right one for me.  It still has a looser fit, but it's not too much.  The fabric is so ridiculously soft, it just makes you feel so warm and cozy.  I went with the Black Watch color, but honestly, I would take one of each.  I cannot wait to wear it!

What are you loving lately?

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.