Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Be Greatful

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  Today I am thankful for so many blessings in my life...

My family (and our little one on the way)
My friends
My neighbors
My health
My job
Our home we live in
The food on our table

I am off to spend the next two days with family where we will do nothing but eat, play games, watch football and shop...I seriously can't wait!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up 11/24

Anyone else excited for a three day work week?  Thanksgiving is almost here and I can't wait!  Since this week is a short week I am skipping Meal Plan Monday.  I honestly don't have much planned for the week other than some spaghetti and some frozen pizzas.  So instead, I am just going to give you a weekend wrap-up.  Here goes...

This past weekend was busy, busy, busy!  Saturday temps were in the mid 50's so we decided to get out of the house.  First stop was the library to pay our $10 late fee (oops) and find some Christmas books for Rowen (the girl is obsessed with Rudolph).

Next, we made a pit stop to one of our favorites for lunch...

...and then headed to Menards.  And because no trip to Menards (during the holiday season) is complete without a walk through the Christmas decor aisle!

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging Christmas lights outside!  Ryan finally agreed to hanging them, BUT on one condition...we couldn't turn them on until after Thanksgiving.  Ugh, instant let down, but I agreed only because he was finally letting me decorate something! HA.

Sunday was get sh*t done day.  One of the top things on my "honey do list" was to have Ryan paint Rowen's room!  We plan to move her to a "big girl" bed this weekend (eeek, i'm scared), but before we do, I wanted to have an accent wall painted in her room!

Ryan basically sent Rowen and I out of the house for the day so he could "paint in peace".  I happily obliged as that meant I got to spend time with my sister Christmas shopping...YAY!

We were gone for about five hours and came home to the best paint job I think I have ever seen! Ahh, I am so excited to share it, but not until it's complete!  So for now, I will share with you my "idea" board for her room....

So far it's turned out just the way I envisioned!  I can't wait to get her furniture put in there, too!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A lot to be thankful for this year!

Ryan, Rowen and I are super excited to announce that we are adding another member to our family come May!

There is definitely a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 11/17

This weekend was 100% relaxing!  We watched a lot of football, got together with family and even did some Christmas shopping!  Weee!   

Thanksgiving is still a week away, but I have a terrible itch to get out all of my Christmas stuff.  The only thing stopping me is Ryan…bah humbug!

Since I don’t really have a weekend update to give you, I will get right to it.  Here is what we have planned for meals this week!  Most of these recipes fall into the “comfort food” category given the frigid temperatures we’re experiencing here in Iowa.  Yuck!

Wednesday:  WagonWheel Pasta Bake 

Thursday:  Not cooking

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 11/10

Happy Monday!  This past weekend started Friday night when I went to a friend's house for pizza and the chance to snuggle her new baby boy!  So cute!

Saturday, Rowen headed to the lake for some Grandma and Grandpa time while Ryan and I hung with friends at the Beer, Wine and Food Expo downtown!  I had so much fun walking around, sampling all sorts of drinks and stuffing my face that I plum forgot to take pics...whoops!

Later that night I headed out for girls night with my friends from high school while Ryan hung back to watch his precious football. "There are so many good games on tonight" is all I kept hearing him say that day, haha.

Sunday was pretty much spent hanging around the house.  I wasn't feeling the greatest, but I did manage to get one of my top "to-do" items accomplished.  It had been almost two years since I had updated the family pics we have hanging on our wall, YAY!

Now, on to meals for this week...

I'm going to go ahead and apologize for the lack of pictures in this week's Meal Plan Monday.  I've been under the weather and life is just plain busy right now so we decided to be "creative" this week and clean out our pantry.  Every so often we take a few minutes to go through the food we have on hand and decide what we can do with it.  I hate letting food go to waste so this week we're eating based on what we had hanging around inside our cupboards.  This meant I only had to grocery shop for a few staple items...score!

Monday:  Italian Spinach Salads -  Using the box of rotini noodles we had sitting around + a bag of spinach + Italian dressing + roma tomato + chicken breast = easy peasy!

Tuesday:  Cheese Enchiladas -  We had three cans of enchilada sauce in our cupboard and a ton of cheese in our fridge, so cheese enchiladas and spanish rice it is!  All I had to buy were tortilla shells and rice!

Wednesday:  Veggie Stir-Fry -  Using the bag of frozen veggies we had sitting unopened in the freezer + two packs of ramen noodles and some rice to create some delicious stir-fry!

Thursday:  Not Cooking

Friday:  Homemade Pizza -  Using the bag of pizza dough in our cupboard + some yummy toppings = super easy Friday night meal!

There you have it.  Four simple meals using a bunch of ingredients we already had laying around the house.  My cupboards will be much less cluttered after this week!

That's it for tonight.  There is no work for me tomorrow thanks to Veteran's Day so I'm off to watch a movie and attempt to stay up past 9:30!  Have a good night!

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Weekend Getaway Part 2 - LEGOLAND

For Part 1, click here

"LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City on behalf of US Family Guide provided tickets for this review.  My review is an honest opinion based on my own experience and has not been reviewed or edited by LEGOLAND Kansas City."

The next stop on our little weekend getaway was LEGOLAND Discovery Center.  LEGOLAND is right next door to the aquarium so it was very convenient!  I had read reviews before going, most of which included warnings about the long lines, but being there during late afternoon/early evening there was no line at all!

When you first walk in you are given a little tour inside the LEGO Factory where kids learn how LEGO bricks are made. 

Next, you walk into a large castle-like area known as Kingdom Quest.  Armed with your laser gun, you’re taken on a 10 minute ride through the forest in your chariot as you fight the bad guys while trying to free the princess.  Rowen was a bit young, but she seemed to enjoy riding in the car with us as Ryan attempted to shoot every bad guy he saw!

Next was Mini Land, which I thought was really neat!  Unique to the Kansas City discovery center, this is where you can find the Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City and Munchkin-Land, made from thousands of green LEGOs.  You’ll also find a LEGO model of the Kansas Speedway, Royals Stadium, and Arrowhead Stadium.  The room also went from day to night and as the lights dimmed, each model began to glow and fireworks appeared above the Speedway…very cool! 

The next area we checked out was DUPLO Village.  Geared toward the younger kids, this was great fun for Rowen!  There was a pit area filled with large, rubber DUPLO blocks the kids could build with.  There was also a soft mat area with a play gym and a slide!

Next door was a cafeteria, which we bypassed (we had our own dinner plans) and a couple of rooms for birthday parties and private events, which would be fun!

The last few attraction areas were the 4-D Cinema room where a short LEGO themed movie played every 30 minutes, the LEGO Friends area, which was full of pink, girly LEGOs (where were these when I was a kid?) and LEGO Racers, where kids could design and race their own creations on a variety of hills and ramps.  Unfortunately at this point we were losing Rowen to her hunger so we just quickly walked through.  It was probably ok that we didn’t stay too long because these attractions were definitely geared toward older kids.  If Rowen had been between the ages of 5-9 we definitely would have spent more time there.

After about an hour inside LEGOLAND we were starving.  Across the street was the Crowne Plaza shopping center, which houses a handful of different restaurants.  We took the advice of a friend of mine who had taken this same trip a few weeks earlier and decided to eat at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant!  

This place was AWESOME!  After you find an empty booth, you place your order through a phone on the wall next to you.  Your call is then answered by the “train conductor” and within minutes your food is delivered via a small electric train that runs circles along the perimeter of the ceiling!  SO FUN! 

The ambiance of the restaurant is old school diner-like, the food was greasy (but SO good), the shakes were delicious and the onion rings were to die for! 

 Rowen’s favorite part was the conductor hat she was given upon walking in!  So cute!

All in all we had an awesome weekend!  Thanks Kansas City, we can’t wait to come back!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Weekend Getaway- Part 1

"Sea Life Aquarium Kansas City on behalf of US Family Guide provided tickets for this review.  My review is an honest opinion based on my own experience and has not been reviewed or edited by Sea Life Aquarium Kansas City."

Two weekends ago, our little family of three decided to pack up and head three hours south to Kansas City for a quick weekend getaway! The plan was to visit two local attractions, Sea Life Aquarium and Lego Land!

However, we could not make a trip to Kansas City without making a pit stop to the brand spanking new IKEA store in Merriam, Kansas!  We didn't have any intention to buy anything, but we did want to check out the kids’ bedroom furniture as possible ideas for Rowen’s “big girl room”! 

We found quite a few items we like and plan to go back in a couple of months (kid free) to make our purchases! YAY!

After about an hour of walking, we stopped at the cafeteria (which is impressive in itself) for a quick bite to eat and then headed back to check into our hotel. 

That afternoon (after nap time) we made our way to the Seal Life Aquarium in Crowne Center!  Late afternoon (4:00ish) was the perfect time to go because the crowds were small and we were able to leisurely walk through at our own pace. 

wasn't sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised when I walked in!  The aquarium is SO colorful with the interior designed to look like the inside of an old ship!  The thing I loved the most about it was that all of the tanks were right at Rowen’s height allowing for her to easily see everything the aquarium had to offer! 

We went a week before Halloween so it was an added bonus to see the tanks and walkways full of Halloween d├ęcor – Rowen loved seeing all of the pumpkins!

The aquarium also offers a tunnel and touch pool, which was neat!  

Rowen wasn't up for sticking her hands into the water at the touch pool, but Ryan and I sure were!  We got to touch a variety of creatures and staff was on hand to answer any questions we had!

We spent a good hour touring everything and then ended our visit at the gift shop where we let Rowen pick out one toy.  It came down to a plush mermaid doll or Finding Nemo bath figurines.  The Nemo toy won and she hasn’t stopped talking about fish since we left! 

All in all we had a great day!  I only wish Des Moines had an aquarium, it’s a great way to entertain and educate young kids and would provide an awesome rainy day or snowy day activity!  If we get the chance to come back to Sea Life Kansas City, we will definitely go again!

Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of our weekend getaway...our trip to LEGO LAND!  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Meal Plan Monday 11/3

This weekend was a fun one!  I call it our annual "sister weekend".  It started Friday night as my sister Sarah spent the night at my house in prep for a morning of craft show shopping on Saturday!   

Every year at the beginning of November, the Ankeny Art Center hosts one of the biggest craft fairs in Iowa known as Santa’s North Pole Village.  It’s a multi-site craft sale featuring tons of hand crafted items, jewelry, clothes, etc. Sarah and I make an attempt to go every year as a way of kicking off our holiday season - needless to say this picture describes our excitement for it, we love every minute of it! 

I had heard this year they were expecting upward of 10,000 people and I have a feeling they came very close...the crowds were huge!

Later that afternoon, while Ryan was watching football and Rowen was spending time with her grandparents, Sarah and I headed to the mall for more shopping (hello HomeGoods) and then headed back to her house for yet another slumber party! 

Sunday morning, Sarah and I parted ways so that Ryan and I could begin phase three of our never-ending landscape project.  We then ended the weekend with dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants!

Whew!  The weekend was so busy I did not have time to do my usual grocery shopping, but I did have time to menu plan.  Here is what’s on the calendar for this week!

Thursday - Not cooking

Friday - Bagel Pizzas

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