Monday, September 29, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Everyone on social media seems to be in an uproar over this article, entitled "the disturbing truth about starbucks pumpkin spice lattes" that's been circulating since the start of PSL season:

Now,  I expected to open up the article and find that the PSLs were laced with arsenic, the way that people were losing their minds over it.  I guess maybe I just assumed that everything in it was fake, based on the fact that my beloved international delights coffee creamer contains nothing natural either.  (speaking of that creamer, if you live in my area and are in search of it...I'm so sorry to tell you that I purchased the entire stock of it at the Giant Eagle by my house this week.  Better luck next time.)

So it wasn't so much the nutrition factor that motivated me to try to make one, it was more the money factor.  Look, I love PSLs.  I live for fall, and there is nothing better than sipping a warm PSL while wearing a sweater and tall boots.  That being said, a little part of me dies every time they tell me the total (which is why I stockpile any starbucks gift cards I get throughout the year until PSL season!) so I really don't buy them all that often.  Definitely a special treat kind of thing.

All of that being said, when Betsy over at BMoore Healthy posted her homemade PSL recipe, I knew I had to try it.  The recipe can be found here: 

Here is my finished product (even better that I could use it in my favorite fall mug!)

it's healthy, that meant I could slather on the whipped cream, right??

Give it a try, and enjoy Pumpkin Spice Latte season!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

"Something Blue" Bridal Shower

Last weekend, I was able to co-host (along with my mother-in-law) a bridal shower for my fabulous sister-in-law, Amy.  Amy and her fiancee Ben are getting married in November, and we can't wait to officially welcome him to the family!  So of course, we had to celebrate their upcoming wedding with a shower!

First up, the details of the day! (thanks to Joy for taking some great pics!) Our bridesmaid dresses for the wedding are navy blue, so we decided to go with a "Something Blue" theme. (I may or may not have worn a blue dress on's like I have an illness where I can't stop myself from matching a theme!)


contact info edited for privacy

I ordered the invitation from the Etsy shop Cherish by Noel (  The seller was very easy to work with and shipped the invitations very quickly.  And she has tons of other cute bridal items in her shop!


Next up, we had to decide on the most important part of the shower dessert.This was a pretty easy decision since Amy had already secured a great baker for her wedding cake (and I had sampled her cupcakes at an engagement party previously, they were delicious!); we went with Cozze Cakes and Amy Cozze did not disappoint!  After receiving a copy of the invitation, she decided to carry out the same chalkboard look (along with the "something blue") theme into the cupcakes.

I can assure you that they tasted just as good as they looked!!  You can like Cozze Cakes on Facebook here:


I actually posted about these favors in last week's Favorite Finds Friday post, which you can find here:

As I said in that post, if I can, I always like to support people with their own business, especially fellow moms.  So when I was trying to think of some favor ideas, I immediately thought of a former classmate of mine, who owns a company called Chocolate Apple Orchard. She sells both gourmet apples and chocolate covered pretzels.  We decided to go with the pretzels and they did not disappoint!

The pretzels came in the bag with the ribbon, so all we had to do was attach the thank you tags on (which I found as a free printable here:

You can like Chocolate Apple Orchard on Facebook here:


After LOTS of deliberation, we chose Blue Grillhouse in Bethlehem, PA...and it ended up being a great choice! And how fitting is it that the name of the restaurant fit our "something blue" theme so well??  The room was cozy and perfect for the shower (we had around 20 guests); it was in their wine room, which I think gave it a really unique look:

We really thought the room had a lot of character without having to go crazy with decor (and they provided the little candles on the tables), so we kept it simple with some orange mums (orange will be the color of Amy's flowers for the wedding)  Since we had a smaller party, they worked with us on the menu, rather than having us use their usual event menu, which was geared toward larger groups...everyone seemed to enjoy the food!

And now onto the fun stuff...the BRIDE!!!  Amy looked great, can't wait to see her all dolled up for her wedding day!

Danny, Sally, Amy, Ben
me and Sally
me and Joy
Sally, me, Lisa
me and Amy...and the cupcakes. I wish I had one right now.
Mother and Daughter :)

Favorite Finds Friday!

Today, I'm linking up over at Friday Favorites with Momfessionals, The Slaughters, and Grace and Love.

Favorite Find #1: Stella and Dot La Totale Medium Tote

Sadly, I can't link to this one because it looks like it's been discontinued (which would explain why I got such a good deal on it!)  Here is a picture from a different site:

image courtesy of

Perhaps you remember me mentioning a few weeks ago (in this post:  that I was drooling over the Barrington Bags that I found, but the size and price weren't working for me.  I came across this bag by Stella and Dot and it seemed like a decent, neutral alternative so I figured I'd give it a shot.  I'm really happy with it!  It has compartments inside and one outside pocket (where I stash my keys so that I always know where they are...I have this tendency to just throw them in bags without a dedicated outside pocket, then panic when I can't find them right away)

photo courtesy of

 I scored the bag for less than $30 which was a steal in comparison to the original price tag, which I believe was around $90.  Score!  The bag seems to be well made and can certainly fit all of my "important" stuff (like snack bags, books, and superhero figures).

Favorite Find #2: Chocolate Apple Orchard 

If possible, I always like to support someone I know who has a business (especially a fellow mom!) So when I was trying to think of ideas for favors to use at my sister-in-law's bridal shower, I was anxious to try a former classmate's company, Chocolate Apple Orchard.  The site has so many yummy treats to choose from, we went with the chocolate covered pretzel sticks in Oreo and Peanut Butter....YUM.

 They looked great and they were delicious!!  Like them on Facebook here:

Favorite Find #3: Organizing Caddy

Try to not laugh, but this was one of my favorite recent finds.  Prior to finding this amazing piece of interlocking plastic, I had stray batteries, index cards and other office products, and lightbulbs (yes, stray lightbulbs) all tossed into a plastic basket that measured about 3 inches by 8 inches.  The basket didn't even have a lid and I stored it on a top shelf in our pantry....I can't tell you how many times I saw my life flash before my eyes as a battery came barreling toward me!  Here is the before:


While in Target recently (you're shocked I was there, yes?) I came across this awesome organizing tote and knew this would be a sanity (and potentially life) saver for me....for around $7!

ooooh la la!!  Each section snaps into the next, and the top section has a little divider area that was perfect for my batteries.

Related note: sorting all of my batteries made me realize that I may or may not have a slight battery hoarding tendency. 

Let's look inside:

It makes my heart skip a beat just seeing it all so nice and tidy.  I'm not sure I will keep the light bulbs stored in there (I found about 6 more bulbs shoved behind a stock pot in the pantry...don't ask) so I may need a whole other storage solution for that issue.  But for now, this is working well! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy 8th Anniversary to us!

We ran a slideshow at our wedding reception that progressed through pictures of Brian and I when we were little, both of us going through high school and college with friends and family, and then turning to the two of us.  At the end of the slideshow, this quote appeared:

image courtesy of 

I loved it then, and I love it today.  It's hard to believe that it's been 8 years since we said I do...over 13 years since we first met, and over 12 years since we started dating.  I don't know what the next 12 years and then some will bring, but I know there's no one else I'd rather be with to find out.  Here's to us, Brian!!

In honor of our anniversary, how about a little throwback Tuesday with some wedding pics?

 Some honeymoon pics...we had a great time in St. Lucia....ahhh, let's go back!

Monday, September 22, 2014

What we've been doing....and what I hope to do.

I've been trying to make an effort at taking pictures of just everyday life with the kids...not out at an event, not ones where they are playing sports or with their friends...just everyday life.

Brian has continued with his physical therapy, he's completed 4 sessions so far and (thankfully) the last 2 have been a bit easier than the first two!  Since he can't drive, the kids and I have been escorting him to the appointments....then we leave the poor guy there and go do something for that hour (don't worry, we always bring him something fun!)  Last week, we went to YUM Frozen Yogurt for a sweet treat!

As we were leaving the FroYo shop, Jake was saying how good it smelled outside while we were walking back to our car....we figured out that there was a cute little pierogi shop next door! We had found where we would go for the next session!


The pierogis were just as delicious as they smelled from the outside! So yummy, in fact, that the kids got up out of their seats after a few bites and ran over to the woman who had taken our order to tell her how yummy her pierogis were :)   If you're looking for a unique lunch or dinner in Pittsburgh, check out Forgotten Taste!

I hosted a Wine Wednesday at my house....there are about 8 or so other moms who live in my neighborhood, and a few months ago we realized that we never get together without our children. We needed to remedy that situation real fast, so we started up monthly Wine Wednesday get togethers after the kids go to bed and take turns hosting.  I made a fall sangria that was quite tasty, if I do say so myself!  I'll post a recipe later on.

Over the weekend, I was out in Brian's hometown, celebrating his sister's upcoming wedding at her bridal shower!  I will do a full post soon, but it was a great day and so nice to spend time with everyone. 

What we have coming up....hopefully rest.  I have had the worst sleep habits lately (falling asleep on the couch then crawling up to bed hours later, or if I don't fall asleep, staying up way too late, being up throughout the night with a coughing kid, etc) This is me at least 4 nights a week when Brian tells me I should just go to bed before I fall asleep on the couch:

 I really, really need to make it a priority this week and next to get more/better quality sleep.  With Brian still being partly out of commission, I find myself doing a bunch of stuff once the kids go to bed....I'm wiped at that point (usually 9 or 9:15) but I also have a really hard time unwinding if I don't do something relaxing where I can zone out before bed.  So, I plop down on the couch and we turn on a show....then I don't feel like getting up and walking to bed (lazy, I know) so we get sucked into another show....then it's past 11 so by the time I get ready for bed and actually fall asleep, it's closer to 11:30.  My 5:20am alarm going off makes me feel super stabby.  I can rally after a cup of coffee, but I'm falling apart by 2pm everyday, it's not a pretty scene.

So, I'm putting it out accountability sort of thing.  Goal this week: go TO bed (not fall asleep on the couch), get more sleep overall, rely less on caffeine in the afternoon to function. 

Full disclosure: I have already failed if we count last night as the first night of this my defense, the steelers were playing a night game...what's a Pittsburgh gal to do? (I broke two of my new vows....I not only stayed up until 11:15, but then I fell asleep on the couch at the very end of the game...oops) 

Here's to a great week...happy first day of fall, ya'll!! :)

image courtesy of

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