easter pre-game

we had quite the eventful day before easter!

one, it was hc’s birthday and two, it’s easter! we love to do fun things like decorate easter eggs and participate in fabulous easter egg hunts!

it was all very last minute because olive had been sick for a few days prior to this and we could not get out of the house with her. poor thing was glued to the toilet, so no easter egg hunt outings or anything of that sort due to her not feeling well.

i scrambled to put together something…we didn’t have any food to host with, nor did i even decorate! ha! i thought i was going to get away with not decorating for easter but then we, last minute, decided to have our family over and how could i not decorate to create a little bit of a festive environment?! sphhh, hello…it’s me. so there i was in the morning, hanging banners, pulling out fun decor, and filling easter eggs. {let alone, i had to make a quick or tried to make a quick trip to the grocery store too!}

my family came over and we sipped lemonade, ate a simple lunch, and hunted for & decorated easter eggs! the weather was a m a z i n g!!! seriously, it was so beautiful out! the kids had a blast searching for the eggs and opening up their goodies to find toys, candies, and money inside!

after all that, we then opened up easter gifts! {of course we saved olive’s basket for the morning because the easter bunny needed to drop that one off} the kids were so excited and spoiled rotten. gosh, we tend to do that with every special occasion. when you have that many family members…it can get cray with the gifts!

overall, it was truly a wonderful day! we celebrated hc, we celebrated easter, and we were all able to spend some great family time together! until next year my bunnies!

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[easter prep]

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[my new favorite glasses]

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[we wished hc a happy birthday!]

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[super aunty thuy created the prettiest french braid for miss o]

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[always the yummiest]

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[hc’s easter birthday cake]

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[tulips are so pretty]

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[easter egg hunt!]

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[the contestants]

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[olive finding the eggs!]

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[this way!]

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[run!]

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[dada helping olive out]

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[ellie famous face with aunty kim]

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[levitating eggs]

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[checking out her goodies]

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[happy birthday hc!]

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[raspberry lemonade refresher]

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[bunnies]

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[ready to dye easter eggs]

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[i love how excited olive is!]

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[she did so well!]

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[she loved her pink decorated egg!]

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[eggcited for easter gifts!]

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[baby ellie opening her gifts from aunty thuy]

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xoxo

train station lunch

it was a lazy sunday morning and we wanted to do something fun with olive {and ellie of course, but ellie is just a baaaaaby!}.

we decided to hit downtown glen ellyn and go to the train restaurant. we scored a parking spot right next to the restaurant and there was a tiny bit of a wait but no worries, olive spotted the mechanical horse and became fixated! she was so excited to get on the horse and i was so excited to see her do so! i love it when i see the joy exude from her face. i took so many pics because it made my heart full to see her many expressions, showing the different emotions she was feeling. i chose these two pics that best showcase her joy!

she also loved putting a quarter in the ‘gum’ball machine to receive a toy! i loved all this newness that she was experiencing, it was melting my heart!

we were finally seated and she was loving the train! she was so good, she was sitting right next to the tracks but she never once tried to touch the train or did she ever get in the way of the train when it rolled by. she barely sat down and was so mesmerized by all the quirkiness the restaurant had to give.

after we devoured our mediocre lunch, i ordered ice cream for olive. now, she’s not really into ice cream…yes, i knoooooow! how could that be?! but yes, she doesn’t care for it too much but i couldn’t pass up vanilla ice cream with sprinkles on top! besides that, it also came with a pink train!!! now that was something olive loved! as soon as the ice cream cup was served, her hand snatched up the pink train immediately!

shortly after, we left the restaurant to walk around the downtown area. the downside? pretty much all the shops were closed on sundays…what a bummer! so, we decided to walk around the neighborhood and just enjoy the great weather.

it was a perfect afternoon and we had such a great time hanging out together and exploring the quaint little area. i know olive had a great time at the restaurant and i can’t wait to take her back to enjoy it again!

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[first thing we see…the mechanical horse! olive had to ride it!]

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[she was sooooooo excited!]

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[me and my babe]

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[she’s always so happy!]

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[first time getting something out a ‘gum’ball machine]

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[excited for her surprise]

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[she got a mini dinosaur! she loved it!]

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[here comes the train serving the food!]

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literally loving the bells and whistle]

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[there goes the train!]

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[mmmm, pink lemonade]

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[my precious babe]

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[olive couldn’t wait to pluck off her pink train!]

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[she tried to scoop the ice cream but it was a little bit hard]

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[so dada helped out!]

xoxo

children’s museum

a sunday crept up on us and can you believe that we didn’t have anything really planned?! it was a sunny, nice day out and we definitely wanted to get out and do something fun! our initial plan was to go to the zoo but it was just a little bit too chilly to stand outside for hours so we found a local children’s museum.

it was close by and we have never visited it before! we did our usual morning routine – wake, nurse, feed olive, coffee, chill, and repeat. we squeezed in a nap for ellie…well, we tried. she was a bit fussy and didn’t get a good shut eye in, so we decided to leave for the museum.

we arrived in no time and it wasn’t that crowded. we started to explore and honestly, it was a very odd feeling being there. let me explain…i just felt that parents weren’t friendly. i immediately felt a strange vibe from everyone. i would make eye contact and smile and other moms would not smile and look away. hmmmmm. unfriendly!

another annoying factor were the parents that didn’t watch their kids or care that they acted inappropriately…such as not wait their turn, not share, hog an activity, or the one that irks me the most – big kids who overtake the little ones. that gets under my skin. i become super irritated! also, the whole area was sooooo dirty. as expected but i could feel the germs and viruses bouncing off my skin. blech!

i must say, hc and i didn’t have the best experience there. of course olive loved it but we were so turned off. we were blown away at how rude some of the older kids were with the little kiddos around, how removed the parents were. don’t get me wrong, olive did her best to fend for herself and i believe to let her do her own thing and not be a helicopter mom but the big kids were bugging me although not as much as their unaware parents!

ok…venting done. we did stay for a few hours and then called it quits. olive had a ton of fun and really enjoyed herself, honestly – that is all that matters. we were happy we took her there but i don’t know if we will go there any time soon again! eep!

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[checking out the fishes]

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[having fun with light and colors]

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[daddy helping her hour]

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[if there’s a hole, she’ll crawl through it]

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[she was having a blast with bar and mirror]

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[the wind machine]

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[stuffing the wind machine with kerchiefs]

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[watching the scarves fly into the air]

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xoxo

dinner party

our dear friend andrea invited us to a dinner party in celebration of her husband, jaime’s birthday. we love getting together with them; they are fun, funny, smart, and sweet as can be.

we come to find out that andrea had hired a chef for the evening to serve us dinner! how cool is that?! oh, it was going to be a fun, decadent evening! plus, it was a kid friendly party! woo hoo! double bonus!

we arrived on time and were greeted by jamie. olive was a bit overwhelmed and became super clingy and upset so i knew what would calm her down…toys! andrea and jamie have a ‘play area’ downstairs and i knew olive would get lost down there with all the fun items all around her! so, downstairs she went and we never saw her again! hahahaha!

we were immediately served champagne and hor d’oeuvres were plentiful ~ yum! don’t mind if i do! we mingled and visited with everyone while hc and i switched between holding ellie. we love their friends and have such a great time catching up with everyone. the chef was hard at work and i guzzled champagne and ate a lot of cheese ~ my weakness! we periodically checked on olive and continued to enjoy ourselves. did i mention that jamie and andrea have the most gorgeous home in chicago?! let me just say it’s so fabulous!

we were called to sit down for dinner and i was so excited to eat! the chef gave us details of each dish that was served. i loved that we were informed on ingredients of each delicious plate that we were about to consume. each portion served was a combination of wonderful flavors and eat bite made my mouth and mind happy! we had the best time at our table and the conversation was delightful, funny, and entertaining. gosh, i love moments like these!! great food, drinks, and friends, you just can’t go wrong!

oh my! we were having a great time! we made it through the end of the meal with two happy kids but it was almost nine thirty and we were ready to go. the kids were holding up great and were so good but we know our limits. it was almost ten o’clock by the time we left and it was perfect. we had a fabulous night, the kids were in great spirits, and we left just in time!

we had such a wonderful evening! thank you to jamie and andrea for inviting us over for jamie’s birthday dinner! it was fun, fabulous, delicious, and perfect!

cheers to amazing friendships!

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[the pretty table setting]

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[the menu for the evening]

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[daddy and daughter]

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[aren’t these ladies by my side so pretty?!]

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[appetizers and plenty of booze…mmmmmm]

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[party time]

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[the chef for the evening]

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[bottomless glass…keep it coming!]

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[feeding ellie before we feast]

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[kathryn and ginger]

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[these babes were being so cute together]

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[hmmmm, i am so cute!]

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[the chef explaining each entree]

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[the delicious pomegranate salad]

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[ellie entertaining herself during dinner]

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[hostess with the mostess]

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[baby, baby, baby!]

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[main course]

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[andrea with baby colin]

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[creme brûlée]

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[the man of the hour!]

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xoxo

i looooooove sunday brunch

i don’t know what it is about sunday brunch that i love so much. sundays have always been a day of relaxing, a day of ease, a day to do much of nothing. or if it is something you do…it involves food. brunch or slow cooking is usually where it’s at and we gather. we gather with friends. we gather with family. no pressure, just a go with the flow attitude. it’s almost like a mental preparation for the upcoming week.

we were looking forward to hanging out with these two fabulous guys. it’s so great to have friends like matt and johann. they are kind, smart, supportive, and so much fun to be around!

we met up with them right outside their place. the weather was amaaaaazing. sunny, warm, and perfect. we walked over to a brunch spot matt recommended but for some strange reason, they were closed?! it even said ‘brunch on sundays’ boldly across their windows…hahaha! really? ya fooled me!

well, that pushed us to go to o’donovan’s down the street and that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. they have a large outdoor space and the weather was fantastic…it was meant to be! the best part? there was noooooo wait. whaaaaaa?! on a day like today ~ sunday and it’s brunch time and there’s no wait? sweet.

we got cozy in a perfect little spot and ordered drinks ~ extra spicy bloody mary please! the restaurant had a breakfast buffet and we were set. drinks were flowing and copious amounts of food were on our plates, we were having a great time, just how sunday brunch should be!

then a man came by our table, a magician! we said no to tricks but yes to balloon animals! the gentleman made a mouse for ellie and a butterfly for olive. the balloon animals were a hit! olive was soooooo happy! she is such a good girl to begin with and she will always sit around and chill with us without causing any trouble but the balloon animals entertained her the entire time! score!

after brunch, we headed back to matt and johann’s place. on our walk back, we bought some girl scout cookies {yum!} from a couple of girls and sponsors selling them on a street corner. i mean, c’mon…who would ever pass up girl scout cookies?! once we were back at their place, we enjoyed nespresso and cookies while olive pranced around entertaining herself.

after an hour or so, we gathered our belongings to head home. it was time for both girls to nap and a car ride would be the lullaby that they needed. we said our goodbyes and headed home. we had such a great morning and afternoon with our two dear friends. brunch time with buddies is the best. i love sundays like this, i crave sundays like this, and i am such a happy camper when we can pull in beautiful days like this.

cheers to sunday brunch! clink! clink!

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[o’donovan’s chicago]

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[waiting 5 seconds for a table…there really was no wait on this gorgeous day!]

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[it was so beautiful out and we had a fabulous time sitting alfresco]

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[bloody mary extra spicy please!]

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[best thing ever at the restaurant…a magician who makes balloon animals!!! win win!]

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[guncle matt with ellie]

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[guncle johann with ellie]

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[precious babe with her daddy]

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[inside matt and johann’s lovely place]

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[ellie matching the decor]

xoxo

happy love day!

our valentine’s day dinner was low key for us but snazzy fun for the girls!

sometimes hc and i will get out the weekend prior to valentine’s day for a fancy dinner with just the two of us but this year we weren’t feeling it. we were too busy and didn’t really put any thought into it. i know, i know…we should probably be more focused on us and do more fun stuff like that and we will. i desperately cling onto the innocence of my girls and love spending all my time with them and hc.

so, we decided to keep it simple with us and do something fun for the babes {ok…i did something fun for the babes!}. i concocted, in my head, a valentine’s day themed dinner for them. i shopped a week prior for cute little items for a festive table spread {target is my friend} and dug through my vday box of decor goodies in the basement {i am a hoarder of anything holiday}.

i grabbed fresh balloons on valentine’s day and came home to assemble the fun table for the girls. i put presents and cards inside their valentine’s envelope, i filled pink glass jars with bubble wands, candy, and toys. they had heart shaped plates, with heart design cups, with heart shaped strawberries, and heart shaped sandwiches. i sprinkled the center of the table with more toys and decor. overall, i loved how it looked! so festive, fun, and cute {if i do say so myself!}!

olive loved it all! she was so entertained by all the goodies, ate her fun food, and had a blast playing with everything. she especially loved going into her envelope and finding her card and presents!

as for our dinner, hc made the most delicious heart shaped burgers everrrrrrrr. the entire dinner was yummy and perfect! we had the best valentine’s day dinner all together. it was fun for the girls, relaxing for us {key word…relax}, and super fun spending it together!

i loved how we spent our holiday evening. it was perfect and cute! it was low key, full of love, and we celebrated as a family…how it should be! happy valentine’s day indeed…not just on the 14th but every day!!

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[festive, festive, festive!]

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[candy hearts, games, toys, treats!]

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[at first, they kept staring at everything! ha!]

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[checking out their goodies!]

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[hearts galore]

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[love these fun babes]

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[gorgeous flowers from the hc]

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[cute little heart burger hc made for dinner!]

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[she was so excited to open up her envelope and see her gifts!]

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[she looooooooves trolls]

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[gathering her goodies]

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xoxo

makey valentine’s day cards

yayyyyyyy! it was our yearly ~ let’s makey valentine’s day cards for everyone!

i love doing this every year with olive and love that she has fun decorating all the cards. i can’t wait until ellie is old enough to do this with olive, it’ll be cuteness overload when that happens!

i rummaged out all the fun decor i had stored away and created a fun little space of heart explosions, lots of red, and crafty stuff galore. olive was so excited to dig into all the valentine’s day goodness. she started out with painting the heart cards but became restless and went crazy with the stickers. she totally loved putting all the festive stickers all over the cards and loved the little, what she called alien, poms! those were her most favorite items, although they were just for fun and wouldn’t mail very well in a flat envelope! ha!

ellie joined in on the fun for a bit but soon olive finished up all her valentine’s day cards in style. this mama then addressed and mailed them out to all her sweet little friends! we hope all her buddies enjoyed their sweet little surprise in the mail! olive wants to know if you will be her valentine?! muwah!

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[long story: i bought one heart envelope on sale {super cheap, yearssss ago} and ordered it to get embroidered with olive’s name. it arrived not embroidered! i was super upset but apparently i must have ‘deleted’ the personalization part of my order and that was why it arrived blank. i called the company and figured out what had happened and i wanted to order another one because i wanted olive’s name on it! the customer service person was soooooo nice and helpful and told me to not bother to send the other envelope back because it was so inexpensive and it wouldn’t be cost efficient to send it back. well, thought, what will i do with an extra envelope? i almost gave it away but ended up keeping and found it in my valentine’s day box of decor this year! how perfect?! i then got the second envelope personalized with ellie’s name! it was meant to be!]

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[copious options]

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[she loved her ‘aliens’]

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[painting away]

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[she did such a great job!]

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[i love her]

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[she’s so fun]

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[gahhhhhhh, i love these girls!]

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[i couldn’t help but post every pic of her making the cards…she was so into it!]

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[her favorite items from the day!!]

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xoxo

heart pies

mmmmmmm yum yum!

i made heart pies the other day in lieu of valentine’s day! every year, i try to think of something fun to make/bake in celebration of valentine’s day. thank goodness for pinterest!!! i definitely need it to be easy and fun, stress the easy part…’cause this mama ain’t got time for that. bahhhahaha!

i found this idea and thought, perfect! easy and fun! just what i wanted. i bought the ingredients and waited for a good moment in time {maybe ellie’s nap?} to execute this cute recipe!

you could either make your own pie crust or buy the store bought kind. it depends on how much time you have carved out for this type of activity. i was stressed for that so i did the latter but i highly recommend making your own pie crust…it’s more delicious that way {my favorite pie crust recipe is here}. i felt the store bought pie crust was a bit too bland, good but homemade is always better!

anyhoo, time was the factor so pre made pie crust it was! i rolled out the dough, cut out the hearts, filled each heart with cherry filling, buttered the edges, fluted the edges with a fork, then brushed the tops with egg, and then sprinkled it with sugar! phew! that was a mouthful!

the best part when i was making these pies? olive! she wanted to help and i was over the moon! it made my heart so happy to see her interested and so eager to help me put together the pies! she rolled out the dough, she cut out the hearts, she helped scoop out the pie filling, flute the edges, and she even cut the x’s onto the pies! yes, i gave her a sharp knife and she x’d all the pies! she did a great job handling the knife {with my guidance of course!} and i was so proud at how well she cut into the dough and made the x’s! such a big girl!

she was so excited that she had helped out with making the pies and was even more excited to watch the pies bake! i told her that once the pies were done, she could eat one and that just made her eyes sparkle! my heart was so full seeing her eyes light up when i gave her a sweet little cherry heart pie pop! she devoured every morsel! yum!

i definitely want to make these again…maybe round pie shapes instead? we had so much fun baking together, i can’t wait to conjure up some more creative treat ideas so olive and i can have more mommy and me time! yay!

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[ellie chillin’ while olive and i make pies]

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[mama’s little helper]

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[rolling the dough]

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[she loved pressing the dough into a heart shape]

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[she was so excited to see the heart shape she pressed!]

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[the sweetest face]

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[my favorite jelly jam]

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[spooning on the filling]

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[buttering the edges so the pie seals together]

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[sealing the heart]

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[the finished product!]

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[devouring her pie pop]

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[she’s the cutest]

xoxo

teeth time

it was check up time!

i have been taking miss olive to the dentist since she was 18 months old{?} and let me tell you that it really hasn’t gotten any better with each visit…haha! this time around was a weeeeee bit better, she actually volunteered to sit in the chair buy herself and i was quite surprised! i couldn’t believe she was being so independent! they gave her sunglasses and she thought she was so cool, sitting in the reclining chair and chillin.

the assistant then put on her mask and gloves and that freaked olive out and she started to whimper. the assistant then started to clean her teeth and that caused her to nervously cough and cough and cough and gag a bit. she started crying and wanted her to finish but the assistant still needed to floss and brush her teeth and olive was not having it. we safely made it through and olive was so relieved but little did she know that dr. albert still had to pay her a visit to double check her teeth! this time around, we decided to put olive in my lap since she didn’t do so well with the assistant. here, olive cried and cried and dr. mira checked her teeth…ugh, poor babe. i know dr. albert deals with a lot of screaming kids but i felt so bad for her too…it was a no win situation!

well, all was well {olive has a bad overbite due to her teeth coming in so randomly when she was a baby that different teeth overlap over and under in the front causing her crooked bite} and olive checked out ok! we need to floss a bit more in the back and brush a little longer on her back molars!

we love coming to brush pediatric, for multiple reasons…the wait area is so cool and olive has a blast with all the toys, everyone is sooooooo nice. the whole staff is so sweet and loving towards my girls. dr. albert is so great with olive, kind, and very helpful with tips and how to better take care of her teeth and lessens my worries about her crooked bite {she always reassures me to wait for her permanent and there is no need to worry now…so true!}.

i am glad i have been taking olive to the dentist since she was a babe. it helps grow her comfort with ‘strangers’ looking at her teeth/mouth and helps us to keep healthy habits for her!

via tandeminlove.com[playing while waiting]

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[she thought she was cool and then they started checking her teeth…]

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[the fear started to take over]

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[a bit relieved it was ‘almost’ over!]

xoxo

play time!

i love getting together with kim!

it’s always fun to get the kids together and visit with kim. this time around, she and the kids came out to our place. we were so excited to have them over. brady and brooklyn were so cute with ellie…they were loving the baby!

they were running behind, so i decided to dress up olive and snap some fun pics but while we were finishing up – they arrived! i knew i should have gotten ready before i took pics of olive. i kept thinking to myself, get dressed and freshen up before i started the whole pic thing with olive but instead i just went for it, thinking i had time to change. nope…in comes kim and the kids and there i was feeling sloppy. hahaha! c’est la vie!

the kids played, had fun, doted on ellie while kim and i caught up with life. they were having a blast and it was soooooo cute to watch brady and olive together. i was so surprised how receptive olive was to brady. the past few playdates, olive was overwhelmed by brady’s affection and energy. she didn’t know what to do with him, so she would just stare at him from afar. but this time around, she was super excited to see him! while i was dressing olive, i told her brady was here and she excitedly went out to say hi to him and they immediately started playing together. oh so sweet.

we then had lunch and served desserts. the kids had a blast eating their cookies and what not. i can’t tell you how cute it is to watch them! they were all being so darn adorable and sweet! after a few hours of playtime, it was time for them to go. we had such a great time together…kim and i are such mamas! we love spending time with our kids and we love spending time together with our kids! we do agree we need a night out with just us gals – wine and uninterrupted conversations!

i am sure the next time we get together, it will be with the kids but one day we will squeeze in that girl time, one day soon!

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[beautiful brooklyn]

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[the chaos surrounding ellie]

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[sisters…she loves her so]

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[they all wanted to entertain ellie]

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[beautiful ladies]

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via tandeminlove.com

[lunch time]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[dessert time!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[studying her dessert]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[hugs and kisses goodbye]

xoxo