Cookie Party 2019

Our (third with my kiddos!) annual cookie party!! I never know if *this* will be the last party at this house but I tried to capture more memories of it this year!

We all wore red!

Silly picture.

Gotta get Bailey in it.

And Holly too…

A lab and her girl.

Christmas angel.

My yearly 7 layer magic bar— always a hit!

Snacking away on all the yummy goodies!

Mom friends!

I just love a Charcuterie board.

We even had some introverts, who mingled sparingly but still enjoyed themselves!

Alison and I have been friends since we danced together back in what, 1997?  We were then college roommates and still remain friends today! She probably makes my favorite cookies–I don’t even want the recipe, she makes them perfectly every time.  Molasses ginger or something with a white dripping all over….yeah I want one now!

One of my newer mommy friends is my neighbor down the street Katie!  Her kiddos love playing with my kiddos and we have had many laughs, tears, and WTH moments together.  It’s an amazing feeling to know you’ve got someone on your street who will care for your kids if you can’t (like getting them on/off the bus!)

More mommy friends!! In all stages of life, it’s so important to have some mama time!  Being able to share ideas, hear each others’ frustrations and realize you really aren’t alone, is so comforting.  We just need to be better about making more time for this.

As for the kids?? They’ve gotten old enough to realize how awesome the cookie party is and they’re even a little sneaky!  They had so much fun running around all together, everyone got along and played great.

Of course I could not get a still shot of these two.  All hyped up over having friends and sugar!

Grateful that my step-mom could come as well!  She’s been an OG since the first cookie party and she brought some delicious Chai cookies with Eggnog Frosting that are Taylor Swift’s favorite.  I think this may be the recipe here!

It’s funny how the kids really gravitated to playing upstairs and on the stairs.  Our little basement room was not the hotspot this year!

Cookies upon cookies!!

Joe gave me some fancy champagne flutes for my birthday and I haven’t gotten to use them…I was originally going to just use red solo cups but then realized THIS was a special occasion and time to break them out!!

I served Mango & Peach Mimosas.  It’s nice to have a glass and relax with the girls!

I love my outdoor fridge. Super classy.

I told the girls I may re-name the cookie party, “HOT MESS MOMS COOKIE PARTY” because I legit feel like one!! My driveway and walkway were covered in snow and ice and I had no salt.  My cookies weren’t the greatest and those that were, my husband ate most of them.  He even told me it was cute how nervous I get the night before–thanks babe.  I just want everything to go smoothly!!

All in all it was so much fun and still so crazy how much it’s evolved since 2009.  I had no kids and we used to bake all of the cookies at my house.  I don’t even have a double oven!  We then tried to just frost the cookies and it still was a bit much.  Now that I have two of my own, I love that we just exchange what we can (I encourage store bought if that’s all you have time for!) and just stop by for a hello.  During such a crazy busy season, I hope it sealed some beautiful memories in the hearts of moms and kids alike!

Weekend Vibes

It was nice that Brooke had Friday off, even though I didn’t realize it until a few days prior! Haha.  #momlife  Which later that day I saw this meme and it was perfect because I seriously thought I was on top of my game!!  Luckily my neighbor Katie kept me up to speed.

 

After we dropped Bradley off at Preschool she wanted to have a girls’ day.  We hit up Starbucks and then headed over to Target for some birthday gifts, as she has a few parties to attend in the next few weeks.

She brought her doll and set her up like this and I about died when I came over and saw her sitting like this.

Brooke’s favorite treat at Starbs:  Kiddie Hot Cocoa and the confetti sugar cookie.  Nice choice girlfriend!!

Saturday morning was such a gorgeous sunrise!! The pinks and purple mixed with the orange glow were simply stunning!

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We had out last day of gymnastics, which was fun and a little sad!  It’s about an hour drive and we would usually go visit my dad and step-mom after their session, but with the impending Winter weather, it is not a commitment I want to make.  I hate driving in the snow, so I’d rather wait it out until Spring or Summer.

My sister asked if we wanted a babysitter Saturday night, so of course we said yes!! It was a little chilly so I did a basic grey bell sleeved sweater with my favorite pair of jeans from American Eagle.  They fit like a glove!

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We went to Village Gate in downtown Rochester and hit up the restaurant Lento.  They serve everything fresh, the menu changes daily and it’s all locally sourced.  It’s in a funky building with lots of crazy art pieces. He wanted me to take a picture of this fish.  Speaking of fish, we had some amazing Oysters and I had the BEST Salmon dinner with roasted brussels and bacon and apple. I can’t stop thinking about it! I also had some to die for brie and goat cheese….yum!

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Joe loved this mural and it looks like some of the “amazing art” we have hanging in our room.  Our artistic preferences may differ slightly…

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Sunday I spent some time talking with the contractor and checking out shower tile ideas for the house that burned down.  We like the bigger tiles, like this look minus the extra small tiling. I want to keep it simple and clean looking.

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Photo Via Pinterest

 

Sunday we had our neighbor’s birthday party at a YMCA.

The kids played in the jungle gym and swam in the pool.

Well, all but one did.

SO hard to get a still shot! I love that Bradley is covered in vanilla cake frosting.

Brooke picked out her presents all by herself…

Lily turned 9 and yes, our daughter who’s 6 is taller than her. They wear the same size! They are so sweet together and we are very grateful to have good neighbor friends.

I finished this book and it was full of good gems! I’ll share a few later on.

I had “the house shut down” (Joe makes fun of me, but seriously, I say this all the time! I think because my mom used to!) by 8pm and I think I was asleep before the Patriots game, it may have just started. I got up to use the bathroom, and I had taken a Nyquil a little earlier so I could sleep well and try to get this cold/allergy whatever out of my system and when I stood up I had this feeling/flash/premonition and I told Joe, “The Ravens win.”  When we got up this morning, he said hey, by the way you’re right! I’m a tad freaked out by this but find it cool as well.  I felt like I was in that state of semi-consciousness and half awake, which I bet if I meditated on a regular basis I could tap into more.  I may have lost you at this point, but yes, I do believe in psychic ability and a little voo doo.  Joe says if I hone in my skills he’ll start betting. Hahaha!

 

Happy Monday friends!

Day of Rest?

Working for yourself is the best and craziest thing ever at times.  I love the flexibility of it, but if I am being totally honest, I struggle with time management.  When I was a teacher, my day was scheduled for me.  I ate when it was “lunch time.” I started class when the bell rang, and then ended when it rang again.  Every 42 minutes (or 85 in the HS block schedule) I knew exactly which students would walk into my classroom and exactly what we’d be doing that day.

Enter motherhood and all ‘scheduling’ went right out the window!! Baby’s dictated everything and as soon as we seemed to settle into a nice routine, a leap or growth spurt would happen and it all went to heck.  I survived it, like all mothers do, and really just became adapt at ‘bobbing and weaving’ as my husband so lovingly calls it.

Now that I have one child in full time school and one in 3 half day pre-school classes, and a real estate business to run, I find myself sometimes going a little batty.  As I sat in on an another amazing Serve Sell Live Well class with Sam Sagot, she had a guest speaker present on time management.  I believe I have gotten better, but man I feel like I am still not always finishing what I started, as I get so distracted easily! She said that our brains take 23 minutes to focus back on the original task at hand, and that multi-tasking is BAD (which I know) but gosh, it’s so hard to break this habit!  I feel like kids (who are 4, little and still quite needy) constantly interrupt my flow–whatever it may be.  I could be working on marketing, book-keeping, renovation details, talking to a contractor, paying taxes, you name it!  I could also be folding laundry, doing the dishes or trying to vacuum.  As I sit here and type this blog I just realized I have a pile of wet laundry behind me that needs to be hung.

I guess the point is, as much as I love giving tips, help a mama out!! I am working on “time blocking” but how do you stay on task?  How do you make sure that you finish what you started?  Working from home can be tricky–hello, I cannot leave my kitchen a mess and just walk by it without cleaning it!? How do you do all the housework, cook, take care of kids and get all your work done and still find time every day or week for you?

I also listened to the girls talk about having one day where they do not work.  Day of rest.  I know that Sunday should be that, but sometimes that the only day Joe & I can catch up and talk about business stuff without other work interfering. So, this week I think I will take Tuesday off…maybe my “Day of rest” will be Saturdays.  And mamas, by rest I don’t mean my feet are up all day and I’m not hustling around the house, but I mean one day off from “WORK.”  I LOVE what we are doing with our real estate company and I truly feel empowered to step into my role better each day, but I am sensing a little burnout and I simply can’t help but wonder if it’s because every day I “do” a little real estate work.

What are your thoughts, do you take a day of rest from your “job”?  Do you work every day and never feel a burn out? What do you enjoy doing on your day off?  I would like to use my Saturdays to catch up around the house, play with the kids, write, workout and let my mind take a mental break.  At the same time, I realize that we all have seasons of work, and I feel like right now maybe it’s more of hustle season, and it’s hard to break because we have a lot going on right now.   Maybe it’s okay to work a little every day, as long as you build in ‘down time’ every day and stick to it…

Maybe this blog makes zero sense, but I felt like getting my thoughts out of my jumbled mind, so feel free to chime in!  I feel like it applies to stay at home moms, work at home moms, working moms—all the moms! We take care of SO many things in a day, in a week–and don’t get me wrong, I know men do a lot too, but I’m just speaking about myself who’s a work at home mama…

Happy Sunday!

Happy Halloween!

I wanted to share some throwbacks on the blog today of the last few years. I cannot believe how big the kids are getting!  We are looking forward to a little trick-or-treating, even if it’s raining!  I think sometimes as adults we make it more about us than our kids and it’s important to remember the fun and joy we used to have at the SIMPLE things.  I’m talking, the smallest of things here people, are what seem to stick in our children’s minds.  My kiddos are already begging to play the “Santa Game” (Google during the holiday has a free Santa’s workshop thing they enjoy playing on my laptop)

Our first year with Brookie, 2013, we did a 49ers cheerleader outfit.

The 49ers were decent that year too, so we proudly wore our jerseys ha.

The second year, 2014, I scored a Pig Costume in January for like $3 when I ordered her first birthday party items.  Daddy always likes wearing a big scary mask…(it doesn’t scare the kids, but all the neighbor kids kind of wig out…)

I was pregnant with Bradley and had little pig ears, but they didn’t make the photo.  Side note, holy smokes our chairs are so clean before kids ruined them!! HAha

I just loved this costume. I just remembered how she didn’t want to put it on, but when trick-or-treaters came to the door in costume, she realized they got candy, so it quickly went right on!

Bradley came along and in 2015, we had Anna from Frozen and a cute Dragon.

I even did a YouTube video.

Brookie picked out a Unicorn costume from Target the following year, 2016 and my mom snagged me this cute cat head piece.

Bradley Boo was a Ninja Turtle

Halloween 2017 they both chose their costumes.  Lil miss had her heart set on being a black cat and Bradley fell in love with Kion.

Last year, 2018, Bradley chose Black Panther and Brooke was Mavis from Hotel Transylvania.

A sneak of this year— Bradley is a Ninja!

Our little Angel at dance class.

I may have decided to dress up a bit as well…here’s my inspiration!

It’s absolutely pouring, so I will most likely be wearing my rubber rain boots.  Oh the joys of Upstate New York weather!
Stay safe and Happy Halloween friends!

Productivity

I’ve been really focusing on what’s making me productive and how I’m getting everything done.  I watch tons of other moms on YouTube doing their thing, I surround myself with positive people and have a few tips that I believe can help you if you feel overwhelmed.  I am doing the #last90dayschallenge and so a few of these are inspired by Rachel Hollis, but I started implementing them before 10/1 so I can speak from experience that they are helping in more ways than one!

1.) Cut distractions. 

This could be negative family or friends, social media in general, mindless snacking, or your phone.  I know babies, kids and dogs can be a bit demanding, but get into a schedule and figure out a good routine.  I know if I put the dog outside on her doggie run, I have a good amount of time to get some stuff done without worrying about her puppy-ness wanting to chew on toys that haven’t been cleaned up etc.  My kids are getting older so I can set some timers and let them watch a show, play a video game or independently play without having to watch them like a hawk.  If you have a baby or a toddler, then give yourself grace.  You’re number one focus is keeping that human alive!  Otherwise, turn off the phone, ignore messages (for now) and set a time later in the day to accomplish those things.  Having a list helps me.

2.) Finish things.

There’s not much worse than that feeling like you have a million things left not done.  Maybe you’ve started most of them, but if you’re like me, you can easily get distracted (kids, dogs, life!) and then I don’t finish something and it hangs there.  Just do it.  It probably only takes half the time we think anyway.  Set a timer and get-er-done!  The satisfaction of crossing it off the to do list and actually seeing an end result will catapult you onto the next activity that needs to happen.

3.) Drink your water & Cut or limit sugars, processed foods, and alcohol. 

Tired? Drink your water.  Hungry?  Drink your water.  Bored? Drink your water.  Feeling run down? Drink your water.  Want a soda or coffee?  Drink some water.  I’ve been making myself drink half of my body weight in water, and before I allow myself to eat or drink something else (even tea) I chug a bunch of water to see if it’s something I still want.  Water is SO important for all of our organs and to keep us running full steam! Here me out, I get it.  The latté, cookie, chips, pop, whatever seems so helpful but it I find that the quick fix does not fix the overwhelm.  I know I’m just coming off a cleanse, where I did omit these items, but seriously, I have no brain fog, lots of energy (at 6am) I’m sleeping great and if I had not gotten mindful about what was going into my body, I don’t think I would have realized how great I could feel.  Am I never going to have wine or a Green Tea Latté again?  Heck no, BUT I will have them in moderation.  I think we all tend to get a little lenient in the summer and before we know it, we feel like crap, and the spiral continues.  Plus half of the problem is that we don’t even realize how much we’re consuming until we step away from it for a bit…

4.) Wake up an hour early.  

It’s not easy.  I love sleep.  I love the cozy bed and the feel of the soft sheets.  BUT, when you start making a habit of getting up before the rest of the house, something changes inside.  I look forward to starting my day.  I get to do a few of my favorite things, writing, reading, sipping tea and just be alone with my thoughts.  You could workout, pray, meditate, whatever you feel like doing, but do it before you have to go take care of everyone else.  Creating before you start consuming will change your life people!  I’ll write more on my morning routine later, but just try it for a few weeks.  If you normally get up at 7, set that alarm for 6 and just set things up the night before.  I literally cannot stress the importance of this one!  YOU matter and putting yourself first to be with God, or a good book, or sweat sesh will give you that push the rest of the day.  An hour sound like too much?  Start with 15-20 minutes and work your way up.  I was up at 5:45 no alarm today, just because.

5.) Have fun!

The less we look at things at “chores” or things that we have to do, the better we feel.  If I have a dirty floor, clothes piled everywhere, messy rooms, food to prepare and overflowing dishes in the sink, the first thing I do is breathe.  Push play on a good audiobook or even a fun song, watch a TV show or YouTube video while you get to work.  {I recently just rented an old favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail, so that I could watch it while I folded and put away the endless loads of laundry}.  Once I realize I can habit stack, I know it won’t be so bad. Then I throw some laundry in, (to feel like I started taking action on SOMETHING!) get going on the dishes, prepare the food, clean up and before I realize it, everything is back in place and I can sigh in relief that my kitchen is no longer a disaster area!