Thursday, May 31, 2012

Favorite Things - Spring 2012

Isn't it fun to read about the things other people like every now and then? I think so, and a few friends mentioned that they enjoy reading these lists when I make them, so here you go. This is what we are loving right now. 
(Every time I do this, I wish I were doing a sponsored post by companies that send me freebies. But I'm not - at least you know my opinion isn't swayed.)

Organic Pink Lady Apples, stored in the refrigerator to keep them extra cool and crisp!

We slice them up with a few pieces of Oberweis' colby jack cheese, which is my current favorite, and it is such a delicious snack (or lunch, if you're me!).

Grande vanilla with whip latte. 
My artificial means for acquiring energy after particularly bad nights with the kids. Sometimes I just call it breakfast.

Not getting enough sleep means bad cravings for junk food. Isn't it so unfair how those things go together? This is my treat of choice right now. Peanut M&M's. I made the mistake of planning to purchase them when I made a trip to Costco the other week, so now we have a bag of peanut M&M's the size of our living room.

The Pioneer Woman's Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce.
The best thing I've made for dinner. Possibly ever. I want to eat this every week! Definitely worth a try - find the recipe HERE. (Photo credit: PW's website.)

English muffins - toasted with a little sweet cream salted butter and strawberry jam. The perfect breakfast, in my opinion.
 Sometimes I make an english muffin in the evening a pair it with a cup of tea. I just found this new black tea flavor, Vanilla Caramel Truffle by Lipton, and it. is. heavenly. Those little pyramid teabags usually mean $$$, but not with this one. A box of 20 sachets was something like $2.99, and it's so good (coming from a self proclaimed tea snob). Most grocery stores carry it. A little milk and sugar added to it = perfection. 

Wheaton's French Market on Saturday mornings. Fresh flowers, local produce, donuts made on-site, and our new favorite find... made-while-you-wait Crepes with Nutella and fresh Strawberries. Heavenly.

Wear & Share - our favorite resale shop! This picture is from a long time ago - now Kate has furnished the little shop with adorable painted furniture and she is busting at the seams with inventory. So much so, that she's looking to expand into a new space on one of downtown Wheaton's busiest streets! I'm so excited for her. If you haven't visited her shop yet, you're late to the party. But head over anyways!

1026 College Avenue, Wheaton IL 60187

I am currently reading this (when I can)... and loving it.

This Fresh Sugar lip balm is the only one you need. It's a little pricey as far as lip balm goes, but I bought a tube nearly a year ago, use it daily, and I still have plenty left! It's just wonderful, you have to try it for yourself. You can buy it online or at Sephora.

I have made a commitment to myself and to Rob to do everything I can to age gracefully and not get sucked into the idea that as women we should look like we're 20 when we're 50 (or any age other than 20!). That being said, a little tube of drugstore cream goes a long way when you're in your 30's, not to mention averaging 7 broken hours of sleep each night. This is necessary and I justify it because I'm not trying to look younger, I'm using it so that I don't look decades older than I currently am.

I love this eye cream - it's hydrating and has a satiny feel. Although my smile lines (or crow's feet or whatever they are) are probably impossible to erase with any cream, 1) I don't want to get rid of them - if you're happy and you know it, smile and let your face get all crinkly! and 2) this cream seems to give a little extra moisture and plumpness to the skin around my eyes and just feels good.

My skin is getting worse with age (shocker). I have this dry, red, itchiness on my jawline that came out of nowhere. I've tried a few, but this face cream soothes and moisturizes it the best, day or night, without being oily. Thank goodness, because if I start to absentmindedly scratch at it, little bumps raise up and it gets worse.

I have very sensitive teeth and I never knew that sensitive toothpaste does more than just be gentle on your teeth. After going to the dentist this winter, they recommended this toothpaste by Crest because it's gentle but it is also absorbed by your teeth (or something) and helps them not be as sensitive to cold or sweets throughout the day. I'm not explaining this well, but trust me when I say my teeth are much less sensitive and I thank this toothpaste.

This diaper cream was recommended by my friend Larissa when nothing else would work for Maddie. As in, prescriptions, baking soda baths, and every other miracle cream that was recommended or blended! It comes in a big tub and you don't need much for each application, so it will last a very long time. Obviously it's sort of unusual and the only place we could find to purchase it was online. Totally worth it.

So most of you know that my mom had Melanoma skin cancer when I was in high school. It's had a big impact on our family, from making sure I keep fresh fruit and veggies in our house, to limiting our sun exposure, to the products we choose for sun protection when we ARE outside. I was confused and disappointed to read that there may be cancer-causing chemicals in most of the sunscreens that are sold in stores. So I did a little research, and found this wonderful line by Josie Maran sold online and at Sephora. I can apply these creams to my kids' skin and to myself without worrying that I'm actually doing harm as I try to protect us from the sun. It's what we will use this summer. Bonus: it goes on clear and smells great.

Stevens park, our favorite place to go first thing in the morning before it gets to hot out. It's always nearly empty, and so far I've run into 2 friends there that I haven't seen in years. Also it has that forgiving rubber ground surface so it's perfect for Maddie who half the time crawls, half the time tries to walk and falls down.

Soft cotton shorts from Old Navy. Might wear them over my bathing suit this summer, definitely wearing them to bed and around the house. So comfortable and cheap! They didn't have as many colors online (white and yellow) as they did in the store in town (salmon, charcoal, indigo, green, etc.).

Old Navy strikes again - and I don't usually like this store because nothing seems to fit me quite right, and when it does it falls apart after a few wears or washes. Something happened this spring and I am loving their basics. I went in for something for Maddie and came out with this gem: the vintage V-neck T-shirt. It's versatile and perfect for sleeping, a morning at the park, or working out. It's lightweight without being too thin, and cheap. And I noticed they're starting to sell out, online and in the store.

And finally...

One of my friends gave me this recipe for White Chicken Chili. I make it a lot and share it with others when they're sick or just because it makes too much for one family to consume alone, and each recipient asks for the recipe! That's when it's good to have a blog. :) It's a cold and rainy day here in Wheaton today, so we will probably be having this for dinner tonight. And since my good friend is visiting this weekend from Florida, and she loves a good bowl of soup, I'm confident that we'll be able to finish off the entire batch!

White Chicken Chili

1 tbls. Oil (for cooking onion)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
48 oz. can great white northern beans, drained
2 14 oz. cans white corn, drained
14 oz. can stewed or chopped tomatoes with juices
4oz. Can chopped green chilies
28 oz. chicken broth
1 c. Water
 2 c. Chopped cooked chicken (4-5 chicken breasts)
3 cups Monterey jack cheese
16 oz. sour cream
In a heavy dutch oven or large soup pot, cook onion, garlic and spices in oil over med-high heat until transparent.  Add beans, corn, tomatoes, chilies, broth, water and chicken.  Simmer for about an hour.  Turn off heat, and add cheese and sour cream and stir well. Makes enough for 2 families!


And now, share your favorites with me!

I have been trying to find a cheap cream facial cleanser that won't dry out my skin and also removes make-up. What do you use?

I need some new healthy dinner ideas for the kids. We are in a rut! What do you feed your kids for dinner?

I am mess-averse when it comes to entertaining my kids inside on rainy or cold days. They are little tornadoes as it is! What projects have you done with your little ones that are safe for 1 year olds and are not too messy?

And just because I want to know, do you have any tips or tricks for dealing with extremely stubborn, strong-willed, adorable almost-3-year-olds?! My #1 rule is 'don't lose your cool, it only adds fuel to the fire'. After that, I start to run out of ideas. :) 


Rachel Jones said...

Love when you post these!!!
And amen to PW's pasta - that one is the Best in my opinion as well. And love, love wear n share - kate donated a bunch for don and sara's trip to Ethiopia and she said she is going to partner over there to send more bumbos, etc. Made me love that place even more!!

The Larsons said...

Enjoy these quite a bit! Pink lady apples are a fav of mine as well. Thanks for sharing all of these great finds.

Lindsey said...

Enjoyed this post! Think I'm going to try the PW's pasta and eye cream. Thanks!

Kendra said...

Love these posts! I love that you love and try so many products and therefore, I know I can trust your opinions! I absolutely need to get over to Wear n share! Stubborn kiddos...ahhhh! :) No fail-proof advice, but lately we've been doing a couple things:

1) Penny Reward chart. When she does something especially kind or obedient, she colors in a penny. At the end of the day, we give her the # of pennies she earned and she's thrilled to put them in her piggy bank. (We're big spenders here!) I could email you my chart if you want.
2) Give choices I can live with. Do you want to hold my hand or hold the stroller when we walk to the car? Do you want to use the upstairs or downstairs potty right now?

Keep on sharing all the great things you find and that you do. Can't wait for your next installment! :)

Rebekah Wallace said...

Hi Ash- I'm still reading :) I always love your lists and makes me think about my current faves. I would have to say over here we are loving garage sale finds & my 24 oz Starbucks double wall cup to ensure hydration. Simple days as we get ready for summertime :)

Rebekah Wallace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wear & Share said...

I love your writing! Thanks for being a favorite of mine <3