Food, family, and fitness... all with a bit of style.

Friday Favorites.....Goodbye to March

I am so happy it is Friday and the last day of March! I am not a huge fan of March.... mainly because of the weather. We usually get a little taste of warmth and sunshine in the beginning of the month and then right back to cold and grey! The kids had 4 days off of school this month for bad weather....2 for severe winds and 2 snow days! But I think we are finally out of the cold, so bring on April!  
Scratch that... it was snowing here yesterday!
Let's move on!  I am linking up with  AndreaNarci, and Erika to share a few of my Friday Favorites. Just a random assortment of things that made me happy this week!

This warmer weather!! This has been a great week with warmer temps here (aside from yesterday). The kids are loving playing outside after school and again after dinner! And the warmth and sunshine definitely was a bonus on my 17 mile run this week....

This book! It is my third month in a row with a book from Beatriz Williams and I have loved every one! It took me a bit to get into it, but I was flying through the last 200 pages. I could not wait to find out what happened to Violet Grant! I shared my March Book Review yesterday. If you missed it, you can catch up here.
Wednesday dates with my guy! E & L have religion class for an hour on Wednesday night and we take advantage of that time for ourselves. Last week we ran a few miles though the village and this week we grabbed coffee and read our books. It's a nice, quiet break mid week.
Paul reads books on his phone... I prefer a book in my hands!
Show & Tell Tuesday was so fun this week. The topic was sharing your 5 favorite pictures. I struggled to narrow it down, so I shared 10. And of course I have remembered so many more favorites over the past few days.  This was my #2 favorite.... a beautiful rainbow, arched perfectly over our house 😊
So excited for our weekend! The kids have a Spring Fling at school tonight. I am volunteering at one of the stations, so E & L are extra excited that they can enjoy some of the time with just their friends, while I am helping out.  And this is "the year of 40" for me and a bunch of friends. So Saturday we are off to help one of my friends since kindergarten celebrate 40! We have an afternoon of stopping for appetizers at a bunch of spots in the city. I don't know about you, but I can always make a meal out of apps... I love appetizers! **Bonus...we have a driver.... everyone can relax and have fun!
Then we finish up our weekend with Luke's Lego party!
He is so pumped to have his friends over. The weather looks great too, so I am sure they will be able to get out and play some basketball too!
I hope you all have had a great week! Enjoy your weekend!
See you on Monday with our weekly meal planning post....there's always room for one more at our family table.

March Book Review

It't the last Thursday of the month & time for my monthly book review! A couple light beachy reads, a little suspense and a third book from one of my new favorite authors rounded out this month. I am linking up with Narci over at Grace and Love Blog for her monthly Carpool Book Club.  Be sure to check out her blog for all her picks too!!
                                       If you missed the last few, you can catch up below.....
A little recap on my March reads. The first two I finished up after vacation, so they are more in the beach read bucket!
This was the first book I read by this author,  Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer and probably won't be the last. This was the story of two girls from very different lives who spent their summers together on Nantucket. The book follows them from the time they are 11 years old through early adulthood. There were a few surprises and some things played out differently than I expected. I liked that it was not predictable. A fun, light read that I think you will enjoy!
And between this book and all those I have read from Elin Hildebrand, I really need to get to Nantucket!

Another new to me author. I just loved this book! This followed three women in very different stages of life, each enduring a life changing event. I connected with all three characters and really enjoyed reading their stories. A very quick, fun read! I wish that there was another book that continues their stories.... and if you know of one out there, please let me know!

Now this one has been on my list to read for the last month....The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. So I have heard great things on this one, so I think I may have set the bar too high. Reviewers said if you liked Gone Girl or Girl on the Train this is a must read. Well I liked both of those so I got this one. I have to admit, I did not love it. I thought it was good....not great. This was the story of a woman chosen to go on the maiden voyage of a luxury ship through the Norwegian Fjords. She meets someone in Cabin 10 during the first day.....witnesses something horrific....and then all is not what it seems. It was not predictable, rather I was surprised how it ended, however I just didn't love it. I did connect with the main character enough to make it a "can't put it down" type of book. But yes it was similar to the one I mentioned, and if rank them in order of my favorites....
1. Gone Girl
2. Girl on the Train
3. The Woman in Cabin 10

The Secret Life of Violet Grant. So this is my third month with a book by Beatriz Williams. I read A Hundred Summers and Tiny Little Thing by her earlier this year. I loved both of them!  As I began reading this one, there were characters that crossed over to Tiny Little Thing! I did not expect that and thought it was fun.
Now I have 80 pages left on this one, so unless the ending doesn't sit well I would highly recommend this one! Vivian is a journalist and discovers a suitcase belonging to a mysterious aunt, Violet Grant. Violet disappeared and it has always been speculated that she murdered her husband and ran off with her lover. Vivian is on a mission to uncover what really happened..something her family would rather not do. It's a very good read with great characters that have a parallel to them.. grab this one for sure!
But like I said... I still have the ending, so I will let you know if it changes my thoughts on this one.
So there you have it.... my March reads!
Any great recommendations out there for April?? I have been keeping a list of books that other bloggers have reviewed, along with recommendations from my readers. Slowly, but surely crossing them off.
Here's my recipe for a little treat... Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies. Can't beat a warm cookie and a good book!
See you tomorrow for Friday Favorites....there's always room for one more at our family table.

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

I love the flavors of butterscotch & caramel and my kids love homemade oatmeal cookies. I usually make them with white chocolate and cranberries, but decided to switch it up with some butterscotch chips. They are so good and the perfect treat for a Sunday afternoon!

1 1/2sticks unsalted butter (room temp)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oats
1 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp salt
1 cup Butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix the flour, oats, baking soda and salt, set aside.
Beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and mix to combine. 
Add the flour mixture in two parts, mixing after each addition. Fold in the chips.
Drop by a rounded tablespoon onto a parchment lined sheet. I use a mini ice cream scoop to keep them  and even size. 
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a baking rack.

What's Up Wednesday....March Edition

Happy Wednesday friends!! It's time to link up with ShayMel and Sheaffer for What's Up Wednesday!
 A fun monthly post where we share what's happening in life lately.
What we're eating this week......  
A little bit of everything! One last crock pot meal and some new, fresh Spring dishes!

All simple, fresh and healthy dishes! I shared my meal plan for the week on Monday. You can check it out here. I shared recipes too!
What I'm reminiscing about......
Last month's vacation. This month has been so cold and grey...I am missing the sunshine & outdoor fun!

What I'm loving......
This mascara....Superhero from It Cosmetics.  I have tried lots of different ones over the years and this one is hands down my favorite!!
What we've been up to......
March was pretty low key for us and I loved it! We got to do what we wanted, when we wanted. We saw a few movies, had dinner with friends, hit up a local trampoline park and enjoyed the start of warmer weather!
Paul and I ran the local Shamrock Run.... it was 15 degrees, but lots of fun! 
Luke worked on some science experiments....on one of 4 days school was cancelled due to weather! 
We celebrated St Patrick's Day with lots of green and lots of shenanigans! 
And we celebrated Dr Seuss' birthday with Cindy Loo Who and The Lorax. 

What I'm dreading......
Honestly.... the 20 mile run I have on my training schedule next month. I have to stop thinking about it... it's definitely a mental thing. I just need to do it and get over it! It's the longest run of my training, so I guess if I can get through that one, maybe I really can run this marathon!

What I'm working on......
I am putting together some ideas for meal prep, kids lunch ideas, and kids snack ideas for April. I know towards the end of the school year we get bored with the same old things, so hoping to give a little inspiration during this time of year!

What I'm excited about......
Watching this little blog of mine grow!! I just started blogging about 6 months ago. My way of sharing a little of our life with the world. It has turned out to be a fun outlet for me and I have loved connecting with other bloggers. My first month I was so excited to have 15 people view my first post! Each month it has steadily grown and we grew to over 8,000 views last month! It's just crazy! And really exciting to me!  I try to be consistent and share some things that will be helpful or fun to read. Looking forward to keeping this little blog of mine growing! This was my first post......
.....and I have written 117 posts since then! 

What I'm watching/reading......
Paul and I love Homeland and Billions, both on Showtime. They are two of our favorites! Earlier this month I finally caught up and finished This is Us. I cried at every episode....every single one. But it is just so well written and I love all the characters. The episode of William and Randall in Memphis was hands down my favorite episode!
I am just wrapping up The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams. It's the third book I have read from her this year and I have loved every one! And I cannot wait to read The Lucky Few.
I am sharing my book review here tomorrow, and if you missed last month's you can catch up here.

What I'm listening to......
Again, always my hardest topic. I am just not a huge music person. I like music and dancing but am not obsessed. I think I have shared this before, but I love silence in the car! That being said, I have been rocking out to Pandora's Justin Timberlake radio while running!
Now if only he could just run with me 😉
What I'm wearing......
 I have talked about this wrap before and I am going to talk about it again! It is just a great piece this time of year! I have it in two colors... pale pink and light grey. They have a bunch of great new colors for Spring in shop at Research & Design.
And that necklace is from Stella &'s reversible and I just love it!
There is the wrap... wearing it all kinds of ways! You need one in your life 😊
What I'm doing this weekend......
Oh gosh we have a busy weekend ahead! Friday night the kids have Spring Fling at their school & I am volunteering. Saturday the kids are having a sleepover at my parents and Paul & I are heading out with some friends. This is the year of  turning 40 for me and many of my sweet friends. So we are off to celebrate with one of my friends since kindergarten! Going to be such a fun day! And then Sunday we are celebrating Luke's 8th birthday with some of his buddies for a Lego lunch...
and then celebrating again at dinner with my parents and sister! Whew! We are packing it in this weekend!

What I'm looking forward to next month......
Lots of fun and celebrations in April! We celebrate Luke's birthday and both of my parents and my sister in law's birthdays too! We also host Easter brunch every year! Ella has a dance competition and Luke will play his first baseball game! After a fairly quiet first few months of the year I am ready for some celebrating and watching the kids do their thing!

What else is new......
Not too much.... March was a nice, low key month!

Bonus Question
What's Your Favorite Spring Wardrobe Piece?
Hands down my military jacket. It is the best neutral color, lightweight and has great pockets! I wear it nearly everyday in the Spring!
So there it is.... a little What's Up with me for your Wednesday! I hope you all had a great March too! See you tomorrow for my Monthly Book Review.....there's always room for one more at our family table.

Show & Tell Tuesday....Favorite Pictures

Happy Tuesday friends!! I shared our weekend wrap up last night. A fun weekend celebrating Luke's birthday Hibachi style and loving the warmer Spring weather! You can catch up here if you missed it! So excited to link up with Andrea over at Momfessionals for Show & Tell Tuesday.

This week's topic is sharing my 5 most favorite pictures.... with an option for 10 :)
I of course went with 10 and even that was hard to narrow down to just 10! I have so many favorites, but I managed to pull together this list of ten.  I love taking lots of pictures, but I am terrible at organizing them. Someday I'll get a good system down... and if you have an efficient way please share!
 A few things about my list......
I decided to do it as a countdown, with  number one being my favorite.
These pictures are not only my favorites because they are a great picture, but in most cases because I love the story or the meaning behind the picture.
Here we go......
This was taken at the beach in Florida and I just love how Luke is leaning on her. It makes me hope that they will be this close for their entire lives!
This was Ella on the first day of fist grade. She loved "fashion" and was so excited to pick out her first day of school outfit. I will always remember her picking out accessories, skinny jeans and just walking out the door with such a confidence about her. Something that was not there just a year prior when she started kindergarten.  She was just beaming to start that school year!
I mean this pic is just everything! We gave Luke clubs for his third birthday and between the boots, the way he is holding the club and his staring at the ball....I just love this shot! And I am convinced this is the shot they will show on tv someday when he accepts the green jacket 😉
This was one of Maddie's first boat rides as a puppy. She loved watching the water behind the boat and I  always wondered what she was thinking!
This one! I was trying to get a pic in their holiday outfits and Luke leaned in for a smooch! Between her wispy hair, his cheeks, and their faces... it's these moments I wish I could freeze!
This is a recent picture and I love it for a few reasons. First, we just happened to be at the perfect spot, at the perfect time to capture the sun setting. Second, it was the last night of a really great vacation! And last, because I love this stage of life right now. The kids are at fun ages... they love to do fun stuff with us.. and they still think Paul & I are pretty cool!
This is Ella & Luke with both of their grandparents.  For a few years, we took both of our parents on vacation with us to Lake George. I love that the kids got to spend a week vacation with both of our parents... under the same roof! Such great memories!
I love this picture so much! I grew up vacationing at Lake George and had such great memories there. We rented a house there and I was so excited to show the kids and Paul the town and all the things we did as a family growing up. We had so much fun, we did it for the next 5 years. Every year we took our family pic in the same spot. Our kids still talk about our time there, so I am sure we will go back again!
I took this picture of our house a few years ago. We were watching a double rainbow in the backyard and I went around to look at it from the front. It just perfectly arched over our house! It is just such a magical picture to me.
The kids have grown up on the boat. They have been boating since they were just a few months old and we have so many "firsts" and memories on the boat. I love boating in the late Summer.... stealing a few more late nights as Summer winds down. This one I took in late August. They were on the bow of the boat laughing about something and the gleam in the water was just "picture perfect". I guess this is my favorite picture, because it sums up my favorite things... Ella & Luke, laughter, summer and a little glimmer!

And that's a wrap! See you tomorrow for What's Up Wednesday..... a little peek at what's up lately. And Thursday I will be sharing my March Book Review. Hope to see you soon.....there's always room for one more at our family table.

Weekend Wrap Up....Is Spring Finally Here??

So I don't want to jinx anything, but this weekend finally felt like Spring has made it's way here. Kids were in shorts..... writing with sidewalk chalk.....exploring the back woods......and I think all the snow piles have officially melted! YAY!! I saw this picture and laughed out loud!
This is so true! 
We had a great weekend filled with friends, family and lots of basketball!
Friday night Paul & I went to dinner with friends and then off to watch some basketball games. E & L were happy to hang out with their sitter Mia. It was a beautiful night and they spent lots of time outside!
Saturday I was up and out grocery shopping ear;y while everyone slept. I love getting that out of the way early! We had an exciting morning of cleaning and Paul declared it Spring. He put away the snowblower, skis and hosed down the garage floor!
My brother and his family came in to celebrate Luke and his son Nicholas' birthdays. We went with my parents and sister to a Hibachi style restaurant. I haven't been in a while & I forgot how entertaining it was!
Between eating noodles with chopsticks....
Catching flying broccoli.....
Water from a squirt bottle.... 
And a drum to play Happy Birthday.....
We all had a great time and laughed so much! 
We came back and had cake for the boys.
Watched more basketball.....
and played some basketball!
Such a fun night with family!
Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day. The kids played outside from 10am until they came in for dinner at 5! I love days like that!
I was in and out, playing with the kids & the dog. I snuck in time to put out a few Easter touches....
Chopped lots of goodness for the week.....
And made a yummy Spring dinner!  
You can grab the recipe for that one here.
A full weekend filled with some of my favorite things!
See you tomorrow for Show & Tell Tuesday. Sharing some of my favorite pictures! Hope you stop by....there's always room for one more at our family table.

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