Saturday, November 28, 2015

November 2015 Favorites...

November 2015 

I'm not quite sure when it even became November since mentally I'm still back in September!  The 70 degree weather this week isn't helping my acceptance of late fall/early winter....

1 - Fall School Pictures

After months of missing digital images, we finally tracked down Georgia's school pictures.  I have nothing but HORRIBLE things to say about Teddy Bear Portraits - I've stalked them for months with emails, voice messages, etc. and it took them 8+ weeks to get back to me.  Our daycare director had the same experience, as did many other parents at our center.  Our neighbors finally went through their Visa company to fight the charges.  The best part - no apology, no explanation, etc.  They also informed me that they double-charged my credit card.  So, BOO to you Teddy Bear Portraits.  Their photographers are amazing, but the company is bad news.  

According to Nick, Georgia did not need any instructions for posing.  She apparently jumped right up and did this pose all on her own...

2 - Turkey Cupcakes

I love baking, especially for the holidays.  I already knew I was going to make our family's Swedish Apple Pie recipe for Thanksgiving, but then I spotted this little beauty on Pinterest and was determined to recreate these turkeys using allergy safe ingredients for Thanksgiving...

Original Source HERE

Baking commenced on Wednesday afternoon!

After a bunch of phone calls back-and-forth with a few companies and some online ordering, I was able to make these safe for Georgia.  Not to toot my own horn, but I think I did pretty well!

I found the cupcake holders at Home Goods and I think they really do complete the look!  Wilton candy eyes were available at our local Harris Teeter and Walmart.  The Twizzlers and Mike & Ike's were grocery store finds and I ordered candy corn from the Jelly Belly company.  I found the "chocolate" sprinkles at Walmart and used Betty Crocker cake and Pillsbury frosting.

The kids (and adults) seemed to enjoy!

Bennett was fully committed...

3 -FitBit Challenges

I definitely overindulged on Thanksgiving, so it's back on the wagon this weekend.  I may have felt a bit like this Louis CK meme...

One of the things helping me to stay accountable during the holiday eating season are FitBit challenges (available on the app).  Most of my co-workers have FitBits and someone typically sends out a Workweek hustle challenge on Sunday night.  These little mini-challenges run from Monday to Friday and are perfect for people like me (aka - competitive).  I totally wasn't motivated to run most nights last week, but after checking my FitBit app, I usually found the motivation needed for a quick work out.  Even better, I won the week!

4 - Thanksgiving 2015 Weather

Last year, our Thanksgiving weather was a balmy 15 degrees.  This year, it was close to 70!  Perfect weather for a few pics on the deck before heading out to dinner...

These goonies even took a dip in the pool and hot tub after dessert!

5 - Buxom Lip Polish

My new obsession... Buxom Full-On Lip Polish (color - Samantha).  It's shiny.  It's pepperminty. It tingles.  I love everything about it!  

6 - Black Friday Shopping

I was up at 4am the day after Thanksgiving to hit the mall and start banging out the Christmas list.  It's a yearly tradition and I just love getting so much accomplished early in the season while most of the world is still nursing their Thanksgiving hangovers!

I was fueled primarily by caffeine and carbs, which may lead to some punchy moments...

A future Christmas accessory perhaps???

Black Friday is definitely a crazy day to shop, but for the most part, I love the excitement of it all.  However, I was not impressed by Macy's seasonal help.  I may have shared my thoughts with them on Twitter...

I made it home by mid-afternoon and finished off the day with some online shopping.

7 - Being Thankful

I spotted this meme early on Thanksgiving morning while browsing through social media and for some reason, it really resonated with me.  We have some family friends who have had a rough go of it for several weeks - a health crisis, a death in the immediate family, a serious illness with one of their children that required hospitalization, etc.  They just can't quite catch a break right now.  It's been a constant reminder to me that it only takes a moment or two for your whole world to crumble.  I occasionally complain about the never-ending to-do list, especially at this crazy time of year.  But, that never-ending to-do list means that I have wonderful family and friends to spend time with and a beautiful and healthy family in 2015.  Sometimes, you just have to take a moment and be truly thankful for all that you have in this world.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Georgetown Day - Part 2...

Returning to last weekend...

After 7-8 minutes of strenuous ice skating on Georgia's behalf (aka - Nick pushing her while she held onto a penguin for dear life)... we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and stroll around Georgetown for a bit.  

Checking out the Kennedy Center down the Potomac 

Georgetown has some of the most amazing bakeries - Georgetown Cupcake (which always has a line wrapped around the block) and Baked & Wired are two of our favorites.  The bad part - Georgia can't eat the cupcakes and treats because of the risk of peanut contamination.  During the prior week, I put in some time researching other bakeries in the neighborhood knowing that we might take a trip down there that weekend.  I had seen a post about a fairly new bakery in the neighborhood, Dog Tag Bakery, and also heard rumors about it being nut-free.  The only bakery that we've ever just walked into and let Georgia order whatever she wanted was down in Disney, so I wasn't holding my breath quite yet. 

After checking out a fountain or two, we headed up towards the bakery not quite knowing what to expect.  

First off, it was the cutest little shop.  Second, their food looked amazing.  Third, the girl behind the counter fully accepted my 9,398 questions about their ingredients and products (because, like any good nut-free-Mama, I'm expecting there to be a giant BUT in the conversation at some point and I'm going to have to drag my disappointed 4 year old home empty handed!).  The staff were amazing and immediately went back to talk to the chef to get me further information about their ingredients.  The girl even came back with a product name and a sku number written down on a piece of paper for me so that I could further look into the product (and, of course, I immediately googled from my phone!).  

Georgia inhaled a sugar cookie while Nick and I ate sandwiches.  After confirming that everything was nut-free (for the 3rd or 4th time), we allowed Georgia to order several cookies and brownies to go.  I think the girl working there saw the tears in my eyes as I thanked her profusely for her help (aka - holding up to my interrogation tactics).  She came out from behind the counter to hand Georgia the bag of cookies and told her that she sneaked an extra cookie into the bag for her.  Cue the full-on tears behind my sunglasses!  

Georgia finally let Nick and I taste a cookie later that evening and it was amazing.  You absolutely could not tell that it was nut-free.  She cracked open a brownie the following night and I think they were even tastier.

Bottom line... if you're in the DC area and looking for a new bakery to try out, don't want to wait in line at G'town Cupcakes OR need a nut-free experience, please try Dog Tag Bakery.  Their website has lots of interesting information, including about their internship with Georgetown University and their support for the disabled veterans of this country.  As a navy brat, I fully support their causes and as a nut allergy parent, I intend to keep on supporting their store!