{WHW}: I'm the Mom Who...

.....has lost her cool in a stressful moment, and then immediately felt guilty.

.....has held babies to get them to sleep, for other moms who were "in it" and needed help without asking for it.

.....worries and worries over the next transition (out of swaddle, teeth coming in, switching to regular milk) and every time was pleasantly surprised.

.....has felt really secure in the routine and system we have going, only for it to get flipped upside down by a new change/developmental milestone.

.....breastfed and gave formula. And my kid is totally fine.

.....offers resources to new mom friends for things that helped me.

....calls or texts my mom friends for advice or opinions, because dammit sometimes you just need to know that what you're doing is "okay" or to hear someone else say "that sounds right"

.....falls asleep on the couch well before bedtime. And often.

.....has made dinner with a screaming, crying toddler clinging to, and pulling, the bottom of my shirt.

....pees when I've coughed or sneezed or ran or jumped or or or or....

....sits down and colors with my kid when she says "lolo" (color) and holds out the marker to me

.....treasures the sleepy pre-bedtime snuggles in our glider

......hears baby cries even when she's not crying

......sometimes checks the monitor in the middle of the night. Just because.

....seemingly goes through infant Motrin like water some weeks (because teething or fever, or ear ache, or sick, or cranky or or or or...)

.....gets lost in the rabbit hole of old pictures of my girl when scrolling on my phone.
....has hard days. And great days. And days that are hard and great at the same time.

Friday 'Fess Sesh

I confess that....

....I had this post drafted and ready to post on Thursday but I didn't get it all set up on Wednesday night because I was in the ER with MG who came home from work and started throwing up off and on for 5 hours with no other symptoms. Some IV fluids, a CT scan (to check appendix) later... MG was discharged at 3am and diagnosed with a virus. Thankfully he's doing much better, but I'm seriously over cold/virus and flu season!

...two hour delays on the days that I go to my second school are my favorite because I just go to my second school, but I have a bit of time between dropping Ella off at school and having to get to work. So I enjoy some time at home alone and it is magnificent.

....I've done everything that I can to avoid getting the full blown cold that Ella has (right around 2 weeks of being back at preschool--sounds about right). Extra vitamin C, drinking water, using saline spray and Zicam swabs....and then she sneezes and coughs right in my face. Some days my life is pretty glorious haha
....my coworker and I tried to call a parent 3 separate times last week to tell her how well her kid was doing but never got a chance to speak to the mom because she kept hanging up on us, and then eventually just didn't answer. Awkward!

...I'm bummed that this past weekend MG and I let the chance of icy weather ruin our plans to go to PA for the long weekend. All of the weather reports in PA were sounding pretty bad so we scrapped the trip, and of course no bad weather came. Better safe than sorry, but ugh, annoying.

.....my MIL gave me this foundation a while ago and I forgot about it. Then recently discovered it and am totally loving it. It gives me nice coverage and has a good glow to it, so it helps beat that Winter ghost look! #win
.....the other weekend MG and I took Ella to eat and as we left my eyes got itchy, and in the 10 minutes it took to get home, my one lower eye lid and my other upper eyelid had swelled up so big I reminded myself of Hitch. Luckily it went down after an allergy med and a night of sleep, but I still have NO idea what I had a reaction to. 

....I had a dream Tuesday night and my dad made an appearance, complete with a kiss on my forehead. It's been a while, but that was the most welcome dream visit I could have asked for.

....I won my Fantasy Football league for the second year in a row, and the league commissioner (leader) sent out an email over a week ago telling everyone to pay me directly instead of collecting it (she paid out the second and third place winners already). And no one has paid. It's not a ton of money but it's the principle and it's annoying that they aren't playing by the rules. I have a feeling I'll never see that reward for winning.

Hoping your weekend is fun and virus-free!

{WHW}: Get Cookin'!

Happy Wednesday, friends! MG and I had MLK day off on Monday, and then because of the arctic blast that's taken over our area (literally temps in the teens with windchill below zero), my school district gave a two hour delay Tuesday morning, and we have a teacher workday on Friday. Not a bad week!
Today I'm bringing a recipe to you that I mentioned last week that was seriously SO SO good!
This was an InstantPot recipe, but I think you could make adjustments to make this if you don't have an IP.
Mushroom Stroganoff (recipe c/o Pinterest)
It may not look that pretty, but the flavors are awesome!
What You Need:
~3 Tbsp olive oil
~1/2 red onion, diced
~3 garlic cloves, chopped (1.5tsp minced)
~16 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake; you can use cremini or button as well)
~1/2 tsp pepper
~1/4 Cup white wine (the rest for drinking haha)
~2 Cups veggie or chicken broth
~2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
~1 Tbsp flour
~8 ounces pasta (rotini or penne) "about a scant 3 cups"*
~1/2 C sour cream
 *this was from the original recipe--so I just measured 3 cups of dry pasta and that seemed to work

What You Do:
1. Heat oil on sauce function and then add in the onion, garlic and mushrooms, salt to taste, and pepper. Saute about 8 minutes.

2. Add in the wine (pour yourself a glass and take a sip), broth, mustard and flour. Stir well, add in the pasta, and then stir again.

3. Put the lid on, make sure it's set to sealing and then pressure cook for 3-4 minutes (*or whatever half the cooking time is on the pasta that you're using)

4. Manually release the IP and then stir in the sour cream. Keep on the warm setting of 5-10 minutes so the sauce thickens.

The dish was SO good. I will definitely be making this again as it was simple and easy, but the flavor was incredible. Great as a meatless dish, but I could see eating this with chicken as well.

Link up with Jessi and I and share what you're cooking or what's hap-"pinning" with you!

{WHW}: Current Happenings


Reading....I finally finished Beneath a Scarlet Sky during my Winter Break (there was some skimming for the last 25% of the book, but I made it!) and now I'm on to a lighter read called The Honeymooner. After that one, I have Verity downloaded and ready to be read after seeing it on Karly's Instagram Monday night

Drinking....not enough water, but getting better. Over break, I invested in a new water bottle (my previous one from HomeGoods wasn't keeping my water cold through the day). This one is 22 oz, and the powder coating on the bottle is so well done--it feels really nice to hold. My old water bottle had a straw which I liked, but it make a loud squealing sound when I drank from it, which this one does NOT do. I got mine for $16.99, but it looks like it's $18.99 right now on Amazon.
Eating...after trying 4 new meals last week, I added two new ones to the rotation this week. Instant Pot Mushroom Stroganoff (last night--AMAZING!), and Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet (tonight). Will report back!

Anticipating....Spring Break! Too soon? Maybe, but MG and I book a trip to St. Augustine, FL with Ella, since it'll be our last time being able to travel by plane without paying for a seat for her. It'll be nice to get away to someplace warmer, see the sights, and hopefully see some friends in the area!
In addition to that, we've got a week booked in Lake Anna with my in-laws and my one SIL's family. A week at that lake in a beautiful house sounds a-okay to me!

Loving....snow days! The snow we got this weekend ended up giving us an extra day off of work on Monday, and a 2 hour delay yesterday. 
Unfortunately MG had to go to Boston for a work meeting on Sunday (the peak of the storm), so he wasn't able to spend the snow day with us. We still had fun, but we're excited to have him back as of last night.
Watching....Killing Eve. We finished Handmaid's Tale (and are eagerly awaiting the next season), and then watched the mini series 11.22.63 which I highly recommend!
Also, where are my Married at First Sight fans? I need to debrief with you on this season so far!

Wanting....to do this (or something similar) to our entry hallway. Saw it in a house in our neighborhood online with the same layout as us. Been thinking about painting the banister white, and doing the trim in the hall
Also think doing this "built in" by the door for coats would be a nice "upgrade" change too. (Obviously we would match everything since it's the same hallway)
Trying....to get Ella to wear bows in her hair. It's been an unsuccessful mission for anything longer than about 5-10 seconds.
What's hap-"pinning" with you? Link up with Jessi and I below:

SNOW much fun!

Happy snow day from VA! We got over 8" around here as of the time I'm writing this (Sunday evening). Originally they were calling for 2-3" so I figured it would be a dud of a storm, but it picked up and some places got over a foot.

Last year Ella wasn't walking when we had snow, but this year...we got her in her snow suit after we ate breakfast, bundled up (and she somehow magically wore both her hat AND mittens), and we had so much fun playing in the snow yesterday morning.

Today my school system is closed, and Ella's preschool is as well, so we're gonna have a nice little mommy/daughter day at home together.

Hoping you're staying warm if it's chilly where you are, and that your day is as fun as Ella's was in the snow!

Weekly Wins and Resoluting

Happy Friday, friends!
This makes 3 posts this week which is basically unheard of in these parts lately, but I've missed you all and have been trying to get more posts up here, so today I'm sharing some wins from the week!

~I tried four new meals this week (three in the Instant Pot) and 3 of them were ones I'd totally make again, including a broccoli cheddar soup that surpasses all previously made Broc Ched soups I've made in the past (and way easier in the IP--I'll post it soon). Total win.
Balsamic Veggies, pasta and chicken
~MG and I made a "resolution" (if you want to call it that), that we would start eating more veggies this year at dinner. We used to be great about it, but since having Ella, we've been focused more on HER eating healthy things, and we just eat super fast--I'm sure other parents can relate to this. Well, we've stuck to it, and I feel really good about it. Luckily Ella eats veggies well anyway, and I hope this helps to keep it that way. The other night she and I had a broccoli eating competition which made it fun for her to finish all of the pieces of broccoli on her plate. And she can now say the word broccoli! Win-win!

~Morning snuggles on the couch with my girl is always the best way to start the day. She eats her cereal, we watch a little tv, and just snuggle. 
~We have a kid who will throw away her own diapers in the mornings, willingly, and has for a couple of months now (I never make her throw away poopy ones). She will also, mostly, put away her shoes where they go when we get home, and she throws away other things in the trash when we ask her (most of the time). I love seeing this smart little girl take on little pieces of responsibility and contribute to our family in her own little way. Hopefully this continues, but for now I'll consider it a win.

~This weekend we went to eat at a Mexican restaurant near us that I'd gone to previously with a friend. You guys, they were SO accommodating to Ella, and to us. They brought out her chicken already cut up into small pieces, they split the spicy margarita we ordered to share into two glasses, and when Ella was eating  salsa by the spoon (truth), the waitress brought us out two extra to-go containers to take with us, and some extra chips to-go. To top it off, they featured her on their Facebook page, too. I love finding a good place with friendly staff, who do the extra little things to make your experience better.
~We have snow in the forecast for Sunday and all of the teachers (and kids) are hoping it's enough to get us a snow day on Monday. Time to wear the jammies inside out!

I already talked about our resolution for more veggies, but I also made another one for myself which is to not be on my phone while driving, ever. I've been WAY more conscious of this since having Ella in the car with me, but even when she's not, I'm really trying to stay off of my phone and only check it if I need to when I'm completely stopped (red light). I see people posting on Instagram while they're driving or I'm driving next to someone who is very obviously texting (and weaving) and it makes me cringe because if anything happened, you'd instantly regret it. Nothing is worth the pic or story you're posting, or the text you're responding to....if you got injured, or were responsible for injuring someone else, you'd never be able to forgive yourself. I always remind myself of this when I'm tempted to check. Nothing is worth that risk.  Ok, stepping off of my soap box now.
Hope this week brought you some wins, too! Have a great Friday and weekend!

{WHW}: Recipe Time!

Happy Wednesday, friends! It's been a while since I've shared a recipe with you all, so I finally got it together when I was making a new recipe and remembered to take some pics. This one was a winner!
Easy Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

What You Need:
~1 can refried beans
~1/2 white onion, diced
~1.5 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
~1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded  (*I used colby jack)
~1 Tbsp cumin
~1/4 tsp chili powder (original called for 1 tsp)
~1/4 tsp paprika
~8 flour shells
~2 cans red enchilada sauce
~1/2 C sour cream
~1 tsp cumin
What You Do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F if you are making these right away (these can be prepped ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you're ready to bake).

2. Take 1 Cup of the enchilada sauce and pour it into the bottom of a rectangular baking pan.

3. In a bowl, mix together the refried beans, onion, cheddar cheese, 1 Tbsp cumin, chili powder, and paprika.

4. Take a flour shell and fill with the bean mixture, then roll it up and place it with the seam side down. 
(*Note: I laid all of mine out so that I could evenly disperse everything before putting them all in the baking pan).

5. In a bowl, mix together another 1 cup of enchilada sauce, sour cream, 1 tsp cumin. Pour this over the enchiladas then top with the Monterrey Jack cheese (or the colby jack).
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.

Top with whatever desired toppings you wish (cilantro, avocado, guac...)

This recipe was a hit in our house and not too spicy which was what I was going for.

What's been hap-"pinning" or cooking with you? Link up with Jessi and I to share!

Show Us Your Books (Finally!!!!)

It's been a LOOOOONG time since I linked up for a Show Us Your Books and it's not because I'm not reading (although I'm not reading as much as I'd like to be), it's because I can never get my act together to post about all of the books I've been reading. But I finally did, so here ya go!

Reflection by Diane Chamberlain 
"Returning home twenty years after a tragic accident that caused the Pennsylvania Dutch townspeople of Reflection to condemn her, Rachel Huber cares for her ailing grandmother despite open hostility and finds allies in two childhood friends."

I love Diane Chamberlain books through and through. This one was a solid 3 stars for me. The story unfolds going from past to present day, with bits and pieces teased out through the story until you have the whole picture. The ending wrapped up a little too unrealistically for me, but it would be a good beach read.

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
Goodreads Synopsis (in part):
"Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in na├»ve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. "
This one took me a LONG time to get through. The story is a cute romance, but has some really far fetched (to me) characters. And there was a little too much back and forth seemingly forced drama between the main character love interests that annoyed me more than kept me interested. I'd give this one a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Goodreads Synopsis is long, so check it out here.
This one took me a bit to get into, but once I was in it, I really enjoyed it. The story started off a bit difficult for me to follow, forgetting what character was who, etc. I also went in not knowing much about the book, and I think it's kind of a good way to come in. Because it's hard to explain this book without reading it. I gave it 4 stars.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Quick Synopsis:
The story alternates from Daniel and Natasha--from a "meet cute" through one day together and ups and downs throughout. Click the link under the book picture for a more detailed summary.

This book was a really cute read that showcased different cultures and how two people can be so drawn to one another. It had elements of Serendipity to it, one of my favorite movies. I gave this one 4 stars and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Royal Treatment (Crown Jewels Romance #1) by M.J. Summers
Goodreads Synopsis (part):
"Ultra-private, ridiculously handsome Crown Prince Arthur has always gotten by on his charm. But that won’t be enough now that the Royal Family is about to be ousted from power once and for all. When Prince Arthur has to rely on the one woman in the kingdom who hates him most, he must learn that earning the love of a nation means first risking his heart. "
This was a summer read for me and I really enjoyed it. It was a nice, light romance, set in a palace and who doesn't like that? After I was done with this book, though, I wasn't as interested in continuing on in the series. It was a good 'one and done' for me. I gave it 4 stars.

Currently Reading: Beneath a Scarlet Sky at the recommendation of my husband who listened to the audiobook and loved it. It's been really slow going...not bad, but not moving very quickly which has made it hard to get through in my limited reading time.

{WHW}: A New Year!

Happy New Year (and a day) friends!
I hope that your holiday season was everything you expected and more.
Ours got off to a bumpy start with Ella getting the stomach bug on Wednesday before Christmas and then MG and I both coming down with it within 2 hours of each other on Friday. I've never been so miserable, and the fact that neither of us was 100% to take care of Ella was SO hard. Literally took turns caring for her and puking. It was one of the most miserable days/nights I've had in my life.

Cut to Sunday and Ella got pink eye...for the SECOND TIME in 2 weeks. And then woke up on Christmas Eve at 5:50 am. So we got up, ate and packed the car, and got on the road and were at my in-laws' house by 10:30am.

We had an amazing Christmas with Ella. Last year was fun but this year was even better because she got to actually open presents and play with the things that she got. And this girl got A LOT! 
One of many many many gifts
In front of my SIL's tree with our oldest niece, prior to the gift bonanza that ensued
Ella's new ball pit and tunnel
Laughing at the family entertaining her
My BIL's and I call ourselves The Outcasts, and we all happened to win our fantasy football leagues this year.
We're also known for our fun pics and this was no exception. Love my BIL's
Me with my SIL's
The adult table
The reaction to our painting gift
We spent 5 days with MG's family which was so much fun, and the best part was that MG arranged for us to have a night away, just us, and my SIL, MIL and niece watched Ella. She was an angel for them (so apparently she CAN keep her toddler-ness under control haha), and we had a phenomenal night out, walked around the city, revisited the place we got engaged, did some shopping, relaxed at the hotel, had a dinner out, and then my other SIL and BIL met up with us for drinks and we stopped by a pop up Christmas bar. SO fun!
Where we got engaged, in front of Independence Hall
Out to dinner, kid free!
Tinsel Christmas bar with my sister-in-law
He's my favorite :)
We had some low key, hang out nights and just enjoyed being with everyone. We definitely realize the benefits of living close to family, having the extra help when you need it, and people who love you, and your kid. The pull to move to PA is strong.

It was nice to get away from the sicknesses we were dealing with. The last 2 months of the year were not our easiest. Life's given us some challenges, but being with family helped us heal even more. I'm thankful for our people...friends and family who love us, lift us up when we need it, pray for us...it's a blessing. I'm hopeful for 2019. The healing has been happening and I'm ready to look forward to the gifts that a new year will bring.

Link up with us and share what's been hap-"pinning" with you!