Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dear Diana (at 8 Years Old!)


 Dear Diana,

Today you are 8!  Eight!  Wow that's great!
In all seriousness I can't believe it!  Weren't you just being held up by the nurses in the delivery room?  When they held you up, I saw myself.  I saw Uncle Al and thought to myself, "wow!  This is what my daughter looks like."  What a surreal moment.  You quickly changed and became the spitting image of Dada.

You struggled the first year with acid reflux and different illnesses weekly- it was pure hell.  I worried about you constantly.  Parents always worry but we were extra worried because of your sicknesses.  You are a fighter though and you fought through it all.  You had the will!

Things changed when you could start solid food; you started sleeping through the night and became happier.

Once you turned 1, there was no looking back.  You became so active.  You loved gymnastics at Gym Ken and dance at Happy Feet.  We met some little friends and you all got along so well!  The mamas did too!

One of our favorite times was when you started at ECE.  I marched you right into that Cheer Gym and Coach Lisa Bocci took your hand, you never turned back.  We found your "home." She was wonderful and cheer was the perfect sport for you with all of your energy.

You started at Little Sprouts in Methuen on Mondays and Tuesdays and then we made the switch to Kiddie Academy in Windham when you turned 4.  It was a tough transition but you eventually pulled through.  You got to meet some kids you would be at Goldenbrook with!

You got the BEST kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Pappalardo- she was so warm and exactly who you needed.

You started cheering for the Windham Wolverines and loved it.  It was very social which made it fun.  
You then started doing the ECE Half Year competition team in the Winter.  What an amazing experience!

Through it all, you have been fun and energetic and very challenging, however, your teachers and principal have told us, you will be a "CEO."

When Eva joined our family, you had a tough time.  You were used to being the little princess; the one that everyone doted on- your parents, grandparents, siblings- everyone!  You have slowly seen, however, the gift we have given you. You would do anything for your sister and have also seen that she is your biggest fan.

You have worked very hard to catch up with math and you excel at reading.  You are curious and determined with endless energy- you will never give up.

You thrive with structure and we found that you found another calling this summer at Triple Threat Camp- dancing, acting and singing.  You were definitely bitten by the acting bug and we couldn't be more happy.  Mama and Daddy grew up in the theater and we love being able to share that passion with you now.  As a result, we are adding some additional dance classes and voice lessons to your fall routine.

I am so excited to see what third grade brings to you.  I know you will do great things.

Happy Birthday Monkey!

I love you my Baby Bird!

Love, Mama
















Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back To School Meal Planning

So, as much as I LOVE LOVE Summer, since having kids, I have grown to LOVE Fall so much too.  I think Fall activities are Oh...So...Fun
I love the pumpkin carving, apple picking, warm recipes, foliage peeping, cheering, football, festivals...all things spooky....and more.....

This year, after being inspired by several of my blogger friends, I have decided to take a crack at meal planning.  We loosely meal plan in our house but often get into ruts.

Robby B and I have decided that I will come up with the weekly meal plan on Saturday or Sunday, before we go grocery shopping.  We will then list our meals out on the chalkboard and go from there.  We will split cooking duties depending on my office days and stay organized.  We are also hoping to get our girls more adventurous with trying new things.  Well truth be told, it is really just working on Diana.  Eva tries everything! :)

Below is going to be our schedule.  I have included a recipe with each category in case you want to give something similar a try!  Let me know what you think!

Meatless Monday
How about the ever popular Veggie Frittata?  Great way to sneak in those veggies
Great recipe HERE


Taco Tuesday
What kid doesn't love tacos?  And with the invention of Pinterest, parents can get in on this action in a more creative, gourmet and even healthy way!

How about Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos?  My mouth is watering!  Find a great recipe HERE 
* I will make the tacos for Rob and me with grain free tortillas- For the Win!
A Health Coach in town continues to inspire me and provides me with many suggestions for overall health.
Grain free tortillas are just one of the food items she enjoys- I ordered some and friends they are great!
Check them out HERE

Pasta Worthy Wednesday
Friends!  This is the easiest way to sneak in veggies to a meal!  If you and your kids prefer a red sauce, you can hide broccoli, peas, carrots and more.
With a white sauce or even oil and garlic, you have to get a bit more creative.  My girls do love raw veggies and salad so I would give them those on the side if I don't end up "hiding the peas".
My girls love pasta and they love chicken.
I am going to give this recipe a shot!

Honey Lemon Chicken with Angel Hair
I will replace the angel hair with veggies or zoodles for Robby B and me :)
You can find the recipe HERE

 Any Thing Thursday
One of Diana's requests is to have a "Breakfast for Dinner" night.  We agreed that it is a great idea but Rob and I did not want to commit to that every week.  He came up with "Any Thing Thursday" so we could incorporate Breakfast For Dinner, Crock pot Recipes, Food on the Grill...you name it!

How about Baked Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal?  Sounds delish right?
Check it out HERE 

Friday Night Pizza Night
This is a tradition that we plan on continuing- this can include our favorite take-out pizzas, homemade pizzas or even the ones we make thanks to Blue Apron!  This is our favorite night of the week and pizza is an easy one for decompressing!

One of my faves to make is pizza on the grill.
 My original post is HERE
It includes my favorite Pioneer Woman recipe for her Fig Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula but also shows you some pics of the grilled pizzas I made for the guys that same night
 We do this often in the summer
At the same time, we are big fans of Capri Pizza in Windham so you will find us doing their pizza more often than not!

Weekends are for leftovers, low key grab and go's and nights out!  I hope this weekly meal planning will keep us organized and less stressed about getting creative.  Stay tuned!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Diana's 8th Birthday Party! (Watermelons and Waterslides)

It was Watermelons and Waterslides on Saturday as we celebrated Diana's 8th Birthday!

We had 40 screaming kids running around and getting soaked.  Even with all of the craziness, it was a blast.  My girlfriends decided to stay with me even after the official party was over and we toasted a great summer weekend.  The hubbies chilled on the back deck and we took over the kitchen.  My parents stayed for awhile and my mom was so excited when she proclaimed, "I LOVE these friends- they are so fun!"  

Our cake was designed again by the wonderful Karen Plant of Synfully Sweet Treats.  She is so so talented.


 Someone is very excited to be turning 8!

and she also made the most adorable cookies for us- watermelons and beach balls to go with our theme.  They were the favors for the kids!


Eight! How can that be?

This is the first time, ever, I kept things pretty simple by ordering pizza for the kids.  I had to put up some fun snacks too though.




I had fun putting together some apps for the parents too.  Along with the apps, we had wine, beer and the ever famous Watermelon Sangria.

Antipasto Salad

 Chicken, BBQ, Bacon Bites

Blueberry Cocktail Meatballs on Pretzel Sticks (yep still on that blueberry kick)

 Watermelon and Feta Bites

Veggies and Hummus (with an Octopus Centerpiece)

The kiddos had fun on the slide






and then haunted me to open presents ;)
We finished up with cake 







and then the after party of course ;)
We all had so much fun- Diana's birthday falls at the end of summer so we all like to celebrate the wonderful weather, the best time of year and the birthday of my crazy, spicy girl! Love you my baby bird

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Favorites (August 19, 2016)


How is it time for Friday Favorites already?  Linking up with Erika, Narci and Andrea HERE
and with Jennie for her Friday Favorites HERE

Here are my favorites from this week- one of the last weeks of summer- BOO!




Story Land and Santa's Village with our girls- what a wonderful little vaca



Mission Accomplished!




Celebrating our 12 year wedding anniversary.  Awesome seafood and cocktails at Joe Fish!



Silly Faves from the week include the following:
Hummus anyone?  Yes always a fave but Eva took it to extremes this week and decided to bathe in it- ha ha!


Gifts from Auntie Janie- always a fave! I believe they call this "pure joy"





Our pictures by Kristina Mearls- friends, I can't even tell you how many times I thought about backing out of this photo shoot- the charity of it kept pulling me back in.  I have wanted pictures like these for quite some time but I would always say to myself, "you need to lose 10 more pounds," "your hair needs to look better", "you look too pale." Well I didn't back out- God bless charity and I was beyond thrilled with the photos and even cried.  I am trying to hold onto these days when my girls are this small.  These are magical years.  They will remember the fun photo shoot in the park with their Mama- not how much I weigh- right?






QT with my besties is free therapy and pure joy for Mama :)


Lunch with Cass at Red's

KJ with LB at LT (like what I did there?) ;)

Cheer time with Coach Stacey this week was awesome- already put together our jump formation and a couple of partner stunts- for the win!


The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio- enough said!




Diana's proofs from TTC came in- love these adorable shots they captured!






That's a wrap!
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