the friday post – vol. 15

It’s December! Finally, or already? I can’t decide. Either way I’ve been looking forward to this month for weeks and I’m so happy it’s finally here. Days of decorating, hot chocolate, cookies, and cheery music are here! We opened the first of our advent calendar boxes this morning and are headed downtown tonight for dinner and the Christmas tree lighting!

I was not ready to go back to school this week after our weeklong thanksgiving break. Charlie is going through a traumatic transition to the toddler room at daycare so nights have been touchy and mornings reluctant. He’ll get used to it all in good time, but the extra tears have been pulling at my heartstrings.

Our house is feeling awfully cramped lately with Charlie’s toys everywhere and only more to come. I feel like my nesting is kicking in hard this weekend. I’ve already cleaned the bathroom and have plans to rearrange bookshelves to accommodate some toy baskets. It’s been driving me batty to have everything out! Updates to come.

I made Chex mix last weekend which always makes it feel like the holiday season to me. My mom always had a tin of Chex around for holiday munching and I’m loving the salty snack at home and taking in a baggie for school. We have tons of Chex leftover so I’m making mike’s holiday favorite next – puppy chow.

And the weather has been perfect lately. Charlie only wants to be outside after school and has figured out how to open the door. Good thing we keep it locked!

What are you up to this weekend? Something nice I hope. Make some sweet memories this weekend friends!

diy advent calendar

img_9877I want so badly this year to really appreciate and make the most of every moment of this holiday season. It just goes by in the blink of an eye, and I feel like if you don’t try to enjoy it, then it seems to be over before it even began. Charlie is becoming a very curious (too curious sometimes!) and aware little person and it’s been so fun to see him watching the lights go up around the neighborhood, in stores, and in our house. To say he is interested in these little boxes that popped up on the kitchen windowsill overnight is an understatement.

img_9874

I can’t take credit for the design. I browsed Pinterest (of course) for ideas and found so many! I toyed with an calendar of envelopes on the wall, jars on the windowsill, but settled on a modified version of this cute one from Oh Happy Day that uses small boxes with trees hot glued to the top. I adjusted for what I found at Michaels (small boxes, a set of 21 holiday trees for $10, and bought some pinecones and bells to fill the last 4).

img_9903

I’ve been wanting to do an advent calendar to celebrate the season for the last few years, but while I could have done it, it seemed silly to make one for just Mike and I. I also still don’t feel like Charlie needs gifts of toys or chocolate every day like most traditional advent calendars, so ours is one of easy festive activities like drinking hot chocolate, watching a christmas movie, or taking a walk around the neighborhood to ogle lights. Some are activities for Charlie, and others just Mike and I, so it’s a nice little combination of holiday activities.

df79ccea-d529-406f-bbd1-f8cb4e369124

A few are pre-planned weekend activities like getting our christmas tree, going downtown to our town’s christmas tree lighting, and taking Charlie to sit on Santa’s lap. I can’t wait for December to begin so Charlie can open up the first box! I love how it turned out, and am planning to make this an annual tradition that our kids will look forward to.

 

 

the friday post – vol. 14

It was an eventful week at our house. Charlie’s birthday, a dinner out for Mike’s work last night, the Halloween dance at school for me another night, and Charlie’s one year check up complete with shots. Phew.

I’m also starting to feel very pregnant this week at 25 weeks. We go in on Monday morning for our anatomy ultrasound, so we’ll find out if this baby is a boy or a girl! I remember feeling like Christmas was coming early when we had our ultrasound with Charlie, and I’m starting to feel that tingle of anticipation that I had last year.

I can’t believe it’s Halloween next week!! We still haven’t gotten Charlie a Halloween costume, but he’s been wearing his little pumpkin outfit nonstop. Such a crowd-pleaser when we go out and about. This weekend we must get him something, or else he may have to be the paper bag prince.

In our entertainment news, I’ve been obsessed with listening to this podcast called Homecoming. It’s a fiction podcast, so it’s kind of a combination of feeling like you’re listening to an audio book and a tv show. So good. I’m saving the last episode for my drive home today after school.

Plans this weekend include the beach, laundry, a clean house and long walks around the neighborhood to check out everyone’s Halloween decorations.

handmade halloween cards.

We sent out these little handmade Halloween cards over the weekend. Aren’t they sweet?

I saw a tutorial on Pinterest a couple weeks ago and immediately put them on my crafting list. I love browsing Pinterest for ideas, and it always gives me a little burst of festivity around this time of year. Right now my feed is a a cornucopia of holiday crafts, decor, cozy foods, and baby things.

These cards were a fun little way to kick off the holiday season. I’ve tucked a couple away to remember Charlie’s tiny hand at one year old and sent the rest off in the mail to all of our nearest and dearest.

Click here for instructions for how to make some handprint cards of your own!

In other crafting news – I made this pumpkin yarn garland for the mantle a couple weeks ago, and started knitting a bright red, festive hat for a very special gift come Christmas.

the friday post – vol. 13

Whoa it feels like eons since the last one of these things, am I right? This week was a little wonky with our little bug going home from school sick on Tuesday and staying home to fight the virus for a couple days. Feverish babies are no fun, but it was nice to get some extra sweet snuggles, lounge around in jammies and to take in lots of disney movies on the couch. Today is a teacher professional development day, so it’s been an easy week school-wise. We’re in the thick of the school year now, and time is just moving along with no holidays in sight until Thanksgiving.

Charlie’s been doing some funny new things lately – pointing at everything, saying “dada” “mama” & “baba”, grabbing his hair with his yucky food fingers during meals, and running around everywhere on his own two feet. He’s obsessed with the backyard – especially butterflies and bougainvillea blooms, and turns ONE on Tuesday!

It sounds like we’re heading to a work thing for Mike on Saturday, but other than that, we’ve got not a thing going on. We’re planning to get Charlie (and us) a family membership to the Zoo for his birthday next week, so I’m thinking we might make a little early birthday trip there this weekend. Charlie’s at just the right age to start looking at all the animals.

Mike was in Denver for a bachelor party last weekend – solo mommy all weekend eek! But we survived! I’m just looking forward to being two parent strong this weekend, getting Charlie’s few birthday presents wrapped, and whipping him up a Halloween costume.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Something wonderful, I hope!

xx, em

baby in a tin, a note on being resourceful.

Who needs a baby pool anyway? This first weekend of summer break was too, too good. I’m feeling all sorts of happiness about it. The first weekend is important, you know? It sets the stage for the whole summer. And it’s going to be a good one – I can feel it in my bones. How could it not be, with this kid?The heat and humidity swooped in with a vengeance this weekend, so I pulled the little tin beer cooler out of our outdoor side table, gave it a good wipe, filled it to the brim with the hose, moved it to a shady spot (all talk of not hanging out under the mango tree aside 😂) and tucked Charlie in it to splash away to his heart’s content. When I pulled him out thirty minutes later, happy & tired, I wrapped him and his wrinkly toes in a big striped beach towel. He took a solid two hour afternoon nap after that. Such goodness! Just love this little man so much. So, moral of the story? You don’t need to buy a thing to have summer fun. Running water? Something, anything to hold it in? You’re good! Or really pull out all the stops and hook up your hose to a sprinkler – or even just a sprayer head. No need to go out and buy anything. Although you certainly can if you so fancy! Find summer fun around you wherever you are! I’m finding that Charlie doesn’t care (nor I!) one bit if something is new, old or found. He loves his new shaker toy as much as the little Tupperware I filled with rice. And clearly he loves the tin as much as a baby pool 😊. But let’s be honest – I’m reeeeelly excited to put him in a real pool when we’re home in Indiana next week!! The tin was such a sweet solution for a hot, humid Florida day, but nothing beats the real thing. Just a note to remind (mostly myself) that money need not be spent for summer fun! ☺️

happiest of summer breaks.

Just popping in to say that it’s officially summer break over here at the Metroka house! I go back on Monday to turn in my school keys and to have lunch with my teacher friends, but Charlie’s tagging along for the day so it hardly counts as a work day. ☺️

Mike is at a golf outing for the day, so Charlie and I are making lists and mango bread, plotting out our summer plans. The real fun begins next week with a visit gulfside to see our sweet college friends, then up to Chicago home to Indiana to see friends and family. There’s a tightness of excitement building in my chest! I have a feeling this summer is going to go by in the blink of an eye with a million memories to keep! These are the days and we’re going to make the absolute most of them!!

the friday post – vol. 12

dba643e8-dc83-4291-ac6a-e5dacb744420

Ahhhhh Friday! And ONE WEEK LEFT OF SCHOOL! I could not be more thrilled. I had my last classes in the library today (movie week!), and it feels good. Even if you work a “regular” job, I’m sure you’re celebrating this Friday especially because hello long weekend! We don’t have anything special planned which will make it feel even more relaxing.

d2580710-49b2-419f-9e74-f8afec009811

It’s been so rainy lately that we have these sweet little mushrooms popping up all over the garden! The rain has been fantastic for my herbs and the grass, but not great for our enjoyment of the great outdoors. It’s raining as I write this and I’m feeling like this weekend may be a cozy and peaceful one with pitter pattering on our rooftop.

09c59a8d-ca3e-470f-af79-69f911954bee

I made Ina’s chicken parmesan this week with a side of garlic bread from my loaf of no-knead bread. It was especially good. Mike emphatically stands that it’s not really chicken parmesan because it doesn’t have a red sauce. He thinks it’s really just a salad with breaded chicken which is totally fair. But still delicious. I had this recipe on the menu this week for my *new* recipe, but we didn’t get around to it because of a few extra after school events! It’s getting shifted to next week and I’m still excited about it.

It’s officially rosé wine season, and I have jumped right on the bandwagon with my whole heart. So refreshing! Such an easy summer bevvie! I want to try this recipe for rosé sangria which sounds amazing. I may just have to host a happy hour so I can try it. 🙂

113bd5b7-bd17-493f-9dbe-6e164d801743

Everything is blooming around us right now! Trees, flowers, bushes! I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m noticing all of it especially much this year. We had our jasmine vine on the front porch in bloom a couple weeks ago, and now it’s the roses. What’s next, I don’t know!

fdeebb09-c114-4f1d-8024-c429e6c1905b

I’m so looking forward to a quiet weekend at home with my two boys (plus Wendy) , lots of snuggling, too many belly laughs, and happy hours every night. 🙂 What are you looking forward to this weekend? Something wonderful, I hope!

xx, em

the show i’ve been waiting a year for.

71b64757-72b2-4afc-bd2a-02a22484995a

I read about pbs’s new show in July of last year, and I’ve been ticking off days on my calendar! The Great American Read finally debuted Tuesday night on pbs, and it was everything I had hoping for and more. Okay, okay. I did fall asleep about halfway through. It was two hours long! It’s hard for a tired schoolgirl mama to stay up that long! The list of 100 will be talked about in episodes over the next months, and voting will determine the number one Great American Read. I think it’s so fun! I love book hype.

I printed the list off in checklist form the other day so I could track what I had and hadn’t read. I’m embarrassed to say that I’d read not even half of the books. Some of the books included surprised me! The Notebook!Gone Girl! FIFTY SHADES OF GREY!!? THE best?? I just don’t know. Harry Potter though – my number one as of right now. What do you think? You can vote for as many books as often as you want, and I’ve already gone in to vote for five or six. I haven’t even read them all, so it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around which one is going to be the best! I need to get reading this summer. 🙂 I may just have to do a few re-readings too! I’m trying to talk Mike into a couple’s book club with me, but I might have more luck convincing my mom of a mother-daughter club. Right, mom?

If you missed it – you can watch for free online here!

first mother’s day.

My heart is so full after the sweetest weekend with my two boys. I’m feeling spoiled!

Mike sent me off to have my nails done on Saturday while he snuck to the store with Charlie to pick up groceries for the most delicious Mother’s Day dinner. I’m fairly no frills when it comes to self-care, but getting pedicures is my guilty little pleasure. I only go if Mike sets it up for me for a special occasion or if my mom is in town. 🙂 The last time I got a pedicure, I was 42 weeks pregnant (natural induction attempt 548), so it was such a thoughtful treat. Saturday night we went out for ice cream on the beach with the happiest baby on earth. I had blueberry, Mike, salted caramel. We shared little bites with Charlie and he would’ve eaten the whole cup if we had let him! Rain fell all through the day on Sunday so after Facetimes with both of our moms, we headed to the Norton Museum of Art, our favorite rainy day outing. Charlie’s first visit! He wore his Eric Carle “I Love Mom” hungry caterpillar shirt and everyone commented on what a handsome, sweet boy we have which warmed my mama heart. The Norton is undergoing some major renovations, so open now are only a couple wings of their permanent art collections. The perfect size for a six month old art newbie, and a nice no-fuss outing for our little family. It was my one Mother’s Day request since it clearly was not panning out to be a beach day. Our dinner was amazing. We had an appetizer of shrimp with St. Elmo’s cocktail sauce. Mike made the steak on the cast iron skillet (rain!) and it was so so tender that I think it may be our new favorite way to make steak rather than the grill. Asparagus, smashed red potatoes, and mushrooms cooked in butter topped it all off. My mouth is still watering. And the best part? I didn’t lift a finger. Mike did it all while I played on the floor with our little man and drank my wine. 🙂 Best Mother’s Day ever. The first of what I hope will be many homemade Mother’s Day gifts. 🙂 I hope each and every mom was spoiled rotten on Sunday. You deserve it!