Let me just throw myself a little party because I’ve kept another human being alive and well for a whole year!! Well, okay I guess I had help from Derrick and family and some friends too 😉

Penny kind of had 4 different birthday celebrations!

We got to celebrate with my SIL and BIL and FIL in Atlanta (we were sans Derrick since he was in Australia for 10 days):


We got to have birthday cake ice cream with the family of one of my closest friends out here (again, sans Derrick because he was in Austria for another 10 days):


On her birthday (Derrick was home for that, happily), we took her to IHOP for some birthday pancakes, opened presents, went to the park to swing, and tried to give her cake, which she wouldn’t eat (she decided the next day though that she loved it and I was a horrible mom who didn’t have a limitless supply of cake to shovel in her mouth)

And this past weekend, we flew to Chicago with Derrick (who had a conference there this week) and my parents drove up to hang out with us. We went to the Shedd Aquarium, had some delicious pizza from Giordano’s, and walked around downtown a bit when the weather wasn’t too beastly cold and windy.

These days, she is just crazy busy running around, playing with all her new toys, looking at her books, and just generally being pretty fun and entertaining. She waves and claps and nods her head “yes” and “no” and is the best retriever right now. She will pull all her stuffed animals out one by one to bring them to me (now we are working on teaching her to put them back!) and clap her hands for herself because I guess she feels she’s a very good sharer.

I realized it’s been over a month since I last posted, but February was insanely busy and this month is shaping up to be the same, but that’s all for another post sometime to keep this post short and sweet and Penny-centric 😉

Happy Weekend, y’all!

February Friday Five

February Friday Five

I have an addiction to alliteration and assonance. Is there an Alliteration and Assonance Anonymous meeting I can attend? (why yes, I do feel very clever for that comment, let me just toot my own horn for a quick minute 😉 )

Moving on…

Happy Fri-yay! Has this week been incredibly long and tiresome for anyone else? Work has been super stressful for me and I’m just really glad to hit the weekend for a little refresh.

Not too much here to report…the past few weeks have just been busy in the ordinary way. Work, chores, and Penny on repeat. But the routine isn’t all that bad.

  1. I’ve been making them for a few weeks now, but I’m totally a fan of overnight oats. I even bought some little mason jars that are the perfect size for the serving size I make. If you aren’t familiar with overnight oats, you basically just soak your oats in milk overnight with lots of tasty additions and eat it cold in the morning. My favorite version so far is to do vanilla, banana, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. Perhaps the nutritional value of oats goes down when you add things like peanut butter and chocolate chips, but I feel like I get credit for having oats for breakfast anyway. I worked off this recipe initially and do 1/3 c oats and 1/3 c milk, for any of you interested in giving them a whirl. I made them in a bowl originally, but mason jars really do make it more exciting (and portable for mornings when I’m a little behind getting me and Pen out the door).
  2. I wanted to buy the first issue of the Magnolia Journal but never got around to doing it, but I decided to treat myself (thanks credit card cash back rewards!) to the new spring issue and I’m really excited to enjoy page after page of Magnolia/Joanna Gaines/Fixer Upper-related goodness.
  3. Not that I’m really actually in the market for spending money on home decor and kitchen things, but I can’t help myself and I do a lot of online window shopping and I’m eyeing this clean/dirty tea towel and these sweet French canisters from Magnolia Market. I’m also currently having a love affair with all things rose gold and would love this throw pillow for the family room. Maybe with the approach of spring I’m just feeling the need to clean and update. What are your favorite home splurges?
  4. We took PJ to Toys R Us this past weekend because her birthday is coming up and we thought we’d see what kinds of things caught her attention (spoiler alert: anything with Mickey Mouse was a big hit, but we did manage to interest her in some other things too).We got her some Mega Blocks which are good primarily for building towers for her to Godzilla-destroy but we also got her this little tiger xylophone/piano and she is quite the Mozart already, let me tell you (because she already got it even though it was a birthday present because Derrick wanted to give it to her). I also found a little Captain America toy because you are never too young to love Marvel (consequently, we had chicken shawarma this weekend and all I could thing about was when the Avengers all go for shawarma after saving New York/the world).
  5. Got some new reading material besides Harry Potter (I’ve been rereading for only the second time ever and have made it about halfway through PoA so far); I love that Amazon Prime gives you a “Kindle First” book every month. This month I chose a book called In Farleigh Field. It’s a WWII novel with spies and intrigue and general British goodness, I think. One review wrote that it was like binge-watching a great British Drama on Masterpiece Theater. And y’all know how I do love my Masterpiece Theater shows. So. I have big expectations for the book.

All right, this post was full of words and links and no pictures, so here’s a few pics of the Pen Monster.

Happy Weekend!

Happy 2017!

Happy 2017!


New Year’s Resolution Me is shaking her head in disappointment at Jan 21st Me. Unlike most years when I poo-poo making resolutions, this year I had grand ideas about how on top of life I would be. And now I remember why I don’t make resolutions…3 weeks into 2017 and I’m already always barely getting things done during the day and pushing stuff off until the next day. And then the next. And then the next. Until it’s January 21 and I’m finally getting a blog post done to cover Christmas, New Year’s, the Fiesta Bowl, the National Title Game, my baby becoming a toddler, and my first post-Penny 10K. I know, I know, so much excitement you can barely contain it, right? Well, I aim to please, so here’s everything you never thought you needed to know, in the form of a novella. Hope you have a few hours to spare (kidding, kidding; although this post did take several hours to finish since I had a lot of distractions from PJ, chores, and some ice cream and an episode of Blacklist to take care of).

Our first Christmas with Penny was a lot of fun (for me, mostly, I think, because she wasn’t very interested in the whole ordeal). She got showered with toys and clothes and books from all of our family and since she didn’t care about opening presents, I got to open a lot of extra gifts this year! I’m sure next year will be a new experience all over again.

Right after Christmas, Penny turned 10 months old:


And then we flew to Arizona to visit some friends, who were kind enough to let us crash at their house, watch Penny for us, and let us borrow a car, so that Derrick and I could go to the Fiesta Bowl to watch Clemson absolutely destroy OSU.

Right around then, Penny started actually walking on her own. She’d been taking steps since early December, but by the time we got back from Arizona, she was basically transitioning to walking everywhere. Now she practically runs everywhere and leaves a path of toys as she carries everything across the house. I cannot believe that next month she will be turning 1! She’s already becoming such a little person instead of a baby. I love it though and we are having so much fun with her these days.


Derrick and I reveled for maybe the entire week about Clemson’s awesome victory over Alabama in the National Championship game a few weeks ago. Can’t we all agree (unless you’re a Bama fan, which would just be silly) that it’s nice to have someone besides Alabama win? I think so.

This morning, Derrick and I braved the weather (California has actually been really rainy/windy/stormy most of the month and I’m super over it and I don’t want to say I miss the drought, but I miss the drought) to run a 10K trail run. Luckily, the rain did go away for the duration of our run, so it was sloppy and wet on the course, but we weren’t crossing the finish line looking like drowned rats, at least. It’s the farthest I’ve run in probably 1.5 years or more, and when I was running mile 5-6, I kind of wanted to sit down in the muddy puddles (where my Peppa Pig moms at!?) and just quit. But somehow I made it through and it felt good crossing the finish line! So our first (and maybe last? let me get back to you after I see how much my body hurts tomorrow) 10K of 2017 is in the books, and I’ve got the hardware to prove it:

I know, I know, my outfit couldn’t be any cooler. But when it’s 45 and windy/rainy out, you gotta do (or wear) what you gotta do, am I right?

I think I’ll kick off 2017 on the blog getting back to writing my “3 good things about the day/week” that my mom (and now my husband) made me do. Also, my mom is apparently not alone because did you know there are things called gratitude journals? I like the concept of actually keeping tracking in writing every day because then you can go back and look at all the daily blessings to be thankful for/happy about. But I’m thinking a regular old journal would suffice. Anyway, I digress. Here’s some awesome things about 2017 so far:

  1. Let’s talk TV shows. A) BBCs Sherlock. Oh. My. Goodness. This season was like, whoa. I don’t want to spoil anything in case you’re in the market for an amazing TV show and plan to watch it or are still catching up, but I seriously think I’m still recovering a little bit from the final episode. AND it could possibly be the last season, which is a major bummer. So if you haven’t watched it, do, but don’t get too attached to seeing it go on and on, because it probably wont. B) NBCs Timeless. Y’all. Watch this show! It’s so good! And educational (and learning is F-U-N)! Seriously, the almost-was-a-history major me can’t get enough of the time-traveling trio as they jump to all kinds of historical events, encounter major figures in history, all while trying to stop the bad guy from screwing everything up by changing stuff. Derrick and I binge-watched it over the holidays and I simply love it. C) Victoria on PBS Masterpiece. It premiered last Sunday and it was a 2-hr episode and I couldn’t stop watching it. I guess it’s just a soap opera set in another time and place, but I felt so wrapped up in the story from the get-go. I know it’s possibly wildly historically incorrect at times (from what I understand, like the way they portray the Lord M/Queen Victoria relationship), but I don’t care and I can’t wait to see the next episode! SO if you’ve got so much time you don’t know what to do with, check out any of those 3 shows and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
  2. Some delicious recipes I’ve recently tried out, which I’m recommending because sharing is caring, so if you’re in the market for some new recipes, check these out: avocado pasta, garlic bacon avocado burgers, zesty lime shrimp and avocado salad,  lemon paprika chicken, and these roasted sweet potatoes. As a full-time working mama with a toddler, ain’t nobody got time for complicated stuff, so most of these things are quick/easy to whip up without a lot of prep work or fuss.
  3. And really, this week has been good despite the terrible weather because Derrick hasn’t had to travel much lately so he’s around and I’ve got this crazy girl around:


And life is good 🙂

In the not-so-bleak Midwinter

In the not-so-bleak Midwinter

I know it isn’t technically even winter. And I’m not so sure I know what “midwinter” really means. But it’s Advent and Christmas is coming and ’tis the season for carols and cozy warm drinks and favorite winter movies like Elf and Christmas Vacation.

The three of us went back east for Thanksgiving (Penny and I had to fly without Derrick and I was pretty nervous, but she actually did pretty good for a squirmy 9 month-old stuck on a plane for hours on end)  and it was refreshing and good for my soul. It was amazing to spend time with my parents, see my sister and her family, enjoy a quick visit from my best friend from college and then travel back to the south to spend the holiday with all of Derrick’s family, none of whom besides my SIL had ever met Penny.

Penny was teething and grumpy and was (maybe still is?) going through a stranger danger phase where she has to be clutching to me like a starfish if new people are around. So that was a little frustrating. But she warmed up to most everyone by the end of the trip, so I think everyone got to enjoy time playing with her.

As with all good and lovely things, it was over too quickly and we were heading back to California before I felt ready to go, but PJ seemed to be happy returning to her house, her things, and her routine.

And now my wee one doesn’t seem quite so wee these days! With her one tooth and her desperate desire to figure out that whole walking thing, and her new (and only!) word, mama (or most of the time ma ma ma ma ma), she is becoming more and more her own little person and I love it. She’s still pretty easy going and happy and has starting laughing and giggling more than she’s ever done before.

So I’m really enjoying this Christmas season and thinking about the traditions we want to have with her. I’m looking forward to seeing what she thinks of presents and wrapping paper and shiny bows when we open presents on Christmas.

Other than our trip home, we’ve just been taking it easy, catching up on some TV shows, and decorating and baking for the holidays (well, Derrick hasn’t done so much on the decorating and baking front, naturally).

Since it’s Friday and it’s been a few months since I’ve done it, here’s my December edition of Friday Five:

  1. Sure and you’ve all been missing my random news articles from BBC News, but don’t despair! The drought is over! You should check out this article about a runaway pig, this article about Robert the Bruce (it’s a really fascinating article about the facial recreation they made from a skull cast), and this article about the history of ale-brewing in Britain
  2. This cookie recipe for chewy chai snickerdoodles. They’re pretty tasty and are the perfect kind of flavorings for this time of year, I think. I haven’t tried these yet, but I’m thinking this Christmas cookie season might need to include these and these as well. Oh! And I forgot I made these maple pecan shortbread bars and they were really delicious too.
  3. T-rex Tuesday videos! As usual, I know I’m behind the times, but recently there was a T-rex Tuesday in Scotland and it was awesome. But there are a lot of pretty hilarious videos of these people running around in T-rex costumes
  4. FIXER UPPER IS BACK! I want to be Joanna Gaines when I grow up. Seriously. She and her sweet family are just too cute. And it makes me wish we had our own home that I could do all sorts of fun projects in, except for mine would certainly not turn out nearly as beautiful.
  5. And I’m kind of out of things, so here’s a picture of Penny with a giant leaf!img_2295


Happy Harvest Days

Happy Harvest Days

Thanksgiving is next week already?! It’s been over a month since my last post? I guess I’d do well to catch up!

We took PJ to the pumpkin patch before Halloween so we could get her first pumpkin. She seemed pretty unimpressed by it:

Derrick decided to carve the pumpkin for her. Again, unimpressed and possibly disgusted as well:

Then she turned 8 months old:img_2050

And then she dressed up for Halloween:


These days she’s a growling, crawling fiend and she loves pulling herself up on just about anything close to the right height for her little fingertips to grab. She’s so much fun and it, as always, is crazy to me how different she is now from just a few weeks ago. But I’m loving every stage as it comes and trying to just enjoy the moment.

Derrick was gone for three weeks for work and it was lonely and awful and horrible. I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll say it again: being a single mom short-term is hard. And exhausting. And even harder when you get hit with a cold/flu again and it lingers for two of those three weeks. I even lost my voice for about a week while I was sick and it was just a major bummer. While I’m always happy to see Derrick when he comes home, I was extra super happy to have him back (the 2.5 lbs of chocolate he brought back didn’t hurt, either!).

So the past few weeks haven’t been too exciting as Pen and I trudged through the days without Derrick, but now we are getting ready to see some family for the holidays and enjoy some r&r  and I cannot wait!

Hope y’all have a great Thanksgiving next week! xo


Fall Favorites and Fun

Fall Favorites and Fun

It’s been a very low-key weekend for us full of football and naps and early bedtimes (even for this mama!) so I feel wonderfully relaxed and rested.

Since I’ve got a little extra time and energy, here are some highlights of the last two weeks:

My Stitch Fix. I love Stitch Fix! I got an amazing box of clothes and I kept it all because it was so great. Pieces included this olive green blazer and ivory blouse (and great olive pants but they clash a little with the jacket) which is feeling like the perfect combo to wear for another date night with the hubby. With a cute plaid dress and a grey and black sweater to finish off my box, my closet is feeling happy.


The completion of my very own Harry Potter collection:


I picked up the first two in New Zealand a few years ago but wanted to get the rest of the books with the same cover/artwork but it was hard to find. So my wonderful dad (well my mom too, but my dad is the king of questing!) hunted down the rest of the books for me while they were on holiday in Canada. It’s been a long time since I’ve read them, so in my copious amounts of free time (haha), I think I’ll start the series again.

Bakes! Last weekend I made this country apple fritter bread and it was everything I wanted it to be: full of cinnamon and apples and fall. Today I made these caramel apple cupcakes and they’re quite scrumptious. If you’re craving a tasty apple-filled bite of fall, I recommend either of these two recipes.

My adorable nephew and niece (aka my sister) sent this cute towel and potholder for me. Because it is fall, y’all, and I love love love these adorable forest creatures:


Penny turned 7 months old since the last time I posted and school picture day happened to be on her 7 month birthday, so naturally we got fancy for that:


And as far as Penny things go, we just ordered a baby gate for the apartment (cat box is in an easily accessible place) because someone decided to learn to crawl. Well, a belly flop/army crawl/sometimes a few paces on hands and knees combo. But the bottom line: she’s mobile! It’s awesome but also Lazy Mom is bummed because she obviously requires more keeping up with now. But it’s the beginning of yet another fun phase as we watch our tiny human grow 🙂

This evening we took her to the park and put her in a swing for the first time. She smiled and laughed a little and did not cry at all, so I think she liked it. We sat her in the grass too and she was a wee bit skeptical about grass. She tolerated it, but she didn’t look too happy about it.img_1954

I wish I could just spend all day playing with her at the park, but, alas, it is back to the daily grind tomorrow.

Have a good week! xo


Friday Favorites: First Fall Edition

Friday Favorites: First Fall Edition

It is officially fall, y’all! I’m pretty sure I’ve been talking about and anticipating Fall for a while now, but I can’t help it because it’s simply the best season. Sorry I’m not sorry, Winter, Spring, and Summer.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite things of the week:

1.This video/article asking Brits about Tim Hortons because apparently they’re going to open in the UK. It also really made me want some Timbits which is a bummer because unless we’re flying to Vancouver this weekend, I’ll be waiting awhile to be having any (Mom, if you’re reading this, add Timbits to the list of food I need when we come home to visit!).

2. Clemson football!! We’re off to another good start this season (even if a few of the wins haven’t been very pretty). And, we are getting Game Day next Saturday, which is exciting, even though I kind of hate ESPN these days and their pushy liberal agenda and desire to talk about everything except for sports, but I digress.

3.The winter gear I got for Penny…I know it doesn’t get that cold in California, but I figure she still needs a good hat and coat for the cold months, and for visits home where the temperatures definitely will be cooler.

4. These two ice cream flavors:


Yes, you’re reading that correctly; those flavors are white chocolate raspberry truffle and vanilla, tangerine, & shortbread. The shortbread one actually has pieces of shortbread in the ice cream and it kind of tastes like have biscuits and Earl Grey tea. It may be one of the most British ice cream flavors ever invented, and I love it! These days, my ice cream at the end of a long day is the perfect treat.

5. BabyLit books – I bought Penny a few BabyLit books awhile ago (Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), but I just got her a new one: The Odyssey: A BabyLit Monsters Primer. I love so much that this book for little ones includes Charybdis the sea monster because obviously teaching your baby how to pronounce Charybdis and other Greek monster names is a #parentingwin. I just recently discovered that beyond books (of which there are more than I realized), they have other puzzles, games, totes, etc. I’ve got my eye on these stroller cards for a Christmas present for P, I think. <all the heart eyes emojis> As you can see, Penny is already quite the connoisseur of classics:img_1784

I’ve got a new Fix from StitchFix coming at the beginning of October that I’m excited about (need a few pieces to spruce up my fall/winter clothes!), some new Jamberry  nail wraps to keep my nails festive all season long, and almost a full month of getting to have Derrick at home, so I’m feeling good about fall!

Happy Friday, y’all!