Category Archives: Blogging

March Photo A Day Challenge

March Photo A Day Challenge

March Photo A Day Challenge- In Her Chucks

March was another jam-packed month full of road trips, days spent at the park and more Disney.  With the change in weather our goal is to stay outside as much as we can.  And the sites are just so beautiful.  Beach views, fresh flowers and rolling hills.  Yes, we are indeed blessed.

So here’s a peak at what we were up to this last month using some awesome prompts from Big Green Parenting Experiment’s Photo Challenge.

1. Day 2: Brrr-  Although for most, March is still considered winter, here in California, March is when the weather warms up enough to take a trip (or two) to the beach.  On this lovely evening we had the pleasure of joining our friends for dinner at their beach front home.  The sunset was gorgeous and although there was nothing “brrr” about it, this is just what March looks like in our neck of the woods.

2. Day 3: Coat-  Even though it is rare that one would need a coat around here during this time of year, it’s always nice to have a favorite one on hand.  Splendid is one of my favorite companies and when I found this coat hiding on a clearance rack a few weeks back I couldn’t help but swoop it up.  Now I sit and wait for the cold weather so I have a chance to bundle up in it.

3. Day 5: Entrance-  One of my favorite things to do with Harper is to take her out for a “girls lunch”.  With my busy teaching schedule it is not often that we get time for a leisurely afternoon out anymore, but when we do get a moment, we like to enjoy a meal at Harper’s restaurant of choice, California Pizza Kitchen.

4. Day 6: Frozen-  I’ve admitted before that I have a serious weakness for 31 Flavors.  I do my best to stay away from there because I know how dangerous it can be.  But on this particular day I happened to be getting my nails done (which is next door) and was reading the photo challenge prompts for the day.  “Frozen”.  Well, that seems like the perfect excuse to pick up an ice cream :)  And so I did.

5. Day 7: Gray-  It doesn’t rain much where we live, so when it does, you got to snap a picture of it.  Plus, even though the sky is gray, I happen to think it still looks pretty.  The clouds are so fluffy and full they make me want to frolic in them.

6. Day 8: Hang-  My little girl is a serious monkey.  Our Monday music class meets at an awesome complex that has a play structure.  So every week after music we head over to the structure and the kids have a ball.  Harper loves to hang from the bar and kick her legs about.  Gymnast in the making?

7. Day 10: Jumping-  Whenever my sister, niece and nephews come to town, we always take a trip to Disneyland.  This time we changed it up and headed to California Adventure.  This was Harper’s first time and she had a blast!  We went on a ton of rides and she loved each and every one of them.  Unfortunately, this was one of the rides that she wasn’t tall enough for.  But she still enjoyed watching the jellyfish jump up and down.

8. Day 11: 12: Lion/Lamb-  Harper has a ton of stuffed animals, but no matter how many fun toys she gets, she still always asks for her “baby”.  This little lamb is special to her and she will always be grateful to her Auntie Koko for giving it to her.

9. Day 18- Remembering-  It’s hard to believe my big girl was once this tiny.  I am so appreciative to my good friend Rachel for capturing these precious moments for us.  Kind of makes me want to finally start planning for #2…

10. Day 20: Toes/Tows-  This past Friday, Harper decided that she didn’t want to nap.  I was in need of some major relaxation so since I couldn’t get some shut-eye, Harper and I went to get pedicures.  Loving the painted piggy toes.  And I have to say, she is right on the money with the pastel trend :)

11. Day 21: Upward-  Harper’s sleep has been all over the place lately.  Some days she doesn’t want to nap, and some days she falls asleep in the car unexpectedly.  When she naps in the car I try not to move her.  She usually wakes up and then won’t go back to sleep.  So this particular time I went to a nearby park and hung out under the shade of a lovely tree.  It was nice to catch a quiet moment and enjoy the pleasant weather.

12. Day 22: View-  Even though we live so close to the beach, I don’t go as much as I should.  A few weeks ago some of our close friends invited us out to a dinner on the water and it was a lovely break from our usual routine.  With the days becoming longer and the weather warming up, it was a great way to unwind after a long week.

13. Day 24: Excitement-  Like father, like daughter.  Harper definitely takes after her dad in her love for the water.  She started swimming at 5 weeks old and has been loving it ever since.  This particular class she got to wear a cool hippo swim cap which was too adorable for me to pass up a photo-op.

14. Day 25: Yard-  One of the things we love most about our new house is the yard.  It is so nice to walk outside and be greeted with fragrant and colorful blooms.  This yellow one just popped up the other day and I can’t get enough of its beauty.  It is the perfect reminder that spring has sprung.

15. Day 27: Out of Place-  Last weekend, Freddie woke up and decided he wanted to take an impromptu road trip.  Not wanting to be a party pooper and excited for the unexpected adventure I quickly got dressed and we headed up the coast.  We ended up in San Luis Obispo, a small down midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.  We had a great time checking out their sites and enjoyed some good eats.  But we couldn’t leave without visiting a local tourist landmark downtown called Bubblegum Alley.  It was neat (and slightly yucky) to see the collection of chewed gum in a variety of colors, but it was definitely “out of place” as my mother always taught me to throw my bubblegum in the trash :)

16. Day 28: Reflection-  Palm trees.  They get me every time.  I guess it’s hard to deny that I am a California girl through and through.  But if you browse through my pics, most of them include a palm tree or two.  I love this picture and the reflection of the palm trees on the pond.  And if you look close enough, you might even catch a glimpse of the family of turtles working on their tan on top of the rock.    

17. Day 30: Peace-  It may have cost us a trip through some windy roads, but the view at the top was nothing short of beautiful.  And with no one around for miles, the silence was peaceful.  We found this gem during our road trip last weekend and it will be a sight I never forget.

18.  Day 31: Sweet-  Trader Joe’s gets me every time.  Being that berries are in season, so are shortcakes.  And Hostess has nothing on these babies.  Filled with homemade whipped cream and sliced strawberries and mango, I was in pure heaven.

Thanks for letting me share a little bit of March life with you.  Wanna get in on the action? Check out this post for more details…and feel free to follow me on Instagram (@inherchucks) to keep up with the daily challenge.

Happy April!

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March Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

The Lean Green Bean

If you haven’t already noticed, I LOVE to go crazy with themes.  Whether it is for Lindsay’s Foodie Pen Pal Program, or a birthday party, if there is a need for a theme, I am there 150%.  So after all the fun I had last month with my Valentine’s Day box, I was excited to throw something together for St. Patrick’s Day.  See what I put together for Brie over at A Foodie’s Recipe Box.

This is my fifth month participating in the Foodie Pen Pal Program, and it is fun, fun, fun! If you want to learn more, check out my first Foodie Pen Pal Post.  It will give you all the details you need to know to sign up :)
For the month of March, I received my package from Katie of Baking and Swimming.  She put together a small collection of her favorite things which ended up being a perfect balance between sweet treats and heathy snacks.
FPP March
Most of what Katie packed in the box was new to me (except for the Girl Scout Cookies, of course).  So each and every bite was an adventure.
I was most excited to try the White Chocolate Peanut Butter.  I have seen so many different versions of this stuff around the blogosphere but have never had the pleasure of picking up a jar for myself.  And let me tell you, this stuff is AWESOME!  Pretty much tastes like Nutter Butters, especially when you spread it on graham crackers.  Divine :)  And to wash it down I took a sip of the Sparkling ICE Pomegranate Blueberry flavored water.  So delicious and refreshing!  I am going to have to be on the lookout for this stuff.  All of their flavors sound amazing.
Next, Harper and I dug into the Peanut Butter filled Pretzels and Girl Scout Cookies (though not at the same time).  Both were scrumptious and a big hit with the entire family.
Katie also included a few meals of convenience, which as a mommy of an adorable toddler and a part time music teacher, I extremely appreciate these days.  Since Katie is from Texas and is a self-proclaimed Tex-Mex lover, she sent me a package of her favorite tortilla soup mix.  I am looking forward to jazzing this up with some shredded rotisserie chicken and topping it off with some grated cheese and sour cream….yum!  Katie also sent me her favorite muffin mix for an easy breakfast on the go.  This is going to be a great activity for Harper and I to enjoy together.  All you need to do is add water and bake.  Doesn’t get more simple than that :)
Finally, Katie indulged my S’mores addiction by sending me a delicious and nutritious Pure Protein Bar (which came in very handy the other day when Harper took an unexpected nap in the car on the way to the grocery store.  Hungry mama locked in the car until sleeping baby wakes = potentially cranky mama.  Thank God for snack stashes!).
Thanks Katie for an awesome box! I hope your pen pal was as generous to you as you were to me :)

Interested in becoming a Foodie Pen Pal? CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. Who knows, I might be your next Foodie PenPal :)

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February Photo A Day Challenge

February Photo A Day Challenge

Despite my enthusiasm for the photo challenges, I have really been lacking in my ability to deliver this year.  Last month I completed 2/3rds of the challenge, this month, less than 50%.  I guess, with everything I have going on right now, it’s hard to get it all done.  But I am grateful for the opportunity to capture a little bit of our daily lives with some fun prompts.  So I am going to stick with it and shoot for a better average next month.

1.  Day 1: Ascent–  After a fun week at Disney World, it was time to say goodbye and head back home.  I love taking pictures of the sky from the plane and todays prompt was the perfect excuse to snap one during take off.

2.  Day 2: Bear/Bare–  There is nothing cuter than tiny bare toddler toes.  My favorite thing to do is to give her foot massages.  My mom used to give me the best foot massages and now I am passing on the tradition to Harper.

3.  Day 3:  Comfort–  Harper loves her baths but she also loves getting all bundled up in her hooded towel when it is time to get out.  She likes it when we wrap her up and say “keep the baby warm”.  Talk about comfort!

4.  Day 7:  Genuine–  As Harper and I were enjoying lunch, I couldn’t help but realize that I had a genuine toddler on my hands.  Marker on her shirt, face covered in mac and cheese (which she is eating with her hands despite the pink fork sitting next to the bowl), and not a care in the world.  Living the good life, for sure :)

5.  Day 8:  Heart–  I am obsessed with these Homemade Dried Cranberry Shortbread Cookies.  I made a batch for my Foodie Pen Pal and I can’t wait to share the recipe with you soon.

6.  Day 9:  Intense–  After 2 weeks without sugar, I was getting pretty intense cravings to indulge in some Valentine’s day treats.  Thankfully my self-control kept me in check.

7.  Day 10: Joy–  Speaking of sugar, I caved and let Harper try her first lollypop at Bank of America the other day.  She enjoyed every last lick.

8.  Day 14:  Nourishing–  We all know I tend to get a bit too over excited about my fresh fruits and veggies, but is there anything more beautiful than the produce section.  So much color, so much variety and so much nourishment.

9.  Day 17:  Quench–  Thanks to the Fresh Start Challenge and some input from my good friend Cynthia, I am now totally hooked on Kombucha.  It’s so good for you and if you pick the right flavor (I like gingerberry) it tastes good too!

10.  Day 18:  Red–  Harper is a great shopping buddy.  She loves to try on new things and pose for adorable pictures.  She also is careful to make sure her accessories match her outfit (for the record, she picked out the red hat to go with her red outfit all by herself).

11.  Day 20:  Thrill–  I still can’t believe my baby is two, but I am thrilled and beyond blessed to be able to celebrate her birthday with her.  Especially when there is hot pink ice cream cake involved :)

12.  Day 25:  Youth–  Oh, to be a kid again.  Who needs a purse when you have a “pucket” that you can carry with you wherever you go?  PS:  she is still looking for the shovel  PPS:  I hate to break it to her that this “pucket” didn’t come with one

Wanna get in on the action? Check out this post for more details…and feel free to follow me on Instagram (@inherchucks) to keep up with the daily challenge.

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February Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

It’s been a while since I have participated in Lindsay’s Foodie Pen Pal Program.  I took a break during our big move until I felt settled and organized again.  I missed getting and giving my monthly boxes.  It feels so good to be back ;)

This is my fourth month participating in the Foodie Pen Pal Program, and it is fun, fun, fun! If you want to learn more, check out my first Foodie Pen Pal Post. It will give you all the details you need to know to sign up :)
For the month of February, I received my package from Jennifer of Food Gourmet the Healthy Way.  She was so thoughtful to include all local goodies from our shared state of California.  There was also a nice balance of sweets and healthy treats.
fpp- february
After two weeks of clean eating, I was looking forward to a some sweet indulgences, but nothing that would throw me completely off my routine.  So Jennifer’s box was the perfect balance.
I was most intrigued by the big bag of salt water taffy.  So many beautiful colors and yummy flavors to choose from.  I grabbed a handful while I continued to open up the rest of the box.
The next thing to catch my eye was the jam.  There is nothing more delicious than homemade jam.  And anything strawberry is an immediate favorite.  I can’t wait to spread this on everything from bagels, to muffins, to toast.
I recently fell in love with Hail Merry Chocolate Macaroons and these Coco-Roons could be its identical twin.  Soft and chocolately, it’s hard to keep my hand out of the bag.  I can’t wait to try some of the other flavors.  Hello Almond and Strawberry PB & J!
And finally, a bag of local dried apricots.  My favorite snack.  So sweet and chewy I love to pair them with a salty counterpart like a handful of nuts.  Get’s me excited for summer and the prospect of fresh apricots.
Thanks Jennifer for an awesome box! I hope your pen pal was as generous to you as you were to me :)

Interested in becoming a Foodie Pen Pal? CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. Who knows, I might be your next Foodie PenPal :)

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Guest Post: February Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

The Lean Green Bean

As I mentioned in my original September Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Post, the Foodie Pen Pal Program is open to blog readers as well as bloggers.  This month I was paired with a blog reader named Caitlin House and was more than thrilled to pack up a box of goodies to send for her sixth Foodie Pen Pal experience.  Since Caitlin doesn’t have a blog of her own to share her goodies on (although I LOVE her writing and encourage her to start one), she has offered to write a short guest post about what she received (and she even included a few pics!).

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Caitlin House…

From the moment I received Heather’s email letting me know that she was my Foodie PenPal match for February, I was thrilled.  She started off asking me loads of questions regarding my food and drink preferences.  This level of interest in my favorite things blew me away!  My favorite meal of the day? Brunch.  Do I prefer coffee or tea?  Love them both, will always love coffee more.

When my box arrived on Valentine’s Day, it was amazingly fitting for the love-filled holiday.  Heather put incredible thought and effort into the box she sent me.  It was stock full of delicious goodies and each item had a sweet hand-written note attached.


My favorite part of the box was the accompanying recipes (three in all!). There were recipes for the homemade Dried Cranberry Shortbread Hearts (taste amazing!), Tomato Basil Bisque to match the Hearts Crackers, and Heather’s own Homemade Tomato Sauce to serve with the Valentine Pasta.

Shortbread Hearts 2

Heather’s choices had amazing variety while still having certain items play off one another. The cranberry shortbread was amazing to eat along with a cup of the Red Velvet Coffee. And for a truly relaxing pairing, I loved the Lori’s Ojai Lavender Lemonade and a piece of Strong Dark Chocolate by Chocolove. YUM.  FoodiePenPal Feb Collage

And to cover my brunching addiction, Heather sent me granola that tastes like dessert!  I seriously cannot keep my hands out of the bag of Love Crunch, a sweet granola with dark chocolate, strawberries, and raspberries. In fact, my hand is navigating from keyboard to bag as I type…

Overall, Heather made this month my most memorable FPP, yet!  Her thoughtful box went above and beyond in delivering new-to-me treats, fun recipes I can recreate, and wonderfully sweet and personal touches.  She even sent a “love” cookie cutter, so I can put a little extra love in my next cooking adventure. Thanks so much, Heather!

FebFPP Love

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January Photo A Day Challenge

Photo Challenge 1-9

Photo A Day Challenge 10-18

Photo A Day Challenge 19-21

2013 started off with a bang.  We moved into a new house, had family in town to visit, got hit with a stomach virus, recorded a CD and traveled to Disney World.  All on top of our regularly scheduled lives.  So needless to say, we have been busy.  Which means my blog (and blogging activities) have taken a back seat this month.  But I did my best to participate in Big Green Parenting Experiment’s Photo Challenge when I could.  It’s one of my favorite things to do and although I wasn’t able to meet the requirements 100% this month, I wasn’t going to let all of that craziness get in the way of sharing the few pics I was able to capture (ps: I may have cheated a bit too…and by cheating I mean, post dating pics).  Looking forward to keeping up in February :) (so far so good…)

1.  Day 1: Resolution–  Clean Eating is an ongoing resolution for me.  I was successful in completing some strict Clean Eating meal plans in 2012 and am looking forward to continuing to alter my habits in 2013.

2.  Day 2: Defines Me–  Family, Chuck Taylors, and the color blue are three things that define me.  So what better way to capture that then with a pic of a family of blue chucks :)

3.  Day 3: My Passion–  I have always had a strong love for teaching music to children.  However, after seeing the difference that music has made in Harper’s life, I have become even more passionate about sharing the joy of music with others.

4. Day 4: Where I Live–  One of our favorite things about the new house is the yard.  Harper and I can spend hours in the back playing in the sand, going down the slide or driving around the cozy coupe.

5. Day 6: Weakness–  If there is one thing that has forever had a hold on me it is Pralines n’ Cream ice cream from 31 flavors.  It is pretty much heaven in a cup with chocolate sprinkles.

6.  Day 7: Guilty Pleasure–  I love to people watch and am known to stare at folks in public.  So reality shows allow me to satisfy my people watching without embarrassing my husband (oh, and for the record, he like the Kardashians too!)

7.  Day 10: I Am Going…-  to record my first children’s CD.  2013 has brought about some amazing milestones already.  After a little over a year of running my own music classes, I am excited to share my favorite sing along songs with my students and friends.

8.  Day  12: How I Roll–  After nearly 2 years of wanting to be carried wherever we go, Harper is finally becoming interested in her stroller.  We love venture out on walks in the neighborhood and shop for groceries, search for trucks and pick up lunch.

9.  Day 13: Daytime–  Whenever the clouds part and the sun shines through, I hear my grandmother say, “That’s what it is going to look like when Jesus comes”.  And whether or not you believe in her words, you can’t deny the beauty of the bright sun gleaming down through a pack of fluffy clouds.

10.  Day 16: Evening–  Evenings are all about bedtime routines at our house.  Dinner, bath, brush teeth, bed.  Harper loves to wind down in the tub with her bubbles while she sings a few tunes and plays with her toys.

11.  Day 17: I’ve Been…- Hanging out with a bunch of adorable toddlers.  Harper and I love having mamas and babies over for play dates.  Nothing makes me happier than watching Harper create friendships.

12.  Day 18: Goal–  I have never been one to travel but after visiting Epcot, I now have a goal to go to Japan and Morocco.  I love the architecture and can’t wait to eat the food :)

13.  Day 19: Saturday–  This time of year we have a lot of birthday parties to attend.  So Saturdays are usually spent with friends, eating cake, and running around the park with balloons.

14.  Day 20: My Job–  Like I mentioned above, I am so grateful to be able to teach music to children.  Dancing like no one is watching, singing my heart out and playing peek-a-boo with colorful scarves makes every class a blast.

15.  Day 22: I Am...-  In love with this lamp.  I definitely have a thing for light fixtures and Moroccan inspired design.  And no, I am not just saying that because I saw it.

16.  Day 24:  Watching–  I thought singing my first commercial when I was 3 was pretty young to be in the studio but Harper has me beat.  There is nothing I love more than watching my little girl sing her beautiful songs.

17.  Day 25:  Looking Forward–  I misread the prompt on this and thought it said moving forward…so I took a picture of the Disney monorail moving forward.  Nice reminder of our trip though :)

18.  Day 25: Authentic–  I am not much of a juice drinker.  Mostly because the juice you buy at the store is chock full of junk like sugar and pesticides.  But when Freddie and I make fresh, authentic, orange juice at home, there is no better way to start your day.

19.  Day 27: My Colors–  I am a bit obsessive compulsive about organizing Harper’s closet.  I like to keep the colors in order so it resembles a rainbow.  Not only does it look pretty but it makes it easier to find things.

20.  Day 30: Wish–  I wish I had a pet  hippo.  They look so cuddly and adorable.  Harper and I have decided that he can live in our bathtub.  Still waiting on Freddie to tell us if we can have one for real…

21.  Day 31: Something You Should Know About Me– I have a brand.  When I was in college I joined a sorority and one of their traditions is to brand their inner thigh.  It is a wonderful reminder of the incredible women that I am blessed to call my sisters.

Photo Challenges are a great way to document your life throughout the year.  With new and creative prompts it challenges you to think outside the box and see life from a new perspective.  I clearly have an addiction to them and I am not ashamed to admit it :)

Wanna get in on the action? Check out this post for more details…and feel free to follow me on Instagram (@inherchucks) to keep up with the daily challenge.

PS:  Congratulations to Liz from The Lambent Life for winning the Conscious Box Giveaway!  And a big thank you to everyone who participated.  Stay tuned for another exciting giveaway coming in a few weeks.

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December Photo A Day Challenge: Day 17-31

december challenge

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope your 2012 went out with a bang :)  I fell asleep at 10:30 so I was celebrating in my dreams.  I guess that’s what happens when you are chasing after a toddler and in the midst of moving.  Lots of exciting things happening in 2013.  Grateful to see another year!

But before I start my journey in the new year, I wanted to do a quick recap of the last few weeks.  December has been a busy month full of fun, family and festivities.  Take a look at what we have been up to…

1. Day 17: on the floor- As I have mentioned before, Harper loves to build castles with her Mega Blocks.  But I think her favorite thing about these blocks is dumping them on the floor.  Something about taking the bag and flipping it upside down and watching the blocks fall from the sky gives her a thrill.  Thank goodness she is getting to be a pro at picking up after herself too.  Because stepping on one of these in the middle of the night is no joke!

2. Day 18: makes you feel merry- I love this time of year for many reasons.  But as far as my taste buds are concerned, peppermint definitely makes me feel merry.  And these chocolate peppermint almonds are to die for!  I picked up a container of them at Whole Foods and they only lasted a few days.  Dangerous…but worth every bite :)

3. Day 19: something beginning with “s”- When the weather gets chilly, I like to make food that warms my soul.  And this beef and butternut squash stew is a new favorite.  I have plans to post the recipe soon…promise!

4. Day 20: weather- Being a California girl, I am used to one season…the 75 degree season, all year long!  But this winter has been a bit chillier than usual.  It’s hard to make out the temperature in this picture, but it reads 48.  48 is far below my level of comfort.  Which means I am doing a lot of cozying up on the couch with my love bugs to keep warm.

5. Day 21: tree- There is no better gift than a homemade one.  For the holidays, my mom handmade a few of these adorable trees using a collection of old sweaters that she cut into different size circles and strung together with some wire.  I love all colors she used and of course the star on the top.

6. Day 22: decoration- During the holidays, there are decorations everywhere.  But this is the most creative Christmas decoration I have seen.  I stopped by to visit my girlfriend and fell in love with her house plant decorated with a strand of green garland, colored lights and one ornament.  Tis the season…

7. Day 23: joy is___-  “shopping at Target with my toddler”.  Harper loves to shop.  Especially when it involves a shopping cart just her size.  She was running up and down the aisles popping wheelies, giggling up a storm.  Oh, the simple joys of youth are quite refreshing.  Especially in the midst of the holiday rush.

8. Day 24: tradition/something you always do- Ever since I can remember, my parents would take me to church on Christmas Eve.  To be honest, during my teenage years, it felt more like they were dragging me there, but now that I am old enough, I appreciate them teaching me the true meaning of Christmas.  I am so excited to be able to pass on this tradition to Harper.  It is a lovely way to celebrate the holiday together.

9. Day 25: lunchtime- Christmas morning is all about taking it easy.  So by the time we got around to breakfast, it was pretty much lunchtime.  Freddie requested my famous French Toast which we served with homemade orange juice and a side of crispy bacon.

10. Day 26: mess-  I love to cook up a storm in the kitchen.  The only downside is the dishes.  Which is why I am grateful that we have a dishwasher.  And an amazing husband.  Because whatever doesn’t go in the dishwasher, he washes by hand.  A little something he started when we first got married…I cook, he cleans.  I happen to be a big fan of this agreement :)

11. Day 27: how you relax- Between being a wife, a mom and a music teacher, I don’t get much downtime.  But even 5 minutes of solitude to play a game of Words with Friends can be quite relaxing.  It helps to take my mind of things for a moment while still challenging my brain to think.  In 2013, I will be working on getting some real relaxation time in, but for now, this will do.

12. Day 28: cold- My sister and her kids came to visit us from Texas.  Whenever they come to town we like to hit up a few theme parks and other local attractions.  This time we decided to take a trip to the aquarium to check out some penguins.  Even though most penguins do not live in the snow, they always remind me of a colder climate.

13. Day 29: hot-  For a belated Christmas present, I bought my brother a 6 month subscription to an Artisan Coffee Company (are you surprised?)  To make it fun and festive, I wrote out a gift certificate and placed it inside of a hot beverage mug that was decorated with camo.  A great gift for a coffee lover!

14. Day 30: something that made you smile this year- Nothing makes me smile more than watching my little girl grow up.  Each day comes with new milestones and new adventures.  I am so grateful to be on this wonderful journey of motherhood.  It is an absolute joy!

15. Day 31: self-portrait-  It wouldn’t be a self portrait if it didn’t include my Chucks.  I have done and accomplished a lot this year.  And all while wearing my Chucks.  In celebration of the New Year, I picked up a fresh pair of Chucks in which to start my journey into 2013.  There are lots of exciting things on the horizon and I look forward to sharing them with you.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I LOVE photo challenges.  And in 2013, I am excited to participate in a new photo challenge with Alli of the Big Green Parenting Experiment.  I hope you will join me in capturing this new year with a photo a day.  Check out this post for more details.  And feel free to follow me on Instagram (@inherchucks) to keep up with the daily challenge.

Happy 2013!!!

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December Photo A Day Challenge: Day 1-16

photo challenge

This month has been busy, busy, busy!  We have been enjoying the holiday festivities and taking part in every celebration possible.  Which means, lots of family time.  And that is what I love most about this season.  So my apologies for not getting an update on the blog sooner, but time flies when you are having fun :)

As I mentioned last month, I can’t get enough of these photo challenges!  So here I go again with another Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day Challenge.

Day 1: 8 o’clock –  Santa didn’t waste any time getting presents under the tree this year.  After picking out our Christmas tree we stopped off at Toys R Us for some major damage.  And just like that, our holiday shopping was completed…for Harper anyways.

Day 2: peace – When it comes to Harper’s clothes, I love to dress her in things that promote a positive message.  So when I found this adorable shirt with my mom a few months ago, I was excited for her to wear it.  Peace, love and teal…how can you go wrong?

Day 3: something you held – With our Christmas card pictures coming up, it was time to pick out a new pair of holiday Chucks.  Did I mention the whole fam got matching ones?  Can’t wait to post the photos soon.

Day 4: black and white – There was a time in my life when I LOVED all things black and white.  I am still a fan but I have better self-control when it comes to stocking my house with frames, dinnerware and wall decor.  This plate is definitely one of my favorites and I love to serve my breakfast on it in the morning.  It just makes food look that much more delicious…and a bit fancy :)

Day 5: looking up – Harper and I love to ride the escalator.  Especially at Nordstrom’s.  And not only are the clothes gorgeous but so are the holiday decorations.  Really gets you in the Christmas spirit.

Day 6: from where I live –  I could go on and on about all the reasons why I am grateful for where we live.  But this picture really does say it all.  The ocean, the palm trees, the sunset.  Life is good…indeed.

Day 7: star – During the holidays, you see a lot of stars.  But I don’t wait until the Christmas season to don my stars, I like to wear them the whole year through.  In case you didn’t already know, my favorite stars are my Chucks :)

Day 8: someone you love – Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for my beautiful family.  Freddie and Harper mean everything to me and I couldn’t love two people more.  They make my heart smile.  (ps: thanks Briana for an awesome pic!)

Day 9: out and about – It’s such a blast to explore our town and find new places hang.  We recently discovered a quite beach about 20 minutes north of us and the sites are unreal.  Last weekend, we watched the sunset from the sand and marveled at its beauty.

Day 10: under – What do you do when your toddler falls asleep in the car?  Go on a driving adventure!  In an attempt to allow Harper to sleep as long as possible, I decided to drive around and enjoy the sights.  I came upon this awesome street and had to stop to snap a pic.  I love how magical and enchanted it looks.

Day 11: sweet – As much as I try hard to stay away from eating sweets on a regular basis, during the holidays I give myself permission to splurge just a little bit.  These Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies are a new household favorite.  Serve with a glass of cold milk and you have yourself the perfect Christmas treat :)

Day 12: hat – It doesn’t rain much around here, but when it does, we make sure we are prepared to face the elements.  All bundled up in her hat, boots, coat and gloves, Harper was sure to stay warm and dry during the rainstorm.

Day 13: lights – In an attempt to be “artistic” I snapped a photo of our Christmas lights outside in motion.  I love how clean and simple white lights look when used to decorate, but let’s be honest, they aren’t the most interesting to photograph.  So I decided to get a little fancy and make them look a tad bit more interesting.

Day 14: green – The upside to the rain is all the green that starts popping up everywhere.  Harper and I found these clovers growing on a recent trip to the park and I couldn’t help but snap a pic.  They remind me of my mom and Ireland.  Hoping to make a trip out there in 2013 to visit :)

Day 15: outside – There is nothing more calming than the scent of lavender.  And while Harper and I were at a birthday party yesterday, we found an entire flower bed full of them.  So beautiful and fragrant.

Day 16: something I made –  This evening, we celebrated the holidays with the families from our mommy group potluck style.  I signed up to bring an appetizer and dessert.  I love showing up to parties with my mom’s veggies and spinach dip because not only does it look beautiful but it tastes delicious too :)

Wanna get in on the action? Check out this post for more details…and feel free to follow me on Instagram (@inherchucks) to keep up with the daily challenge.

Hope you all have a great week!

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November Photo A Day Challenge: Day 21-30

Photo Challenge

It’s December!  Eek…where did 2012 go?  Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is around the corner and there is only a few short week’s until we ring in the New Year.  But even as quickly as the time has passed, being able to look back at all the pictures I have taken helps me to relive those moments. And while we continue on this journey, you can bet that I will have my iPhone with me snapping pics and making memories.

So before we say goodbye to November, let’s take a look at what the last few days looked like…

1.  Day 21: what I wore-  My style is pretty predictable.  Jeans, t-shirt and a pair of Chucks.  Sometimes I might get fancy and throw on a button down but for the most part I like to keep it comfortable and casual.     

2.  Day 22: grateful-  I have so much to be grateful for.  And a plate of delicious food on my favorite holiday is always a good reminder for me to sit down and count my blessings.

3.  Day 23: black-  When you are hanging out on a farm for a week, it’s hard to find something black.  But Emmy the dog turned out to be the perfect subject.  Her favorite activity?  Chasing after pine cones that Harper and I skip across the driveway.  Oh, the life of a dog :)

4.  Day 24: a sound I heard-  While we were away, we would go out exploring everyday.  With 37 acres to cover, there is a lot to see.  On this particular day, Harper led me to this huge tractor pushing dirt.  It was quite loud to listen to but fun to watch.    

5.  Day 25: sky-  After a great holiday with our family, it was time to hit the road…or the air.  I love the view from up in the sky.  The clouds.  The water.  The mountains.  Such a pretty sight.

6.  Day 26: in the cupboard-  Unfortunately, I picked up some yucky germs while we were away.  So all I wanted to do when I got home was stay in bed and sleep.  But I did get up to make myself a big pot of homemade Chicken and Rice Soup.  The best kind of medicine.

7.  Day 27: tree-  Living in California, you see a lot of palm trees.  You also see a lot of clear skies and nice weather…even in late November.  Just some of the many reasons why I LOVE the “Golden State”.

8.  Day 28: vehicle-  Harper loves to drive her Cozy Coupe all over town.  And who wouldn’t?  Get’s great gas mileage and turns on a dime…well as long as mommy isn’t pushing it ;)

9.  Day 29: big-  It looks like the wet and rainy season has finally hit.  It has rained pretty much all this week.  And my favorite way to keep warm is to sip on a big frothy latte.  Or as Starbucks calls it, a Venti Decaf Soy Latte.

10.  Day 30: on the wall-  To be honest, we don’t have much hanging on our walls.  I am pretty picky when it comes to art.  I like it simple and clean.  Freddie and I found these prints when we first got married and they reminded us of our wedding.  We had a black and white color scheme and black chandeliers were used as lighting for the reception.  I think we both agree that these are our favorite pictures in the house (besides family photos of course).

Wanna get in on the action? Join us for Fat Mum Slim’s December Photo A Day Challenge.  And feel free to follow me on Instagram (@inherchucks) to keep up with my daily pics.

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend :)  And Happy December!

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Guest Post: November Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

The Lean Green Bean

As I mentioned in my original September Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Post, the Foodie Pen Pal Program is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. This month I was paired with a blog reader named Leigh Ann and was more than thrilled to pack up a box of goodies to send for her fourth Foodie Pen Pal experience. Since Leigh Ann doesn’t have a blog of her own to share her goodies on (although I LOVE her writing and encourage her to start one), she has offered to write a short guest post about what she received (and she even included a few pics!).

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Leigh Ann Russo…

Each month I have my Foodie Pen Pal send my package to me at work, since I am usually there when the mailman delivers each day. However this month I was attending a workshop outside of work the day the package arrived. I work in a shop that gets deliveries almost everyday, so my associate opened the package thinking it was merchandise to check in and inventory. When she realized what it was, she sent me this text in the middle of the afternoon, “U have a package of goodies!” I was so excited…I knew my FPP package had arrived!
When I got to work the next day, I opened the package and was blown away. Heather had put together an amazing assortment of fall flavors as well as those that I had told her that I adore. The presentation was so colorful and creative!!! She had attached a hand written note on a colored paper fall leaf to each item…describing it and/or why she had chosen it for me. I could tell she had put in a tremendous amount of time and thought into putting this package together for me and I was truly touched.
Here are the contents of my package:
Homemade Cranberry Almond Granola Bars…these are incredible. I am eating one right now with a cup of tea. I only have 2 left so I am glad she included the recipe so I can enjoy them again and again.
Pumpkin Pie Bar Mix…you had me at “pumpkin”. I LOVE pumpkin and can’t wait to make these for a delicious treat for me and my honey.
Rob’s Really Good Swirling Mango Beverage, which I have never tried before, but I am super intrigued by. Mango is another flavor that I absolutely adore. They are so exotic and luscious.
Trader Joe’s (now who doesn’t like Trader Joe’s?) Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Mango Bites. I think I nearly passed out when I saw this. Three of my favorite flavors (other than pumpkin) together in one delicious treat? I think I have reached Nirvana!
Harvest Pasta…fun fall-leaf shaped pasta. I’m half-Italian so I can eat some pasta…yum yum give me some!
Apple Cinnamon and Herb Stuffing Mix. This sounds incredible…I think I might make some stufffed peppers this weekend!
I am truly grateful that Heather was my FPP this month. She really made me feel special and I can’t wait to try out all these fabulous items she selected.
Hands down, Heather is the best FPP a girl could ask for…lucky me :)
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