Five on Friday

The weekend has arrived! Back again with AprilChristina, and Natasha for some Friday fun.

one | Something super exciting for my friend Sharon and I…we are hosting a new monthly Link Up! Our first edition was yesterday, and we hope you’ll join us! (you can catch them here —> | the Whitney Michaels blog | Mama Chit Chat) Who isn’t inspired by the colors around us? Each month we are highlighting a different color(s) and linking up to support one another! The link up will be open for the week!

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two |I started putting both girls into the shopping cart now when I do the grocery shopping! I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. Is it convenient that I don’t have to use the stroller or carrier – yes! I do also fear the close proximity to each other though!  Hopefully the convenience will outweigh the snack stealing, and pushing!

 

three | Along with the grocery shopping idea – I just placed an order on Vons.com to be delivered tomorrow! I’m trying a couple of different grocery delivery options so there is a post in the works about my thoughts!

four | Old Navy always surprises me! They have the perfect staple items and although I always have to try things on there because some stuff doesn’t fit me properly – the kids section is always a WIN! Blake wore the cutest romper the other day and got so many compliments! I just cannot stand her cuteness! (of course I cannot find it online, but here is a one shoulder romper in the same print – also adorable!)

 

five |Speaking of Blake – we have a walker! She’s not necessarily the most coordinated or stable girl yet, but she’s definitely practicing! Her favorite thing is to stand up on her own and clap for herself, lol!

 

Hope you guys have a happy friYAY and a wonderful weekend!

Be sure to catch April, Christina, and Natasha!

Color Inspiration | August 2017

One of my good friends Sharon is also a lifestyle blogger over at Mama Chit Chat. We met in a mommy and me class for my oldest and her youngest and have stuck with our friendship beyond class since then! We both participate in other link ups we love and decided, “Hey…why don’t we host one?”. And here we are! Our first monthly link up sharing things that inspire us in a pretty way – by color. We would love to have you join us! This month – Red!

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RED| There is still over a month left of summer and we are taking advantage of the sweet berries right now! My dad brought us a flat fresh from Oxnard the other day and I’m pretty sure my girls would eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if they could! I love using my Thieves Fruit & Veggie Spray to make sure they’re squeaky clean for the girls!

(strawberry close up and raspberry images via Google)

RED| If ya’ll know me, you’d know I’m not a lipstick gal.  I’ve always been chapstick obsessed but never made the effort to wear lipstick.  Between having to re apply it all the time, worrying about it on my teeth, or smudging when I ate…I just decided it wasn’t worth it. Enter LipSense – the lipcolor taking the mom groups by storm.  I swiped on this everlasting, smudge-proof lip color at a friends house for the first time and knew I could get on board. All the things I disliked about traditional lipstick were a non issue! Now I’m not saying I wear it all the time (heck, my daily routine is a layer of mascara if I’m lucky) but if I’m making the effort to put on a full face of makeup and get dressed, I love adding it to complete my look! The most daring color of all…RED! Try it. You won’t regret it. My girl Melanie can answer all of your burning questions and get it in your hands ASAP!

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RED| I can’t have a post all about red without bringing up Ningxia Red! If you follow me on any other social media platforms, you’ll know that we are a Young Living family! I love to incorporate essential oils into our daily routines and have made a few changes with our household products (nothing crazy…I still shop at Target and wear deodorant – don’t worry!).  One of my favorite additions to enhance my health has been drinking Ningxia Red, Young Living’s antioxidant rich drink. I love the support for my energy levels, and knowing it’s benefiting my body down to the cellular level!

That’s my RED inspiration for the month! What is inspiring you? Are you seeing red everywhere reminding you of back to school? Or that infamous bullseye that we can’t stay away from and love to give all of our money to? (side note: I’ve heard Target is changing brands/layout and so much more! I’ve been steering clear if I don’t truly “need” anything but I’m excited to see the changes!)

I cannot wait to come together next month with all the BLUE things! Want to link up? Look below!

Add this graphic to your post and link up below! We would love to share your post with others!

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LINK UP!

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…its a great way to find new blogs and be found!

xoxo

Whitney

Creating a Functional Office

In August of 2015 we moved out of our house for 8 months to do an extensive renovation. Since moving back in March 2016, we’ve slowly been finishing projects both big and small. One that seems simple but has been the most daunting is our office.

The office serves many purposes. A place my husband can work from home if need be, a crafting area, gift wrap storage, storage for photos and books, and the worst purpose: the catch all.  Not sure where to put it? The office. Not ready to hang it on the wall? Put it in the office. Want to hide it from the kids? Put it in the office. Although its a small room, it does have a good size walk in closet and an attached bathroom. Plenty of areas to stack stuff, close the door, and pretend it isn’t there. Well almost a year and a half of this has driven me to crazy town! It’s been my mission to get a handle on it all! Purge the things we don’t need and find a proper and functional place for the things we do! I cannot wait to do a more detailed post on the organization, but for now I’m dreaming of the end. Finally getting proper furniture (not the plastic fold up tables we are currently using), and being able to find the craft supplies or gift wrap I’m looking for before I give up and buy more!

I love the industrial design look and we’ve incorporated a few elements throughout our home.  I really want to go for it in the office! I still want to warm it up with some baskets, greenery, and maybe a rug – but this is the look I’m going for!

 

office design - the Whitney Michaels blog
I’ve had this clock since before we started the renovation and I cannot wait to hang it! I love the more simple desk for me since I’ll just use it for crafts or gift wrapping (which are all stored in the closet) or when I want to bring my lap top in there! My husband would potentially need to put construction plans as well as his computer on his desk, so an L-shape was ideal! I love the mixture of wood and metal as well as the more natural elements like the basket and fiddle leaf! I thought that light was super fun for either one of our desks or on the shelf and I’ve been dying to find a spot for this masculine, cool looking diffuser! (you can read how we incorporate essential oils into our home here)
Do you like the industrial trend that’s happening right now? I’d love to hear any office storage hacks or organization tips you have!
Happy Hump Day!
xo
Whitney
p.s. my friend Sharon over at Mama Chit Chat and I are hosting a new LINK UP!! Join us on the first Thursday of every month with some fun color inspiration, we would love to have you!
Tomorrow is our first one…all things red inspiring you in August.

Taco Bout Fun…

…Blake turned ONE!

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This weekend we hosted a party to celebrate Blake’s first year and what a fun time it was! Of course I cannot believe my baby is already one and growing and learning so much everyday! At her well baby appointment today she was 29.5″ tall and 19 pounds! She’s crawling like crazy, pulling herself up on everything and everything, walking with the assistance of a toy or chair and even taking some steps on her own…which usually ends in her falling to us! I’ve been introducing milk for a couple of weeks and still trying to figure out how the process of weaning from breastfeeding will go. She loves to eat – especially if it’s cake and is starting to have a more regular sleep schedule and only waking up once in the night – YAY!

We had a fiesta in her honor and I had such a fun time planning it! I’m pretty sure I started a Pinterest board when she was 3 months old, haha!

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I tried to prep as much as possible beforehand, but it always seems chaotic the day of no matter what! We hired a Taco Man and that was the BEST IDEA EVER! Not having to worry about feeding such a large group of people took so much stress away from me! I just put out some appetizers – chips with salsa, guacamole and queso dip and drinks – water, margaritas, and beer. Oh, and of course desserts – which had the approval of all of the toddlers! To serve a large group, I made a big batch of margaritas! I was trying to follow a recipe but couldn’t find frozen limeade concentrate anywere – so per usual, I improvised! I made 3 servings throughout the party! (I wish I had taken the time to make my lime salt! It would have been the perfect addition!)

1 bottle of Simply Limeade

1 cup Silver Tequila

1/2 cup Grand Marnier

salt and limes for garnishing

UNO balloons | cactus balloon | colorful wall curtain from Party City | flowers and vases from Pavillions – I put them together | cake plates are old from Home Goods but they always have them! I just add ribbon to coordinate with my parties

Although most of the party was out in the backyard, I set up the dessert table inside so I didn’t have to worry about the heat! It was a sunny 92 here in southern CA, so we set up a water table for the kiddos and kept the drinks cold for the adults! I made it super easy and ordered Blake’s smash cake, cupcakes and the “round churros” (snickerdoodles) from our neighborhood Pavillions. It’s the easiest thing to do an ice run and dessert pick up at the same time that day – thanks Dad! I ordered the dipped marshmallows and concha cake pops from a local mama and they did not disappoint! Cindy of Ms. V’s Poppin’ Bowtique was so easy to communicate with and delivered to us the cutest desserts for our display the day of the party! Thank goodness for Amazon – I ordered the majority of the decor throughout the month before the party! There was so many options for fiesta and cactus themed parties!

cactus banner | tissue garland

round party fans | chalkboard | chalk markers | cactus party light | mini pinata

I used my Cricut to cut the letters for the banners, cupcake toppers, and numbers for the photo banner as well as the tags for the favors. I used this inflatable cactus to hold the favors, but forgot to take a photo!

maracas | cymbals | pinata from Party City

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We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family in our life to celebrate these special moments! Our kids have the best little squad!

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A fiesta was such a fun theme to play with when planning Blake’s party! Did you have a big party for your kids? What was your theme…I love hearing your ideas!

xoxo

Whitney

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Miss Blake Annebelle

In the early days of this blog, I spent the majority of my time documenting my pregnancy with my first daughter, Aubrey.  Its like life was in hyper drive during the newborn stage and then we jumped into a home renovation and moved out of our house – all the while I fell off the blogging schedule. So much has happened in the last two and a half years including another baby! Our little Blake is ONE and I am just in disbelief. The days and nights may have sometimes felt like they’d never end but the weeks just flew by! Since so much was dedicated to Aubrey, I wanted to post a bit about Blake too!

We announced to our family on Christmas Eve 2015 that Aubrey would be a BIG SISTER (she was 10 months old)!

 

Being pregnant with a young baby was so much different than the first go around! With Aubrey, I worked at an office and spent most of my days sitting. This pregnancy required so much more energy that I didn’t have.  I was still getting up at night with Aubrey and rarely spent time just sitting.  It didn’t seem ideal at the time, but I was so grateful to be living at my mother in laws.  It was amazing to have an extra set of hands when dealing with that crazy little girl! I was grateful to have had a healthy pregnancy again, and a busy one! Aubrey turned ONE in February, we moved back into our newly renovated home in March, and spent the last weeks getting our house in order (as much as possible anyway – does this process ever end?!). I was due July 24, and three days later (just like her sissy) Blake was born on July 27, 2016 at 3:15PM. There has never been a more overwhelming yet joyful moment than when Aubrey (who was 17 months) came to meet her little sister the next morning!

 

In one year, our family has grown so much! Blake is the perfect addition to our lives and we couldn’t be more thankful for two healthy, smart, and beautiful girls!

Happy Birthday to our sweet, yet tough and determined little girl. We love you so so much!

| all of our photos were taken by Alex of Alexandra Kayy Photography |

I cannot wait to share all about her birthday celebrations!

xoxo

Whitney

How to Plan: Family Photo Outfits

I love to take family photos.  Something about documenting a certain stage in life with beautiful photos brings me joy! Although I can’t always predict how it will go with two kids – (I leave it up to our amazing photographer to capture the magic that she does), I can make sure we look put together! I may spend a bit more time than some on deciding our outfits, but I’ve got a good system down and I love having something to shop for-whether its in a store or our closets!  Here’s some tips on choosing outfits for your family’s photo session:

one. Decide on a time frame/special occasion for your photos. Are you taking pictures for Christmas cards or a special birthday? Will you be taking them in the spring or the fall? Obviously if you’re taking photos in the summer you don’t want to be wearing sweaters and jeans and if its fall photos you’re doing, you may want the overall look to be more cozy!

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You can also add to this with accessories. Here in Southern California, there was really no need to have a blanket scarf in the fall, but it looked super cute on our Christmas Cards! For Aubrey’s first birthday photos, I added a party hat and a fun accessory to bring in her party theme just for a few photos.

two. Choose a location.  Your photographer may be able to help you with this – but once you have a time frame, location is a big factor in deciding our look.  Typically if I mention the beach or something rustic, our photographer Alex will have a few options up her sleeve for us.  I love light and bright colors on the beach. Keep in mind if you’re going somewhere that has specific colors or decor, you don’t want to clash or blend in. I’ve noticed browns and olive greens may not work in a more rustic location with lots of trees and long grass (which is obviously a setting I love).

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three. Once you know when and where your session is taking place, the coordinating begins! Choose your starting outfit. For me, it’s typically mine (mama’s gotta look good, haha). I know my girls look cute in anything and it’s easy to find a shirt for my husband to go with anything. Sometimes my outfit is neutral, and sometimes it has a pattern or makes a statement. Once I’ve found something for me that goes with the overall feel I’m going for, I move on to the girls, and then my husband.

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burgundy dress is LuLaRoe | floral and green ombre were both LC by Lauren Conrad at Kohls | white dress is Knox Rose at Target | sequin dress was from Rent the Runway

four. The kids. As cute as matching outfits are for two sisters, I like them to be different so they don’t just look like one blob. Since my girls are young, we tend to hold them often so I like some contrast. I usually do one in a pattern and one in a solid. Or two solids with different textures. Just some difference to make it interesting! Depending on your preference, you can choose a color from the pallet of your starting outfit, or an opposite yet complimenting color. One way I like to keep a bold look more simple is to keep something consistent like denim pants.

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The girls’ white outfit details are in a recent post.

five. My husband. For men, and especially those who don’t like to play dress up, simplicity is key. Family photos are not his idea of a great day, so I try to make his outfit as painless as possible! His go to look: pants and a button up. If I want a more dressed up look I find a long sleeve and he wears nicer shoes. If I want a more relaxed look, I go for a short sleeve and boots. I want to be sure we all look cohesive in this way.  If I have on a floor length dress, it only seems fitting that his shirt is a bit dressier and on the contrary, if the girls look more relaxed, I want us to also feel casual! His shirt is usually simple (unless our overall look needs a pattern or something) and compliments my outfit alone and the girls clothes. I always like to sneak in a photo of just us, so I want the two of us to look complimentary on our own.

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The last tip is to find a photographer whose style you love and would want to see in your home. I found Alex from Alexandra Kayy Photography while I was pregnant with Aubrey and she has been capturing the special moments in our lives ever since! I love knowing that our memories are in good hands! She’s been at the hospital the day after my babies were born and documented our girls as they’ve grown. I cannot thank her enough for the gifts she has given us through photographs!

Check her out here: Facebook | Instagram | Website

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I hope you enjoy coordinating your family’s outfits for your next family photo session! Do you have any tried and true tips for good family photos? I’d love to hear!


Here’s a quick version of these tips:

 

one. Time frame/Season/Occasion

two. Location

three. Inspiration Outfit

four. Compliment with texture, pattern, solid, colors

five. Cohesive as a whole – bring in elements for consistency (i.e. denim)

Love your photographer!


xoxo

Whitney

 

Five on Friday

The weekend is fast approaching, yet again! I love rounding up the week with 5 things we liked/did/ate! Follow the links at the end to linkup with April, Christina, and Natasha!

one | A sweet friend of mine came over to take some photos for me so I can have clearer profile and introduction photos. Let me say, attempting to take solo photos was one of the weirdest experiences! What did we discover? The more awkward you feel, the better the picture is going to be! Haha…anyone else feel like that? Looking at all those fashion bloggers and everything they make it look so easy to look cute. Not the case. Definitely could use some more practice (maybe when we don’t have 4 toddlers under the age of 3 running around!) but it was a fun first attempt!

two | I got this Nuby popsicle mold two years ago to make breastmilk popsicles for Aubrey during her first summer. Now, I love that the molds are small and perfect for a toddler treat! We’ve been making them using yogurt and its the perfect treat for a hot summer afternoon! And its small enough that I don’t mind if she has it before dinner and she can finish it before it gets too melty!

three | I’m sure you’ve seen it, heard it shouted from the rooftops 850 times, but…the Nordstrom Sale is happening! And its open to everyone now! Have you purchased any amazing deals? I’ve shopped and put like a million things in my cart, but haven’t made any purchases yet.  I find it hard to shop for fall things when its like 100 degrees outside! But here’s a few things I’m loving:

booties | black long sleeve | peep toe bootie | cardigan

four | For Christmas my parents got me a 50mm lens for my Canon and I absolutely LOVE it! But I’ve been looking into a wider angle lens to be able to easier photograph a larger area, like a room or other areas in my house.  After reading a little bit, I think I’m leaning towards a 35mm. These are definitely a bit more of an investment though! I’d love to know if you have one and if you love it enough to be worth the investment? I’m clearly not a professional, but I love learning about photography and experimenting to get better!

five | Next week my baby turns ONE! How has this year gone by so fast?! I cannot wait to celebrate her and have a fiesta with our friends and family! I’ve started a party planning post that I’m excited to share!

Hope you guys have a happy friYAY and a wonderful weekend!

Be sure to catch April, Christina, and Natasha!

 

The Day of Family Photos

A few months ago, I was thinking about my youngest daughters first birthday approaching and how time was moving so fast. This would be a perfect reason to take some family photos! Documenting the milestone of “1” while also getting some Christmas card shots in sounds like a win/win. Right?

Then the day gets closer. It’s a week before, I’m scrambling to pick an outfit scheme. Thankfully the Gap (tank) and Old Navy (dress) come to my rescue to find outfits for the girls that coordinate with a dress I liked at target weeks ago. (unfortunately I cannot find my dress online anymore! But I love almost everything Knox Rose makes!) Then the husband. Always my challenge. He is such a trooper and I’m thankful he humors me and tags along for all of these “photographic moments” but he can be picky. And I tend to procrastinate! So naturally, the morning of after two trips to Kohl’s, he has a new shirt and new pair of pants.

 

Phew. We all have clothes. Now to plan the entire rest of our day around “the golden hour”. Don’t get me wrong, I live for the golden hour and our photographer always has perfect timing and gets us in the best light. But 6pm is just so hard with an almost 1 and 2 year old! At some point between lunch,  naps, go back in to put back down for naps, playing, snacks, packing for what seems to be a whole weekend but it’s just a 2 hour photo shoot…I get ready. This is something that rarely ever happens for this exact reason. Who has time for this?! Shaving, shampooing, drying, makeup, curling…all in the same day? Normally I’m lucky to get 10 minutes to just get clean.

We did it. I’m ready and dressed, packed up the girls’ outfits, car is loaded with snacks, possible distractions and entertainment and we are on our way.  Surely the baby will get in a power nap and be happy when we get there. Nope. Surely Aubrey will eat on the way so she is full and happy. Nope. And so the chaos begins. We get there and load up this awesome wagon with all of our junk to pull around with us and find the perfect spot on a bridge to stop for the first photo opportunity.  There goes Aubrey…running away straight for the pile of horse poop – thank goodness she missed it! We catch her and wrangle her and got a glimpse of the shenanigans she was going to pull for the entire session. An hour and a half of bouncing and tickling Blake to get her to smile. Chasing after Aubrey and offering bribe after bribe to get her to stay still for 5 seconds, maybe even a smile?!

Somehow we make it through, make it home, and get the kids to bed…late, but oh well! And somehow, Alex gets amazing shots and I fall in love with the sneak peeks and (im)patiently wait to see the rest!

website | facebook | instagram

Alexandra Kayy Photography has captured so many of the most important milestones in our lives and we couldn’t be more grateful! Stay tuned for more photos from our session and photography related posts!

Hope your Monday was short and the rest of your week is fabulous!

Whitney

Five on Friday

On Monday it seems as though the week will never end and by Friday I always wonder where it went! How can that be? I love rounding up the week with 5 things we liked/did/ate! Follow the links at the end to linkup with April, Christina, and Natasha!

one | now that we’ve landscaped and finally have some greenery in our backyard I’ve noticed so much more wildlife! Bugs, birds, butterfly’s…and Aubrey has noticed too! I just knew she would be excited to get a hummingbird feeder and I was right! Over the weekend we got one at Lowes and she helped me make sugar water to pour in. (4 parts water to 1 part sugar) It took about 4 days to see our first hummingbirds but even before then every time we went outside or even look out the slider she reminded me about pouring the sugar in the boiling water and giving it to the birds. So cute! We’ve already seen one this morning and she wants to “go out there to say HI!”

two | I told you about our trip to Costco last weekend, and we not only got salmon but halibut too! I made a delicious baked recipe that I found on Pinterest. I highly recommend it!  It may not be the healthiest version, but it’s nice to change it up now and again from just plain seasoning! We all loved it…girls included (with some ketchup for Aubrey, obviously) The original recipe is by Port and Fin and she took some beautiful photos…unlike these!

three | I have to admit that I am awful when it comes to putting my outfits together! Unfortunately I’d rather get an extra 15 minutes of sleep than worry about my wardrobe. But this needs to change! I notice I feel so much better when I feel like I make an effort and I’ve started collecting some basics that will help me feel polished but still be comfortable! Thanks to Kate from the Small Things Blog I found a couple pairs of sandals and some tennies from DSW that will do just that! (I love watching her InstaStories!)  I’ve never shopped there but really liked the shop online and pick up in person option! More convenient than strolling the endless aisles of shoes with 2 kids!

beige sneaker | black sandals | blush sandals | sneakers

four | Aubrey had her first swim lesson this week and it went fairly well! She spent a lot of time negotiating with the teacher and telling her the rules in Grandma’s pool, but she also did really well blowing bubbles and learning to “monkey crawl” her hands along the edge of the wall! I’m super excited for her to have some more awareness in the water and to learn some water safety! I posed some pics on my Instagram too!

five | Lastly is something we definitely aren’t loving…Anyone have any tips for getting mushrooms out of their grass? We just recently laid sod and we’ve been told the combination of the stuff they put in the soil plus this weird hot and humid weather we are getting can cause them to grow. Literally, EVERYWHERE! And we have to hand pick them before we mow or they’ll spread. The worst!

Hope you guys have a happy friYAY and a wonderful weekend!

Be sure to catch April, Christina, and Natasha!

Over the Weekend

In this season of life, our weekends don’t get too crazy. Since I don’t have a typical “work day” outside the home, the weekends look pretty similar to the week for me. Kids still need 3 meals plus 37 snacks, naps, and to be to bed at a reasonable hour. So with my husband (usually) home we just try to fit in things together or use the time to do some things around our house. Our home has been a work in progress over the last couple years! From a full renovation to recent landscape and now just the finishing touches. I’m not sure how but I feel like my husband was able to build an entire addition in the same amount of time it’s taken me to find a solution for the extra toilet paper in the powder room. Maybe it’s running errands with 2 young children, maybe it’s my indecisive nature…but the finishing touches take time.

This past weekend I was able to sneak away for an hour to get my nails done (thanks to my mother in law), my hard working husband thoroughly cleaned the back patio (after being dirt and concrete for over a year this was a huge feat!), we organized patio toys, ran some errands with the rest of the world on Sunday morning, and tried to spend some time relaxing together.


I love the new storage solution for the patio! This big box has three sections so we found a home for mega block logos, all the balls, and all of the tools/water toys/ gardening toys. And it’s so nice to look at! Before we had all of the toys piled in the pool and it always just looked so messy! My friend Kelli can give you so many storage/bag solutions!


So glad I cleaned the slider…not! Aubrey had fun “helping” daddy pressure wash and Blake was their little cheerleader inside!


I’m not sure what possessed us to hit up Costco at 10:15 on a Sunday. But I could only compare it to lines at Disneyland or Black Friday shopping! Fun part: Blake got to sit in the big girl seat for the first time! I usually bring her in the Beco carrier but she was getting restless in the line so I put her in the cart with sissy!


In the summer – and most of the year actually – we love using the barbecue. We planned to use this skillet on the barbecue but we were cooking meat for the week so we ran out of room. But cast iron is a delicious way to cook veggies! Side note: Costco currently has Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, which is one of our favorites! When it’s in stock, we buy multiple packages and cut the filets into meal size portions to freeze using our food saver. It really is the best way to store food in the freezer and makes it convenient that we can make our own portions (because who wants leftover fish?! I can’t stand the smell when I have to reheat it!) Our dinner Sunday night was chicken, sweet potatoes, and the veggies above. We left a package of salmon in the fridge for dinner in the week.

How do you spend your summer weekends? Trips? Errands? Activities? Lounging? I’d love to hear in the comments!

A couple of gals, Shay and Erika host a monthly link up – Workin’ it Wednesday. My friend Sharon from Mama Chit Chat and I participated this week! Go check it out to read about their weekends and see how to link up next month!

Happy Hump Day!

Whitney