and then there’s kindergarten

When we dropped Jettie off at preschool last year I can remember feel anxious but not so much sad. There was no intense desire to sit in the parking lot and cry. (Which of course made me feel like a bad mom because aren’t we all suppose to react the same exact way and sob with every milestone, beg for our babies back, and rethink the decision to support our husband being snipped, otherwise we are evil and crazy and unfit mothers???!!!! ……uuuuuggggghhh! Breathing….rant over. Sorry about that.)

Last May though, they threw a graduation cap on my kids head and said “She’s off to Kindergarten!” I thought I was having a heart attack. All I could think was please, please, please, never ever end summer 2016.

But it did, and today was the day she officially walked back through that doorway as a Kindergartner. I spent a lot of time over the summer dreading this morning, wishing it away. Yet somehow it came and felt good, almost easy and most definitely right. She walked in a lot excited, a little nervous and with those eyebrows cautiously up – it’s her body language for when she knows something is going to be awesome. It’s one of my favorite things that she does.

You guys, we could not be more proud of our slightly weird (and I mean that in a very good way), out of this world special and incredibly sensitive, artistic human we created. Milestones most definitely can put lumps in the throat but they bring way more joy to the heart. I feel like the luckiest girl on the planet that I get to witness all of hers.

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We had to get Bingham in a couple. He had his 1st day at a new sitter, that’s exciting stuff for a 2 year old!

kindergarten_blog_2 kindergarten_blog_4(This post was sponsored by Mickey Mouse….no, but really, I did not intentionally do that.)

[Jettie picked out her shirt and skirt from Zara, shoes are Nike and jacket is Old Navy. Bing is wearing last year’s clearance Old Navy Mickey shirt (linked to a different one) and the rest from H&M boys.]

Happy 1st days to all the parents! Whether you are holding back the tears, letting them fall like Niagra or popping the champagne the moment you step back in the house…on some level I get you. We are in this together after all.

xo,

Brandy J

 

 

 

 

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chicago style

The plan this Spring was to visit a quaint town up North and spend a quiet weekend on Michigan Lake. Well, per usual, our plans changed.

Our first problem was in the fact that better planners than us had the same plan…which meant there was little left to book by the time we started looking (and of course what was left was big $$$$$). Secondly, I wasn’t feeling the lake scene by mid-summer. Not that lakes aren’t fab – they 100% are, I wish I was sitting by one right this second in fact. But I was needing some city scene so we opted for a weekend in Chicago.

Was it perfect? We had a bullheaded, ornery 2 year old with us. Sooooo the answer there would be no. But it was very much just what our family needed. (Admittedly, for how much chaos Bing caused, I have to give him credit in that he spurred just as many smiles.)

chicago_12 days before we left I had an adjustment at the chiropractor. We were discussing the weekend and he filled me in on a little tip about how they roll into Chicago. Usually we drive all the way and pay a crazy amount of money to park. (I mean crazy. The total usually ends up being another night at your hotel room.) Thanks do Dr Foster, we parked FOR FREE  (say what???!!!) at the Dune Park Station and took the train into Chi-town for less than $35 round trip. The kids thought it was awesome, there was no traffic to deal with and NO CAR. Even better, our stop was literally a 5 minute walk to the Shedd Aquarium and a less than 10 minute walk to our hotel. This was by far the saving grace of our trip.

chicago_2 chicago_3This trip was for all of us but really it was for Jettie. She is our wanderlust child. Always talking about places we read in books or she sees on tv. (Oh I get it sweet girl.) There is a great deal of guilt inside of me that we do not travel as often as I’d like…but if I get hung up on that then I am focusing on what we don’t have instead of what we do. And that’s pretty lame. So for this getaway I told myself to relax, enjoy and simply let her lead they way. Again, it was not pure perfection, but her cup was filled to the brim from spending the weekend in the city with her favorite people. (Maybe it was perfect.)

chicago_4 chicago_5And then there’s this guy. His cup is always filled, overflowing in fact.

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We had no set itinerary except that we were going to vista the aquarium upon arrival. This is how Sticky and I have always traveled and it just works for us. (I will list places/things/eateries that we ended up seeing below.)

My thought was I’d shoot gobs of gorgeous Chicago images with my “big girl camera” but that didn’t happen (which is why there is this mismatched collection of images). I did however go to town with the phones, of course. (Hence the obnoxious collage below.)
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Things of note that made the trip more, shall I say, memorable.

  • We discovered our stroller had a blown tire once we got to the train station. We found a bike store with just the right size replacement, thankfully, but we had to get to Chicago, do the aquarium, then hotel first. If you have ever pushed a stroller with a blown tire you will understand the fun in that.
  • Bingham did not fall asleep till after 10:30 the first night. Woke up at 4AM with his shoes in hand ready to leave. Getting to him lay down was not an option so we went the iPad route. That worked for about 10 minutes and then onto to body slamming in bed it was. (We are at about 4:30AM now.) He worked up a grumble during that activity…and it was a big one. The diaper and pj pants were no match for it and we ended up with poo smeared all over our bed. All before 5AM. We kept looking at each other and laughing because what else are you going to do? (Sleep if you’re Jettie apparently.)
  • On the last night, we decided to take the kids for a bite and then back to the hotel for chill time. Bing did not want to ride in the stroller after dinner (you know, since it had been fixed and all). Instead I carried him which was not all that bad until I felt the wetness on my arm. A blowout again. Twice in 24 hours. He was wearing white shorts too of course. (See 2nd to the last row, all the way to the right image.) Way to vacation big guy!


chicago_9collage3chicago_9collage4

Thank goodness for cute kids, fun cities, beer at lunch and my husband because I know I could not have done that weekend solo. Believe it or not I am ready to do it again!

How we got there:

South Shore Line

Where we stayed:

Hilton Downtown Chicago

Where we visited:

Shedd Aquarium

Buckingham Fountain/Grant Park

Where we Ate (all kid friendly):

Hackney’s

Yolk

Flacos Tacos

Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap (all good but THIS was a fave)

Sugar Bliss

Where we shopped:

Chicago Bicycle Company

Zara (Michigan Ave – Jettie picked our her 1st day of Kindergarten outfit here)

xo,

Brandy J

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blueberry margaritas

blueberry margaritasTypically we bring home blueberries and the kids suck them down so fast we have to hide a stash for planned recipes. This year, for some odd reason, the kids are all “meh” over the blueberries. (Peaches are their thang now apparently.) Of course this change of tune is fine by us, seeing how we never had the opportunity to make margaritas out of the blues.

There is one problem though. We are going to need more blueberries….for more blueberry margaritas. Holy crap these guys are good!

blueberry margaritas blueberry margaritasCan we talk about the color? They say you eat with your eyes first, or in this case drink, and if eyes could talk I believe they would be saying “YUM!”. The blueberries blend into this most beautiful shade with that pop of green from the lime wedge making it a real showstopper. This may be one of the prettiest cocktails yet!

blueberry margaritasAs fancy as this margarita looks I swear it is as easy as they come to whip up. All you need are the ingredients and the ability to blend. You can do this in less than 5 minutes – no problem. May take you 10 minutes when you’re on your 3rd batch but that’s understandable. (And no one will notice if they are on their 3rd batch as well.)

Cheers!

Brandy J

 

blueberry margaritas
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½cup silver tequila
  • ¼cup triple sec or orange liquor
  • ½cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2tbsp simple syrup or honey (more to taste)
  • lime wedges, blueberries for garnish (optional)
  • salt for rimming (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place blueberries, tequila, liquor, lime juice and preferred sweetener in a blender and puree on high until smooth. Taste and add more sweetener if necessary.
  2. Fill 2 glasses with ice. (If you like salt...take a lime wedge and run it along top edge of glass. Dip in salt then fill the glasses with ice.) Divide margarita evenly among glasses and garnish with lie wedges and blueberries if desired. Cheers!

blueberry margaritas

 

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blueberry cobbler

blueberry cobbler

There are moments when you want to be all fancy and make something that requires a lot of time, effort and skill. And then there are the times when you want to throw something together with one eye open and not even half your noggin in use.

Cobbler is your BFF on a day like this. Mix. Pour. Place it in the oven. (Don’t forget to turn the oven on and don’t burn yourself.) 35 to 45 minutes later you have got yourself a warm, sweet, delicious dessert that is loaded with your favorite fruit (blueberries today) and pairs perfectly with wine ice cream.

You are a flippin’ rockstar. Even on an off day. Who knew you were that amazing? (I did.)

blueberry crumble blueberry crumbleWanna hear something really, really stupid? I am on a sort of carb fast. I had a mouse size bite of this crumble (to ensure it was indeed yummy, and it is dammit)….and I am sort of dying over here for more. I mean, I haven’t even had chocolate in over 48 hours and there is ice cream dripping down warm berries nestled in cake at my dining room table. I love my husband and children but I want to attack them right now….AARRRGGHH!

blueberry crumble blueberry crumbleIf you are much smarter than me, aka not on a carb fast, then you must make this fantabulous dessert before blueberry season leaves us. It is seriously so easy and a great way to use up your haul from the market!

Enjoy!

Brandy J

 

 

blueberry crumble
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • 1¼cup flour
  • ½cup granulated sugar
  • ¼tsp kosher salt
  • 1½tsp baking powder
  • ¾cup milk
  • 5tbsp butter melted
  • 2cups fresh blueberries
  • ¼cup sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven 350ºF. Grease an 8X8 baking dish with butter.
  2. Place flour, ½cup sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl and combine. Add the milk and butter, stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Pour into baking dish and spread evenly.
  3. Place blueberries evenly on top of batter. Sprinkle sugar over top and then drizzle vanilla on top of that.
  4. Place in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Good on it's own, REALLY good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

blueberry cobbler

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off shoulder transition

Oh you guys know how I love me transition season trends and this one is absolutely no exception. We see off shoulder pieces every year, but right now they are seriously EVERYWHERE… and I say the more the merrier!

There’s shirts and tunics and dresses and rompers…long sleeves, short sleeves, casual and sexy. If you can’t find yourself an off shoulder item you love right now, I can only assume you are not a fan of your shoulders. And if that is the case I beg of you to at least try some on (varying styles, varying stores of course). Sort of like skinny jeans…you’d be surprised what is out there, and made just for you!

Off Shoulder Trend1ASOS Minimal Off Shoulder Top in Crepe with Tie Sleeve 2Mango Off Shoulder Blouse 3Ana Off Shoulder Oversized Midi Skater Dress 4Love…Ady Solid Off Should Romper 5Mango Off Shoulder Printed Dress 6Shoptiques Off Shoulder Tunic

xo,

Brandy J

 

 

 

 

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