Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our Little Squirrel-Lovin' Girl

I'm not sure exactly how or when it started, but Pretty Little Bare Feet has become quite interested in squirrels in the last couple months.

She had been noticing squirrels outside her bedroom window, & pointing them out when we took walks in our neighborhood.

Then she was ohsodelighted when I bought her this little orange smocked squirrel bishop dress.

& her current favorite pair of "big girl" unmentionables are from Gymboree: bright orange&yellow with a little squirrel on them.

Most recently, Pretty Little Bare Feet has spent the last two afternoons narrating her own little documentary

(which I've been overhearing on the downstairs monitor),

about the little "Squirrel Mommy" that has been posted on a branch just outside her bedroom window.

Now I must admit that the Squirrel Mommy was adorable, with all her little squirrel babies nestled up on the branch with her. But good grief, the mind of a two-year-old

(aaa, she's almost three!)

never ceases to amaze me. Only the blissful freedom of youth could provide one with the awe&patience to stare at a barely-moving critter

(okay, & its barely-moving young, too)

for that amount of time. Absolutely precious...but I do hope that maybe Pretty Little Bare Feet will nap this afternoon, since our little squirrel family has apparently relocated to another branch, out of our sight.

Anyway, inspired by Pretty Little Bare Feet's latest fixation, I just thought I'd share...squirrels are cute! ;)

(via: eBay)

Apparently once upon a time, there was a Lilly Pulitzer squirrel pattern for Minnies!

Squirrel Tee in Mustard Yellow at Crazy 8

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pretty Little Bare Feet's Palate: I LOVE Lunch-Packing!

Recently, I posted on Facebook about how much I enjoy lunch-packing. I was delighted to find that several of my friends - & not all of them mamas! - are just as invested in trying to create more exciting, healthy lunches, whether for their children or for themselves.

I am (& pretty much always have been) admittedly a bit on the OCD side when it comes to


(See? I just alphabetized that list...I almost ALWAYS do that!)

So it should come as no surprise that one of my most recent projects came about from adding "lunch-packing" for Pretty Little Bare Feet to my already somewhat "over-detailed" meal-planning. I began packing lunches for Pretty Little Bare Feet last summer, when she attended camp sessions that lasted through lunch. Now I get to pack her lunch for nursery school four days a week! =)

I would be embarrassed to actually let anybody besides My Prince see my .docx for lunch-planning!

(That would really give away how neurotic I am, & I do try to limit my *many, many, many* crazy lists to my own crazy eyes. ;))

But since I was so excited to learn that so many others are at least interested in lunch-packing...

(if not also a bit off-the-deep-end detailed about it!)

...I would *LOVE* to share with y'all some of my favorite resources for creative, healthy lunchbox ideas - that are almost always well-eaten!
Pretty Little Bare Feet tends to always eat

a small breakfast,
an average-sized(?) morning snack,
a really big lunch,
a small afternoon snack,
& then a puny supper.

So I take advantage of that by putting as much "good stuff" as I can into her lunch every day (even at home!). I also realize how much she enjoys the "dining environment" of unpacking her own lunch & sharing a table with a friend in her classroom - things that motivate her to dig into whatever I pack for her.

Great Blogs, Facebook Pages, Websites, etc. for Lunchbox Ideas:
(including their blog, the Family Kitchen)

(Pretty much all of those also have Facebook pages linked from their blogs/websites.)


Brown Bag Success by Sandra K. Nissenberg
Lunch Boxes & Snacks by Annabel Karmel
Lunch Lessons by Ann Cooper
My Lunch Box by Hilary Karmilowicz

I've never really given Pretty Little Bare Feet a lot of choices when it comes to eating.

For the most part,
she eats what she's served,
or she doesn't eat again until the next meal
(or snack).

But I even enjoyed making her baby food homemade, so she's been trying different foods since she was a baby & has a pretty adventurous palate most of the time.

Pretty Little Bare Feet's Montessori nursery school also encourages "good" lunch-packing. They ask that parents pack nutritious lunches, even if there is doubt that the child is going to eat all of it. They also advise that letting children help plan their own lunches provides a good opportunity to talk with them about nutrition. We follow their guidelines of

no chocolate;
no nuts;
(we love SunButter!);
no sweets;
only 100% fruit juice;

The teachers rewrap any leftover food & put it back in the lunchbox, so I always know what Pretty Little Bare Feet does or does not eat! & her teachers are always happy to microwave lunch items for a few seconds, if requested.

(So helpful!)

I use Easy Lunchboxes bentos inside Pretty Little Bare Feet's lunchbox:

They are awesome, & they fit PERFECTLY in Pretty Little Bare Feet's adorable Stephen Joseph lunchbox:

Here are some of Pretty Little Bare Feet's recent lunches:

banana, quesadilla, tomato salsa

(To make that quesadilla, I folded a single whole wheat flour tortilla in half; added a bit of grated cheddar cheese on the bottom to act as glue against the tortilla, canned black beans [rinsed&drained], finely chopped red peppers, finely chopped purple onion, cilantro, & a bit more grated cheddar cheese on top; cooked in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until the cheese melted; & cut into wedges. I use this recipe for fresh tomato salsa.)

hummus wrap, macaroni salad, strawberries, tangerine

(To make a hummus wrap, I fill a wrap with avocado, hummus, shredded lettuce, & tomato. I use Paula Deen's recipe for macaroni salad. The strawberries are kind of hidden under the tangerine in the photo, but they were there!)

apple, quesadilla, sour cream

(To make this quesadilla, I used two whole wheat flour tortillas, filled sandwich-style with a bit of grated monterey Jack cheese on the bottom, finely chopped tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, cooked chicken, & a bit of monterey Jack cheese on top; added a slick of olive oil to the skillet for a crispy exterior; cooked over medium-high heat until the cheese melted; & cut into wedges.)

carrots, pinto bean dip, potato salad, Stacy's simply naked pita chips

(To make healthy pinto bean dip, I puree 1/2 cup chopped kale & two tablespoons olive oil in a food processor; add a well rinsed can of pinto beans, two tablespoons tahini, zest of one lemon, & a small clove of garlic; pulse a few more times; & add salt, pepper, & two tablespoons lemon juice. I use the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for potato salad.)

broccoli & cheese sauce, fried rice, honey-glazed carrots, smoked salmon

(To make these easy honey-glazed carrots, I brought 1 1/2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium saucepan; added five cups Bolthouse Farms carrot chips; cooked for twenty minutes; drained well; placed carrots in a large bowl with three tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, two tablespoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind, & 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; & tossed gently. I use Taste of Home recipes for broccoli with cheese sauce, & instant fried rice.)

corn & butter sauce, hummus, kiwi, Stacy's simply naked pita chips

broccoli & cheese sauce, honey-glazed carrots, SunButter & strawberry jam sandwich on Food for Life sprouted bread

corn niblets, hummus with lemon juice, pineapple, Stacy's simply naked pita chips

ham, lettuce, & tomato sandwich on Food for Life sprouted bread; Parmesan Goldfish crackers; raspberry Buddy Fruits

Campbell's double noodle soup, Parmesan Goldfish crackers, V8 V-Fusion Concord grape raspberry juice

Amy's organic minestrone soup; fruit salad with honeydew melon, pineapple, & watermelon; mayonnaise & red pepper sandwich on Food for Life sprouted bread

Baked Naturals cheese crisps, cheese cubes, inside-out caramel apple, spinach leaves, tuna

(You can find the recipe for the inside-out caramel apple here. Because I am pretty consistent about packing healthy, nutritious lunches, the teachers don't mind if I slip some caramel in with the fruit once every couple months or so. ;) I mean, they have parents sending in icky Gogurt!)

(& by the way, that is what the inside-out caramel apple looked like before I had to cut it up to fit into the bento!)

ham; oranges, pineapple, & strawberries; vegetable&oatmeal bread

(To make the *divine* vegetable&oatmeal bread, I used this Mark Bittman recipe. For this particular batch, I used raw, grated zucchini. Since Pretty Little Bare Feet's classroom is nut-free, I substitute oatmeal browned in a little bit of butter.)

& some other lunchbox "staples" we love:

barley with mushrooms&spinach

(Heat two teaspoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add one cup chopped onion, 1/2 teaspoon chopped dried rosemary, & three minced garlic cloves; sauté three minutes; add eight cups sliced mushrooms; cook eight minutes, stirring occasionally; stir in 3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley & a can of fat-free less-sodium beef broth; bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, & simmer fifteen minutes; add eight cups bagged baby spinach leaves, three tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, & 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; cover & cook two minutes, stirring frequently.)

ice cream cone sandwiches

(recipe here)

mountains&forest sandwiches

(recipe here)

rocketship sandwiches

(recipe here)

(& yes, I do realize that I am a bit more fanatical about lunch-packing/meal-planning than is probably considered normal. ;))

Friday, October 21, 2011

What I Want This Weekend, October 21st, 2011

I know. I intended to participate in Pink&Green Thursday yesterday.

But it's been a long time since I've been a daily or near-daily blogger;
& even though I thought about it several times throughout the day,
I ultimately forgot.

I also had a mini panic attack yesterday when two random strangers commented on photos on my Facebook - since I have always had all of my photos set to "friends only."

(Guess what? In case you are not aware, Facebook's newest set of anti-privacy privacy settings automatically negates whatever YOUR settings are as soon as you "check in" to a location - which I've never done! - or tag a person. Once that has been done, your post goes on the public page for that location &/or allows ALL "friends of friends" of anybody you tag - which could be strangers OR people you know but AREN'T friends with for some reason! - to view & comment on YOUR photos. Also, anybody you are friends with has the ability to "share" your photos on THEIR walls with THEIR friends at any time. So, in short, it does not matter how tight your privacy settings are set - they will be overridden as soon as you check in or tag a friend...or a friend that does not honor the same privacy desires you have can share your photos if they choose. Lovely, huh? I swear if it weren't for all the shopping I do for my children on Facebook, I'd just get everybody's contact info & deactivate the thing. Grrr. End rant.)

Here are some pretty things I've come across this week,

from some blog
or catalog
or friend
or magazine
or another;
or just from my own browsing&shopping&surfing,

that I need to convince My Prince to dole out the cash for...

What, you haven't worn Roxy since the tenth grade either? ;) Well, somebody told my mama the other day that I didn't look a day over twenty.

(I used to always get "teenager" comments, I think maybe because I'm only 5'1; but hey, I'm only three months out from having a second child, so I will gladly take twenty! I'm twenty-eight, for the record!)

Besides, I think Roxy looks decidedly less juvenile than I had thought that they did. & I'm pretty sure true fashionistas don't care what the tag on the inside says, or so the fashion editors would have you believe.

(Though I am admittedly very brand-conscious - not for "status" reasons, just out of sheer loyalty to the lines that are excellent quality, consistently match my style, & fit me best.)

Anyway, if it all of a sudden got quite brrr! this week where you live, I'm sure you've been moving your sweaters to the front of your wardrobe, as well. ;)

I need a new "everyday" watch.

I want that one! ;)

For Pretty Little Bare Feet's first Halloween, I bought her a tutu witch Halloween trick-or-treat bag from an Etsy shop.

But I had a harder time finding something boy-oriented for My Little Man's first Halloween...until I found this adorable tote at Pottery Barn Kids - & it's super on sale! & with free shipping, the total was still less than the original price - even after adding personalization!

Another thing I need...it's time to replace my old trusty Ugg loafers/moccasins.

&...I want these ones!

(LOL...I feel like Pretty Little Bare Feet when she says, "Ummm, I want...that one!")

...& what's #1 on my Lilly Pulitzer lust list?

Eryn Dress in Chorus Girl by Lilly Pulitzer

This gorgeous dress, that could take me from

the ballet,
to church,
to a football game!
(We SEC girls do like to dress up nicely for those...)

Pretty sure it might be the perfect cut for a petite mama-of-a-three-month-old who still has something between about two&eight pounds left to lose.

(Seriously, depending on the day & the time of day...)

T.G.I.F.! What do YOU want this weekend?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Letter to My Followers

I have not been a good blogger for the past eight months or so. This is by no means the "end" of my blog - in fact, it may end up being a new beginning of sorts.

(& I fully intend to participate in Pink&Green Thursday tomorrow!)

But before I get back to the fun stuff, I just wanted to say...

Dear Friends (My Readers!),

This blog has been a little bit of everything in the last two years. Yes, it's been two years! I absolutely forgot that the two-year anniversary of my blog came&went at the end of August.

I've blogged about lots of shopping, recipes, submissions for link-ups, & everything in between - with only the occasional philosophical rambling or serious post. I've gone for a week or two where I've blogged every single day, & I've gone for as long as five weeks in between posts.

Those of you that have been with me since the beginning know that I waited to begin blogging until my older child, Pretty Little Bare Feet, began a consistent nap schedule. I had been reading blogs for months, but could not find the time to do what I wanted with a blog of my own.

Once Pretty Little Bare Feet began nursery school last fall, I was able to really begin blogging on a more regular basis, even contributing to a Southern Mommas blog something like weekly. But as my pregnancy with My Little Man progressed, pretty much everything became more difficult, including finding the time (or energy) to blog.

Because most of you know that this blog is not about my personal life, I have never disclosed anything about My Little Man's health, until my recent post with an update explaining my complete disappearance. Some of you are friends from "real life" who know all the details; & some of you I have been blessed to become friends with *because* of this blog, & of course y'all know all the details, as well. For those of you that do not know me personally, I certainly still appreciate you & your prayers every bit as much.

(& he is doing GREAT, by the way!)

Even though I am not comfortable sharing details about my personal life on this blog, I have often felt a sense of true friendship amongst our community of bloggers, & my last year of ups&downs has been no exception.

Mostly, though...

...before embarking on another fun series of blog posts about cookies, great Etsy finds, preppy fashion, & all the others things we enjoy discussing around here...

...I just wanted to say, "Thank you." & "I'm still here."


Friday, October 7, 2011

I'd Like to Interrupt this Hiatus with an Update...

...long story short is that My Little Man got very, very sick in September & spent some time in the hospital. He is home & recovering well, & things are slowly returning to some kind of normal around here. I look forward to picking the blog back up after Pretty Little Bare Feet's fall break ends next week. Enjoy the pleasant weekend weather, wherever you may be! =)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Must-Haves for Transitions

Well, I swore I was going to begin posting as close to daily as I could once September rolled around, barring any special kinds of days, or if our routine gets thrown a loop. & then, I am not kidding you, my first four days of September brought a whirlwind each day.

Long stories short,

I got into a (very, very minor) fender bender (thank God for bumpers!) on Thursday;
found out some bad news about a friend's teenaged son on Friday;
locked myself & Pretty Little Bare Feet out of our vehicle for most of Saturday afternoon;
& then had to take over My Prince's fantasy football draft last night because he was sick (& I must add that he got awarded the "best draft" from Yahoo! sports, thanks to his awesome wife! ;)).

So here it is, Labor Day, a day off for most people, & I'm tackling some of those annoying to-do lists. One of the more fun items, though, is "to blog," so here I am!

I've been thinking about what to add to my wardrobe in the next few days. There are two major transitions going on that have impacted my ability to wear much of my favorite clothing.

1. I am still in between all that awful maternity clothing & my normal clothing size.
I have no doubt that I will get back into all of my beloved clothing, but realistically, it is probably going to be a couple months or so before things fit the way they should, even as the scale drops. But I don't want to buy a lot of things that are a couple sizes up, because I don't want to waste money. I also don't want to get too comfortable in a larger size, thus losing any motivation to return to my size. So the best investments would be those that will still look nice when I return to my normal size, such as things that are a bit flowy&loose in fit.

2. The weather.

Summer outfits & the traditional pre-Labor Day rules are out; & the fall season of clothing is in. But the weather isn't quite there yet, since it's still pretty warm&muggy most days in Dixie.
So here are some things I've been eyeing for my daily back&forths during these transitions:

the Watch Hill Tunic by Port Winsor

Tunics certainly fit all of the above-mentioned requirements, & the ones offered by this preppy new company are beautiful!

Loose enough to be comfortable now, but fitted enough that it won't be frumpy when I'm ten pounds lighter.

Perfect for cooler evenings now & later...& loose enough to layer over most anything. This could be the perfect thing to have on hand for things like evening book clubs at home, rainy-weather tailgates, etc. When it's appropriate to be comfortable, but still presentable.

This foldover waistband is exactly the kind that I'm leaning on in most of my lounging pants right now, as there are really only two pairs of my jeans that are fitting comfortably just yet. How lovely to see this kind of comfort on such a cute skirt that can be dressed up or down. & its style is perfect for this in-between season!

Vivi Top in Cameo White Thrill of the Chaise by Lilly Pulitzer

The most perfect Lilly option for me for right now! & I have been dying to get some new Lilly clothing pretty much since last fall when I found out I was pregnant again. Here's to hoping my Lilly Via shop still has some of these!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To-Do's or Not-to-Do's...Sometimes It's a Question

Pretty Little Bare Feet has officially been back at nursery school for almost three weeks now. & next week she's going to begin attending four days per week! Aaa, I know! But she is so excited. She's one of the "big kids" in her Montessori classroom, & she really is just at her absolute best after a morning of school.

I can't bear to part with her for all five days, but I realized just a couple weeks into the school year that she will be happier attending a fourth day of school, rather than remaining in a playgroup that meets inconsistently. & I will be happier to have a more stable routine, as well. Not to mention that both of us thrive better in a calm, ordered environment - much more so the case in the Montessori classroom

(or in my peaceful, hopefully-organized-again-soon home)

than in some random location for a hodgepodge group of playgroup members that are disciplined so differently (if at all) that some of their behaviors can negatively influence Pretty Little Bare Feet's own attitude for the rest of the day afterward.

So now that Pretty Little Bare Feet has her routine back in place & better than ever, it's (past) time for me to (attempt to) do the same.

My Little Man is pretty much sleeping through the night. & although his naps are inconsistent&sporadic during the day, he's such a chill little baby. Even when he has long periods of wakefulness, he coos more than he cries. He's just an angelic little blessing of an addition to our already-too-blessed-to-be-stressed home.

Which leads me to the dreaded question of to-do lists. Quite frankly, these days I am finding it much more beneficial to my overall health to just crumple them up & throw them away.

(This is coming from a self-professed Type A listmaker of neurotic proportions!)

Although I am not exactly ready to give up all of my neat organizational ways, I am finding that adding another member to this family has ultimately required the same amount of "relaxing" that I initially found myself doing once upon a time when getting married...& then twice upon a time upon being blessed with Pretty Little Bare Feet.

So what are the priority to-do lists that I am aiming to keep to in the next few weeks?

1. Getting back into my blogging groove.

I just plain old miss my little bloggy network of fellow

Lilly lovers,
party planners,

I started my blog well after my first child was into an established napping routine, & I really became involved with it once she was also into a nursery school routine. So the whole cycle of

then delivery,
then post-delivery,
now newborn,

...has thrown me into a whirlwind that hasn't left much energy or time for blogging, or even reading blogs.

(Not that I feel a bit guilty for that - just miss the blogs, & y'all!; & look forward to rekindling my own!)

2. Getting back into my runner's routine.

Okay, yes, & my runner's body. ;)

I'm on my way, running four or five miles every day. I've also invested in a boot camp DVD because it did take some extra additions to my old faithful running routine, in order to slim back down after having Pretty Little Bare Feet back in 2009. However, after pulling up iPhoto...

(& actually confirming that My Prince wasn't just trying to flatter me with his seemingly far-fetched compliments)

...I did realize that I am already back into much better shape than I was at this point after having my first child. & I got back into a size zero

(which I must reiterate is healthy for me - I am only 5'1!)

within three or four months after having Pretty Little Bare Feet, so I know I can do it again!

I'd also like to get to where I can schedule a 5k, & maybe eventually a 10k, at least once a month. That's just because I am so married to treadmill-running that I forget how different it is to run pavement or trails. Then when I sign up for a 5k, thinking it'll be cake because I can easily run six or seven miles if I have the time to do it...I all but die out there on the real ground, having to breathe the "real" air.

(Of course, I maintain that it is also just as jarring not to have my creature comforts - like my iPod playlists, & whatever magazine I have opened in front of me that has pretty enough pictures that it won't matter if I'm running too fast to read the words.)

3. ...

Oh, well, I paused for a minute trying to come up with what should be next on this list.

& since I'm already off to such a good start on the second item on this list...
...& this very blog post counts as such a good start to crossing off the first item on this list...
...I'm just going to call myself successful! =)

Oh, I am just so looking forward to finding out what all of y'all have been up to!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pink&Green Thursday: It Was a Watermelon Wednesday!

So apparently August 3rd is National Watermelon Day. Who knew? A while back when I ordered a few party goods from Oriental Trading for Pretty Little Bare Feet's 2nd Birthday party, I received a 2011 wall calendar with my order. Now of course it's not as pretty to look at as the Lilly wall calendar, but I enjoy it for a completely different reason - it includes all these random little fun holidays that I'd never know about otherwise!

So even though Wednesday has come&gone, I say continue celebrating the summer fun that is watermelons. I refuse to cave to all of this back-to-school madness...

(though I do love a good tax-free weekend!)

...as it is still way too stinkin' hot&humid to be shopping for jeans&sweaters. Pretty Little Bare Feet has been on her own little watermelon kick all summer long, & I am inspired to join her in her sweet fun!

Yesterday I picked up some (more) watermelon & fresh mint, fully intending to mix these delicious goodies up last night for My Prince & me. 'Til I realized they have to chill overnight, so then I figured they'd be a happy hour treat for us today. Only I can't find popsicle molds anywhere! So they may end up being a day late...

...& uh, just watermelon mojitos w/out the pops!

(But there's still plenty of fun in that!)

I also think these look fantastic & worth a try. I've been craving a mango margarita from Chili's since I was in about week 34 of my pregnancy, & I haven't gotten one yet...

...so maybe I'll do some more at-home bartending with this watermelon I have, & see if I can satiate that fruity margarita thirst that's been nagging at me!

I love, love, love pretty much anything Hartstrings, & I am especially grateful for them now that I have a boy - which makes it so much more of a challenge to find cute little clothes! There is still plenty of hot summer weather around these parts, so I've hit the summer sale on the Hartstrings website a couple times already, & will probably be back at it again!

(Especially with cute stuff like this on major sale!)

Is Stephen Joseph all the rage in the halls of your kid's nursery school? It definitely is in ours! & in the lobby of the gym where we take her for gymnastics...

...& pretty much anyplace around here where cute little mamas bring their cute little tots!

Pretty Little Bare Feet has the cupcake quilted backpack (monogrammed, natch!) & the owl lunchbox (just a name label sticker on that one). & when she was a little baby, we loved her ladybug bib&burpcloth by Stephen Joseph.

I haven't seen this watermelon backpack in person, but came across it on the website, & now it might be on the list to replace the cupcake backpack once that one is completely worn out.

(& it's well on its way there...toddlers are pretty rough on their bags! LOL)

Although all the little watermelon-wear out there for kids is so sweet, it's not impossible to cutely incorporate watermelons into our own wardrobes. I think these little sneakers would be so fun to pair up with basic polo&shorts combinations, especially for a hot summer day outdoors!


...now I see that today is Champagne Day...;)