Five for Friday

1. I've been touring schools this week to find the perfect fit for Parker because come fall, he will be attending preschool. I'm pretty sure I was just pregnant with him, so I'm not sure how this can be. Granted, it will be half-days and only a couple times a week, but it's going to be such a big change. The little guy has been my side kick all day every day for the past almost three years! Our days are filled with running and playing, reading and snuggling, crafting and painting, errands and lunches out, play dates, library and a million other things in between... I just can't imagine my days without him!

On a side note, I'm not sure if having an extensive background in education (a Master's degree and almost ten years teaching experience) makes it easier or harder to vet schools. Yes, it gives me a wealth of knowledge from which to draw, but I think it also makes me highly critical (which I'm hoping won't be an issue).

2. I'm totally a creature of habit, right down to my lunch choices. I'll get on a kick and have the same thing every single day. Does anyone else do this?? Last week, it was Boursin and sliced cucumbers on naan. This week? Every day it's been brie, green apple, smoked turkey and honey mustard on baguette. I'm now running low on ingredients so it's about time for a switch!

3. It's almost time for my very favorite holiday! We are so close to February I can almost taste it. Husby has commended me for my restraint this year in saving all most of my pink heart goodness for February. Even Parker has been practicing patience, waiting to bake and decorate Valentine sugar cookies. Since I've been so good, maybe I should add another pair of festive pajamas to my collection? I'm eyeing all three of these:
Heart Print Pajama Short Set | Heart Pajama Pants  | Heart Candy Pajama Set

4. And in the spirit of all things pink, Kendra Scott certainly speaks my language. Here's my dilemma always: go with the mom studs, because I wear studs day in and out, or go for the danglies, because I only own a couple (though get to wear them way less). The Ellie studs are actually on super sale right now, though!

5. Where you'll find me this weekend:

In the kitchen! I love cooking for my boys and finally got to try out my pasta maker Kitchenaid attachment from Christmas this past week. I'm in love! It was tons of fun to make the dough and roll it out. I went with fettuccine noodles and they were all sorts of incredible. I'm thinking ravioli for the weekend. Any pasta makers out there with tips?

Bye-bye, January!


Our Classical Music Lover

Parker is 100% an old soul. From his requests for a mint upon entering a vehicle (Altoids are preferred), to his insistence on wearing slippers and cozy pants around the house, to his taste for sushi (he's requested it for his upcoming birthday), our not-quite three-year-old always seems wise beyond his years. His love for classical music, then, should be of no surprise. 

It all started with his Daddies book, and this page in particular:

Parker was obsessed with the orchestra and stage. So, we put on some classical music so he could listen to an orchestra play. Parker was instantly hooked. The little guy could not get enough Vivaldi. Specifically, Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It was on repeat all day, every day. From there, he became obsessed with all the instruments. He would literally take two rulers and rub them together to "play the violin" (or cello, or viola, or double bass). He's now expanded beyond Vivaldi, and can also identify works by Beethoven and Mozart (I kid you not). 

We played some video clips of symphony orchestras for Parker, and he was mesmerized (partly because we don't have television, so watching any video is a novelty, and partly because of his love for orchestras). After his glimpse of the orchestra at The Nutcracker, Parker kept requesting to see an orchestra in person again. We took a leap of faith and purchased tickets for all three of us for the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra's performance of Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio.

We knew the work was an opera, but we weren't sure if the symphony would be accompanied by singers (it was). Also, since it was set in Turkey, I tried to be festive with a fancy head wrap. 

Max and Parker were dapper with their bow ties. We reiterated to Parker for weeks ahead of time that we would be wearing fancy clothing (no cozy pants or slippers!), and that the audience at the symphony is very, very quiet. This book from Nana and Papa helped immensely in front-loading him. Parker insists on reading it multiple times a day (even now!).

We've read it so many times that Parker now has it memorized (yes, for realsies), and the battery for the music is now dead. But, he knew exactly what was going to happen at the symphony (and even informed us before the show started that they were going to dim the lights). We snuck up front when we arrived to get a close-up view of the musicians. Parker informed us that there were three double basses.

The first part of the performance was a little over an hour, and our sweet man sat in the audience like a boss. Still, we decided that intermission would be a good time to head back home (it was nearing nine o'clock which is way past bedtime, and we figured we'd quit while we were ahead). In our talks about "Intermission" we had explained that it's when the musicians rest, and when the audience can stretch their legs and get a snack... like a soft pretzel. So who was obsessed with soft pretzels? Our little guy! We were happy to indulge.

Parker caught a glimpse of the choir singers (who accompanied the opera singers at certain points) in their break room. And who makes friends with everyone? Why, Sweet P of course. He was invited in by the director, and even got one-on-one time with the choir conductor who commended us for exposing Parker to the symphony (he explained that it's an acquired taste). 

The whole night is full of such happy memories for us. Now, on to find a school that will actually teach our little classical music lover to play a real violin so he doesn't have to pretend on rulers anymore :)


Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Well, it happened again! After our Snow Days last year (our first winter here in Alabama), we were told that snowfall is rare, and that we wouldn't see it happen this year... but we did! We were at the very bottom of the big storm pattern that hit the East Coast this past weekend, so we picked up almost two inches of snow. Combine that with the icy streets, and it was enough to pretty much close down the town. This was just fine by me because days snuggled at home with my boys are the best!

The snow started to fall late in the day on Friday (which, just our luck, was Daddy's day off!). We frolicked around in the flakes until nap time.

Parker was so excited that he literally couldn't nap! When we finally decided he would never fall asleep, we went into his room where he popped up and started talking excitedly all about the snow! This is when I fully appreciated how much he has changed in the past year - last year, he looked out in amazement at the winter wonderland and just said "(S)nooooohhhhh!" This year, as he saw the flakes fall from the window, he explained: "I'm looking at the snow coming down." Full sentences. Boom. Like a ton of bricks, it hit me: I have an almost three-year-old.... who loves, loves, the snow. So we headed out to the front yard where it had begun to build up.

Just like last year, Parker was obsessed with snowballs...

And also snowmen! Daddy was nice enough to build one, and Parker was intent on finding a carrot nose for it. We only had baby carrots in the fridge, which he deemed too small, so he selected and orange pepper instead. We stayed outside until darkness forced us in, with Parker repeating all night "Stay cold, Mr. Snowman!"

The next morning, Parker couldn't wait to get back outside. He was delighted that the snowman was still there.

The roads were a bit icy, but a sweet couple in a hybrid drove by and the woman stopped the car, got out, and offered to take a photo of out little family of three playing in our front yard. 

It made me feel so warm and cozy about the neighborhood.

Parker kept adding snow to Mr. Snowman - so precious.

We hit up the backyard next. 

Snowballs for the win! Parker would have stayed out in the snow all day long.

Luckily, I was able to lure him in with the promise of baking. Little Man loves to help (and taste!) in the kitchen. And a Snow Day just seems like the perfect opportunity to get cozy in the kitchen. We made these blueberry muffins. They have a streusel topping that reminds me exactly of the boxed ones my mom used to make when I was little (that I can't find anymore!). This new recipe was easy to make, we almost always have all the ingredients on hand, and they were terrifically moist and delicious.

It stayed chilly all Sunday, but by this morning Mr. Snowman was barely hanging on...

I swapped out his cookie eyes for some shades so he could greet all the kids on their way to school :)
Yay for Snow Days!

Five on a (Freezing!) Friday

Happy Weekend! We have snow in the forecast and this California girl could not be more excited. Here's what we've been up to in this chilly weather...

1. Eating Soup!

Some time ago, Little Baby Garvin shared a chicken noodle soup recipe that included homemade noodles. The actual soup recipe is super similar to one that my MIL makes (chicken stock, carrots, celery and rotisserie chicken) so I already had lots of practice making it (but my MIL also adds a ton of tarragon, dill, and parsley which totally amps it up). The homemade noodles, however, were something I had never tried and they were so much fun, and super easy (no pasta maker attachment required). I made the soup and noodles again this week on our chilliest day, and couldn't help myself from turning the carrots into sweet hearts!
I blame my new Starbucks reusable cup. It's having me feel all sorts of pink heart festive, even though I promised myself no Valentine goodness until February first.

2. Grocery Shopping with my Littlest Helper

This guy cracks me up! He was on a mission this week at the grocery store, picking up whatever he could reach and putting it in his cart like "I got this, Mom."

3. Layering
I felt so very Pinterest-y piling all this on one morning (with a coat before we left the house) - layers are our friend in the semi-freezing rain (as well as Hunter rain boots!).

4. Streaming Gilmore Girls

We are still television-less for Parker's sake, but once he goes down for a nap in the afternoon you can usually find this early 2000's goodness playing on my computer while I'm folding laundry/cleaning the kitchen/prepping dinner. Have I mentioned I'm twelve kinds of excited about the new Netflix spin-off???

5. Pure Barre-ing

What better way to stay warm than a little lift tone burn at Pure Barre? I've been pretty consistent with going 3-4 times a week, which is what they recommend, but I also smile whenever I pass the barre I got to sign for taking twenty classes in twenty days! Next up, the 100 club :)


Photo Art with Minted!

2015 was our first full year in Sweet Home Alabama. What an adventure for our family (and for this California girl!). To commemorate our first year, I wanted a new piece of art for our walls (that, despite having lived in the house for one year, are not quite yet decorated).

Enter Minted! Minted's talented independent artists have a ton of options for unique, amazing, interesting photo gifts. There were so many different directions I could go...

In the end, the state outlines had my heart. This was our third state to have lived in together, so it seemed so appropriate to make a nod to that. I surprised husby with this Alabama print to celebrate our 2015.

I went with the matte gold frame option which is even prettier in person. I just can't even with the cuteness of this piece! It's the perfect addition to our sweet home. Thank you to Minted for our amazing art! Now, to just decide on the perfect place to hang it...
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