Friday Favorites

Happy Friday friends!!

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It’s been an interesting year, hasn’t it? I am just going to focus on positives and light on this here blog, and send love from my heart to yours.

Yesterday was simply gorgeous! It was sunny and in the 80’s — my favorite! Some big things happened this week and we are so excited!

  1.  We had an awesome tenant move into his new home at Conrad Dr! This was the house that had a bacon fire on the stove last Summer.  It took a long time with permits, total rehab of the main floor, lots of issues that sprang up (just because that’s what happens when you remodel!) But I think that the house came out even better this time around! I want to do a separate post on the renovations of this beautiful home, but for now, congratulations to the Sean!

2. I put together my little “outdoor oasis” I like to call it.  Really, I’ve had everything but I did purchase and indoor/outdoor rug at Aldis– $50 for that size seemed like the best deal I would find!  I enjoyed sitting here for a little bit, trying to keep calm over this past weekend.  I also got a Lavender plant, in hopes that it helps keep the bugs away and also I just love the smell!

3.  I finished this crazy book over the weekend.  If you’re into thrillers, it’s pretty good! I didn’t find it super crazy, but I did want to read it quickly to see where it was headed.

4.  This guy.  What do you mamas feed your ALWAYS HUNGRY boys?!  Brooke eats a lot too, but this kid will eat a meal and still want another meal afterwards.  I gave into the fruity pebbles and he loves them…and I know that doesn’t fill anyone up, but goodness!

5.  We wrapped up a deal and will be closing on buying another house in 3 weeks!  We are so happy to help this family out as they start new ventures down in North Carolina.  If you know anyone looking to sell a home, have them reach out to me!  We are doing a $1,000 Summer—meaning, if you send us a house and we buy it, you get $1,000!!

6.  Sister likes to wear her hair like I used to back in the 80’s. I love it.

7.  We’ve been working hard– and as Joe’s shirt says, “WORK, that’s how you get it.”

8.  A must try dinner idea– GRILLED ROMAINE—OMG! I slice the head in half and have Joe just slather a little Olive Oil.  Then he grills it on all sides so parts are a little charred but not burnt.  I then added some fresh lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, here we had smoked some chicken breast, asparagus and some crumbly blue—SO good and light and yet super filling!

9.  My azalea’s bloomed. I Just love their coloring!!

10.  And does anyone else feel like we are truly in an experiment?  I have to find humor because life/this country/world is out of control.  I do hope aliens will not come visit next month.

 

Friday Favorites (May Favorites)

I thought I’d just wrap May up in a big bow, since I barely blogged at all– oy! It’s all good. May started off with snow and cold, but here we are enjoying 90 degree days the last few!  So many great things happening around here, and as always I choose to focus on the bright spots.  Life is too short to only see the bad…so here are my favorites from the month! (Totally random by the way…)

I enjoyed this cute chick lit read!  It was my favorite from this author duo, but I still finished it and walked away fairly pleased.

This month has been a HUGE growth (mindset) for me.  It’s so true, if you feel like quitting, DON’T!!! Just keep going.  You are probably closer to where you want to be than you realize! I know it’s a crazy time right now, but NOW is the time you must take massive action and not rest (too much.) So many people are sleeping through life and missing out on making dreams come true.  Don’t let that happen to you!

Joe and I have still been doing our weekly lives on our Facebook & Instagram 585 Rent to Own pages.  Yesterday’s was SO much fun.  We shared our top 3 pieces of advice if you want to stop renting and start owning!  We are going to start going live on our Buying page next week as well.  We need to help as many folks as we can!

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This happened. Cue. The. Tears.  Bradley’s Pre-K teacher came to snap a few photos of him and the grad cap/gown.  Usually the kids get their photos done professionally but since the virus happened, photos did not.  I did not get to see Brooke in hers in real life, only in the photos so my mama heart had a small moment of sadness and also excitement! What a ride motherhood is!

The weather started getting nice and warm FINALLY!!   The fort thing never gets old.

This was a “Scavenger Hunt” activity.  Brooke’s teacher posted it as an assignment, so I need to make more of these!

Super simple: 

Find an object to put on your head.

Find something green.

Find a photo of your family.

Find your favorite thing.

My Sunny Bike came and I have ridden it the past 10 days!! Woot!

I’m still juicing my celery; not every day because I just can’t keep going to the store so much, but I’m on an every other day deal.  It has helped my gut SO much.

Haircuts happened for the boys!

I’ve gotta say the hot weather has been the BEST thing about May!! We can finally go outside and not only not freeze, but actually be nice and warm!  The kiddos are still adjusting but the ice pops always help! 

We took a little drive and walked around by High Falls one warm day and little man decided to wear daddy’s old button up shirt. He tried it on for his Pre-K graduation (we may be gathering in a parking lot to at least clap for every kid, we’re not sure) but he is so cute when he’s wearing it!

Warm weather = lots of grilling meals!  We just set up shop outside and eat around the grill, it’s the best! Grass fed beef with a slice of Swiss on lettuce for me!  Don’t forget the ketchup, mustard, pickle!

I also shared an easy family favorite on IGTV as well! I made Everything But the Bagel Green Beans &   Giada’s Turkey Meatlaof .  I thought it’d be fun to share more on Instagram so feel free to follow along! Jenn’s Instagram

I had extra hot dog buns so I did butter them and added Garlic Garlic Tastefully Simple seasoning and broiled for Joe & kids.

A side of Rice

My dinner! I did enjoy some Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing.

Be sure to check out my video for a few swaps!

And this just made me chuckle. I was such a Sesame Street kid growing up, this just seems so fitting for this crazy year that is, 2020.

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Tip Tuesday!

I am sure that I am not the only one that’s wanting to make her space cleaner, prettier and well kept, especially right now when all we see are these 4 walls 24/7!  I am working on the cleaning thing.  Juggling the homeschooling, a growing business, cooking all the meals (no takeout here!)  I am open to trying new methods of staying on top of things, while trying to not lose my mind! 

I actually found this tip on one of my favorite You Tubers Instagram account, Laura Vitale. I just adore her and she shares so many amazing cooking recipes! She (unlike me) loves cleaning and such, so as I embrace this more, I figured why the heck not?!  Watch me turn into an OCD cleaning freak after quarantine!

You will need just a few items to clean your micro-fiber (suede) fabric:

Dish Soap (tiny bit!)

Scrub brush

Fabric softener (Again, tiny bit but this time for the scent!)

Step 1:

Fill a bowl of water with a little dish soap, dip the scrub brush and go at it! 

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Step 2:

Fill a second bowl with water and a little bit of fabric softener.  Then, take a cloth and make those gorgeous swipes and lines! *see bottom photo

I just love the scent of this kind.  (I’m sure you could do essential oils too, whatever floats your boat.)

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**Disclaimer, try it out on a tiny bit of your fabric before you go crazy!**
Before:

I’ve tried keeping towels on the chairs, but I gave up on one in particular.  Yes, more spills and drips may have happened on someone’s chair in particular and his chair was a TAD worse than most. (Do I love showing you this photo? NOPE.  But if I can help another desperate mama who feels like everything is out of her control right now, then my ego can take a hike. Real life people–sticky little fingers, food, drinks, dogs–oh my!)

After:

Voila!

As you can see, the far left chair still needs another rub down (no names mentioned, but the one with the littlest hands seems to be the messiest!)  I set them outside in the sun to get that extra Vitamin D and dry a tad faster.  

Verdict?  Totally impressed.

*see those swiping lines?! #swoon
So now that the fabric on the chairs have been handled, I’m working on mastering the laundry situation. I’ll report back to you if I can indeed wash, dry, fold and put away one load a day.  It’s worth trying!
What house cleaning tip can you share with me? I am ALL ears!  

Brookie Cookie

Well, it turns out gluten free baking is my new thing.  (I either need to start running or stop eating because oh my, quarantine 15 may be a real thing!) My favorite baked good thus far are these amazing cookies!  They remind me a lot of my favorite Ooey Gooey Butter Cookies (Paula Deen) but they are a tad healthier?! They are called “Brookie Cookies” because they are thick and fudge-like a brownie but in the shape of a cookie.

I saw these in a Gluten Free group on Facebook and everyone loved them! Well, I can attest my crew devoured them and so did I!  You can use regular flour too of course, but I used GF.  It replaces butter with coconut oil, so you do have to enjoy coconut flavor for this recipe.

They do need to chill in the fridge so that you can roll them and bake, so just build that little bit of time in when baking!

Recipe here:

Brookie Cookie {Gluten Free!}

Let me know if you try them but don’t blame me if you can’t stop eating them!

15 Questions: Get to Know Me!

Hi I’m Jenn!  I feel like I may have a few new faces around here, (maybe not?!) but I haven’t done a “about me” post in awhile.  While in quarantine, my family and I are really taking this time to stay positive and focus on all the good things right now.  I cannot imagine this happening to us when we were kids, how would we have done school!? The internet is nothing like it is today.  Anyway, I know that we are doing our best and trying to keep a calm, positive and happy vibe around here!  I’m not perfect, nor do I ever claim to be, but I try to share my heart here and capture memories for myself, my family, and anyone else who may find some useful morsel around here.

I grew up in Victor, a small town at the time.  My father owned a family owned hardware store/lumberyard in town and my mom stayed home to raise us three girls.  We always had a house full of people, and animals!  There was always someone that my mom or dad took in to help.  That’s the kind of people they are; they were always taking care of people.  After High School I went to SUNY Fredonia where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree for teaching English Secondary Education.  I wanted to move back home to be near my family, and that summer I graduated in 2003, I landed my teaching job. I taught 7th-12th grade English for 8 years and then chose to stay home.

Ok onto the questions!

1.) What’s your Favorite Book? I honestly don’t have just one!!  The first book I cried over was Where the Red Fern Grows and I believe that was 6th grade.  I also remember starting to read Holocaust novels that year (which is intriguing because for my Master’s Degree, I created my final project based on Teaching Empathy through Holocaust Literature).  Reading for school NEVER felt like homework and I always enjoyed the books.  I remember asking my 10th grade teachers if I could read The Scarlet Letter for an independent reading project and he suggested I wait until the following year when it was taught so I would “get it.”   I got it. 😉  I loved The Great Gatsby in 11th grade and between all of the symbolism (and literary elements) and my amazing Junior Year teacher, I fell in love with English Lit.  I officially decided to become a teacher! Since then I’ve fallen in love with many books, so many different genres too! I need to write my blog post of my 2019 top 10, but here’s a photo of them!

2.) What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? I’m not a huge ice cream person, but if they have coffee ice cream, you know I will try it! Ok I also grabbed this to try too. Very odd consistency but tastes pretty good!

3.) What’s your go to when ordering out? I like to try new things especially at fancy restaurants!  I used to be the chicken parm girl, but now I tend to lean towards fish or something that may be trickier for me to re-create at home.  Dining out is one of my love languages!  I miss our date nights so much and we are dreaming up some wonderful trip ideas to try new restaurants in the future.

4.) What’s your most embarrassing childhood memory? Running full speed down a hill at my parents’ old house and running onto the deck, and through (what I thought) was an open sliding door—luckily the glass part was open, but the screen was fully in tact and closed….until it wasn’t!! There was also a time I used to “hurdle” over my sister’s Playschool Teeter-Totter.  Yeah.  I was never in Track and Field (for good reason) and I smacked my ankle reeeeeally hard on that thing.  Or there was the time I had my middle sister push me around in a doll stroller on our paved driveway.  I fell back out of it and my tailbone STILL hurts to this day if I sit funny.  #ladygrace

For kicks here’s me in preschool! Can you spot me?!

5.) What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been? Rome. Hands down the culture was everything.  It was the final stop on our Honeymoon tour of Europe, coming after Amsterdam and Paris, which we loved too.  However, there was something magical about Italy.  Maybe it was the fact that Joe’s family is off the boat, so he’s so very Italian, or Italy is simply that amazing. The food. The people. The architecture.  The music. The food. The espresso. The shopping. The food…I pray for this virus to be over so we can one day return again!  I will say that so far the most beautiful beach has been at The Nest on the Island of Antigua. I mean really. Look. At. That. Water!!

6.) What accomplishment are you most proud of?  I’m proud that I graduated college, became a teacher, and got my Master’s degree. I am proud of my almost 10 years of marriage with Joe. However, nothing beats being a mom! I have never worked so hard as I did to carry them in my womb and give birth to them both!  All the sleepless nights and still the worry that comes with being mom, does not take away from the amazingness that motherhood is.  Brooke and Bradley are literally my world.  I take my job as their mother so seriously.  No I am not perfect, but I want to raise good humans, with happy hearts and lots of strength in this crazy world.  I have been SO blessed to have stayed home with them all these years.  I know that though times are hard right now, we will never get this time back.  Joe and I are also working hard on our business which is tricky because the kids want to play all the time.  We are doing fine and I need to not be so hard on myself. Some days I want to ‘teach them’ as much as possible school wise and other days I open the door and tell them to just go outside and run around—aka you’re drivin yo mama crazy! I am also proud of the woman I am becoming.  I always strive to be better tomorrow than I was today.

7.) Who would you like to live like for a day? Rachel Hollis — hence the above sentence.  This woman is amazing.  I would love to be out on book tour promoting that, dancing around on stage hyping everyone up.  The amount of women (people) she can inspire through her books, podcasts, live videos, instagram, blog….If I could just reach a fraction of the amount of people she does, I would feel as though I’m doing something in my life. Plus she vacations in Hawaii a lot so that’s cool! Or Oprah. She’d be a hoot too!!

8.) Coffee or Tea? If you’ve known me for awhile or even followed my little old Bliss to Bean blog, you know I loved me some coffee! After baby boy, I seemed to have developed reflux (so did he as a baby, weird) and coffee is one thing I have given up.  It still bothers me and now if I try to drink it it’s too much caffeine and I don’t like it.  Matcha Green Tea Lattés are my favorite (especially when Starbucks is open–is anyone else going through MAJOR ‘bux withdrawals?!) I also love a good cuppa English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lady Grey or chai.  I also sip on several herbal teas all day, from calming, stress less and good for ‘that time of the month’ teas. There is literally a tea for everything and so many good ones!

9.) When you’re having a rough day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?  It depends honestly.  Sometimes I need time to myself, journal, read, rest, watch something on You Tube or TV.  Other times I need to snuggle with the kids, Joe or the dogs. Maybe a good workout would help.  Baking for my family and indulging in a sweet treat.  I’ve had a good solid shower cry in the past month and it’s all good.  I have learned the importance of self care and the NEED to fill my cup.  It’s not always a balance–there is always give and take.  However, when I am running on E, there is nothing left to give.  If you do nice things for yourself, allow yourself the rest, the time, the energy to do what you enjoy, life really does open up! These are just some of the ways I have been coping with quarantine! I try not to drink if I’m stressed or upset, it usually does not make me feel better. I like to enjoy my vino in a good mood!

10.) Using JUST ONE word, how would you describe your family? Fun!

11.) Who is the kindest person you know? There have been SO many acts of kindness during this Corona crisis, I don’t even know where to start! I think of my friends who shopped for us when we were so scared to go out at first.  I think of all the masks donated to us, some made with love.  I think of my parents who send small gifts and such to help keep the kids busy.  Or when they spend their nights on House Party playing games with both of them. I think of my sister who thought of my kiddos and bought some Easter items for them.  I think of how my neighbor’s son who turned 8 and a bunch of us drove in a parade behind fire trucks to wish the little dude a Happy Birthday.  I think of another pre-school mom who scored extra blue cheese and dropped it off to us (I thanked her with some White Claw!)  I also had a “wine fairy” stop by!!! Bigger picture, I think of all the people who are working as essentials who are keeping this country up and running.  Those on the front lines who are working hard on saving lives and also those who are working on a cure.  So much kindness, you just have to look for it!

12.) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Some place with a never-ending beach where Joe and I could have a romantic dinner on the sand, by candlelight.  We would also sleep in fabulous little hut/bungalows over the water! Any recs?!  I’m hoping for an anniversary trip some day.  At this point I would just love to travel to my local Starbucks and sit and smile at people and enjoy a latté with no mask. Or even the library.  It’s funny how little things really are the big things.

13.) As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A Veterinarian.  But then I shadowed some and couldn’t deal with all of the sadness of sick or hurt animals.  I then wanted to be a teacher!  I spent my senior year of High School ‘student teaching’ a 9th grade class with a fellow teacher. It was awesome and really kept my head on straight for the 4 years of college where I had to take a bunch of lame classes (like Oceanography – lame) and really I just wanted to work with kids and help them!  I never thought about working in Real Estate, but I love owning a company and running a business. (It’s in my genes!) I also really love getting to work with Joe.  It’s so much fun helping people out of homes, into homes and of course the house projects along the way. I also wanted to be a singer or a dancer but mom wouldn’t send me to NYC. (Ya could’ve had me make millions ma!! haha)

14.) What’s your biggest pet peeve?  Passive aggressiveness.  Own your shit! Sorry for the language, but if you’re not a teenager, don’t act like one.  If you made a mistake, just say sorry and move on.  And if someone does you wrong?  Call them out on it if you must and have it out.  Life is too short to be playing games.  Some people are not meant to be in our lives forever and that’s okay.  Sometimes we have to look at what is best for our family and do it no matter what others may think.  I think so many problems occur in life because of communication or the lack of it really.  We can’t be everyone’s friend and no one is perfect.  If you are just doing the best you can and trying to live by the golden rule, that’s all we can ask for right? Be a good human.

15.) What’s your favorite season?  I thought I’d end on a fluffy question.  Again, it may be no surprise to you if you know me well, but I am a Summer Girl.  I am not sure if it’s because I’m a Leo, but bring on the sun and hot weather!! Joe’s totally not a Leo and loves Summer too.  Life is just better when you can go outside and not freeze your ass off.  As I’m getting older, I am finding it harder and harder to just deal with this crappy cold “Spring” we are getting most years.  It is one thing I wish I could change, but have no control over, so I will just stay focused on the future and I am hoping May brings some 80 degree days!  I love feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin. Vitamin D is so good for you!

Have any other questions? Let me know!  I find these fun to read so if you do something back, be sure to tag me.

Happy Friday and stay healthy!