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Galentine's Day Brunch


Over the weekend, a few of my most favorite ladies and I celebrated our ladyhood with a little Galentine's Day brunch. 

"What's Galentine's Day? Oh it's only the best day of the year." -Leslie Knope

We laughed over ridiculously cheesy love stories, ate ridiculously sweet food, and then gave ridiculously amazing gifts:) But really, the love stories were so, so great. And in case you didn't know, I'm the worst at being in charge/hosting things, so everyone got to enjoy me in that role :/
Part of that role ended up being me prodding everyone to share who their favorite women of all time were. As silly of a request as it was, I'm so glad I made it, because I absolutely loved everyones answers. Some are fictional characters, but the reasons for why they were chosen still made them so good. Here they are:

Hermione Granger
Emma Watson
Whitney Houston
Edith Wilson
Deon Clayden
Christa McAuliffe
Helen Keller 
Ellen
Julie Andrews
Tina Belcher 

Best part of the brunch? (well, besides us discussing how late in life some of us found out where babies come from) Not everyone knew each other to begin with, but just look at all of the love in that amazingly-posed group shot we took at the end. Precious. I just tried writing something really meaningful about how we're all different, but our womanhood brought us together or something, but really I think it was our discussion about Target and Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate. But isn't that a big part of womanhood? kidding.

I kind of want to celebrate Galentine's Day every weekend now. Who else is down?

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Our Valentine's Day (It was my favorite day so far this year!)


I loved our Valentine's Day this year. Camaron and I decided not to spend any money on each other this year and we spent the whole day with the kids, and it was so much fun! The morning started out a little rough because Sloane had kept us up most of the night. But I decided to let Camaron go back to bed even though both of the kids were wide awake at six -I figured naps are pretty much the best gift a person can give, right? While Cam slept, Fox and Sloane helped me make a special Valentine's Day breakfast. We made omelets and red velvet waffles with cream cheese frosting. Camaron looooves red velvet and waffles, so it was a no brainer when I came across a recipe for red velvet waffles a few weeks before Valentine's. And the best part? The recipe made a TON of waffles, so we got to enjoy them all weekend:) Don't worry, I'll post the recipe at the bottom of this post.

After breakfast, Camaron rocked it and gifted me with a nap as well! It was so wonderful. 

Later on, during the kids' naps, I headed out to pick up some Valentine goodies for the kids (talk about procrastination). FYI, it's kinda dumb to go shopping for Valentines on the actual day -the aisles were sooo picked over. There weren't even any candy hearts! 


I made it back before Fox woke up, so we hid his Valentine goodies in the dryer (obviously) and made a path around the house for him to follow out of extra felt hearts (leftover from the Valentines we made). He was so cute when he woke up. He immediately started following and picking up all of the hearts. The whole time, he kept repeating, "the hearts all fell down!"


Fox's Valentine goodies included some candies, fruit snacks, a yogurt, and a cookie monster book. It was so mind-blowing that I came across that cookie monster book (in the dollar section, no less). Fox has been requesting a cookie monster book for us to read to him the previous few nights, for some reason. He was so happy when he opened the dryer and found these. "Presents!"


I looked up and he was already cuddling/hugging his new book:)

Later on, we decided to do a Valentine's Day activity. I was craving salty sweets, so that inspired us to make chocolate-dipped pretzels with sprinkles. It was so easy and Fox did a great job helping us dip the pretzels in white and dark chocolate and then add sprinkles. Not too surprising, most of his went straight into his mouth -but, then again, so did most of mine.


Sloane had fun just hangin out in her bouncer while we were making our mess:)



In the evening, we had a friend come over to watch the kids and Camaron and I went on a fun little date. Dinner and an improv show. Perfect. Oh, and then Camaron snuck out after the kids went to bed and picked us up some amazing sundaes from Churn. Perfect perfect. 

THE RECIPE

Red Velvet Waffles


Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon table salt
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
1 1⁄2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon red liquid food coloring

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200° F and preheat a waffle iron. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl to combine.

2. Combine the melted butter and brown sugar in a separate large bowl. Whisk in the egg
yolks and buttermilk. Mix the cocoa powder and red food coloring in a small bowl to make a smooth paste, then whisk the paste into the butter mixture. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until moistened (the batter should be slightly lumpy).

3. Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Stir one-quarter of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining egg whites gently but thoroughly.

4. Spray a waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Cook the waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As they’re done, put them on a baking sheet and slide them into the oven to keep them warm while you cook the remaining waffles.


Recipe found here
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Easy Kids Valentines





With Valentine's Day being this weekend, I have been spending this week trying to get Fox excited for the fun, lovey holiday. We started by making some easy, kid-friendly valentines. 

Some felt heart stickers, googly eyes, red paint, a toilet paper roll (turned into a stamp) and we had an afternoon filled with Valentine creating. I love how involved Fox stayed in the creation process the whole time. All I had to do was peel the backs off of the stickers, and put the glue on the eyes -he pretty much did everything else. It was so much fun. Especially once he started putting the eyes on that white heart on the left:)

Have you found any fun, easy Valentine crafts for kids/toddlers? 


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Sloane on the move


It's official, we're past simply rolling over here, Sloane is now a crawler! She's moving all over the place. Her strategy right now is somewhere between "army crawl" and full on crawling. She uses her arms and legs and pretty much no remote or cell phone is safe.

And yes, that is a little tooth poking through her bottom left gums! She's growing up so fast. I think it's stressing her out though, because I keep catching her pulling out her hair in little clumps (which is, in turn, stressing me out). Good thing she has plenty of hair to spare (for now).
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Checking in on each other








Sometimes, you really just need to take a break from the routine and check in on each other.

Since being back in Arizona, Camaron has started his new job, and I've gotten back into the stay-at-home parent routine. There are a lot of wonderful things about being back, but not everything has been great or easy. I knew Camaron had been bummed about not moving back to DC, especially since his new job really lacks in comparison to the enjoyment he felt at his last one. And I knew there wasn't much I could do about it. The more I tried to help, it just felt like I was being annoying or getting in the way. And I knew Camaron was holding back a lot whenever we talked about feelings or anything remotely deep. And I knew I was lacking in a lot of important parts of our marriage. These were things I "knew," but not things we ever actually "talked" about.

I have an uncontrollable tendency to cry whenever faced with stressful situations. It's the most embarrassing thing ever and I hate it and I wish so so hard that there was I way I could manage it somehow. For all of my life so far though, that hasn't been the case. Because of my uncontrolled emotions, I tend to avoid stressful/emotional topics when speaking to others ...including my own husband. Camaron has gotten in the habit of avoiding bringing up stressful topics too, to help keep me from having breakdowns. But all of this avoidance put us in a relationship rut. We would wake up each day, play with the kids and eat breakfast and get ready for the day, Cam would go to work, we'd text a little, he'd come home, we'd play with the kids, eat dinner, put kids to sleep, watch a few shows together until we were falling asleep, then head to bed, and kiss goodnight. I liked our routine, but the avoidance had been feeling more and more obvious and last night, I just felt prompted to finally do something about it.

I sat down and made a list. Here is what I wrote:

Things we're doing well together
Things we're doing well individually
Things we like about each other
Things we can improve
Things we can work on this week
Things we can work on this month
Things we can work on this year

We went through each topic together after the kids went to sleep and wrote down everything. I cried, of course, but we all knew that would happen. But it was so good. We finally got everything out in the open and were able to make plans for how we could make things better. And we plan to check in and do it again next month:) Honestly, I had seen relationship inventories like this one before (mine's not really anything special), but I avoided doing them mostly because I didn't want to hear my faults said out loud. I'm such a wimp. But it really wasn't that bad. I prepared myself and reminded Camaron that I respond best when criticism is worded carefully. And he was so great. I'm so glad I finally just buckled down and talked it all out. It's so easy to get in those ruts where a relationship really feels like it has stopped progressing. Routines are great, but it was so so great to be able to pause and check in on each other.

Have you ever done something like this when it felt like you were in a relationship rut? What other ways have helped you or have you heard are good solutions? 
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