Friday Favorites--What I am Finding Joy in this Week











Today I am linking up with ErikaNarci and Andrea for Friday favorites and sharing with you the things that I am finding Joy in this week.


1. Spring Flowers: While the flowers came out a little early for my taste and then I worried about them in the cold and snow, I am happy they are here.  Our sweet pup was even smelling the daffodils the other night as we came in from our walk.  This photo is from what I am calling our "rescue flowers" meaning the flowers I cut when we had a little bit of snow and I brought them in to enjoy. They bring me Joy.


2. Cole Haan Wedges: I have been fighting plantar fasciitis for almost six months now.  I truly think it is some of the shoes that I have been wearing and can basically pinpoint my first tinge of pain from wearing certain shoes at a busy work event in the Fall.  I decided that I needed new spring shoes that were cute but also helped out my poor feet. I bought these cute wedges from Cole Hann in both black and nude...and the nude are on sale! Honestly, my plantar faciitis is much better now that I am wearing these to work.



3. Rainbows: Tuesday night I went to pick up the Sweet Boy at lacrosse and was talking to my lovely friend Mrs. N. She stopped mid-sentence and said "turn around and look." This beautiful double rainbow was behind us.  Everyone was taking photos and on the drive home the Sweet Boy took this photo.


4. Trader Joe's Double Chocolate Chip Cookies: These are probably the Best gluten free cookies...period.  They are chocolatey and moist. I just finished one as I edited this blog post.

Image result for trader joe's gluten free cookies

5. Lunch with girlfriends: Today I had lunch with my lovely friend Ms. C.  We are both from Massachusetts and we just get each other.  We talked work, social media, marketing, blogging, boys--both big ones and little ones, and politics. We were both so happy to see former Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole at the table next to us, looking pretty sharp at age 93.

So these are the things that are bringing me Joy this Friday. This weekend we have some Mass server training for the Sweet Boy, picking out a new wine fridge for our bar that is being built, the Sweet Boy's band competition, track practice and then I am hitting Barre 3 on Sunday afternoon.

Since it's the last day of the month, here are the links to all of my March posts in case you missed them.


Enjoy the Best weekend!




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Workin' It: Balancing Home & Work Life



Today I am linking up with Shay & Erika for their Workin' It series. This month the topic is one that ebbs and flows for me as I am sure it does for others, Balancing Home & Work Life. I am happy to participate in this as well as learn from the other ladies who participated in this topic.

I do have to say that this week I am not sure if I was balancing things all that well.  It's a busy time at work and phase two of our home remodel began this week and I may have posted my What's Up Wednesday a week early. Oh well, I will just link it up next week.

Work

I work for a Fortune 40 corporation in Government Relations. It can be busy, stressful and lot of fun.  I have been in my role for about 10 years, since the Sweet Boy was a baby. He has practically grown up in this office.  I am in the office every day from about 7:30 am to 4:30 p.m. I don't travel that often, maybe a couple times per year.  I have flexibility in the sense of that if the Sweet Boy is sick or has a day off, I can work from home.  If I need to go to a meeting at school, it's no problem. It works for me, and I will always take a better work environment over more money...but I like money too!


Running Daddy

Running Daddy helps a lot and is very supportive of my work. Typically Running Daddy takes the Sweet Boy to school and I pick him up. Running Daddy is very good with math homework is always Good to throw in or fold a load of laundry.  I have also put him in charge of things like Cub Scouts and hockey.  He is also the king of dry cleaning, I think I have been in our cleaners maybe five times in 11 years. 

Groceries/Meal Planning

I get most of my groceries online.  When I was first diagnosed with lupus  I started ordering my groceries online. At that point I had so little energy, I was not going to waste that energy or my weekend at the grocery store.  This was a little bit of an adjustment as I am one of those odd people that actually likes to grocery shop, probably due to my love of cooking.  I have tried a number of online grocery shopping options over the years and I am currently pretty happy with Harris Teeter Express Lane.  Yes, you have to pay around $5 for the service, but someone shops the store for you and you just pull in and they put it in your car.  I have definitely spent $5 on worse things and my time and energy is worth $5!  

I also have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box delivered every Friday.  They literally drop fresh produce on my doorstep every Friday.  I typically plan our weekly meals around what is in the box.  This service has really changed the way we eat, especially for Running Daddy.

The beginning of every week, I look at our calendars and plan our dinners.  We eat together as a family basically every night.  The meal planning helps organize our nights and I try to pull items out of the freezer the night before if necessary.

Early to Bed/Early to Rise

Mornings start pretty early in the Good Better Best household.  Running Daddy gets up around 4:30 a.m. and does more work or house stuff.  I get up around 5:30 a.m. We typically have coffee together and watch the local news for about 30 minutes.  We have found this time to be really important as we often don't get a chance to really talk again until later at night and we go to bed pretty early.  Running Daddy usually goes for a quick run when I get in the shower. I am out the door by 7 a.m. and the boys are out around 7:30 a.m.

Since we get up so early, the Sweet Boy is in bed between 8:30 to 8:45 p.m depending on sports and studying.  I typically pack the lunch box and get other things ready for the next morning.  I try to be asleep by 10:30 p.m. but I find when I am in bed...lights out at 10:00 p.m., my fatigue is so much better.
Outfit Planning

I always lay out my outfit the night before.  I try to iron if I need to the night before as well, but sometimes I am just so very tired.  If I wait until the morning it usually puts me behind for some reason even though it doesn't take long to iron a pair of pants.  I dress for my day so this gives me some flexibility but I do try to dress as fashionable as I can due to the industry I am in.

The Sweet Boy wears a uniform and that helps a lot, but it also means that his uniforms need to be cleaned and ready to go, there are no alternatives on his school clothes.  I try to ask him the night before, right when we get home, if he has clean uniform pants for the next day.  If he doesn't, I would rather start a load of laundry right at 6 p.m. as opposed to 8:45 p.m. like I did the other night.  Getting it all folded and put away is always a challenge in our house.  Right now, we have a lot of clean laundry...but it's not folded or put away. Looks like I know what I will be doing Saturday morning.



Outsourcing

I do outsource a few things.  I have cleaning woman who comes every other week (except she has not been here in a while due to the renovation) and has helped me for over 10 years.  Between work and my health, I was having trouble keeping up with the cleaning and I need a clean house especially with all males (two legged and four legged) in the house.

We also have a neighbor who has a dog walking service come at noon during the week.  The pup gets a chance to get out and he loves her so much.  She takes amazing care of him.

Weekends

The Best in work life balance are our weekends.  We spend a lot of time together as a family on the weekends. Friday night we always have pizza and Running Daddy and I crack open a bottle of wine.  The rest of the weekend is usually spent with sports, church and a lot of hanging out.  

I do often spend some time napping on the weekend as it really helps my health and lately I have been trying to attend at least one Barre 3 class every weekend.


Wrap Up

So I am not sure that I have all the answers and some weeks things are running more smoothly than others.  What tips do you have for Work Life Balance?  Leave it in the comments below.








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What's Up Wednesday











Linking with MelShaeffer, and Shay to share What's Up Wednesday! Let's do this.

****Editors note: I accidentally wrote this a week early and posted last Wednesday instead of this Wednesday...oh well!

What We Are Eating This Week
(really last week!)

Sunday-since we were working hard to get everything in the basement packed up for #demoday this week for our next phase of home renovation, we just got Noodles & Co.

Monday-make your own taco bar.

Tuesday-burgers and dogs after lacrosse practice.

Wednesday-chicken sausage with spinach and polenta which I can whip up in less than 25 minutes.

Thursday-chicken pesto pasta.

Friday-we always order pizza.

And we are eating a lot of Girl Scout cookies.  We buy cookies from Girl Scouts we know...we buy cookies from Girl Scouts we don't know.  We are buying a lot of cookies this year.

 What I am Reminiscing About


This is going to sound a little odd, but Running Daddy and I were looking around our empty basement with its knotty pine paneling and he said "It's the end of an era."  Running Daddy is a very nostalgic person, and one of the things I really love about him. What he meant by this is that although it's time for the paneling, drop ceiling and linoleum floor to go, that basement has looked like that since probably the mid to late 1950's.  That groovy basement holds a lot of memories in this house but it is time to make it over and create more memories for our family. 

What I am Loving

I am loving our newly renovated bathroom and breakfast bar and I can't wait to share with you future posts about the construction and design.  

What We Have Been Up To

We are smack dab in the middle of our home renovation, so I have been spending a lot of time purchasing and then returning items for our new bathroom.  In addition we have been packing up about 90% of our basement so that they can start renovating downstairs. Almost everything from the basement is either upstairs, in the garage or in the attic.  This was also a good opportunity to weed out things we no longer needed and give some items to charity.

It's also the beginning of lacrosse season, so we have spent a lot of time at lacrosse practice and scrimmages and watching a lot of college lacrosse on TV.

What I am Dreading

I am not going to lie, while I am excited about all of our home renovations and looking forward to the finished products, I am dreading the next few weeks of living in semi-organized chaos.  I don't do well when things are not in order and it just feels like everything is everywhere.  

What I am Working on

I am really working on not losing my mind or my temper while we are in the midst of the basement renovation.  At times it is like living in a fraternity house around here, right now I am just hoping it doesn't look too much like the morning after Rush Week.

I am also getting ready to make some Easter break plans including a short trip and then various appointments that we need to do like the dentist.  Right now the only thing that is booked is our dog is booked for boarding...not sure what this says about us....

I am thinking about paint colors and decor ideas for the basement renovation.  Just thinking, not even options yet.

What I am Excited About

I am excited that is almost April! That means better weather, getting outside and working on my flowers and it is also my birthday month.

I am also excited about the blank slate that is our basement and the design possibilities that come along with the construction process.

What I am Watching/Reading

I don't watch every season of Dancing with the Stars but with these two on there how can I not?

The Bachelor dance dancing abc the bachelor GIF

As someone who has watched every season of the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, I love to hate Nick.  Probably my least favorite Bachelor ever.  The dancing above says it all...



I love Erika Jane and hope she does well.

I am also counting the days until New York Housewives starts



And my favorite...Southern Charm....both shows start my birthday week.  


Thank you Andy Cohen


What I am Listening to

If you are not listening to the Missing Richard Simmons you should be.

What I am Wearing

With the weather still all over the place, including snow last week, I am wearing a lot of layers and transitional pieces.  I am trying to wear pops of colors.  Here are a few pieces that are getting a workout in my wardrobe lately.


This super cute top in blue looks great with a blazer.  Find it here


I have this jacket in both red and black.  The black one I got from Macy's last year and I just got it in red from Stitch Fix last month.


It's all about the varsity jacket this season and I am still loving this one that I picked up at Target last month.  
*Note, I am a Target corporate employee but these opinions are all my own.

What I am Doing this Weekend
(really last weekend!)

Friday night we will do our usual pizza and hang out to end the long week.  The Sweet Boy has lax practice now on Friday nights and Running Daddy and I always have a little wine on Friday nights too.  Saturday is the first lax game of the season and I am going to a ladies White Party that was a fund raiser for school. Sunday Running Daddy is running his spring marathon which I think is #32 for him.  Plus I need to fit in a Barre 3 workout and keep organizing the bathroom after the remodel.  

What I am Looking Forward to Next Month

I am looking forward to Holy Week and Easter.  It's a total toss up for me which is my favorite holiday...Christmas or Easter.

I am looking forward to Spring Break and Easter week as I feel like I have been going full force since January at work and with the renovation.  Some time to slow down and think about Holy Week and then time with my loves is much needed.

I am looking forward to my birthday and then my mom's the day after.  

And see the Bravo references above!

And of course...warmer weather.

That's What's Up in the Good Better Best household.  What is up in your world?
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Good Better Best Home Renovation-Introduction: One Milk, One Gin and One Beer

The Good, Better, Best household is smack dab in the middle of a house renovation.  It's not a huge renovation where we have to move out, but it is not a small one either.  I decided that one way to keep me from loosing my mind about all of this is to blog about it. So I am beginning a multi-part series on our home renovation.  

Our renovation includes: opening up the wall in between the kitchen and dining room and adding a breakfast bar, gutting the master bathroom down to the studs, adding a heating and cooling unit in our Florida room off the kitchen, re-configuring the basement to make more usable space, and covering the back patio. At times it doesn't feel like much and at times it feels semi-overwhelming.  But there's a lot of fun to this and I have learned a lot about our house in the process.  

My theme for this renovation that I recently shared with Running Daddy is that I want to be deliberate, meaning I want to take the time to choose the right things for this our house.  That doesn't mean that I need to look at every quartz counter top in the mid-Atlantic region, but it does mean that I want to bring a sample home and take a day or two to think about things before we make our final decisions. Running Daddy and I tend to make these types of decisions and then not change our minds, with a few exceptions along the way.

I do want to say,  I love this house.  It's not a huge house but it has the Best bones and an amazing amount of character.  The need to be deliberate comes from the fact that we moved into this house when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with the Sweet Boy.  There wasn't time to be deliberate about anything, especially when his room was hunter green and navy blue when we moved in.  Sidebar: it took two coats of Kilz  and then two coats of paint while I was still in the hospital to get this back to a soft yellow.  Kilz is the Best primer for these types of projects.

In the last 11 years we have done little projects, we have painted inside and out, adding some beautiful detailing like stone and glass back splash to the kitchen and put in new appliances, but we really reached the point where we wanted to do something bigger.  
Because these guys seem to be too busy with their something like five TV shows to help me with my house since we had this photo taken (actually they are super nice, very funny and crazy tall), we hired our friend and neighbor J.H. to help us with the design and build.  J.H. grew up in this neighborhood and still lives here today. There's nothing he hasn't seen in these houses and his finished products are true works of art.

Our house and this entire neighborhood was built in about 1955 most are brick ramblers of a few different styles.  Our house looks out onto a large wooded area that is home to many great horned owls, foxes and deer.  During this renovation process I learned that the bricks for the houses in the neighborhood came from reclaimed brick when buildings in Washington and mostly Baltimore were taken down to build skyscrapers.  There was a team of men and their job was to pull out all of the brick that was in good condition, clean them off and then get them ready to send to build these houses in Northern Virginia.  

When the houses were built there were basically three types of houses: milk bottle houses, Natty Beau houses and gin bottle houses.  Depending on the lunch beverage of choice of the building team that was pretty much the quality of build your house has to this day.  We luckily have a milk bottle house which we know because during our home inspection they found old milk bottles behind the walls when they went into the attic.  Milk bottle houses have the straightest lines and the Best build quality.  Natty Beau houses were they guys that brought a beer in their lunch boxes which was common during this time and well the gin bottle houses...well you can imagine that those need a little help to this day.  It was very common for the teams to leave behind their beverage bottles as a calling card and many of the houses in the neighborhood have bottles behind their walls.  We are leaving the milk bottles right where they are. 

I am looking forward to sharing each step in our home renovation with you and don't worry there will be plenty of before and after photos.  

Stay tuned for posts on the breakfast bar!

Do you have a home renovation story to share?  Please add it in the comments below.

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Ladies Who Link: March--Go-to Crock Pot Recipe



I am linking up with A Gal Named Al and Mom's Coffee Date for their monthly link up. For March we are posting our go-to crock pot recipes.  This is an interesting one for me as I am not much of a crock potter, but I do have at least one really Good crock pot recipe that I have listed below.  I am very picky about the recipes that I create for Good Better Best Food, unless it's the Best...I don't post it.  

I am looking forward to reading many of the fellow linked blogs this month for some recipes and tricks. I use my crock pot for soups and chili, but I find that when I try other things in it, the meat either comes out very dry or wet and tasteless. I know it's totally me.

My go to crock pot recipe is one for crock pot apple sauce and you can read the full post here.  As this is a total fall recipe you might want to file it away for a few months, but with the weather the way it has been in the North East lately, this would be the perfect comfort food to greet you as come in from to cold.  As it is still flu season, this is also a Good warm treat when you are not feeling well.



This is also totally Sweet Boy approved.

Crock Pot Apple Sauce

8 apples-feel free to use a mixture as we did but I would avoid Red Delicious as they will be too sweet and not cook down well
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
5 tsp brown sugar

-Peel and core the apples and put into a crock pot.
-Add lemon juice, cinnamon and brown sugar.
-Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

The apples will cook down and become tender.  We like our apple sauce slightly chunky so as this gets to the end of the cooking process just break down the apples with a wooden spoon.  If you wanted smoother apple sauce you could also use an immersion blender when finished cooking.

You can serve this hot, warm or cold.

Be sure to check out the other blogs linked on this fun topic.  Check back next month for this link up when we talk about our Favorite Target Finds.

Enjoy the Best food!

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Friday Favorites--March in like a lion


Today I am linking up for Friday Favorites with Erika, Narci and Andrea for Friday favorites.  We have had a crazy roller coaster of weather around here with one day being near 70 degrees and now it's pretty chilly around here again.  Let's do these Friday Favorites as March comes in like a lion.

ONE-Lax/Hockey Crossover




Last weekend the Sweet Boy started lacrosse on Friday nights and we had our season ending hockey tournament on Saturday and Sunday.  Things didn't really go the way Sweet Boy wanted them too but he took it in stride and had an amazing season.  For me, I just always look forward to watching him skate.  So we head into the next sports season where I will once again be freezing for until things really warm up in about six weeks or so.  The upside to hockey, at least it is always dry at hockey.  Time for my pink blanket and I to head outside again.  

TWO-Barre 3

If I keep this up, Barre 3 is going to need it's own post.  I have been going every weekend for a month.  You literally work your butt off in every class but it goes by so fast.  It's the best workout I have ever done.  I am even going tonight...on a Friday night.  Gives new meaning to hitting the Barre on a Friday night.

Three-Sweet Boy Created Menus




Running Daddy has been traveling for work again this week and last getting to complete a very prestigious course.  I let the Sweet Boy pick our menus for dinner the last two weeks.  It was fun and he did a very good job.  

Our dinners included: pesto pasta, breakfast for dinner, Moe's take out due to lacrosse practice and my infusions, and this pizza which is now a favorite.  We had great conversations at our new breakfast bar and he was very proud of the menus he created for us.

FOUR-New Breakfast Bar

Speaking of the breakfast bar, we are in the middle of a fairly big home remodel.  Our breakfast bar was finished last week and all I can say is...why didn't we do that five years ago?  I cannot wait to show everyone all of the before and after photos.  Get ready for multiple posts on our home remodel.  It's going to be fun!

Five-First Five 

I mentioned last week that I was trying to read the First Five every morning to start my day focused on our Lord this Lent.  Well, I am happy to say that so far it is going really well.  While Running Daddy is gone, it is very quiet when I get up in the morning which creates the perfect environment for my  Bible study.  Saturday morning was slightly challenging because I did have to tell both Running Daddy and the Sweet Boy that I needed five minutes...alone...with Jesus.  They got the message.  Sunday I had trouble getting the app to load but for the most part I feel really good about the progress I am making during Lent.

Six-Running Daddy comes Home and the Weekend

Running Daddy comes home tonight and we are all very excited.  Saturday the Sweet Boy and I are going on a tour of the animal shelter that was a silent auction item we purchased at his school auction.  Note: we will NOT bring home a four legged friend at the end of the tour.  The balance of the weekend will mean packing up the basement for the next installment of our home remodel.  I am not looking forward to this part and just have to look at this as a project we need to get through to finally have the basement of dreams.

So these are my favorites for this week.  What have you been up to?






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Hey...Do You Have Five Minutes? Lent 2017

I am the kind of person who if someone asks me "Do you have five minutes", I will pretty much tell them yes, even if I really don't. Well, I have a confession to make, I apparently don't have five minutes for the Lord lately and that is not Good.  

One of my New Year's resolutions was to start my day with a great app I found late last year called First 5, where they send you some Bible quotes, explain them and then give you ideas on how to apply these to your daily life.  You are supposed to be able to read this all in five minutes. You set a recurring alarm and it will wake you up to soothing music and remind you that it's time spend some time with Jesus.  Sounds like a Good way to start the day right?  Should be an easy thing to do. I mean who doesn't have five minutes? Apparently me, apparently I have Better things to do than take five minutes to learn more about Jesus and what focusing on His life can do for mine.

So why haven't I been Better about my First 5?  Well, you know, I am busy.  Oh and I am really tired when I wake up. Hey there is all that stuff on TMZ to read and you know all those recaps of Housewives and The Bachelor.  I had to look up on Wikipedia to see if that actor that I haven't thought of in about a decade is still alive. Um yeah, all of those things are really doing a lot to make me a Better person. Sigh.

Here is the Best part, Jesus is always there, waiting for me when I am ready and He even loves me when I am reading TMZ.  He doesn't expect me to be perfect, He just wants the Best for me...all the time.  He doesn't really want anything from me, just for me to try to be Better. There are not too many people you can say that about.  

As Lent is about setting a clean slate for yourself, today I reset my First 5 to go off at 5:20 a.m.  I let our dog out, poured a coffee and read my First 5.  It was quiet in the house because Running Daddy is on a trip.  Just coffee, our sweet dog cuddling with his sleeping boy until it is time for breakfast, Jesus and me.  

I had five minutes to focus on the Lord.  Five minutes to understand His teachings and how I can use His love to handle my life Better.  Five minutes to give thanks to Him for all He does for me and for those I pray.  The Best part is, spending those five minutes with the Lord, will do me a lot of Good.

So this is what I am doing for Lent.  I am not giving anything up, not chocolate, not wine, not the occasional cuss word.  I am taking the steps to have a Better relationship with Jesus.  Will I fail some days...probably, but guess what, the Lord will love me anyway and that is the Best part.  

What is your plan for Lent?
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