Monday, July 31, 2017

Life With the Lees: Trip to St. Louis

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend and managed to stay cool! We just returned from our trip to St. Louis, and I wanted to share our family vacation with you today.

My mom is from St. Louis, and my aunts, uncles, and cousins still live there. We left Tuesday morning just before 5 a.m. I'm super proud of Robert who was the king of the road and refused to let me drive. We didn't hit any traffic and got there in 13 hours. Which also makes me proud of the kids for being so good on the drive- we only stopped 3 times! You can read about my packing list HERE.

I was so excited to make travel binders for the kids and used a ton of Pinterest resources. Guess who was the only one who played the license plate game?!


I was asked to babysit the entire way.


We made it safely to my aunt and uncle's house and headed out for ravioli and pasta and a fun game of musical bingo at TJ Wings. The next morning, my aunt took us to the zoo. The St. Louis Zoo is amazing! It is huge and free! There are a few paid experiences but we chose to just walk and enjoy the animals. We absolutely LOVED the penguins and polar bear! It was really hot that day, so there weren't many people there, but even if there were, the zoo is so spread out that you don't get too many people crowded in one area. We got in over 10,000 steps while we were there!




For lunch, we hit up our favorite diner, Steak 'n Shake! I made THIS lemon dessert, and then we headed to my other aunt and uncle's house for dinner. We had Imo's Pizza and salad with Zia's Dressing - STL staples! 


The next day, my aunt took Trip and Ari to The Magic House which is a children's museum. Ari loved that they had a Clifford exhibit! 


While the kids were having a blast with Amy, Robert and I stopped by the Missouri History Museum, the hill at Forest Park, and the St. Louis Art Museum. The history museum was a favorite of mine as a kid but was underwhelming this time. It is free and features an exhibit on the World's Fair. The art museum was definitely our favorite! It is also free and is super huge. Like the zoo, I felt like the spacing kept it from getting too jammed up in any particular exhibits which was really nice. 




After a few hours at the museums, we met up with my aunt and the kids to have another round of toasted raviolis at Rich & Charlie's. I could eat toasted ravs for every meal, every day! 


My aunt and I cooked at home and had my other aunt and uncle and cousin's family over while Robert took advantage of the birthday present I gave him back in May- a ticket to the Guns 'N Roses concert! Here's a video he made while at the concert: 


On our last day, my aunt and uncle took us to Grant's Farm. This was also free, but you do have to pay for parking and some of the attractions. As soon as we parked, we went to see some of the Budweiser clydesdales. Obviously, this was Ari's favorite part! My aunt got the kids fun passes for just $5 each and it got you 2 milk bottles to feed the goats, a ride on the carousel, and a snowcone! The kids also got to ride a camel! If you drink, you can get free beer to take a break in the bauernhof. Everyone had a great time, but it definitely was a long day. We think we made the mistake of going on a Friday, so if you go on a Friday, you might wait until 2 or 3 to save time in the long lines. 




We went home, showered, and rested before hitting up Rock & Brews for dinner. This is Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons' restaurant, and Ari was PUMPED to be there! The theming is amazing but the food is just okay. I'd still go for the experience if you love rock and roll! 


We wrapped up our trip with a visit to Ted Drewes for frozen custard. Don't be discouraged when you drive by and see long lines. They move insanely fast! 


We hit the road on Saturday morning and had an easy trip back to Texas. Everyone had a blast on our visit to St. Louis, and we are so grateful to my family for letting us stay with them and for taking us around town! We'll definitely be back!


Have you been to St. Louis? Share your favorite restaurants and attractions in the comments below please! I'm headed back to work this morning and meeting my new teammates! Wish me luck! I'll see you back here tomorrow for Tuesday Training. Have a wonderful start to your week! 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Favorites

 Hi everyone! Hope you had a great week! We're wrapping up our vacation and heading home soon. Thankfully, we downloaded some movies before we left to watch on the long drive home. We try to have a family movie night every week throughout the school year and a couple times a week during the summer. Today, I want to share five of our favorites for family movie night!

1) Diary of a Wimpy Kid trilogy

So if you're a parent that doesn't allow anything over a G rating, then you probably should stop reading my post today. Trip is OBSESSED with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series by Jeff Kinney. He says that the movies in the trilogy do a pretty good job of following the plotlines from the books. If you're not okay with potty humor, then you shouldn't watch these films. But, if you join in on the elementary jokes and arm farts, you'll actually be laughing along with the kids when watching these movies. I definitely recommend that you watch the movies in order, but stay away from the new one that came out this summer. They revamped the series with Alicia Silverstone as the mom, and it was AWFUL! The original cast is so much better- so stick with the first three if you need a good chuckle with your kids. You can watch the trailer for the first movie HERE

2) The Sandlot


Growing up in the 90s has allowed me to share some amazing movies with my kids. The Sandlot is one of my all time favorites. The story follows a shy new boy in town as he makes friends with a group of baseball obsessed boys. They spend a better deal of the summer trying to retrieve a very valuable baseball from an unlikely villain. It's definitely a film that will keep kids and adults entertained. Check out the trailer HERE!

3) Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


We keep meaning to re-watch Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was absolutely hilarious! The casting for this movie was perfect, and if you ever feel like you're having one of those "don't worry, it get's worse" kind of days, then Alexander will leave you in stitches. Check out the trailer HERE!

4) Matilda 


I've talked about Matilda in a Friday Favorites post before, so of course it had to make my list of family movies. The kids had ZERO desire to watch this movie but then spent the entire movie glued to the screen and request to watch it often. It has a little bit of every genre- comedy, drama, and fantasy, and the kids will be cheering Matilda on to victory! Check out the trailer HERE

5) The Mighty Ducks trilogy


Similar to The Sandlot, The Mighty Ducks trilogy combines sports, drama, and comedy. Our personal favorite is Mighty Ducks 2 when they compete in the junior Goodwill Games, but it makes so much more sense if you watch the first one to start. Your kids will love Goldberg and will be cheering the team on with their signature, "Quack, quack, quack!" Check out the trailer HERE

What movies would you recommend for a family movie night? Please share in the comments below!

In case you missed any of this week's posts:

Follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin', and Pinterest!

I hope that you have a great weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday to share about our trip!

Linking up with Andrea, Erika, Narci, Della, Tif, Katie, Amanda, Christina, Lauren, and Paula 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Try It Thursday: Baked Chicken & Rice Casserole


Happy Thursday! Thanks for joining me for another week of Try It Thursday- I feel like I haven't shared a recipe in weeks. Make sure you link up below to share your favorite recipe of the week.

Today, I'm sharing a super easy chicken and rice casserole. I found the recipe at Plain Chicken a few years back, and I make it on request for the husband a few times a year. This certainly is not a healthy recipe, but it's hearty and fairly cheap. I like to make it on a Sunday afternoon to warm up for a Monday night "We survived the first day back" dinner. Scroll down for the recipe!







Ingredients:
* 1 box of Rice a Roni OR 1 package of Knorr Chicken Rice + ingredients to prepare
* 1 rotisserie chicken
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1 can cream of chicken soup
* French fried onions

Directions: 
* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
* Prep your chicken rice according to the package directions. (Note: I originally used Rice a Roni, but we're a Knorr rice family, so I've started making this with that rice instead. Basically, any rice you want to use will work.)
* While the rice is cooking, shred up your rotisserie chicken. 
* Once the rice is finished, add the soup and sour cream to the rice and stir to mix.
* Add the chicken to the rice, and stir once more.
* Spray a 9" x 13" pan.
* Add the chicken and rice mixture to the pan and bake for 30 minutes. (Note: The recipe says to sprinkle the mixture with the French fried onions and then bake. I actually think it is a lot tastier to bake the mixture first and then sprinkle the onions on when ready to serve.)
* After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with French fried onions to serve.
* Enjoy!

Does your spouse have an often requested dinner? Share about it in the comments below, and make sure to stop by the other blogs to say hello! Don't forget that you can view all of my Try It Thursday recipes HERE! I'll see you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites- have a fabulous day!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: July 2017



Happy Wednesday! I hope that you're having a great week so far! Thanks for stopping by today as I link up with Mel to share what's been going on in the Lee casa. It's already the last Wednesday of the month which means it is back to work very soon for me, but I'm excited for new beginnings! 

What we're eating this week...
I'm not cooking at all this week! We're enjoying some of my favorite foods while we're visiting family in St. Louis including toasted raviolis, cheeseburgers from Steak 'n Shake, and custard from Ted Drewes! Yum!


What I'm reminiscing about...
Being in St. Louis has me reminiscing about spending a week each summer with my Nana and Po. They'd always take us to Union Station, to plays at The Muny, to get wedding cake and tiger's blood snow cones, and we'd always stop into one of my favorite museums, The Missouri History Museum. Nana would make me a million chocolate malts a day- even for breakfast! And I loved catching fireflies in her backyard! Miss my sweet grandparents!




What I'm loving...
I'm totally digging my Ipsy bag! I'm planning on telling you all about the products next Wednesday. If you're interested in trying a bag for yourself, you can click HERE for my referral code. 


What we've been up to...
We've been driving to St. Louis! We're excited to get out of the car and explore the zoo, parks, and museums with the kids and hang out with my aunts, uncles, and cousins!


What I'm dreading...
Driving home! Do we have to?!


What I'm working on...
Like my girl Cara, I sat down and meal planned dinners for every night until the end of September! Of course we may choose to deviate from the plan at times, but it is so nice to not have to think about what we should make for the first few weeks back to school.


What I'm excited about...
My aunt is helping us make t-shirts for our Disney World trip! I just brought one tank top to customize, but I have a feeling that I'm going to end up wanting another one! What should I put on my shirt? This one is super cute:


What I'm reading...
I switched between magazines, It Ends With Us, and Lauren Graham's Talking As Fast As I Can on the ride up yesterday. Have you read either of these books?


What I'm listening to...
I'm doing interval runs every other day, and I am doing so much better on my runs now that I have music. Can you believe I ran for years without any music? Agh so boring! I've been enjoying listening to Today's Adult Hits Radio on Pandora to keep me moving.


What I'm wearing...
I've got back to school on the brain and picked up some new tops last week when I was at Marshalls and TJ's. I wasn't going to jump on the cross-front tee bandwagon, but Trip of all people told me that I should get one of those shirts! 


What I'm doing this weekend...
Driving home to Houston! Hoping to have a safe and fast trip home!


What I'm looking forward to next month...
I'm excited to meet my new co-workers and move into my new classroom! Of course I'm nervous, but I think it's going to be a great move.


What else is new...
Hopefully my blog is going to be looking a little refreshed in the next few weeks. I've been wanting to organize it and make it more user friendly, so I'm hoping to find a template soon that will accomplish those goals. 


Question of the month: What's your favorite part of summer?
I love late June - July! Swim team is over by that point and the hustle and bustle is done so we can enjoy a pool day with friends, go to a movie, try out a new playground, and more without having to be anywhere at any specific time. 

What's been going on in your world this July? Tell me in the comments below!

Follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin', and Pinterest!

Don't forget to link-up with me to share your favorite recipe of the week for tomorrow's Try It Thursday! See you soon!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Show & Tell Tuesday: Phone Apps


Happy Tuesday! Are you lost without your phone like me? I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals to share my favorite apps on my phone. I'm a Samsung girl, so these are all apps that can be found on the Google store.

My Fitness Pal



When I'm doing my absolute best with my eating, I check into my My Fitness Pal app each morning. Since I usually have our dinners planned out, I log all 3 of my meals for the day so that I can budget my snacks for the rest of the day. Last winter, I lost 17 pounds thanks to this app. I've let myself have a little too much fun in the food department this summer and am looking forward to being more consistent with it. If you are new to My Fitness Pal, check out the tutorial I wrote in THIS post. 

Instagram



I am enjoying Instagram a lot more than Facebook these days. I love the collages, and I love that I can use the editing features to just edit pictures to direct message to myself to use. I enjoy watching some of the Instastories, too. Some of you all expressed an interest in me doing more stories, so I promise to attempt to get over my self-consciousness and try it more!

Xfinity Stream TV



One of the most romantic things my husband ever did for me was to download our cable app onto my phone so I can watch shows from my DVR on my phone while I'm getting ready for work or while I'm doing meal prep. Being able to watch my Housewives in the morning is a true gift! :)

YouTube



While Pandora is awesome, having the YouTube app on my phone makes it super easy to search up songs that the kids request on demand. I also love watching makeup videos from EleventhGorgeous!

Ibotta



My aunt introduced me to Ibotta last summer, and I've gotten over $90 in rebates so far! There was an update a few months ago, and I feel like it does a better job of uploading deals. If you want to make a few bucks back from your grocery shopping, you can sign up through my referral code HERE.

Cartwheel



You all know that I pretty much live at Target, so Cartwheel is used multiple times each week. I've been really lucky to pilot their Perks program this past year, but sadly, Target is going to discontinue that program next month. I've read that there are supposed to be some big changes coming to the Cartwheel app soon, so stay tuned in to save big at Target!

HIIT Interval Trainer



I got back into running this summer, but to keep myself both injury free and from burning out, I decided to do my runs in intervals. I had the darndest time trying to find an intervals app that would work when the phone wasn't open, would give a countdown, and would allow me to listen to music while the interval app was open. I finally found the HIIT Inteval Trainer in the Google store, and I absolutely love it! 

Colorify



I don't let the kids get on my phone too often, but there are definitely times when I need a little technological assistance in keeping them preoccupied during a long wait. Ari really likes the app Colorify that is basically blank coloring book pages that you can save and work on multiple times until you finish. I like that you can zoom in on the images to get the color exactly where you want it, and since there are a lot of mandalas, it's quite an accomplishment when you do finish one!

What are your favorite phone apps? Tell me in the comments below, and don't forget to check out my Tuesday Training post from earlier this morning HERE. I'll see you back here tomorrow to wrap up July for What's Up Wednesday!