Things We're Loving Lately: February 2019


I have gotten some really great recommendations from blog friends, so I thought I'd share some of the things we are loving these days! Not just kid stuff ;) *there are some affiliate links and referral codes in this post. Thanks for supporting this tiny habit of mine!


Right around Christmas, R started asking to play games. She'd never seemed interested before, and then all of the sudden all she wanted to do was play a game. I went through our game box and found this Blink card game, which is technically supposed to be a speed game for adults, but I adapted it for playing with R, and she loves it! The whole point is to match colors, shapes, and number together, and it's honestly a fantastic game for learning.

I bought her Go Fish for Christmas, and that's been a hit also. This is the specific set I got her. The cards in this deck are large and shaped like fish, which I think adds to the fun. (Although please note that the colors are unusual. When we play, we just go by blue, green, pink, etc. At some point I'll teach her "turquoise" ha.)

We got this when R was a baby, and she loved it. Now 3.5 years later it's in awesome shape and used almost daily by J. This is my must-have toy recommendation for all moms, I think. It's been a good one for us!

My in-laws got us this set of blocks for Christmas two years ago, and to be completely honest we only built half the set because we didn't want to be overrun with blocks. But the kids love building towers and playing with these blocks nearly every day. They hold up pretty well too when the kids stand on them!

When building, we also love mega bloks. Maybe one day we will graduate to the classic tiny Legos, but for now these have worked so well. Both the kids from a young age have enjoyed playing with these, and they haven't cracked or broken even when hurled across the room. 

Hide 'n Side Tunnel - My brother and SIL got this for the kids for Christmas, and it's so fun. It folds up easily inside the bag for easy storing and pops right out for some tunnel fun! Well, mostly fun unless they both start crawling in at either end and get feisty when they meet in the middle ;)

R and I love Fancy Nancy! These books are so fun, and her family is lovely. R is really into all things princesses and pink right now, so these are in constant reading rotation at bedtime.

This is my actual favorite book to read the kids right now. They love it too, but it's for real my favorite. The rhyme is cute, and it has these really awesome areas to touch that are different from the typical touch-and-feel book out there. There is also a monster edition. And... oh my gosh while writing this I discovered there is a shark version and a spider version! NEED THEM ALL. Although if there's a snake version I will pass, thank you.


--So, of course you all know I regularly make muffins to freeze for the kids for breakfast. In case you've never seen it, here is a post with a few favorites. I posted this list in 2016 and still make all of these! I actually just made the sweet potato muffins over the weekend.

--Hello Fresh. For the past 4 months or so, we've been getting a box of Hello Fresh once a month. The box comes at the end of each month with 2 meals to feed 4 people. I still don't think Hello Fresh is at all a budget-friendly option if you're going to get it regularly, but in this season of life, it's been great for us.

All the recipes we've gotten have been easy to make and taste delicious. There have, of course, been one or two here and there that take slightly longer than the recipe said or aren't totally love for us, but we've never had a bad one, and overall we've been super happy with our subscription. Getting just one box a month is a nice break for grocery shopping and meal planning, and Jordan and I generally each take one meal to make, which is nice for me!

If you'd like to try it out, even just one time and then cancel after the first box, you can use my referral code to get $40 off your first delivery. We recently had a friend get a box on our recommendation, and they loved it!

--Groceries with Ibotta
I used to use Ibotta all the time, and then I forgot about it, and now I'm back on the train! This is an app where you can save money on groceries (along with other things) just by uploading a photo of your receipt and getting actual cash back, which you can transfer to PayPal or use to buy gift cards through the app! It's really easy to use; it's just a matter of me actually remembering to upload the receipt and add the coupons. Use my referral code to get a welcome bonus up to $20!


Maybe I should write an entire post about my various photo album and scrapbooking attempts. Let me know if that would be something you'd like. 

I have used Shutterfly for making my online photo books for years and years, but at the end of 2018 I decided I wanted to branch out.

I made a very simple photo book with some England pictures from Artifact Uprising (pictured on the left above). I think they are having a President's weekend sale of 10% through today (Tuesday); look for a code on their site.

I also created 3 Chatbooks: 2 with over 150 photos each from Instagram (on the right above) and 1 with almost 300 England photos (below). I love how they turned out and how easy they were to put together. I'm used to spending hours and hours on Shutterfly books, so it was nice to put together some photo books a bit quicker. You can use my referral code to get $10 off your first Chatbooks order. I will also say that I had an issue with my third Chatbooks, and their customer service is amazing. Super impressed with the quality of their CS, and I love the books I made.

I also just recently printed 100+ photos from Persnickety Prints. I had uploaded everything to Shutterfly and was about to place my order, but they were going to charge me almost as much to ship my photos as it cost for the photos themselves! I was like, no thank you, and I ended up using the code "welcome" for free shipping off my first order at Persnickety Prints and got the exact same order I was going to get at Shutterfly for cheaper! Plus I think the quality is going to be a lot better.

Now I want to know! What is something you've been loving lately?

Checking In


*I linked to a few things below using an affiliate link. Clicking gets me a few cents at no cost to you :)

I feel like my blog is one of those friends you've known so long that you don't have to talk regularly, but whenever you do talk you can pick right back up as though no time has passed. Of course, I realize it might not feel that way to you, but it does to me. Did you know I started this blog in May 2010? It's been almost nine years of blogging!

Speaking of things that have been going on a long time, Jordan and I met in January 2009, and last month he reminded me that we've known each other now for a whole decade. We started dating in the summer of 2009! We both have said that sometimes we wish we had met when we were younger so that we could have gotten married earlier and had kids when we were younger (I had R when I was 29 and J when I was 30), but also you can't help when you meet someone, and just thinking about all the things that had to happen basically throughout our entire lives for me to end up in Oklahoma and for us to meet at all blows my mind a little bit. But anyway, that actually has nothing to do with what I was planning to write this post about! ha.
We've had a really hard time in the evenings with R for the past year or so, which has been a contributing factor in my lack of blogging, because I just don't have the time. She will not stay in her room and go to sleep, and we keep having to try new things to see if this or that will work better---earlier bedtime, later bedtime, lying in her bed with her, shutting the door, leaving the door open, a light-up clock... I'm so not patient, and a lot of parenting seems to be trial and error, which annoys me.

Also annoying? Toddlers who make up the most ridiculous reasons to come out of bed 85 times before finally going to sleep!
At the beginning of February I flew to Saint Louis and had a girls' weekend with 2 friends of mine from college. There were supposed to be 4 of us, but our other friend's son got sick at the very last minute, so she wasn't able to come. We stayed at my friend Lauren's house, and our other friend drove down with her daughter from Chicago. I left the kids with Jordan and flew in Saturday morning and came back Monday night. We hadn't seen each other in over a year and a half (maybe close to two years even!), and it was so nice to have friend time with people who know you so well. I even took my running clothes and got in an hour run while I was there, which is good because I have a half marathon coming up at the end of April and need to get some long runs in.
On Valentine's Day, I bribed them with candy hearts to sit still for a picture. R played her part well, but J still doesn't totally get the concept of bribery so it went about as well as I could have hoped. Don't even say they are getting so big because THEY ARE NOT. They are still babies. Thank you.

My mom mailed two books to our house that arrived on Valentine's Day, one for R and one for J. I hadn't heard of either book, but they are super cute! It was perfect since I didn't have anything to give them, and R was excited. No, I don't do Valentine's baskets. Or Easter baskets, for that matter. I'm not against it, but I'm also cheap and not that on top of life at the moment to put together a cutesy gift for my kids for the Holiday of the Month. Next people are going to start doing St. Patrick's Day baskets. Actually that's probably already a thing.

Since I probably won't blog again for months, I feel like I need to keep going while I have you. What else... oh, I finally got the America's Test Kitchen cookie cookbook for Christmas from Jordan and have made a few things from it. The recipe is, as expected, amazingly specific. Things like, whisk for 30 seconds, let batter rest for 1 minute. Repeat 2 more times. But my cookies have come out looking exactly like the picture in the book! It's been fun to branch outside my usual Tollhouse recipe ;)
R built this tower last weekend completely on her own. As in, Jordan and I helped in no way. We don't have any other 3-year-old buildings to compare to, but we felt like this was showcasing some impressive architectural skills. Her daycare teachers have always said that she's really smart, so it's not just us being biased!

I suppose I could keep going, but I'll stop for now. I did want to check in and let you know that we are all alive, and no, I'm not pregnant. Not that anyone has asked, but in the blog world when someone disappears for a while, it's not unusual for them to come back and announce something. Nothing to see over here, people! Just working full time and trying to fit in all the things in the short time I have in the evenings after we finally get R down (J is so easy for the most part!). How it's the middle of February already I have no idea. Thanks so much if you're still hanging around to read these posts of mine!