Monday, June 30, 2014

Date Nights (and why I think they are important)

I believe in date nights.
I especially believe in taking the time to talk to your spouse one-on-one.
It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of being a family (cooking, cleaning, laundry, feeding kids, bathing kids, grocery shopping, etc.) that it is easy to put your relationship on the back burner. 
And because of the day-to-day activities (which are a part of life), it is vitally important to take the time to be with your spouse one-on-one.
Ben and I try to do a date night about once a month.  Sometimes we get lucky and go out twice a month and sometimes we get busy and miss a month.  But, at the end of the day, we try (and try) to get that one-on-one time that our relationships needs (and deserves). 
With that being said, Ben and I enjoyed a wonderful date night last night.
We went to dinner at Nagoya Japanese Restaurant and then went to see 22 Jump Street.
The food was delicious (and very filling) and the movie was non-stop laughter for two hours.
We talked about our trip, and Elizabeth, and our plans for the fall with the new baby.  We talked about the books we are reading, working out while on vacation, and whether we can shoot off fireworks on the 4th of July.  We talked and talked and thoroughly enjoyed a dinner that did not involve either one of us looking after a toddler. 
The movie we saw was hilarious.  Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are hilarious together and Ice Cube as their boss adds a special touch.  We laughed throughout the entire movie and even the credits were hilarious. 
 (I know I keep saying this movie is hilarious, but it really really is)
But in the end, the dinner and the movie don't matter. 
What matters is that Ben and I continue to spend time together (with and without kids). 
As a couple we continue to grow, enjoy, and change as our relationship grows and changes.  We aren't 26-year-olds dating long distance, we are 32-year-old parents that have additional responsibilities.  Our relationship has changed leaps and bounds from where it begun, but isn't that what being in a relationship is all about?  Finding someone to change and grow with.  Finding a partner that balances you out and helps you become a better version of yourself.  I have found that in Ben and I think God for him.
I am more in love with my husband than the day I married him and I thank God everyday for blessing me with this man.
Ben thank you for a great date night (and for all the days we have together). 
I love you.
Before dinner at Nagoya
 Hibachi shrimp, grilled veggies, and fried rice.
So good!!!

 Going to the movies

Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to fly with a 2-year-old

We travel a lot with Elizabeth, but traveling by plane is a whole different experience than traveling by car.

In the car, she can scream/yell/make as much noise as she wants and the only people the bothers are Ben and I.

Traveling by plane, she can run through the airport, you have restrictions on food/beverages, you must stay in a confined space on the plane for long periods of time, diapers or potty training can play a role, and traveling during meals or nap times proves to be problematic. 

And let's not forget, getting everything you could ever need (for any situation) into a bag that fits under your seat.

I have come up with a few things that I think are super important to have when traveling by plane with a 2-year-old.

1. Entertainment: Since space is limited, something like a portable DVD player or I-Pad will work great for long flights.  We bought this portable DVD player on Amazon.

2. Snacks: Foods that will be filling and can go through airport security AND fit into small spaces.  I love the Gerber graduates because they are a little bit bigger than other squeeze snacks and they are more filling.  If I think 2 is enough, I always pack one more.

3. Favorite things/ Entertainment: Elizabeth loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  So... I found some DVDs of it at Target and she watched them on her portable DVD player.  I also packed her small Minnie Mouse to hold while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the plane.

4. More snacks: No matter what you plan for, it will probably not go according to plan.  If you think your flight will take two hours, it might take four or five.  I always fill these snack cups up with Cheerios or goldfish for a little something extra.  Elizabeth enjoys munching from her snack cup while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

5. Necessities: I always pack an extra pair of clothes for Elizabeth and several diapers (or now pull-ups).  I also pack baby wipes, sanitizing wipes, and little trash bags.  In my bag I also have hand sanitizer, extra pacifiers, extra hair ties, and a sippee cup.  Now that she is older, I also include my kindle and my I-pod in case I get a chance to enjoy them. 

6. Extras: We flew Elizabeth in her car seat (we made sure it fit all the regulations before just walking onto the plane).  It was a pain to drag through the airport, but for a three hour flight, it was the perfect way to keep her in her seat.  I recommend taking a car seat if you can, especially if your kid does not like to sit.

Those are some things I have come up with.  I am sure many people have other suggestions.  I am always looking for new ideas, so please leave a comment below.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Let's Talk about Hair

I am linking up with Kelly's Korner today to discuss all things related to hair.  I thought it was funny that Kelly did this for the Show Us Your Life subject today because I had a hair appointment earlier today. 

I have a few products that I use every day on my hair, but being a PE teacher has caused me to not change up my hair style a lot over the last few years.  I also don't do a lot with my hair since I am was a PE teacher.  I would throw it up in a pony tail or wear it down, sometimes I would wear my natural waves.

I wash my hair everyday (otherwise it gets very greasy).  I use Clear Shampoo and Conditioner for Colored Hair.  I have also used their leave-in moisturizer.

I blow dry my hair everyday (unless I leave it wavy) with my Remington hairdryer from Target.  I use the diffuser everyday.

While blow drying my hair, I use a large round hairbrush.

After I am done blow drying my hair, I use my Chi flat iron.  I got it with a Groupon and I love it!

Every six to eight weeks, I get my hair highlighted and every eight to twelve weeks I get it trimmed.  I have been growing my hair out for about two years and for all of 2013 I didn't cut my hair once.

Here are some before and after pictures of my hair today:

 About to get my hair done

 Full foil today

 All the foils have been taken out and my hair has been washed

 After a little trim, time to get my hair dried

 Final result

Feel free to check out Kelly's Korner and if you are visiting from Kelly's Korner, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Super Doubles at Harris Teeter

Super Doubles are FINALLY back at Harris Teeter!  

Starting today, any coupon valued up to $2.00 will double!  I LOVE Super Doubles and I got a random assortment of things today.  I was mostly going after things we needed (contact solution, my shampoo) and then ended up with a lot of great deals.

I created my list this morning (after viewing the ad online) and then altered it a little bit at the store.
I knew I wanted:
contact solution (not on sale)
my Clear Shampoo (not on sale)
and some squeezie snacks for Elizabeth (some on sale, some not)

We needed the contact solution and shampoo, and even though they were not on sale, I had great coupons for them.

So, Elizabeth and I ate breakfast and then we headed to Harris Teeter for some coupon shopping.
 Everything we got today

 Everything we got for FREE today

Original total: $67.32
Total spent: $13. 26 ($1.53 of this is tax)  (The contact solution was $6 of this)

Total saved: $54.06

How I did what I did:
(a few people have been asking me about couponing in the past few weeks, so I thought I would use this shopping trip as an example)

(1) Motts Tots Apple Juice - price $2.99 - $1 evic, $1 manufacturer coupon that doubled to $2 off
(3) Gerber Graduates Grabbers - $1.69 each- $1 evic, $1 manf that doubled to $2 off
(1) Box of Cheerios - on sale $2.00 - 50 cents off that doubled to $1 off
(1) Hormel Compleats meal - on sale $1.39- $1 manf that doubled to $2 off
(1) Ken's Teriyaki marinade - on sale $1.84- $1 manf that doubled to $2 off
(3) Old El Paso Taco Seasonings - $1.00 each- 60 cents evic, $1 man that doubled to $2 off
(2) Weber Grilling Marinades - 89 cents each- $1 manf that doubled to $2 off
(1) Bag of Texas Toast Croutons - $1.49 - 75 cents manf that doubled to $1.50 off
(3) Boxes of Horizon Mac n' Cheese - on sale $1.25 each- (3) 55 cents manf that doubled $1.10                                                                        each plus a Harris Teeter $1.00 off
(1) Box Plum Mashups - $3.99- $1 evic, $1 manf that doubled to $2 off
(2) Plum squeezies - $1.29 each - $1 manf that doubled to $2 off
(1) Venus razor - $7.99 - $3 evic, $2 manf that doubled to $4 off
(1) Bottle Clear Shampoo - $5.99-  $2.50 evic, $1.50 manf that doubled to $3 off
(1) Revlon nail file - $1.99- $1 manf that doubled to $2 off
(1) Bottle Renu Contact Solution - $9.99- $2 manf that doubled to $4 off
(1) Blueberry yogurt - $1.79- $1 manf that doubled to $2 off

Most of my coupons came from the Sunday newspaper, I printed a few off from

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Elizabeth's first movie

I have been planning for awhile (over a month) to take Elizabeth to her first movie today.  Regal Cinemas does a great program each summer called Summer Movie Express where they show old movies for $1.

I figured since Elizabeth is almost 2 1/2 that this would be a good first experience at the movies.  My goal was for us to stay for 30 minutes.  I figured, we spend $2 and kill some time during the 90 degree days.

Well... we got to the theater and Elizabeth was FREE because she is under three years old!  So, we paid $1 for me and walked in.  The movie today was The Smurf Movie 2.  I have no idea what smurf movie 1 or 2 was about, but it was $1.

I brought a snack for Elizabeth and we found our seats a few rows up and towards the middle.

We got to our seats at 9:50 and the movie started at 10.  It was perfect timing and she enjoyed listening to the music and seeing the commericals.

Once the movie started she got so excited and sat on the edge of her seat.  I think her favorite part was seeing a cat in the movie.  She loves cats.

She lasted 45 minutes, finished all her goldfish and milk, and then asked if we could leave.

I consider this activity a success and we will definitely be going to more summer movie express movies.  Thank you Regal for making our morning fun!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Big girl bed UPDATE

So it has been a month since we moved Elizabeth to a "big girl bed" and the change has gone very smoothly.  If you don't remember, you can check back here for what her room previously looked like.

We have finally hung her painting back up (we moved it slightly to the left), hung her bows back up (very, very important), and moved her toy chest and a few more toys to her room.

I have to say that I really like her "new room" and she loves sleeping in her "big girl bed".

Here is what the room looks like today:

Sunday, June 22, 2014


The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
- Alan Watts

I am in a season of change.  Big changes.  Really big changes

I have come to believe that we go through seasons of change.  Everyone goes through these seasons at different times, and some people skip a season or two.  But, everyone goes through seasons of change.  Whether moving, going away to school, starting a new job, leaving a job, dating, breaking up, starting a family, losing a family member, beginning a new hobby, or saying goodbye to an old past time; everyone experiences some season of change.

But let me back up a bit.

I don't like change.  Like really, really don't like change.
I struggle with it.
I think about it (a lot).
I mull it over some more.
And then eventually (after a lot of time) I realize that the change was for the best.

But I still don't like change.

Friday was my last day at my job.  I have worked at George Washington Middle School for the last four years, teaching 7th and 8th grade PE and Health.  Before that I taught elementary physical education in Washington, DC. 

I am going through a BIG change.  I am leaving my job and I will be staying home with Elizabeth.

I am going through another BIG change.  I am six months pregnant and will be having my second daughter in the fall.

This is huge for me.  I never, ever thought of myself as a stay-at-home mom. 
I always pictured myself working.  Always.

But as I think about all the changes I am going through, it occurs to me, that we are in a season of change.  Not just me.

We will become a one-income family.
We will become a family of four.
We will be going through the seasons of change together.

And as I begin to think about it, and mull it over, and ponder some more; I realize that being a we in this season of change is the best thing about being in the season of change.

Change is not easy for me.  It never will be.  But I am not going at it alone.  I have a wonderful partner in my husband, a hilarious daughter in Elizabeth, and a whole world of excitement coming with our second child.

Change is not easy.  But I don't have to do it alone.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
- Reinhold Niebuhr

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Whole Lot of Random

I am down to my final days of work and I have been really caught up in everything involved in leaving my job.  I wanted to take some time this week and enjoy a few non-work related things.

 I stopped by my favorite nail place this week to get a pink pedicure.
I love pink for summer.  And of course, I love a good pedicure.

 I love getting mail.
You know what I love more than mail?  Packages in the mail!
I ordered a new Vera Bradley bag for summer and it arrived this week.

Ummm... this bag is HUGE.
I plan on going to the Vera Bradley store next week and exchanging it.
I do LOVE all the pockets inside and out, but this bag is about 2 feet long.

 Ben and I got Elizabeth this water table for her birthday.
She loves playing with it and I love watching her.

We have been working on eating popsicles.
I think she likes them, but they mostly melt before she eats much of it.
I absolutely love watching her try new things and figure things out.

I hope you are having a great week!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sasha's birthday

My friend, Sasha, is having a milestone birthday next week.  We will be out-of-school before her birthday, so I wanted to do something special today.

There was a birthday surprise in her office and then a special lunch.


Happy Birthday Sasha!

I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend and Father's Day

We had a wonderful weekend around here!  We relaxed, played, and had a great Father's Day weekend.

We started our weekend Friday afternoon by coloring some pictures for Uncle Adam.

 On Saturday, Elizabeth and I went to a playground and splash park.
Elizabeth had a great time playing with all the other kids.

 Before dinner on Saturday, we played in the driveway with bubbles and chalk.
And the pink car.
Elizabeth loves her pink car!

Elizabeth also loves to grab the flag out of the flower pot.

 On Sunday morning, Ben woke up to a Father's Day breakfast and a couple of special gifts.

 Ben has said if he could have anything for breakfast it would be "pancakes, eggs,
bacon, and sausage." He got just that.


 When Ben got back from Church, he had another surprise waiting for him.

 Elizabeth loved the cake.

 I had to get a couple of Daddy-Daughter photos.

 I love these two!

Ben and I enjoyed drinks on the deck after dinner.
Father's day beer for him, pineapple and cranberry for me.

We hope you had a great weekend too!