Monday, February 23, 2015

At Least It's (Was*) Sunny!

{I started this post when it was sunny, but due to a Lil Lovebird who only cat-napped today didn't get it done til the sun went down O_o}

Do you ever see those, "letter to my younger self" posts that circulate the internet? Well I had one of those moments in real life but more of a "note to future self" just 48 hours down the line. Sleep-deprived and shell shocked from dealing with a sick baby and a husband out of town last week, I had the foresight to prepare a yummy slow cooker batch of chicken taco soup (I've blogged about it before here - it's SO good!). I'm so glad I did this because when Mr. Lovebird returned home Friday we hit the ground running! 

Earlier that day I took Nia to see Frozen on Ice in Boston. I was nervous for two reasons: 1) Finding consistent childcare has been hit or miss since we moved here in October and 2) The awful Boston road/pedestrian conditions made me super nervous to venture there. Thankfully things aligned with our babysitter and Nia and I hit the road early and another foresight moment (getting pre-paid garage parking!) helped us get parked and into the show right on time. Nia loved it!

After traffic was a beast getting back (seriously, how does Boston think it can host the Olympics!), but I was looking forward to a pseudo-double date night with one of Uka's associates and his wife. We ate at Jumpin' Jay's, and the red curry gave me life - I would sneak over there alone just to partake in its awesomeness!

Saturday morning Nia and I got up to get ready for her fashion show debut at our local mall. She told me she might be nervous, but when she saw the gorgeous dress they selected for her, that melted away!

While we were at the fashion show Uka and Gray were at his last swim lesson this winter session and it turned out ice burst through the windows of the Y shattering glass everywhere so it's boarded up and darker inside. Scary! So many similar stories happening here in New England.

The rest of the day Mr. Lovebird was in Boston at a BC game where he was honored on the court. Home with the kids in bed at last, I was looking forward to catching up on Walking Dead or another Oscar contender, but I crashed when the kids did!

Yesterday, I had Oscars on the brain so glammed it up a bit at church. I also had mounds of laundry due to our trip to NYC tomorrow through the end of the week, and in the midst of doing loads happened to miss this moment during the Oscars. Ughhhh! 

It seemed like the theme of the Oscars was PREACH! With so many taking the stage to share their viewpoints about various issues. I knew there was a boycott of the Oscars going on due to lack of diversity, but I decided not to participate. 

So much to say here, but I'll leave it at this:

I watched the Oscars because I like movies plain and simple. I understand that most of the boycott noise grew out of Ava DuVernay's snubbing as well as the lack of diversity, specifically black actors nominated overall (more on that in this infographic). 2014 was the year of 12 Years a Slave and Lupita Nyongo and before that when we saw Halle and Denzel both win it was as though a bone was thrown and in the same way mostly black people got excited to see Obama elected, there is definitely a level of bamboozlement where we may think, "Oh we're getting somewhere!," and it frustrates me that so many issues dissolve into a black/white, us/them argument, but it's not just that. It's an overall diversity and equality issue. 

Which leads me to . . .

Patricia Arquette's speech.


I was feeling her for a minute. I'm a feminist, and while I don't think I could have suddenly taken the stage on a moment's notice in front of millions of people, and even wanted to use the stage to make a statement let alone do it coherently, I have to say at least she tried. One of my favorite bloggers Luvvie's take on the situation is here. I don't agree, but I can understand why Patricia's comments could come off as alienating. Perhaps this will be an educational moment for not only her, but many of us. 

Oh and if you're confused about Lady Gaga's sudden "range" here's your history lesson. You're welcome.  (And yes, I squealed when NY Magazine favorited my tweet!)

How was your weekend? Were you surprised by the Oscar speeches, the performances, the lack of diversity? I saw Birdman and definitely think it deserved the Best Picture Oscar, however even if it was an inside joke I think Sean Penn was inappropriate


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Top 5 #EngagedEssentials with Robin Wilson Home

Disclosure: I am a compensated brand ambassador for Robin Wilson Home; all opinions expressed are my own.

This summer Mr. Lovebird and I will celebrate 6 years of marriage, and this past Valentine's Day weekend an astounding 220,000 Americans proposed according to this article in the New York Post. I remember my own engagement ushering in a flurry of preparation and besides everyone wanting to know when the big date would be, the next question everyone asked was where I was registered.

Hindsight is definitely 20/20, and today I'm sharing a few basic items from Robin Wilson Home's line of registry bedroom basics at Bed Bath & Beyond that should be on your bridal registry: 

1) Waterproof Mattress Pad - for both comfort and function, this item is essential; not only does it protect your mattress, and often its warranty, by covering it but it also gives you and your spouse extra comfort. If kids are in the plan down the line it also makes sense to go ahead and invest in this early

2) Sheets Set - investing in quality sheets will help you and your partner feel luxurious when slipping into bed! Robin Wilson Home's 500 Thread Count Deep Pocket Sheets are offered in a variety of colors and having known the struggle of getting sheets to fit properly, the deep pocket is a must

3) Pillows - thankfully Robin Wilson Home has 300-thread count, chemical-free options for both side sleepers (me!) and back sleepers (Mr. Lovebird!); what's critical is making sure you wash your pillows on schedule - something Robin share more about here

4) Quilt - I recently showcased Robin Wilson Home's gorgeous line of quilts featuring 4 patterns to choose from, and it's critical to find one both you and your partner agree upon; additionally, it's good to have a few options on hand for seasonal changes

5) Down Alternative Comforter - each couple has their own potential allergies and sensitivities so play it safe with a down alternative comforter; Robin Wilson Home's comforter offers luxurious warmth year-round and is definitely an investment piece for your bedroom - for a happy marriage, just don't try to steal the covers during the night (I know from experience!)

Click here to explore the full Robin Wilson Home line available at Bed Bath & Beyond and be sure to follow Robin Wilson Home on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest product news and inspiration. 

Which products from your registry do you still use? What do you wish you had registered for? 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


A half-smile, post-nursing
Baby Grayson is not feeling well. This winter has been rough with teething and colds but when his fever spiked over the weekend past 100 and yesterday to 103 he ended up at the doctor's office. Even when calling in to make the appointment the nurse could hear him in the background and said he sounded distressed - he doesn't wail but just moans. It's heartbreaking.

We live less than a 5 minute drive from our doctor and pretty much everything we need here is in a 15 minute driving radius. I'm still in amazement at this. When Nia got sick for the 2nd time time back in NYC I remember how cumbersome it was to get an appointment, bundle up, take the subway, climb the stairs, walk several blocks and feel like we just went through war simply to get to the doctor. Sure we could've seen a doctor in our neighborhood, but we had already been through a few pediatricians so when we found one we loved we stuck with her and made the trek. 

This element of ease is something I love about living here in Portsmouth. Things are just so much simpler, and while I'm anxious to take advantage of this efficiency especially in regards to mompreneurship, when baby gets sick he takes priority. 

On the way to school this morning Nia exclaimed, "Mama, Grayson's making the fudgey face like I used to do!"
It's times like these I beat myself up for aiming to do more than just be a mom, but I keep telling myself it's the longest shortest time. 

Mr. Lovebird is on the road pushing through his own sickness and so far Nia and I haven't succumbed, although my stomach is trying to tell me otherwise. 

My to-do list is ridiculous right now (I get nauseous looking at it), but for now more snuggles with baby boy are in order. He sounds so, so miserable. 

Stay healthy friends!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Winners: Robin Wilson Home Quilt Giveaway

Happy Thursday! The snow's started back up again here and with a cozy Valentine's Day in mind, I'm excited to announce the winners of the Robin Wilson Home quilt and 4 pack of pillows giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Nicole, winner of the quilt, and Kimberly, winner of the pillows! I'll be in touch soon so you can receive your prizes. 

Thank you to all who entered and be sure to follow Robin Wilson Home on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest product news!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Easy Valentine's Day Crafts with Epson LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit

Disclosure: I received a Epson LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit to facilitate this review; all opinions expressed are my own.

With all the snow that's been dumping on us lately I nearly forgot that Valentine's Day is approaching! When Epson sent over their LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit for me to review I decided to have a crafting afternoon with Nia and we created a couple simple projects:

We've been enjoying Nia's nightly devotional her grandparents gave her for Christmas, and she's very committed to remembering to read it so we created a bookmark for it!

We also made Valentine's Day card collages for each other. I had so many Valentine's Day supplies leftover from Alt Summit 2014 and this was the perfect opportunity to use them! Nia enjoyed selecting which elements to add to the card:

The Epson Printable Ribbon Kit is available on and comes with two 1/2" wide ribbon cartridges with refills available at OfficeMax (in store and online), and and can also handle sticky labels, iron-on labels and glow-in-the dark labels as well. The complete kit retails for $69.99 and just the printer for $39.99. 

Here are my favorite features:  
  • Endless design options: 14 font types, 10 font styles and 300+ symbols, 75+ frames
  • Can print up to two lines of text
  • Accommodates 1/4" and 1/2" wide tape
  • Built-in memory stores up to 30 label designs
Want to see the Epson LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit in action? Check out my quick video:

A couple other fun Valentine's Day projects I had in mind:
  • Date night out is often hard for parents of young kids, so how about a Valentine's Day Chinese take-out dinner in with homemade fortune cookies or a countdown to Valentine's Day using fortune cookies like this pin? You can put fun messages inside!
  • Nia's PK4 teacher sent home a print-out of her classmate's faces to attach to each Valentine which I think is an awesome idea! While she doesn't know how to read yet this made it very easy to cut and paste the pictures onto our tried and true GoGo squeeZ Valentine's Day covers (hooray for a no-candy Valentine!), but perhaps next year we can print out the names on ribbon and wrap them around the tops of the GoGo squeeZ!
Do you have a go-to Valentine's Day craft you enjoy doing with your family?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Take That Snow!

How was your weekend? We are getting more and more and more snow up here in Portsmouth. It seems that every Monday is now a snow day and while Nia doesn't have school on Mondays it does lead to other canceled activities like her swim lessons, play dates and story time.

I asked around and indeed all this snow is not normal. At all! We just so happened to move here during a period of huge consecutive snow storms. Aren't we lucky?!

No matter. Cause this is happening:

7 nights on Carnival Pride coming up!
Yep, we're doing something I previously said I wouldn't do: cruise with kids

We just couldn't take these freezing temperatures and snow anymore and after researching airfare to other warm locales plus the cost of accommodations and food a cruise just made the most sense, so now we have something to look forward to, and I've added a widget to my side bar to keep track. Ideally we would've gone for February break, but we're already heading to NYC and there's no school break in March and didn't want to take Nia out of school to go especially since we pay for her school now so we're going for her April break. It won't warm up here til May, and it's been known to snow in April here so that's fine by me. (Plus it gives me time to keep working on my fitness!)

A few other notes from the weekend:

I think we found a child care solution at last, and I'm excited to get some consistency with my schedule! It was fantastic to get 4 uninterrupted hours at my local library this past Friday. That will make a BIG difference in my productivity. Next up is the hope of Kindergarten. Nia getting back to a 5-day, FT program will help immensely. Now if the weather will get back on track so we can stop with snow days and delayed starts. . .

Also, Mr. Lovebird and I headed back to his alma mater to check out the BC vs. UNC game for a day date. Sadly they lost although I believe they really coulda eeked out a win, but it was fun to be back for nostalgia's sake.

The college students looked like high school kids to me! I really did feel old. I do miss BC being a part of the Big East and can definitely tell how being a part of the ACC upgraded the overall program. Crazy to think I hadn't been back for a game since 2004 when Uka played!

Memories! That was such a fun year!
After we went over to Ana's Taqueria where I got a burrito the size of Grayson. SO good and I love how they press the cheese into the tortilla - that sprinkled cheese other places do just doesn't cut it!

We also watched Gone Girl and American Sniper over the weekend. WHOA! Two good movies, but still holding out to see Selma this weekend from a rescheduled date night. We're super thankful that our local church is doing a parents' night out!

I didn't watch the Grammy's, but from social media I have to say I'm pretty much under a rock when it comes to most pop culture lately, however I was still surprised by how many people weren't familiar with Sia. Really?! 

Anyway, if it's snowing where you are, how are you holding up? Any warm vacations planned and if you've cruised with kids before any tips to share?

P.S. There's still time to enter to win my Robin Wilson Home quilt giveaway ending this Wednesday. Good luck to those of you who have entered so far!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Yes, We Did Send a New Year's Card!

Better late than never, right? 

Here are our previous years' cards: 2014, 2013, 2010-2012

Do you send out New Year's cards? 

P.S. For some odd reason I see 2013's image is showing up wtih 2014 on it - it was auto-filled by Shutterfly and couldn't be edited, but it went out correctly. I'm just now noticing it, and am surprised no one called me out on it. Ha! O_o 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mama's New Fuel: Bobo's Oat Bars

Disclosure: I received samples to facilitate this review; all opinions expressed are my own.

It really does seem like most mornings despite how much prep I do the night before, we still struggle to get out the door on time. While I grew up eating a warm breakfast most mornings, due to Nia's lack of interest and my lack of sleep I rarely get that opportunity, but when I do my favorite go-to breakfast for the family is a pot of oatmeal and boiled eggs.

I love cute packaging!
When Bobo's Oat Bars reached out to me to sample their nutritious and flavorful line of snack bars I was especially excited for two reasons:
  • It could potentially solve my morning breakfast dilemma 
  • We had a couple huge snow storms coming our way and could lose power, hence needed shelf stable food (at the time of this writing we're expecting 2-4" more on top of the existing mess O_o)
With 10 regular flavors and 6 gluten-free flavors, Bobo's Oat Bars really did come through for me. I was delighted to see the whimsical packaging and had a hard time deciding which flavor to try first. 

I went with chocolate:

After one bite I knew my breakfast dilemma was solved: they are very hearty, exactly how I like my traditional oatmeal. At 3 oz, each bar is 2 servings and 180 calories. It's easy to wrap up and save for later, but they also make Bobo Bites which are great at only 1.5oz, especially for kids. 

With many healthy foods, there's often the concern that taste is compromised and I admit I thought Bobo's Oat Bars might be dry, but surprisingly they weren't at all. I tried some of Nia's peach bar she selected and found the dried fruit to be a welcome addition. The peach flavor along with the cranberry orange are my favorites so far, and lately after 4a.m. wake-ups when I'm dragging on my way to school drop off, pairing a cup of coffee with a Bobo's Oat Bar that I keep stashed in the diaper bag is just enough to revive me on the drive from school to the Y so I can complete my workout. 

Oh and about the snow storm issue: Bobo's Oat Bars make a fantastic, healthy, shelf-stable addition to your pantry. I checked the expiration date on the batch of bars I received and was pleased to see they are fresh through July 2015. There are no funky ingredients either to make them that way - I can recognize and pronounced everything on the label. I set them right up on a kid-accessible shelf in the pantry and we're good to go!

A few more awesome facts about Bobo's Oat Bars:
  • Non-GMO
  • 100% vegan
  • No trans fats
  • Sweetened with brown rice syrup
  • Regular bar flavors
    • Original
    • Coconut
    • Cinnamon Raisin
    • Peanut Butter
    • Cranberry Orange
    • Chocolate
    • Almond
    • Banana
    • Strawberry
    • Apricot
  • Gluten free flavors
    • Peach
    • Maple Pecan
    • Lemon Poppyseed
    • Chocolate Almond
    • Apple Pie
    • Peanut Butter & Jelly
You can buy Bobo's Oat Bars here directly on their website as well as use their store locator to find a retailer near you. For more information about Bobo's Oat Bars, including fun contests like this one ending on 2/10/15, be sure to follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Are you an oatmeal fan like I am? Which Bobo's Oat Bars flavor would you want to try? 

Monday, February 2, 2015

6 Thoughts on a Snow Day

My view today
When we got the call last night that school was canceled then the fireworks started up once the Pats won logically, I knew I should be excited but I quite couldn't muster it. It made me wonder if something was wrong with me and I thought about how if I were 10 years old it'd probably feel like Christmas to me, but now at almost 35 years old I was kinda like, "Blah."

Does that mean I'm getting old? 

Or maybe it's just a season. 

A few more thoughts on this snow day . . .

  • Did you watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials like I kinda did? This one was deemed so controversial, but the fact that it got people talking is a win for them IMO! Being the goofy girl I am, this was my favorite commercial (you can catch all of them here)
  • And about the halftime show: I definitely wanted more Lenny and don't understand people complaining about the show. It's a family friendly program so they definitely have had to reign things in. Nia thoroughly enjoyed and videos of other kids dancing to it made me smile! Oh and Missy??? She took me baaaaack! Love and miss her
  • I'm already thinking ahead to spring, but did you see the results of Groundhog Day? I don't think it really matters up here in NH anyway; from what I recall from living in Boston for 9 years spring doesn't really arrive til May
  • Speaking of Boston, I'm looking forward to heading back to Boston College this weekend with Mr. Lovebird to catch the BC vs. UNC game; I haven't been back for a game since Uka played there and I'm looking forward to it
  • The kids have had a nasty cough since mid-December. Doctor visits aren't bringing relief and now I'm contemplating a friend's recommendation of colloidal silver, but boy do people have some strong opinions about it (including our pediatrician who vehemently said, "NO!")
  • Black history month is upon us and as an avid NPR fan this article is so on point and I'm glad that they're self-conscious about it (thanks for sharing Stacey!)

P.S. If it's cold where you are too don't forget to enter to win my Robin Wilson Home giveaway! You could win a queen size quilt or 4 pack of pillows. Click here!


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