Sunday, September 29, 2019

Hank Life

It's been a while since I've done a Hank post, so here we go!
Sometimes I catch glimpses of Hank and I see a BOY---not a baby, not a toddler, but a little boy.  Each phase is precious and perfect in its own way but toddlerhood is a real kick. People ask me all the time how old Hank is and instead of getting into month math (counting is hard), I always say, "He'll be 2 in December." TWO YEARS OLD. It has sped by at warp speed! 

Hank Eats: Hank is a big eater. I always ask his daycare teachers how he ate at lunch and snack and they always laugh and see, "He loves food." He gets that honestly. Hank has a sippy cup of milk when he wakes up and before bed. I recently switched him to 2% milk and am so glad because whole milk in my cereal was probably not the healthiest choice. Hank enjoys: raisin bread toast, nutrigrain bars, bananas ("NANA" is a often heard phrase around here with mad gestures toward the fruit bowl), applesauce, eggo waffles, scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, Goldfish (especially the pretzel ones) green beans, rice, yogurt, pinto beans, and quesdadillas. He's not a huge meat eater (aside from nugget form). For lunch I usually pack him an Uncrustable, a cheese square (tillamook ones from Costco are our fave), a fruit cup/vegetable and some sort of cracker or bar. It is freeing to be able to go out to eat and not pack special food for him! 

Sleeps: Hank likes to sleep in and on school days I have to wake him up and he is mad about it. Hank wakes up anytime between 7 and 9. He goes to bed anytime between 7 and 8, but it's often around 8:30 on the weekends. He takes one nap a day now, after lunch. When he's home he will usually nap for about 2-3 hours but at school, it's around an hour (too much fun to be had I suppose). He sleeps in his crib with his lullabies on and lately he's been requesting an "amminalll" to sleep with as well (animal). 

Play: Hank LOVES to play outside. The only "attitude" we've gotten from him so far involves when he doesn't want to come inside. He loves to walk to get the mail or to the park. He makes a beeline for his bubble mower and golf set anytime he's in the front yard. Balls and bubbles remain tried and true favorites. Hank loves play doh, looking at books, blocks, and we've recently begun exploring with coloring. 

Wears: Hank's 2T clothes are getting snug so anything I buy now, I go for a 3T. I bought him a coat recently and went with a 4T on that. So many precious baby outfits and onesies are no longer an option for us...boooo! Tee shirts and athletic shorts and sweats are pretty much his look, but I do love him in some toddler jeans and a polo too! I still love Carters, Old Navy, Walmart, and Target. He wears size 6 shoes and sometimes it's my most heart pumping cardio of the day wrestling them on him. 

Hank Loves: 
-FAMILY! Hank adores his grandparents and Aunt Libby and Uncle Matt. 
-"Nigh Nigh"---when Hank is tired and done, he will let you know, and request his crib
-Paw Patrol---Hank loves Paw Patrol and anytime we see a Paw Patrol anything he loses his mind and says "PaaaPaaaa." And in case you were wondering, you can buy ANYTHING with one of those dogs stamped on it (I type while eating a Paw Patrol shaped graham cookie). 
-Bath time: Hank has taken to "swimming" in the bath and loves splashing around and playing. 
-Coco. Guys, I am not exaggetating when I say I must have seen this movie 200 times. Hank requests it all the time and lately when we've been seeing anything skeleton or Day of the Dead like at Target or neighborhood decorations he points and says "COCO." It's a really sweet movie and I know he enjoys all the bright colors. 
-Gladitator: Ok, so Hank and AJ love rough housing, wrestling, just general "wildness" after dinner. It makes me laugh and sometimes I join in. We have 2 long pillows on our couch, one says XOXO and the other says "Our Nest," so shabby chic cuteness but somehow these long pillows have morphed into gladiator style battering rams and Hank LOVES rough housing with them. 
-Animals: Hank loves finding snails and ants. He loves the aquarium! 
We adore our handsome Hank and we are joyful and honored to be his parents! 

Savor Your Sparkle,

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

September Reads

I have been on a great book streak lately and I'm continuing that with 3 books I really enjoyed this month.

First up, a recommendation from a friend:

1. No Exit By Taylor Adams: First off, this book is violent and very scary but I LOVED IT! This one had me on the edge of my seat and I polished it off in a weekend. This is about a college student driving home in a snow storm to visit her sick mom and she encounters an ethical dilemma while trapped at a rest stop and from there it gets crazy. This has lots of twists and turns and will have you rooting for the main character. This would be a perfect Halloween read. In fact, I handed it right over to AJ to read when I finished because I thought he'd like it too.

2. Things Your Save in a Fire by Katherine Center: I first discovered Center's work through her book How to Walk Away that was one of my Book of the Month picks last year. This book has a very similar vibe to that one and it did not disappoint. This one is about a tough firefighter named Cassie who can hold her own at her all-male firehouse. She moves to her small town to help her mom and joins a difficult new crew (unwelcoming) and there's an adorable love story. This one is a total girl power read, a feel good story, and a really eye-opening tale about being a woman in a traditional man's world. I highly recommend this book.

3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: Ok, let me start by saying I liked this book. I really did. In fact, I brought it with me on an overnight getaway recently, and could not put it down. BUT.....this book has TONS of hype and I think because of that I was expecting something life changing and incredible and it didn't really do that for me. This one is about a wild "Marsh Girl" named Kya who has to make the best of a horrible situation after everyone in her family leaves (for various reasons) and she's left alone at a cabin in the marshes on the North Carolina coast. The descriptions of the setting are beautiful and vivid.  This one is another great "girl power" read and in addition to some survival elements (parts reminded me of The Great Alone), there's also a murder and courtroom drama. This is a great book (evidenced by the fact that there were over 500 people on the wait list for this at the library this summer!) but as far as great books go, I don't think this will make my top 10.

I have some great reads ready for October! What are some of your favorite fall reads? Leave a comment! Happy reading!
Savor Your Sparkle,

And now here are all the books I've read in 2019....with stars by my faves!
1. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
2. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
3. The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank
4. *Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
5. Happy Teachers Change The World by Thich Nhat Hanh and Katherine Weare
6. The Day I Went Missing by Jennifer Miller
7. *Glow Kids by Kardaras Nicholas
8. Final Girls by Riley Sager
9. *Becoming by Michelle Obama
10. As Long As We Both Shall Live by Joann Chaney
11. *The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
12. If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey
13. *The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
14. Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanne Elden
15. *Regrets Only by Erin Duffy
16. *Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
17. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
18. *The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
19. *Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
20. When Did I Get Like This? by Amy Wilson
21. *Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman
22. Maid by Stephanie Land
23. Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson
24. Sh*tty Mom by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo, MaryAnn Zoellner
25. Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
26. Dietland by Sarai Walker
27. The Mother in Law by Sally Hepworth
28. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
29. *Life Will Be the Death of Me by Chelsea Handler
30. *Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand
31. Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty
32. *The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
33.  Roar by Cecelia Ahern
34. A Love Letter Life by Jeremy and Audrey Roloff
35. The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Frances
36. *Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
37. *Can I Get An Amen? by Sarah Healy
38. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
39. *Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
40. How Do You Tuck In a Superhero? by Rachel Balducci
41. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert 
42. *No Exit by Taylor Adams
43. *Things You Save In a Fire by Katherine Center
44. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Monday, September 16, 2019

Life Lately

Long time no blog! I need writing time in my life so weeks where life gets busy make me really miss this tiny corner of the internet. We are BACK. IN. A. GROOVE. I always seem to forget how busy the first few weeks of school are. September has been a blast so far!

 Last weekend my mom, sister, and I went to get pedis and did some shopping. Fun times! By the way, did you know my sister has an amazing blog called UT Caffeine Queen? That evening we went to the State Fair. Hank loved all the animals. AJ and I had a bit of sticker shock over the price of corn dogs, but all in all, a fun time with my family.

This giant bubble machine was a big hit with the toddler crowd

Hank loves animals! 

This weekend, AJ's family was in town for a visit. It's been so nice having constant care for Hank and home cooked meals that yours truly didn't need to prepare! Friday night AJ and I went and saw IT Chapter 2. It was GOOD. Not as great as the first It (I loved that movie), but still creepy and crazy.
Saturday morning my family met up with AJ's family and we all had breakfast together and took Hank to the park. It was so nice having everyone together. After naps for all that afternoon, AJ and I went to see Carrie Underwood! It was a great show and so cool to see her since I've been a fan since her American Idol days (when I was in high school, sheesh!). I also immediately googled her fitness regimen after the show----girlfriend is FIT and energetic! I've been enjoying listening to some of her older stuff since the show.

I felt like the time was right this past Sunday morning for my annual Hadley and Mommy Pumpkin Spice Latte date. I brought a picnic blanket and spent an hour just sitting in the beautiful sunshine with my girl. If you want to know more about this special tradition, read THIS post or THIS ONE. It's a tradition I savor and love celebrating my girl that way each year.

On Sunday we took AJ's family to one of our favorite places: The Aquarium! Hank literally cheers when we pull in. He loved showing his favorite stuff to grandma and grandpa. I cannot believe I'll have a 2 year old in just a few months. This phase is so fun. I just adore the little person Hank is and hearing him talk and express himself is precious.

Little man leading the way 

I have a few other posts in the works, and I appreciate your patience with my sporadic (Clueless reference, anyone?) posts. I have truly felt the working mom juggle this year. Balancing teaching (and ALL that entails), fitness, home life, not looking like a hobo (guys, I bought my first EYE CREAM last week. Real talk, indeed), toddlerhood, my math class (ugh), meal planning and prepping, watching all the absolute crap that I enjoy (I didn't say my commitments were all beneficial/neccesary), and having fun, too, is a lot. Most days I'm running on dry shampoo, lattes, prayers for patience, and 15 minute podcast bursts in the car....and I'm also usually adding something to my Smith's Clicklist cart every hour or so when I remember something we're out of, But you know what? I'm grateful for it all. Have a fabulous week, everyone! And make sure to visit Target and browse the Fall goodies. It's basically a prescribed form of self care. Right??

Savor Your Sparkle,

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Hawaiian Ice Box Cake

Last week I made my first ice box cake (strawberry banana) and ummm..... why in the world have I not been making these for years? Basically an ice box cake is a "cake" made entirely in the fridge (so no baking) using graham cracker layers. It's almost Fall which means lots of cozy pumpkin, and warm cinnamon-y treats, but I couldn't resist making a fruity delicious ice box cake while it's still warm out. AJ and I head to Maui (Hawaii first timer here!) next month, so I decided to use pineapple for this Hawaiian inspired easy peasy dessert. And bonus, using sugar free pudding mix and cool whip makes this treat not as unhealthy as other dessert options (I'm looking at you, Crumbl).

Cast of Characters:
-1 box sugar free vanilla pudding mix
-1 cup milk
-1 can crushed pineapple (20 oz)
-2 cans mandarin oranges drained
-sugar free Cool Whip (8 oz)
-3 bananas
-graham crackers (I used 3 "sleeves")
-Coconut (but I forgot to get it at the store so sadly my version is sans coconut)

1. Thaw the Cool Whip in the fridge for about 3-4 hours
2. Mix the pudding mix with the cup of milk and let sit for 5 minutes. It will be very thick. Add the can of crushed pineapple and fold in the cool whip.
3. Spread a thin layer of the mixture in the bottom of a 13x9 pan and then top with a layer of graham crackers.
4. Top the crackers with another layer of the pudding mixture. Arrange half of the banana slices and mandarin oranges on top.
5. Layer graham crackers on top, then the remaining pudding mix and fruit.
6. Add crushed graham crackers to the top and toasted coconut.
7. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and enjoy.

This was so delicious! Now....I need to brainstorm some more versions of this yumminess. Dark chocolate? Nuts? Pumpkin? Berries? Caramel? The possibilities are endless!

Savor Your Sparkle,

Monday, September 2, 2019


 Hi There,
    Can I get an AMEN for a bonus day off?! Thank you, labor day! I've got lots of life lately photos to share and I'm doing this post in caption form. Here we go!
We love the aquarium 

This face SLAYS me. 

So we got a pet. Sort of. If a beta counts. This little lady is named Barbara. We got the fish food pellets that last a whole week (because #lazy) and all in, animal plus habitat, we were looking at around $10 so no one tell Hank that other families have dogs and cats and things, mmmkay? 
The County Library was hosting a chalk art festival and the talent was amazing

This one was my fave

I mean. Look at those colors. With sidewalk chalk. Mind blown

Saturday evening we went to a local Greek place where I got these green bean fries that I'm currently obsessed with 

My dudes
Just sitting in the front yard with a Starbucks iced water. As one does. 

Today we hit up the pool for the last time this season! Until 2020...

We are fitting in as much park/outside time as we possibly can. 
Aunt Libby, Hank, and Joe. We had the fam over Sunday evening for spaghetti and meatballs
Hank and Joe are pals

Libby had a rare weekend evening off of work! Yay! 

September 1st arrived and I just felt compelled to put out fall decos. Sue me

One of these days we will have a legit mantle. In the meantime, I will seasonally attack this tiny one. 

The new pumpkin cream cold brew from Starbucks is a legit game changer. I've had three this week.
I'm really enjoying my class this year but going back to work for the fall is always a bit jarring in a family of two teachers. Our days are busy and there's plenty of juggling, but we're enjoying this season of life that we are in. We have plenty of fun things, family visits, and vacation to look forward to this fall. 
Thanks for reading!
Savor Your Sparkle,
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