Popsicle Friday!

Spring is here! It reached into the 90s this week here in DC, and even though yesterday and today were cooler in the 70s, the Ladybug teachers declared Fridays to be “Popsicle Fridays” for the rest of the school year. The toddler moms all chose a Friday to bring Popsicles, and today was our day! 

Yesterday after school, Norah and I stopped at the grocery store for pears and avocados. 

   
 

I know the photos are a little blurry, but she’s so proud of herself! I let Norah push the kiddie cart when the store isn’t too busy and she LOVES it!

Once we were home we put the avocado and pear in the food processor according to this recipe: Pear Avocado Baby Pops 

I stumbled upon the recipe last year when Norah was dairy and soy free and we were looking for some relief from teething. Check out this pic from March 2014!

Norah was very excited to watch the food processor pulse and mix up the pears into the avocados. 

  
Then we put the mix into Popsicle molds and Norah has a very important job: putting the sticks into the molds!

   

After they froze overnight, Norah brought them into school and the Ladybugs got to enjoy them for snack today. 

I’d say they were a success!

   
     

I love the idea of Popsicle Fridau, and I hope to try the following recipes this summer:

Roasted Corn Pops

Blueberry Kefir Popsicles 

Super Sporty

Last weekend, the Wittmans were super sporty.  We attended three sporting events in as many days, which is quite the feat for us.

On Sunday morning, we attended my school’s Jill Bailey Chenet River Walk.  It’s always a fun-filled day with a 5K hike through Carderock Park, BBQ lunch, and time with friends, old and new.  It’s also always a bittersweet day for me, as I miss Jill so badly.

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As soon as the picnic ended, we headed up to Baltimore for Anton’s birthday baseball game! We caught the Orioles vs. the Red Sox and it was so fun!  Back when we were growing up in Northern Virginia, there was no MLB team in DC, so we were both Orioles fans.  I hadn’t been to Camden Yards since I was about 8, so it was really fun to go and celebrate Anton :)

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Monday night, we had birthday plans for Mike! One of Mike’s birthday presents was tickets to a Caps play-offs game.  We dropped Norah off with the Hamlyns and had a fun date night! And the Caps won…it was awesome.

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Derby Day 2015!

The first Saturday in May is quite the sacred holiday in the Wittman house…it’s Derby Day!

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We host a Derby party every year and this year was no exception.  We were so excited to get to use our lawn for lawn games and that we would have a house for everyone to spread out in.  We prayed all week for good weather, and when Saturday morning dawned 70 and sunny we couldn’t have been happier!

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Mike had the house looking great after weeks of yard work, and we set up croquet, bocce, washers and a bean bag toss.  In the backyard we had the fire pit ready to go for when it got dark!

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Norah and I made quite the spread…we had tons of Derby-inspired food, including Benedictine Spread, hot brown sandwiches, Derby pie, bourbon balls, pimento toasts and smoked salmon spread.

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At 2 pm, guests started arriving, and we quickly had a full house! Lots of family and friends filled our lawn and house and we were so excited that we had such a turn out.  The food quickly disappeared as everyone congregated on the lawn and in the playroom.  (It was our first year hosting with a bunch of Norah’s friends in addition to our own, and let me just say, the babies made the party!)

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6:32 pm rolled along and we all gathered to watch the most exciting two minutes in sports.  American Pharaoh won and the Lesko-Ringenbachs swept the betting pools.  After the babies went to bed, we fired up the fire pit and turned on the lawn lights for some late-night bean bag toss and beer pong.  It was the perfect party, and we’re already looking forward to next year!

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Mother’s Day Weekend 2015

I have had quite the wonderful weekend over here.  Mike and Norah went above and beyond to make me feel special for Mother’s Day and I know I’ll remember this weekend for a long time!

Saturday morning began with a fun bootcamp class at the gym, and when I came home, Mike told me that he and Norah would run errands together (giving me the whole house to myself for the morning!!!!!)  I had an amazingly low-key morning.  I did a bunch of laundry, took the dog for a leisurely walk around the neighborhood, and putzed around the kitchen.  I also took a ridiculously long shower, haha!  Just the other day, I was lamenting to Mike about our “old” life and wishing that we could go back to being lazy, just for a day.  As in, not-being-accountable-for-another-human lazy.  Neither of us miss going out all the time or having epic party weekends, but I sure do miss the days where we would lay on the couch all day and have a Mad Men binge-fest. I decided to take advantage of the time alone to have a trashy-tv day! I rented a really bad movie on AppleTV, Behind The Lights, and it was glorious.  It felt so sinful to laze about at 11 am on a Saturday and just watch crummy TV.  (And, I realized my definition of lazy has dramatically changed.  I did more before 9:45 am on Saturday than I used to do in a whole weekend!)

Mike and Norah came home and we ate lunch before Norah went down for her nap.  While Norah napped, Mike did yard work and washed the cars while I did the grocery shopping.  Then Norah and I went to her friend’s 2nd birthday party in DC, which was a blast.  We made it home in time for dinner on the grill with Mike (brats, peppers and sweet potatoes) and playing in the yard in our diapers.

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On Mother’s Day morning, Mike planned a family hike! We woke up bright and early to head to River Bend Park, my favorite hidden gem in the DC area.  We did an easy hike along the water and loved watching the mist rise on the water in the early morning.  We saw herons, ducks, centipedes, millipedes and even some poison ivy :)  After we came home, we quickly showered and got ready to meet my mom!  Now that my parents are in the area, we are able to hang out any time we want to!  I haven’t spent Mother’s Day with my mom since I was 18, so today was an amazing day.  My mom came over and we all went to brunch together at The Lighthorse in Old Town.

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We dove into some appetizers and rose wine, then Oma and I got to open presents!  Mike surprised us with pedicures and a beautiful picture for my office at work.  Plus, a super cute coffee mug. Norah got Oma three tickets to the next play on the Imagination Stage and high tea for everyone after the show.  My mom and I had the crab frittata and Mike enjoyed the biscuits and gravy.

After brunch, my mom and I headed out for our pedicures.  It was so fun to just chat all afternoon!  Then, my mom went home to Haymarket, and the three of us played in the yard before a big rain storm!  We managed to dust off the old tricycle before the drops began to fall.

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Once we were inside, we tucked into some cheese and wine from Trader Joe’s.  May 10th marks the anniversary of our first date (back in 2002!), and Mike and I always like to do a little something.  When Mike proposed to me on April 29, 2007, he did so over a romantic dinner of Red Hot and Blue BBQ take out and Trader Joe’s wine and cheese.  We decided to commemorate our engagement anniversary and dating anniversary on the same night this year.  We ate cheese and drank wine from Trader Joe’s for awhile as the rain fell, and then we decided that no one really felt like BBQ. Norah happily ate her weight in crackers and cheese for her dinner, and then she earned her keep by sweeping the floors.

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Mike normally puts Norah to bed, but he let me do so tonight so that I could get in some quality snuggles.  After our normal routine of PJs, brush teeth and books, I read Norah a poem.  This poem became an internet sensation around the time that Norah was about 4 months old. I can never get through it without bawling like a baby, and tonight was no exception.

I feel so blessed to have such an amazing family.  Days like Mother’s Day are special because they are an excuse to slow down and count your blessings.  Spending the day with my mom and my daughter was incredible, and I feel so lucky to have a husband to go above and beyond to make this day wonderful.  I love you, Mike.

Mexico for Spring Break!

We just returned from an amazing 10 days in Puerto Vallarta.  Mike’s parents hosted a birthday bash for their 65th birthdays and the entire Wittman-Oliver-Hamlyn clan descended upon paradise.  This trip was 13 months in the making and it was every bit of fun as we imagined it would be!

After two long flights from DC to Dallas and then to PV, we finally arrived at Casa Macumba!

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We had 10 days together and each day was better than the previous one in terms of sun, warmth and relaxation. We spent our mornings at the beach, making sandcastles and splashing in the waves.

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And our afternoons at the pool having epic cannon ball and diving contests.

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During Norah and Kenzie’s afternoon naps, we would boogie board and walk on the beach, and play volleyball and badminton.

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We took family pictures on the beach:

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And took breaks from the sun by playing ping pong, relaxing in hammocks and reading with the cousins.

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Casa Macumba came with a chef and assistant chef, and we were spoiled each day with lunch poolside and a formal sit-down meal each night for dinner.  We quickly got used to our daily margarita and guacamole fixes!

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We watched the sunset every night before playing games and doing puzzles in the evening.

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Before we knew it, it was time to fly back east and our perfect spring break was over!

Spring, is that you?

Warm weather is here! Well, sort of. It has been relatively sunny and most of the snow has melted…we’ll take it!

We’ve had a really fun weekend getting ready for spring and dreaming of warm weather. Thursday afternoon was bright, sunny and warm, so I decided that we should hit up Clare and Don’s for dinner on their patio. Let’s just say we were pretty over-zealous, because by the time dinner time rolled around it was about 50 degrees. We were the only ones brave (read: stupid) enough to sit outside, so we at least had the heat lamp all to ourselves! Norah was ready to warm up in the tub: 



By Friday, it was cold and rainy again so we ate split pea soup for dinner and had a quiet evening in. We spent much of Saturday at home getting ready for our big trip! We are going to Mexico for spring break and we. Could. Not. Be. More. Excited. Norah was pumped to try out some of her warm weather gear:



It was a rainy Saturday, so we spent the bulk of it indoors, and a highlight was having Mike and Ana over to watch Notre Dame win the ACC tournament!

Sunday we decided to run some last minute errands for our trip and Mike figured that we should take some time to walk around Home Depot. Now that the weather is finally shaping up, we are really excited to get to work in our yard! We had a lot of fun looking at various lawn furniture, plants and bird feeders while planning out our lawn plan of attack. 

Once we were home and N went down for her nap, Mike and I headed outside. He washed the cars and raked the leaves while I trimmed the bushes and cleaned up the yard. We can’t wait for the yard to be cleaned up enough for us to do some light landscaping. And-the owners have a little garden plot that I can’t wait to plant in. I’m thinking some squash and lettuce for my first foray into growing food…. We were so happy to finally be out in the warm sun that as soon as Norah woke up, we loaded her into her stroller and hit the trail! We decided to walk for about a mile to an ice cream shop for a fun afternoon snack, but we quickly realized that it’s still a bit too cold and windy (despite the sun) for ice cream. We hit the store and then just turned around and walked back home. Now Mike is going to spread some fertilizer while N and I make Shepard’s Pie for dinner! Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day week! 

We are going to try to spend a bit more time outside this evening before watching a movie on the couch. Happy almost-spring everyone!

DIY Activity Tower Tutorial

Hello! It’s a winter wonderland around these parts:

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Norah is still a little under the weather from her stomach bug, so we are laying low today.  I’m so happy that it’s a snow day!  I would have taken her to work today, but she is definitely benefitting from the extra day of rest.  We’ve done lots of snuggling and reading books (with a towel, in case of any, ahem, accidents…):

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Mike just left to pick up his parents from the airport.  They are coming into town for Kenzie’s baptism this weekend!  We are going to have dinner and watch some Netflix tonight before all of the festivities begin, and we’re looking forward to a fun weekend with family.

I’ve had a lot of questions from mom friends about the step stool that we use in our kitchen for Norah and I thought I would highlight how we made it in case anyone wants to try it, too!

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This step stool (or “activity tower” as it’s called in mom-world) has been a life-saver for us.  It seems like Norah was only so content to sit and play on the kitchen floor.  No matter how many toys I gave her or books she had, she would fuss and cry for attention.  Even handing her spoons, measuring cups, or pans wouldn’t pacify her.  I quickly learned that picking her up so that she could see what I was doing immediately calmed her down.  However, I just as quickly realized that it was hard to cook one-handed, I was always worried about her being on my hip when I was at the stove, and she would cry the minute I had to set her down to chop anything or take things out of the oven.

Awhile ago, I saw a pin on Pinterest about making your own “activity tower” and I finally got around to asking Mike to make one for us.  Once it was finished, Norah had a place to safely stand at counter height, and it’s been a game-changer.  She loves being able to see what I’m doing, and I love that she is out of the way if I need to load or unload the dishwasher or put something in the oven.

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He followed this tutorial and I have to say, our tower turned out great! All you need is an Ikea step-stool ($12), some wood screws ($4), a 1×4 ($2), and a dowel ($2). (Not too shabby, considering the ones you can buy from a store are almost $200!)  You basically add the 1×4 to the top of the stool to create a little “cage”.  This keeps Norah safe, as she is unable to fall backwards or slip off.  It took about two days to put together; one afternoon to build and sand the edges and one afternoon to paint it.  We found some leftover kitchen paint in the attic from the owners, so we decided to paint it the same green to match the walls. (In the above pictures, you can see what it looked like before we painted.)  The paint is high-gloss, so anytime Norah spills on it, it’s a cinch to wipe clean.  It also took a couple of days to teach her how to climb up or down it by herself, but now that she knows how, she quickly goes up or down, which is awesome if she drops something.

Norah is an amazing sous chef!  Like I said, she was extremely interested in what I was doing in the kitchen, so I started giving her little jobs to “help” me with dinner.  She loves to put chopped veggies into a colander for me to rinse, stir ingredients together, or her personal favorite: push the salad spinner!

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Norah also loves helping taste-test dinner.  One night, I was cutting up a pineapple for a salsa to go with pork, and I gave her the top of the pineapple and the core to play with.  (She even has her own little cutting board that I put all of her ingredients on….I need to work on getting her a little apron, too!)  The next thing you know, she had the whole pineapple core in her mouth!  She went to town, and spent a good 20 minutes before dinner gnawing on it.

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The activity tower has been great for other things as well.  Sometimes, I’ll just give her crayons and paper and she’ll happily color while I get chores done around the house, and I think it’s because she can see what I’m doing.  We’ve also loved having her at counter height when we do crafts or make things for our sensory table.  We made her Valentine’s at the kitchen counter and just this week we dyed pasta together for some sensory play.  I love that I don’t have to sit on the floor to make things with her anymore!  Much easier on my knees and the clean-up is infinitely faster!  (And, wow, I sound like my mother…)

We’re thinking of making another one for her bathroom so she can easily wash her hands and brush her teeth.  The possibilities are endless! If you use something like this with your little one, leave a comment, or let me know if you try to make one for yourself at home!