Friday Favs!

TGIF!  It has been a great week; jam packed with seeing friends, shopping, running errand and generally just getting stuff done.  It feels so good to check things off the to-do list!  I’m looking forward to some quality time with the hubby, Jellybean and pup this weekend.  Hopefully the heat stays under control so we can spend sometime outside.  Over the past couple of weeks the heat/humidity in DC has been very intense!

I went to Co Co Sala for the first time this week.  While dinner was delicious the portion size was a little on the small size, for me.  The dessert on the other hand was huge and totally decadent!  I think it would make such a fun date night to go out for dinner and then go to Co Co Sala for dessert.  YUM … I can still taste the chocolate.

Co Co Sala Dessert  |  Life's Tidbits

Here’s what I’m loving this week …

I finally found the perfect t-shirt, thank you Madewell!  I’ve been searching for them for a few months now for t-shirts I like.  More than a few were return because they weren’t soft enough, too sheer or just not a good fit.  A close second would be these from The Loft.

While shopping the Nordstrom’s anniversary sale for a second pair of the live in leggings the sale associate showed me a few cute tops to go with my new pants.  She had some good picks, one of which is my new favorite workout tank top.  And, seriously … why does the Nordstrom’s anniversary sale just suck me in and make me want to buy the whole store!

Gap was having an insane sale and I was able to buy Jellybean a bunch of bathing suites and clothing she can grow into.  It’s always nice to have bigger sized clothes on hand for the day the current size no longer fits! =) I also noticed they have my favorite booties {similar, but just as cute} back in stock! I got SO many compliments on these booties when Jellybean wore them last winter.

I’m always on the hunt for a new chapstick.  I like this one, however this lip conditioner is far more affordable and I actually like it better.  I feel like the fresh sugar has to be reapplied more often than the Caudalie.

Last, but not least … I made this super delicious balsamic glazed chicken.  I use chicken thighs instead of breasts since we were out of chicken breasts.  I also didn’t use a slow cooker.  Just threw it into the dutch oven and let it cook (stirring occasionally) for about an hour and a half.  Winning … another recipe to add to the rotation!!

I hope you have a great weekend!  What are you favorite items lately?

Signiture_Nicole

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailPinterestTumblrDiggShare

Favorites for Toddlers {months 13 – 18}

Jellybean is a toddler, but she will always be my baby!!  So we have moved on from the baby must have to toddler favorites!  I think JB is taking a more active role in selecting her essentials and her little personality is really starting to shine through.

She has an opinion on what she will wear each day.  I’ve got it down to a science {on those days where she’s acting ‘typical’} … I pick out 2 outfits and say ‘this one or that one’.  She usually points aggressively at one and boom that’s the OOTD.  But seriously, that girl has style.  If I select an outfit she doesn’t like I get a very stern looks followed by “No, No, No, Mommy!”.  And yes, those no’s are capitalized on purpose. :)

Over the past few months here’s what Jellybean has been loving the most …

Toddler Favorites Months 13 to 18  |  Life's Tidbits

Contigo Water Bottle // This water bottle was recommended by a friend and is actually the same brand as our coffee mugs so I was excited for Jellybean to give them a try.  It took her a little bit of time to get the whole straw thing down, but these quickly became a staple in our house.

Baby Buddy Natural Bath Sponge // Amazing product and I’m bummed we didn’t find it when Jellybean was just an infant.  Bath time sponge equals a decrease in the amount of laundry {no more… or at least less wash clothes}.

Lovey // My mother always joked she was going to get Jellybean a whole bunch of tags for her 1st birthday, because JB was always eating the tags of her toys.  Apparently this is a typical baby thing (wink, wink) and when my mom found the tag lovey she just had to buy it.  Jellybean took a quick liking to the lovey and now sleeps with it every night!

Munchkin Bath Letters & Numbers // These are so much fun! They stick to the tub and walls very easily.  While Jellybean isn’t totally ready for learning all the letters we do

10 Little Monkey (Poke-a-Dot!) Book // My mom found this book and oh my goodness does Jellybean like it.  So much so, the book is starting to fall apart from all the use it gets.  I like that it teaches number and is interactive in a way that helps kids with their motor skills.

Ikea Dinnerware Set // Don’t really think an explanation is needed here.  Affordable and practical. Done & done.

Circo Folding Stroller and Jenna Doll  //  I think this is probably in the top 5 toys played with everyday in our house.  Jellybean loves hugging her doll and then placing (read shoving) it into the stroller.  They then zip up and down the hallways … there is no walking Jellybean insists on RUNNING everywhere. :)

Mega Blocks // Jellybean has found all sorts of uses for the blocks that go beyond stacking and building castles.  She hurls shares them at the dog and tries to balance them on her head.  Typically these little gems will keep her busy for a while.

My 1st Anywhere Chair // This is definitely one of my favorite things we have for Jellybean.  My in-laws asked what we would like for her 1st birthday and this was my pick.  She curls up and ‘reads’ a book, has a snack (much to my wishing she wouldn’t eat on her chair) or just hangs out on it with her toys.  She uses it every.single.day.  So even though the price point is kind of high, I think it’s totally worth it!

In case you missed it, check out the the baby essential series for newborns, 3-5 months6-8 months and 9-12 months.

Does your toddler love any of these items?  Any recommendations for a 19-24 month old?

Signiture_Nicole

Meal Planning – Week 2

I’m happy to report meal planning is going pretty well! I enjoy sitting down with my list of recipes, thinking about the week ahead and writing out what to cook each night.  The recipes chosen are then translated into a shopping list to which I add breakfast, lunch and snack items.  Luckily lunch usually consists of leftover dinners, which makes it easier.  The project manager in me loves the process of making a plan and executing sed plan.

Week two was a success though I still seem to slightly over buy somethings and under buy others.  I’m starting to think meal planning for Jellybean needs to go beyond dinner, as many of the foods we don’t have enough of are for her.  Raspberries/blackberries/blueberries, in particular, are consumed at a remarkable rate.

MealPlanningWeek2

Here’s what we’ve been munching on lately …

Dinners for Week 2:

  • Grilled Lemon Dijon Chicken, Roasted Cauliflower and Baked Oven Fries … the oven fries are AMAZING.  You must try them, Mkay?!  I seriously want to eat them everyday all day long.
  • Brisket with carrots and potatoes … one of my favorite holiday recipes that I occasionally make on non-holiday weekends.  One of these days I hope to share the recipe with you!
  • Saucy Chicken with Rice … super easy and perfect for a week night.
  • Homemade Pizza … I’ve been dying to make homemade pizza crust for a while now.  The last time I tried to make it the yeast had expired – FAIL – this time I was properly equipped with non-expired yeast!
  • Lemon Almond Chicken Salad with Biscuits … I may or may not have been out of bread and way too lazy to venture to the store so I decided to just throw some frozen biscuits in the oven.  They were delish and it was kind of like having a deconstructed sandwich :)
  • Out to Dinner x2 … While the goal is to only order in or go out once a week, however this particular week was special.  My parents were in town over the weekend visiting & my girlfriends and I did a little girls night out.  So my once a week only is more like a guideline, not a rule {wink, wink}.

I made two new recipes this week!  I am glad they were both a hit so they can be added to the queue of dinner options.  It is always disappointing when a recipe looks delicious and then is just so-so or worse not yummy at all.

Goals for next week: try another new recipe (or two!) and try to use more of what’s already in the house.

What have you been making for dinner lately {please add links in the comments!}?  Any tips for meal planning?

Signiture_Nicole

Things I Should have Done Before Baby Arrived

Whether it is the first, second or third (maybe fourth?!) addition to your family, a pregnant woman is never lacking in things she must do to prepare for that little bundle of joy.  There’s all the doctor’s appointments, eating right, drinking enough water, registering, buying endless # of baby clothes and gear, remembering to order the nursery furniture far enough in advance so it arrives before the baby, and I’m fairly certain the list goes on and on and well, on.

It’s funny when looking back on experiences I see things through a totally different set of lenses than I did while actually living it.  For example, that crib I paid to have expedited, because I couldn’t decided until 8 weeks out what I wanted.  I admit I was a rookie and 1st time mom-to-be.  Well, baby girl didn’t sleep in said crib until she was 10 weeks old.  Didn’t REALLY need that ahead of time hehehe.  Hindsight is 20/20, right?

5 Things I Should Have Done Before Baby Arrived  | Life's Tidbits

Below are 5 things I wish I had done prior to my baby making her debut.

  1. Freezer Meals – This was something I read on almost every blog.  Make LOTS of freezer meals.  I did manage to get some stuff into the freezer, which was a total lifesaver … however there just wasn’t enough meals to sustain us for very long.  We were fortunate that friends and family brought/cooked us meals, but if we choose to have a second kid I will learn from our experience with Jellybean and pack the freezer with ready-to-go meals!!
  2. Hired a Newborn Photographer – This was an EPIC fail on my part.  I started fairly early on researching newborn photographers.  I reached out to a handful of them and then never pulled the trigger.  Recovering from the labor & delivery coupled with the exhaustion of a newborn scheduling photos was low on my to do list and I just never got around to it.  Once I was out of the haze of becoming a mother it was past that ‘sleepy newborn’ stage which is ideal for newborn photos.  If I had hired someone ahead of time I know I would have followed through.  Not doing professional newborn photos is a big regret of mine, but I have so many pictures of Jellybean when she was a newborn I have no choice by to give myself a pass on this one. :)
  3. Postpartum Wardrobe – I wrote a whole post about postpartum essentials for mama.  I bought so many things, but didn’t make any real preparations for my postpartum a priority.  Nursing bras, tank tops, loose clothing and ‘in-between’ items could have been purchased prior to Jellybean’s arrival and would have made me a whole lot more comfortable.  I am SO lucky to have family who ran back and forth from the store to get me everything I needed.
  4. Take More Maternity Photos –  I’m will admit I didn’t find pregnant Nicole to be the most attractive version of myself.  At about 5-6 months I felt like the belly was cute, but once month 7 rolled around I just felt huge.  And to be totally honest, people had no problem telling me how BIG I was, which made me a bit more self conscious.  I took a few photos of the belly for the blog, but I shy-ed away from being in photos and taking them of myself.  I wish I had a few more picture (especially of the hubby and me), because … heck … I was growing a little human inside me!!!
  5. Date Nights – The hubby and I should have done a few more dinners out, maybe caught an extra movie or two and definitely taken an extra vacation before the baby arrived.  After my daughter was a newborn I found it hard to be away from her, even if it was just a few hours (if I’m being honest it’s still hard and she’s 18 months old!!!).  Also, finding someone I trusted to watch her was extremely difficult.

So there are my lessons learned on things I wish I had done prior to baby’s arrival!!  I hope they help you as you are preparing for baby!

What did I miss?

Signiture_Nicole

Meal Planning – Week 1

In my mid 20’s I went from being someone who went to the grocery store once a week to someone who went almost daily.  It helped Safeway was literally a 3 minute walk from my apartment.  I didn’t pre-plan meals in anyway shape or form.  On my way home from work I would decide what I wanted to make for dinner and head to the store for the ingredients.

When we purchased our condo, the number of times I went food shopping drastically decreased.  We were no longer within walking distance of a grocery store, which meant I started to go every couple of days on my way home from work.  I slowly started to think about meals in 2-3 day increments.

Enter newborn baby.  I was exhausted, often un-showered (SHHH don’t tell) and barely had time for a bathroom break, let alone cook or go food shopping multiple times a week.  Not to mention the logistics involved in going to the store with a newborn baby in-tow!  Store runs became almost nonexistent and the number of nights we were ordering in steadily inclined.

Let me be honest…cooking is way healthier AND less expensive than ordering in.  Plus, there is the added bonus that I really do LOVE to cook!  Once I went back at work full time and ‘adjusted’ to our new schedule, I started making a conscious effort to cook more often.

I go food shopping once … max twice … a week now.  It has been an interesting transition since I wasn’t giving much forethought to our meals.  With no plan in place, I’ve been working with what we’ve got in the house.  It didn’t take long to realize we were going to live off chicken/rice and pasta/meat sauce if I don’t start planning ahead.

So, a couple of weeks ago I made a decision to start meal planning.  I took out pen and paper and actually wrote down what I was going to make each night for dinner.  I gave myself one ‘order in’ night … I need{ed} to be realistic and not to bite off more than I can chew!

First thing I did was write out a FULL list of our go-to recipes.  Though I would like to get a mix of old and new dinner menus I figured it was probably best to start with what I know we like and go from there.  I decided to make a list of what to cook for dinner throughout the week and determine what we would eat when later.  The one caveat to this is recipes that were more time intensive I planned on conquering over the weekend.

Meal Planning Dinner Recipes - Week 1 | Life's Tidbits

Dinner Choices for Meal Planning Week 1!

  1. Smoky Southwestern Tilapia with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans
  2. Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Potatoes
  3. Hamburger Casserole
  4. Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers (substituted with ground turkey and mozzarella cheese – was totally delish!)
  5. Baked Honey Cajan Shrimp with white rice and steamed green beans
  6. Chicken Pesto Pasta
  7. Order In!

Overall week 1 went really well! It was so nice to have everything on hand and the recipes preselected.  The other great thing about meal planning was there were plenty of leftovers for lunch each day.  Similar to my order in one night I gave myself a couple of days for going out to lunch with coworkers.  This was partially because I like going out to eat and be social, as well as to give myself an out when I needed to change things up.

Do I have any changes and/or goals for week 2 of meal planning?  Well, thank you for asking … because I do plan to make a few changes!  I need to not only meal plan for my husband and me, but for little Jellybean too.  Cook more meals over the weekend to save additional time during the week (make the freezer my friend hahaha).  Also, I would like to challenge myself to use more of what’s already in my pantry and refrigerator.  Doing so will take more planning/research, but I feel it will be useful in expanding my recipe ‘portfolio’ as well as saving a little extra mulla!!

Do you meal plan?  Any tips or tricks you can share?

I would love to hear your EASY and favorite week night recipe!

If you enjoyed this post, please add your tidbit by commenting below.  Don’t forget you can follow us on PinterestInstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...