Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

Hi friends! It's the last Wednesday of the month, so I'm linking up with three of my favorite bloggers, Mel, Shay, and Sheaffer! Link up with us!

What we're eating this week...
The kids have been eating banana peanut butter muffins for breakfast, and I'm planning on making some of my salsa when one of my besties from high school visits this weekend. Stop by tomorrow when I share a recipe for lime chicken!

What I'm reminiscing about...
I love the Facebook "On This Day" feature! Pretty sure Roo still looks like this when I wake her up for school! 

And look at my Doodle on his first day of Pre-K three years ago!

What I'm loving...
I think this quote is perfect for this new school year. Lots of changes and new beginnings, but happy in many ways! 

What we've been up to...
It's the second week of school and the 4 billionth consecutive day of rain in Houston. I think we've become the Seattle of Texas. :( We've been doing a lot of reading lately. Trip is into the Battle Bugs series, and Ari got a Curious George treasury at school that she has been reading non-stop. We also love these beginner reader books.

What I'm dreading...
Not really dreading it, but starting next week, our schedules will become hectic with the kids starting soccer and ballet. I planned for their practices to be on the same night so we only have to give up one weeknight and Saturday mornings for game day. I'm thinking this was a smart move, but I'll let you know in a month how it really works! 

What I'm working on...
My hair! My hairdresser has always given me a hard time about using a dryer and/or iron several times per week. So a few weeks ago, I showed up to my appointment with my natural, air-dried hair. She apologized for giving me so much grief the past few years and finally deemed that my natural hair is basically terrible and shouldn't see the light of day. So, I've been doing my research, and I need your input. Have you used Living Proof products? I took their survey and the Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 styling treatment was recommended. PLEASE leave me your thoughts about Living Proof in the comments. It's expensive but has awesome reviews. 

(Side note: I'm looking for something to help keep my hair frizz-free, smooth, and humidity proof in Houston! It's A 10 and John Frieda mousse are my current products, but they're not doing so well in the 100 degree heat.)

What I'm excited about...
I've already purchased a few Halloween items and have started working on our costumes! Although I love summertime, October-December is just so much fun in our house! Doesn't this look so yummy? Follow my Halloween Pinterest board HERE.

What I'm watching/reading...
Mrs. Doubtfire was on t.v. the other night, so of course I stopped and watched! This part always makes me laugh too much!

What I'm listening to...
A few years ago, I gave away all of my cds. I mostly listen to Pandora and the radio when I drive, but one of my favorite albums is Tom Petty's Greatest Hits. I picked up a new copy at Half Price Books last month and have been enjoying it weekly!

What I'm wearing...

Pleione Crepe Tank (similar)

Pink and green inspired by Her Dailey Style

What I'm doing this weekend...
It's going to be a mini high school reunion when one of my besties comes to town! Looking forward to catching up with my track girls!

What I'm looking forward to next month...
I have been in remission for over a month now thanks to the wonder drug, Prednisone. But, I have a love/hate relationship with the steroid- it can help bring on remission but it also has lovely side effects like weight gain and "moon face." This article kind of sums it all up. If all goes according to plan, I should hopefully get to drop down to a lower dosage of my steroids and then hopefully go off of them for a very long time. I'll still stay on my copious amounts of maintenance meds, but to get the steroids out of my body will be a game changer!

What else is new...

Question of the month: What is your favorite summer to fall transitional piece in your closet?
I own three chambray shirts from Target. They've basically become a part of my weekly uniform! I've put together a few looks on Polyvore to show how I plan to style my chambray shirt in the upcoming months. Give me some more ideas in the comments below! 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope that you've had a great August! Talk to me in the comments below- I'd love to hear from you! See you tomorrow for a new Try It Thursday recipe!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Life With the Lees: Weekend Recap 8.29.16

Happy Monday! Hard to believe it's already the 2nd week of school! Our weekend started off with me having to explain to the pre-K teacher that Ari is just slightly obsessed with KISS. Can you tell which one is Gene Simmons aka Demon?

We celebrated our first week of school by visiting a new mom and pop Italian restaurant. The kids enjoyed some alfredo, and Aurelia tried out her odd smile pose. 

On Friday night, we did what all cool young couples do...visit the grocery store toy aisles! A certain someone has been asking us to snap photos of suggestions to send to Santa. Although toy prices at the grocery store aren't always very competitive, they did have some blowout items, and I was able to score a super cheap DigiBird for Ari's stocking for St. Nicholas Day

Saturday morning had us up and at 'em ready to shop 'til we dropped!

We don't really understand what Pokemon are, how you catch them, why you catch them, etc. but the kids had fun posing with the decorated Target ball. We had the best pharmacist at our Target pharmacy, but when they switched over to CVS, she was moved to a different store. We didn't know it, but she was at the location we went to, and she talked us into getting our flu shots. Target is currently offering a $5 Target gift card for each flu shot. Our insurance covered our shots, so we basically got paid to get shots! We hit up a few more stores, and St. Nicholas may have found some paint your own dinosaur and horse toys on super clearance at Ross! (Don't worry, St. Nick paid way less than Amazon!) 

Roo and I stopped by The Little Eclectic House to pick up some candles for my aunt. This cute boutique always has free treats on Saturday from a local bakery, and today we tried a Mexican chocolate with caramel cream cookie sandwich. I'm currently researching recipes and will see if I can find one that's worthy of sharing!

Ari has the BEST teacher in the world! (She was Trip's teacher, too!) When I opened up Ari's backpack this weekend, I found a horse drawing book that Mrs. Y had loaned Ari for the weekend with a sweet note. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing teacher!

After 10+ days of rain, we enjoyed some swimming and then grilled one of our favorite chicken recipes. Stop by on Thursday when I share the recipe for lime chicken! It's delish!

We wrapped up our weekend with a viewing of Beethoven and some chores. It's so fun to watch 90's movies with the kids! I hope that you have a wonderful week. I'll see you back here on Wednesday when I link-up for What's Up Wednesday!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! We made it through the first week of school and are going to celebrate big! I'm linking up with three of my favorite bloggers, Erika, Narci, and Andrea to share my favorites of the week. Join us!

These two are my favorites! Please excuse our super dark backdrop; my kids are real troopers! They get up at 5:40 a.m. and have to be out the door between 6:15 and 6:30 every school day. So to celebrate our first week back, I decided to dedicate today's post to my kids and THEIR favorites! (And in case you missed it, yesterday's post was all about the kids' favorite banana muffins. Check it out HERE.)

Trip aka "Doodle"

Favorite color: Green

Favorite food: Jambalaya

Favorite restaurant: Pappadeaux

Favorite dessert: Push-up pops

Favorite movie: Big Hero 6

Favorite t.v. show: Wild Kratts

Favorite book: Battle Bugs series

Favorite subject in school: Science

Favorite specials class in school: Art

Favorite toy: Legos

Favorite stuffed animal: Stingy (Stingray)

Favorite sport: Soccer

Favorite activity: Drawing

Ari aka "Roo"

Favorite color: Pink

Favorite food: Pasta

Favorite restaurant: La Madeleine

Favorite dessert: Ice cream sandwiches

Favorite movie: Scooby Doo and KISS Rock and Roll Mystery

Favorite t.v. show: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Favorite book: Barbie books

Favorite subject in school: Math

Favorite toy: Horses

Favorite stuffed animal: Lambie

Favorite sport: Baseball

Favorite activity: Play with horses

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! See you back here on Monday for a weekend re-cap!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Try It Thursday: Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

So, I have a tendency to try out recipes that I myself will never taste test. 9 times out of 10, the recipes turn out to be a hit with my live-in taste testers! Today's peanut butter chocolate chip banana muffin recipe comes from Mel over at The Larson Lingo blog. Peruse her recipe box- she has so many great meals and treats to try, and her party recaps are amazing!

While I love to bake, I just don't have the time to do it every weekend, so I usually double Mel's recipe in order to get about 4-5 weeks worth of muffins to put in the freezer.

Here's what you're going to need: 
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 ripened bananas
1 cup chocolate chips (I usually do less than this.)
1/2 cup peanut butter (more or less, depending on your taste preference)

Optional: I try to add some flax seed and chia seeds when possible. Also, I make these without chocolate chips for my husband, and he enjoys them just as much!

***Note: Mel uses the above amount and makes about a dozen cupcake-size muffins. Following these amounts, I am able to get about 1.5 dozen cupcake-size muffins or a little over 2 dozen mini-muffins.

* Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
* Throw your ripened bananas in the mixer to mush up.
* Add in your softened butter and eggs and mix.
* Add the rest of your ingredients and mix until well blended.
* Spray your cupcake pans or use cupcake liners. Fill the liners about 1/2 - 2/3 full.
* My mini-muffins usually take about 14-15 minutes to bake; the cupcake-sized muffins take about 20 minutes or so.
* To cool, dump the muffins out on a clean towel or a cookie rack. Store in an airtight container.

***Note: These are GREAT in the freezer. When I double the recipe, I get 2 dozen cupcake-sized muffins and 3.5 dozen minis. I'm able to get a 5 week supply, and you can see in the picture below that I divide the containers up with 6 cupcake-sized muffins and about 6 mini-muffins (x 4 containers) and then one container of all minis. I pull a container out of the freezer on Sunday evening and muffins are ready for breakfast and snacking by Monday morning!

Try these out and let me know how they are! See you tomorrow for Friday Favorites! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesday: Advice to My High School Self

Hi all! I'm linking up with Andrea over at Momfessionals for today's Show and Tell Tuesday. Link up and join us! Today's topic is all about advice you would give to your high school self, and I have a little bit of a twist. (For some background on what I looked like in high school, check out this post where I shared my most embarrassing photos.)

Most people look back on their high school days with horror and talk about how much they cherish their college life instead. I have the exact opposite feelings. I loved high school! I met some of my dearest friends and was a lot more willing to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. So today, I'm sharing advice FROM my high school self that I need to remember as an adult.

1. Be friendly.

I went to a small private school for 10 years and knew all of 3 people when I started at my high school of over 2,000 students. I graduated as my senior class' president. I didn't accomplish that by sitting silently in classes. I had to put myself out there and introduce myself to people. However, I think some people, especially teenagers, think they should only fit into one box or social group. It's okay to have friends that are older than you, younger than you, the same race as you, from a different cultural background than you, share the same religious or political beliefs as you, be on the complete opposite end of the spectrum of beliefs than you, have multiple shared interests, or just one shared passion. Diversity is the spice of life!

2. Be confident!

As I've gotten older, I've started caring too much about what others think about me, and I need to take a cue from my high school self. I wore neon sneakers, keys in my ears, and made purses out of cereal boxes covered in Astroturf. I didn't put on those outfits and then try to hide- I was proud of my creations and confident in my skin. I need to make it a point to wear and do what makes ME feel my best, not second-guessing how others may perceive me.

3. Take risks and do what you love.

In high school, I tried out for the high school musical (I didn't make it, but I can say that I got up and auditioned in front of 100 people who had way more experience than me.) Apparently singing wasn't my niche, but I ran for student council each year and found myself an officer each time. It's important for my kids to see me try new things, even if that means being uncomfortable for a little bit. By my junior year, I had more time in my schedule to sign up for courses that I was truly interested in. Was I 18 years old and in the same Art I class as my 15 year old brother? Yes. Did I develop a lifelong passion for painting? Yes! As an adult, I need to carve out more time for my hobbies, not only for stress-relief but also for my kids to see the benefits of following your passions and dreams.

What advice would you give your high school self? Leave me your advice in the comments below, and come back to see me on Thursday when I'm blogging the recipe for my kids' favorite banana muffins!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Life With the Lees: Weekend Recap 8.22.16

Happy Monday AND First Day of School! This morning came a little too quickly, but I'm excited for Trip and Ari to start a new year, and I'm looking forward to meeting my newest middle schoolers!

Our weekend started off with my assistant "helping" me in my classroom.

Trip was super excited when Ms. Laura asked him to feed our school's fish pond residents!

Robert loves Joan Jett, so I've kept tabs on her website for years, waiting for her to come to Houston on tour so I could surprise him with tickets as a birthday present. Joan finally made it in 2016, and we enjoyed a date night Friday evening!

It has rained in Houston EVERY.SINGLE.DAY for over a week now, but a little rain couldn't keep us from celebrating one last day out with some of our favorite friends and some pampering for all of us! #Realmengetpedicures

A pro at the manicure, Ari tried out a pedicure for the first time and LOVED it!

This was the quietest our group of kids has ever been in a public place!

Someone enjoyed his pedicure A LOT. 

I hope that you have a fabulous week ahead, and if you/your kids are headed back to school today, I hope that you have a wonderful year! I'll be back tomorrow for a Show and Tell Tuesday Link-Up all about advice I'd give my high school self. See you then! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I'm linking up with some of my favorite bloggers, Erika, Narci, and Andrea to share some of my favorites from this week. You should join us!

This was one of my favorite memes of the week, and totally fitting since I was listening to the golf competition from another room this weekend and thinking how much better it would be if Bill Murray was an Olympic commentator. 

We got a few days of one-on-one time with this monkey this week, and she popped out of our room one day with Robert's ID tag and told us all that she was Robert and demanded a picture in his school lanyard. 

I have been binge-watching season 2 of one of my favorite scripted shows, Odd Mom Out on Bravo. You may want to start from season 1 to better understand the family dynamics, but no matter where you start, you're sure to be LOLing at Jill and her bestie, Vanessa. 

Of course, this week's list of favorites wouldn't be complete without the Bolt! I posted a link to this article earlier this week on Facebook. I love that the track athletes have exhibited a lot of showmanship and talent, but most importantly, good sportsmanship.

It's the last weekend before school starts, so we're heading out for haircuts and some pampering. If you've never made my salsa before, try it this weekend for one last fiesta before the school year! Have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Try It Thursday: Everything But the Potato Dip

Need an easy to throw together, crowd-pleasing appetizer? I made this originally as the stuffing for some stuffed jalapeno poppers, but after tasting it with some crackers, I was convinced it could stand on its own as an appetizer- basically a loaded baked potato minus the potato. 

Here's what you're going to need: 
Green onions (chopped)
Shredded cheese (I use colby jack, but you could change flavors.)
1 block cream cheese (thawed)
1 bag bacon pieces crumbled 

* Set your cream cheese block out to thaw so that it's easier to mix with the ingredients.
* Once thawed, use two forks to mix in shredded cheese, green onions, and bacon pieces.
* Work the mixture into a ball and top with additional shredded cheese.
* Refrigerate until ready to serve. Set the dip out approximately 15 minutes prior to serving so it is easy to enjoy with crackers.