My 14 day non-blogging life

Oct 31, 2010

I'm not sure how many of you noticed - but previous to my post on our UPPAbaby umbrella stroller I took a 14 day blogging break.

So in light of my recent blogging sabbatical I thought I'd give you a peak into our lives by highlighting 14 things we've been up to :) Don't worry... I'll make them short (and interesting...hopefully)

1. Gpa & Ellen visited AZ. Nora loved spending time with some of our most favorite people in the whole wide world. Not to mention that she just LOVES Gpa's iPad!

2. Nora and I flew to Iowa with no Alan. Maybe not that monumental for some.... but a HUGE feat to accomplish. I gave myself an honorary Super Mom award that day :)

3. Fall Colors! I know I've said it multiple times before - but one thing we miss in AZ is the changing of seasons and the BEAUTIFUL colors. I'm so grateful we were able to be in Iowa during this gorgeous time of year.
4. Nora met her BFF - Carly (the dog). Gma and Gpa T got a new puppy this summer and although Nora's "met" Carly via Skype she was thrilled to meet her in person. And I'm by no means exaggerating that they are now BFF's.

5. We bought an UPPAbaby G-Luxe umbrella stroller. See previous post for details :)

6. Upon arriving in Iowa I got back on a plane and headed to Harrisburg, PA for the Relevant Conference. To see more about my time at this event read our Relevant Update post on The Family Matters Blog.

7. Have I ever mentioned how quickly our lil' chicken is growing up (tear)?

8. While in Iowa Nora got to spend some quality time with her Uncle Erik and Aunt Amy and her GG's from Illinois. She loved all of the extra attention.

9. I don't have a picture (boo) but after flying back from PA I stopped through Muscatine to see my sweet friend, Katie and her hubby Brett. It was soooo good to catch up and to celebrate with them as they anticipate the arrival of their first baby (a girl) in February.

10. We were blessed to be able to book our plane tickets for Christmas with frequent flyer miles!! Maybe not amazing to those who don't travel much - but to those who have attempted to use miles around the holidays - it's nearly impossible. We're so thankful for the $1,200+ savings! Praise God!

11. My dear friend Liz and her sweet baby boy, Easton came to Mt. Vernon to spend a couple hours with Nora and I. For Liz's thoughts about our time together click HERE. I miss you friend!

12. Nora got to spend lots of time with Gma and Gpa T this past week. Thanks again mom and dad for watching our little pumpkin while I was away! She can't wait to be back in December!

13. I had my very first acupuncture appointment a couple weeks back. It was SUPER interesting. I'll be sure to share more about it in the upcoming weeks.

14. I'm co-hosting a baby shower for a dear friend of mine this next weekend. For those of you who know me well - you know that planning parties is one of my most favorite things to do!!! I can't wait to show you all the pics.

All for now.....toodles :)


Steph's Pick: UPPAbaby G-Luxe Umbrella Stroller

Oct 29, 2010

As many of you know, Nora and I flew to Iowa this past week to visit family and friends (thanks Gma and Gpa T for watching Ms. Nora while I was away for a couple days!). I'll be posting a highlight (with pics) of this trip in the coming days so stay tuned.

Back to our travel situation - the minute I booked our flight - note: there was no Alan involved in this flight - I knew I needed to be sure everything I brought with me was light and compact. Now I knew that my suitcase would be 50 lbs (hehe) so there were only a few options to of them being our stroller.

Some of you know that our "main" stroller is the Bob Revolution. We've been so happy with this stroller. You can read more about my thoughts about it on Scottsdale Moms Blog's "Mommy SOS: Strollers" post. BUT - the Bob is just a little too much to manhandle in an airport by myself. So we started our search for an umbrella stroller.

Where did we start? Consumer Reports of course (I am married to a man who loves CR)! We found that the UPPAbaby umbrella strollers are rated #1 and #4 - so we started there. We were initially thinking we'd go with the G-Lite b/c it's 1) cheaper and 2) rated #1 BUT when I found a NEW UPPAbaby G-Luxe on Craigslist for $100 cheaper than you could buy it at the store, I was sold.

So how did it do on the trip? GREAT! It weighs in at 11 lbs - so it's very light and compact. It reclines to almost 120 degrees (which most umbrella strollers do not). It has a great sun canopy (perfect for AZ) AND it stands upright when you fold it up which is pretty cool :). All in all - it was a great find and we'd highly recommend it.

Looking for a stroller yourself? For more insight be sure to check out our Scottsdale Moms Blog "Mommy SOS: Strollers" post and read the comments.


Steph's Pick | My Brazilian Blowout Story

Oct 15, 2010

I know - it sounds a little sketchy for those of you who are not familiar with this very popular hair treatment...but keep with me. It isn't.

I'd simply repost the post I just wrote for Scottsdale Moms Blog - but for all of you SEO knowledgeable readers, you know that would NOT be good for either The Flies Blend or Scottsdale Moms Blog.

So I'm going to have to send you over to my post this morning at Scottsdale Moms Blog to read all about my Brazilian Blowout with Vinny of Salon Di Vita! Read it HERE.


Mommy SOS UPDATE | Two Naps to One

Oct 13, 2010

Thanks so much to all of you mama's who chimed in on my Mommy SOS | Two Naps to One post. Your insight was incredibly helpful and has made this transition a little easier. I say "a little" solely because it's the truth! Ask any mom - switching from Two Naps to One is NOT easy - no matter how you dice it.

So how did we do it? Before we get into that a few of you had asked me what "signs" Nora was showing that caused me to think she was ready for this switch. Well - the main sign was that she was sleeping GREAT in the morning (around 2 hours) but not sleeping at all come her afternoon nap. Although she would be in her crib playing for 1-2 hours, come 4 pm she would be a royal grouch to be around. It was obvious her little body needs 2-3 hours of sleep in the afternoon and so we went about our business working to make that happen.

So here's what I did (Note: Like all of my's not for everyone but seems to have worked for Nora)

- For the first two weeks we took the transition slowly. For one day I'd try and keep her up 30 minutes longer than normal (9:30 am). Then for the next day I'd do 30 minutes later (10 am) and the next day 30 min later (10:30 am). So on and so forth. Through some trial and error (hey - I don't have this thing figured out!) - I figured out that the key was that I'd wake her up around 11:30 am. Regardless of when she went down. That way (I was hoping) she'd be tired for her afternoon nap at 1ish pm. Eventually I was able to hold her off until 12:30ish and she'd sleep
for 2-3 hours.

- As the morning wake time increased I planned LOTS of activities - which included playing with lots of other children to tire Nora out :)

- Snacks. Food's an activity, right?

- Warmth. Nora seems to sleep better when she has a little hoodie and socks on. At first I didn't do this and then I realized - why not? I always want to nap under a blanket to keep warm - why wouldn't she prefer to be warm during her naps? :)

And a quick note for those who are actually still reading this post (thanks btw)

- Note: Nora was VERY crabby (and still can be very crabby) that last hour before she goes down. BUT if I give in and put her down I know her crabbiness will only happen later in the day, so I just deal with it by playing with her.

And here's a little pic I snapped the other day of our sweetie napping. So cute, huh?!
Note: This was obviously before I figured out the hoodie and sock trick... hehe.

If YOU have a Mommy SOS topic you'd like to hear about... comment below.
Thanks again for all of your insight.... till next time!


{favorite things}

Oct 10, 2010

Nealy at Bambina Babe tagged me for a "favorite things" quiz. I answer eight questions and then tag some other bloggers to do the same. Here goes nothing...

1. Favorite Flower.
Peonies for SURE! These were the only flowers we used in our wedding and I still consider them my favorite flower 5 years later. I just wish I could find them in AZ....
2. Favorite Color Combination.
I've secretly been dreaming of redecorating our room in grey and yellow. Ever since Three Men and a Lady redecorated her bedroom in these colors I've been plotting a scheme to do just the same :)
I mean... check it out... who doesn't love this.
3. Favorite Celebrity Couple.
It's gotta be Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. A) Because she is so
beautiful. B) They tend to stay out of the spotlight which I love and C) They are
both country singers and I love me some country music.

4. Your Theme Song.
This is a hilarious question (in my opinion at least). This might be a little sentimental - but going with the TM & FH theme I gotta choose Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw. One of the best songs in terms of grasping today in light of how quickly our earthly lives pass by.

5. Favorite "I had a terrible day" Food.
Oh my - this is getting real personal ;) I have to say cookie dough. Even the other day when I passed by the gallon tub of Nestle Cookie Dough at Costco I was tempted to buy it. I didn't... don't worry...but who wouldn't love to have all of that cookie dough at your disposal?!

6. Lipstick or Lipgloss.
Lipgloss. I'm actually currently loving the lipgloss I got in my stellar Costco Stila package. Remember THIS post when I talked about it? No joke ladies (and gents) - this is a nearly $50 savings.

7. Favorite Magazine.
Most of you know this - but Cooking Light! See this post for more details :)
8. Favorite thing about fall.
Fall food...hands down. You have to understand....when the temps are over 100 degrees for 5(ish) months I can not wait to make some yummy fall food. Now lets talk specifics... soup. Soup is just not something you even consider making in the summer in AZ. So when the temps are more like 80 (hehe... I know... fall temps are all relative) I'm all about breaking out my soup recipes.
AND I have to mention my obsession with anything pumpkin. The Butterscotch Pumpkin Bundt Cake is fabulous... or how about the Pumpkin Cupcakes I tried last year. Stay tuned for a Pumpkin Cookie recipe I just tried this weekend.... they are AMAZING!

Now I'm tagging...
Janel at Team Sullivan.


Steph's Pick | Pasta Fagioli

Oct 8, 2010

It's almost embarrassing when the temperatures drop into the 80's here in AZ and we throw up our hands (and put on our sweaters) because we're thrilled the "fall" has arrived :)

Even if it's embarrassing to admit - it's the truth! I found myself so excited that I could actually make delicious pumpkin desserts (remember THIS treat) AND soup! Mmmmmmm....

Here's a Pasta Fagioli recipe I made last night that was delicious! Recipe taken from and adapted by yours truly :)

Pasta Fagioli

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 (14.5 ounce) cans of Italian diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup uncooked Ditalini (small circular) pasta
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, with liquid


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook celery, onion, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper and salt until onion is translucent. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce, and simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Add pasta and cook 10 minutes, until pasta is tender.
  3. Add undrained beans and mix well. Heat through. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.


♥Laguna Beach♥

Oct 5, 2010

We returned Sunday night from a 5 night stay in beautiful Laguna Beach - so sad. :( Although we were there primarily for a work conference we were able to sneak away to the beach in the afternoons to enjoy the sunshine.

Gma and Gpa T stayed back in AZ with Nora - which made for a great time for everyone involved! We enjoyed time away while Nora enjoyed lots of extra love and attention from her grandparents.

For those of you who ever wondered to yourself what the hype about California is.... well....I'm guessing these pictures will help you understand :)

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