Weekend in Hershey & Influenster

This past weekend we had a lovely family trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania!  Ken had a conference to attend at the Hershey Lodge, right next to Hershey Park. Our room was paid for and families were invited, so Julia and I tagged along. We arrived in Hershey around 7:30 Saturday morning and had breakfast with Ken at the conference and then Julia and I headed out for a Mommy & Julia adventure!

We started out by going to Chocolate World, where we went on the free ride and then we went through the “Make your own chocolate bar” attraction, which Julia loved!  It was a little hard for her to be patient and I think a more hands-on experience might have been slightly better for a kid her age but she still enjoyed picking out the ingredients of her chocolate bar, watching it go through the assembly line, designing the wrapping for her bar, and seeing the finished product! 10583839_10100784611194725_4838650433672094208_n




After Chocolate World, we went over to ZooAmerica, a Zoo that’s connected to Hershey Park. It’s a zoo with a different concept… all of the animals are indigenous to North America, so they had some elk, a wolf, a Black bear, lots of different kinds of birds, snakes, frogs, etc. 11110984_10100784668425035_8281113989463291931_n

After the zoo, we grabbed some lunch, picked up some new swimmies (since I had forgotten to bring Julia’s from home) and we went back to the hotel for a nap.  11287107_10100784805086165_1657865251_n

After nap we went swimming at the hotel, though it seems as though Julia has forgotten all the awesome swimming techniques she learned in her swim class 2 years ago… she was scared and really didn’t like going under the water.  I think our lesson that we learned was that we need to take another swim class with her!  We might look into taking another one with her this summer at the Owings Mills JCC.  22787_10100784804896545_7403442302899429428_nIn the evening there was a lovely banquet for the attendees of the conference, and Julia came along with us! There were a bunch of other kids there, too, so we set them up with iPads at a special kids table.

The next morning Ken went back to the conference starting at 8 AM, so Julia and I decided to head to Hershey Park! She had been on a few kiddie rides at Hopkins’ Spring Fair a couple months ago but she had never been to an amusement park before or on any big rides… she had a ball!  She went on a few kiddie rides first, which she loved… and then I found a little roller coaster she was allowed to go on if I went with her. She loved it! Before the ride was over, she said, “Again Mommy!” We ended up going on it four times in a row! 10423815_10100785368067945_9151077215191627845_n





We also went on the ferris wheel (this was her first time on a ferris wheel!) and I found one bigger roller coaster that she was allowed to go on with me. The first time we rode, she was laughing the whole time, and then she shouted, “It’s not scary mommy!” We ended up going on that one three times in a row too, before heading back to meet up with Ken.

Julia was so exhausted after our day at the Park that she fell asleep and slept pretty much the whole way home! 11358680_10100785400103745_1520629275_n

I have one other exciting topic for you… remember how I told you about Influenster? Well after filling out a few more surveys on their site, I was chosen to receive another VoxBox… this one had coupons for Weight Watchers Ice Cream treats! I got two different kinds: 11301563_10100782795184025_1590035688_nand


They are both delicious! They are fairly low calorie so you don’t feel guilty eating them, they are chocolatey and delicious so they satisfy that late-night craving for something sweet. I highly recommend them! They had a number of other flavors available as well but these two were the ones that jumped out at me from the freezer section of our local grocery store!

Of course I need to let you know that I received these products free for testing purposes. If you’re interested in testing out products for free, go check out Influenster and sign up!

It’s been a while…

I apologize that it has been so long since I last wrote a blog post. I started a new job back in February which keeps me much more busy than my previous job did and therefore leaves me much less time for blogging.  I do miss blogging though, so I hope to get back into it a bit now that I am settled into our new routine. I am now working full time, whereas I was part time before.  But it’s all good… I’m enjoying my new job immensely. I enjoy the company of the people I work with, I find the work challenging and interesting and find myself using my education and training more than I have since law school. The company I’m working for prides itself on being very family friendly so if Julia is sick, I am free to bring my computer home and work from home. If I need to take a half day to go to an event at school, I’m encouraged to do so. Almost everyone works from home on Fridays so I have started doing that too. It allows me to do housework in between calls and run errands during lunchtime. There is also much flexibility in the hours I work. I’m required to do 80 hours in a two-week pay period but I can spread those hours out in a way that makes sense for me. The company also allows people to tele-work if it works for them and the project they’re on. Basically, it’s an awesome company and I’m very happy!

Since this blog isn’t about me though, I’ll give you more of what you came here for… Julia stories!

Julia is officially 2.5 now and she is quite the 2.5 year old. Ken & I comment on an almost-daily basis about how funny she is and we frequently tell each other that this is definitely the best age yet (though we find ourselves saying that about every age). Julia never (I repeat NEVER) stops talking, until the moment she goes to sleep at night. She asks lots of questions and is so curious about the world around her. She makes up stories for us (that always involve someone falling in the mud or the water) and makes up games that often involve being a monster or a lion. One of the things I love most about this age is that Julia finds such joy in things that us adults would never even notice. She LOVES finding the moon in the sky each night and proudly declares, “I FOUND THE MOON!” She also loves to find things that match… the other day she was dressed up in a new red, white and blue outfit from Bubbie & Zaydie while we went to visit Fort McHenry. Julia noticed that her outfit matched the “Oh Say Can You See Flag” and was very excited about that fact. Since Ken showed her the joy of Dandelions, she loves to find them and blow the flower into the wind. She has a huge vocabulary and often surprises us with words we didn’t even know she knew.

Here are a few recent pictures of the little munchkin:







Some of the things Julia has been into lately are animals… we visited the zoo yesterday with her and joined as members so we can go back regularly now that the weather is nice! We are also members of the Aquarium, which she really loves. Her favorite things to see at the Aquarium are the dolphins, the one clown fish (which she always calls Nemo), and the jellyfish. She also has gotten very into princesses now that she’s seen Frozen, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. She refers to every dress as her “princess dress” and often announces that she is a princess. Whenever I wear a dress she says I look like a princess too. She has her girly side but she also loves to play with firetrucks and her doctor kit. She always gives us checkups (which usually consist of having our eyes checked and giving us lots of shots). Julia is very outgoing–she loves to sing, loves to dance, loves to run and jump. She is so happy and smiley and only occasionally pretends to be shy (but she usually warms up to people within a matter of minutes). She is truly a joy to have as a child. Of course she has her moments when she drives us nuts and frustrates us beyond measure but we love her so much and she teaches us so much on a daily basis!

Sticker Chart

Julia has started showing more and more interest in the potty but recently she’s figured out that asking to sit on the potty will get her out of whatever she doesn’t feel like doing at the moment, so if we’re in the middle of getting ready for bed she’ll ask to sit on the potty to delay the inevitable.  I decided that we should start using a sticker chart as an incentive… so now she gets one sticker for going #1 in the potty and two for going #2.  2.9.2015(6)

We only started using it on Thursday and it’s already gotten quite a bit of use!  Friday night at Chabad (we went for Shabbat dinner), Julia used the potty there twice so she got to put two stickers on her chart for Friday.

She’s still not able to tell us before she needs to go so at this point we still need to ask her if she’d like to sit on the potty but if we ask at the right time (or put her on when we know her diaper is dry after a nap) then she’s actually able to go.  We’re in no rush to actually potty train her because we don’t feel inconvenienced by diapers in any way but it’s nice that she’s starting to be excited about it!


2.9.2015(9)Ken was on call this weekend so Julia and I spent a lot of time together keeping ourselves occupied (I cannot wait until Ken’s test is over and done with in a few weeks so we can have family weekends again).  2.9.2015(5)

Saturday morning we went to the Frozen-themed storytime at the bookstore that’s close to us… Julia wanted to stand right in front to see the pictures and she loved that they had cookies and milk as a snack! 2.9.2015(8)

After storytime we came home for lunch and naptime.  At home our special treat for Julia was always that she got to have “Mommy milk” at naptime and nap in Mommy & Daddy’s bed but nursing to sleep for naptime has been interfering with her naps at school so we decided it was time to find a new naptime routine.  I’m so glad that it was a fairly easy process both days this weekend… Julia took naps both days without nursing and without too much of a struggle! 2.9.2015(4)

It means I actually get some time to myself to get stuff done, read, relax, nap, or do whatever I feel like doing.  It was lovely!

In the afternoon we watched Frozen together before going over to play with a friend and have dinner at her house.  2.9.2015(7)

Sunday morning we had Julia’s music class and then our afternoon plans got cancelled so instead we went on a loooooooong walk and stopped at the playground since the weather was a bit nicer yesterday afternoon!  Julia had fun on the swings for a few minutes and then played in the sandbox for a good 45 minutes.  She was “making birthday cakes”!  2.9.2015(3)



After the playground it was time for dinner, bath and bedtime!  2.9.2015

I don’t like to talk about my work on this blog since it’s a personal blog but I do just want to mention that I am about to finish up at my current job and start a new job in a couple of weeks!  This is my last week at the job I’ve had since July 2013 and it is certainly bittersweet to be leaving.  I’ve been working part time the whole time I’ve been here which has been really nice with a little (fairly needy) toddler but I’m looking forward to taking on new challenges and learning a lot at my new (full-time) job, which I start 2 weeks from today.  Next week I’m taking the whole week off and doing things for myself–a bunch of gym classes, a movie in the theater, some fun reading at a coffee shop, maybe a little bit of shopping for myself (need some new professional clothes for my new job!) and possibly a nap or two in the afternoons :)

I’m sure there will be a steep learning curve and it will be stressful as we figure out what it’s like to have two full-time working parents in a family of 3, and how to handle our new schedule and Julia’s sick days, but I’m looking forward to making this transition.


Super Bowl Champions!

This past weekend was a wonderful one!  We got babysitters two nights in a row so we could go out by ourselves and the Patriots won the SuperBowl!

Friday night we went to our friends David & Hilary’s new house!  They bought it fairly recently and wanted to show it to us now that they’ve unpacked their boxes.  It’s really nice–has a lot of wood, nice architectural details, and the kitchen is really nice!  It’s a little too small for us with one 2-year old but suits them really nicely.  They’re also walking distance from the restaurant we went to for dinner, Clementine!

Saturday morning we took Julia to Orioles FanFest!  It was very very very crowded and a little too overwhelming.  She got to meet the Bird: 2.4.2015(11)

and got a balloon bracelet made while she was waiting in line! 2.4.2015(10)

After the part in the Convention Center we decided it was just too crowded to try to do anything with Julia so we walked over to the Stadium where they were giving tours of the Orioles Clubhouse!  During regular tours you’re only ever allowed to see the Visitors Clubhouse so it was really neat to see the Orioles side!  We saw the cubbies/lockers where they keep their stuff.  Adam Jones had laid out his stuff across three lockers for people to see.  2.4.2015(6)

and we got to see where the Orioles practice their batting skills: 2.4.2015(7)

Then we got to go out into the Orioles dugout and even onto the field (not the grass) to take some pictures!  2.4.2015(9)


Julia was definitely starting to get tired and grumpy by that time so we went home for lunch and her nap.  In the evening we had a new babysitter come over to play with Julia and then Ken & I went out to Corey’s gig at Midtown BBQ.  2.4.2015(5)

Sunday morning I took Julia to her music class, which she is really enjoying, and then in the afternoon we went to watch the SuperBowl!  It was a knuckle-clenching game but ended just the way we wanted it to!  Julia had fun working on some arts and crafts that were set up at the kids table 2.4.2015(3)

and she liked putting on temporary tattoos and eye-black: 2.4.2015(4)

She also got to try on a Bledsoe-signed helmet!2.4.2015(2)

2.4.2015I left with Julia right around half time to get her home and in bed and then I watched the second half of the game on my iPad at home.

Congratulations to the New England Patriots, SuperBowl Champions!


Big box!

Yesterday was an exciting day for us when we got home from work/school!

First, there was a big box from Gagee that contained a sweater for me, two sweaters for Julia, some new books and some presents from one of my mom’s Girlfriends.  My mom made me this sweater which matches with a sweater that she made for Julia!  NE2


This weekend we’ll try to get a picture of me & Julia in our matching sweaters!

One of the sweaters my mom made for Julia is a bit too big for right now (it’ll probably fit her in a year or more.  But the other one fits her perfectly right now and matches with a hat my mom made her a few months ago.  Julia was excited to try on her new sweater from Gagee today and she wore it to school, too! 1.30.2015



Second, my Stitch Fix box surprised me by arriving several days early!  It wasn’t scheduled to get her until Monday but arrived yesterday afternoon, so that was exciting to see when I got home from work! SF11

This time I requested the same Stylist I had for my last Fix because I felt like she really got my style and what I was looking for and she picked out some fun pieces for me.  SF7

This time there was a particular pair of pants I had seen on other blogs that I wanted to try out so I requested those pants and I also requested a bag.  Here’s what she sent this time: SF10

In case you can’t tell, it’s 3 shirts, the pants I had requested and a necklace.  I was glad she sent the pants but I was honestly a little disappointed to not get a bag.  It turned out okay since I loved the necklace but I would have liked a bag to try out.

I tried everything on myself first but wasn’t really able to get great pictures… here’s the necklace: SF9

and one of the shirts: SF8

but I really had to wait until Ken was free to help me take better pictures.

The sizing on the pants is very funny (according to another friend who got them in one of her Fixes) and so they were so small that I couldn’t even put them on.  That was disappointing, to say the least.  But here were the three shirts: SF6



The first one I didn’t love.  I liked the color and the pattern, and the style was nice but the fit was a little funny since it was tight across the chest and the upper arms and I didn’t like that it was see-through so would require wearing a cami under it at all times.  The other two shirts I liked a lot… the black one with the studs is nice because it can really be dressed down (with jeans/skinny pants) or up (with a skirt or dress pants) and I like the material and the fit.  And the sleeveless shirt I just love.  It’s a nice silky material in front with just a plain black back.  It fits perfectly and is just really lovely.  I paired it last night with the necklace and really liked the way they looked together! SF3

So needless to say, I decided to keep the blue shirt, the black shirt and the necklace.  Because of the $100 I had in credit from friends signing up for Stitch Fix, I only ended up having to pay $30 total.  That’s a pretty sweet deal for 2 nice shirts and a necklace! :)

And today for StitchFix Friday, I got all dressed up for work in a black pencil skirt with my new shirt, new necklace and a black blazer… here I was this morning looking like a professional Lawyer/Mommy!  SF2


And the third exciting thing last night was that we made our 6th Blue Apron meal!  BA5

Ken was on top of his studying last night so he was able to help me with the cooking… first we got all the prep work done: BA4

and then while I took care of some other things around the house, Ken started cooking up the gnocchi!  The recipe has you boil them first to cook them, and then has you saute them with butter in a pan to crisp them up a bit and bring out their delicious nutty flavor.  So that was Ken’s job: BA3


After the gnocchi are nice and browned, you add Brussels Sprouts, Red Onion, Thyme, Lemon Zest & Lemon Juice, along with some Parmesan Cheese.  The end result was absolutely delicious!  This is definitely a dish we will make again.  It was quite filling but this recipe made just enough for the two of us for dinner.  Some of the recipes seem to make leftovers and some don’t, but honestly that’s okay cause we don’t need leftovers from every single dinner! BA

I’m sad that we’re not getting another Blue Apron shipment tomorrow but we decided to skip it this time because the recipes didn’t look all that appealing to us.  We’ll be just making recipes from our own collection this week and then next weekend we’ll get another Blue Apron shipment.

Looking forward to a nice weekend of fun and football!

Stitch Fix on its way!

In other exciting news, I have another shipment coming from Stitch Fix this Monday!


If you’re not yet familiar with Stitch Fix, please check out this link:


It’s essentially an online personal stylist who picks out 5 items for you as often as you want (can be just clothing or a mixture of clothing/jewelry/bags).  You pay a $20 styling fee to receive a box but if you decide to keep anything from the box, the $20 goes toward the cost of that item.  You have 3 days to try everything on and anything you don’t want to keep, you send back in a pre-paid shipping envelope.  They take into consideration your own personal style, your preferences, and your sizes and they look at Pinterest boards if you have them, as well as personal blogs.  You can make specific requests (which they don’t guarantee they will honor) and you can tell them if you have something specific you need clothes for (a job interview, a wedding, a graduation, etc.) so that they can pick out clothes specific to that type of event.

It’s a really fun way to add new pieces into your wardrobe now and then, especially for busy people (like working moms?) who can’t go shopping frequently.  It’s nice that you can try the clothes on in the comfort of your own home so you can see what other pieces in your wardrobe the clothes might work well with and if you don’t love anything, you’re only out the $20 which is what you would have spent on gas to get to and from the mall plus lunch at the mall and a coffee on your way home ;)

So check it out using the link above and let me know what you think! I’ll show you after Monday what’s in my next Fix!

Little Miss Independence

Julia has become little miss Independence in the past couple of weeks.  At school, she learned to put her jacket on by herself and now she insists on doing it all by herself every single time.  The problem is that she gets mad if we try to do it for her, so it can take a long time sometimes!  She also discovered that putting on her pajamas is similar to putting on her jacket so she likes to do that all by herself, too! 1.27.2015(4)

Last weekend when I got home with Julia on Friday and saw that she was in a good mood, we decided it would be a good night for a Family Date Night, which we’ve started doing on about a monthly basis.  So we got all dressed up–Julia in a “tutu” (she calls all dresses tutus) and then we went out to Petit Louis Bistro, where Julia enjoyed her steak & frites! 1.27.2015(7)

When we left the restaurant, it was snowing and Julia was so very excited!  She kept saying, “It’s snowing! It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” and jumping around.  At one point, two older ladies were leaving the restaurant and Julia turned to them and said, “it’s snowing!”  I’m sure they thought she was adorable!

We also showed Julia that if you tilt your head back and stick out your tongue you can catch snowflakes on your tongue!  She loved it. 1.27.2015(8)

Since there’s been snow on the ground, Julia always asks me if she can touch it: “I wanna touch it”.  And every day when we leave the house, she says “snow so slippery.”  Safety first!

Saturday I took Julia to Port Discovery, where we met up with some friends who have a membership there.  Julia enjoyed playing in their Diner Area, their Water Room & their Curious George exhibit! 1.27.2015(6)

At one point, Mary had to take her older daughter, Joanna, to the bathroom so I got to hold Baby Lucy for a few minutes.  We took a selfie, of course! 1.27.2015(5)

Then on Sunday after Music Class, we met up with Miss Steffi for brunch while Ken watched the Arsenal Soccer match.  Our girls brunch was a lot of fun, and Julia was excited to show us her “masterpiece!”  1.27.2015(3)

After brunch we went home and played with her “doctor toys” and had a great afternoon!  1.27.2015


Coming up this weekend we have some exciting things… Friday night Ken & I are going to dinner with our friends Dave & Hilary after first checking out their new house.  Then Saturday we have a new babysitter coming over while Ken & I go to see Corey’s gig play a show at Midtown BBQ.  Sunday we have Music Class in the morning and then of course in the evening is the Super Bowl!  The game is at a horrible time, which means I probably won’t get to watch very much of it but we’ll at least go to the party before the game and for the first quarter or half and then I’ll have to get Julia home for bed.

For now I just have to say, “Let’s go Patriots!”

More Blue Apron Meals

After making a few more Blue Apron meals, I have decided I am a big fan!  Especially during this period when Ken has a lot of studying to do and is busy with things on weekends, it’s really nice to not have the weekly “what should we have for dinner?” discussion, which inevitably ends in us making a few of the same 15+ dishes we make on rotation.  And it’s really nice to not have to go grocery shopping.  Since I last wrote, we’ve made three more meals:


This Whole Wheat Linguine I made last Thursday night.  It had a really nice flavor from the garlic breadcrubms and the lemon zest.  The walnuts added a nice crunch to the dish and the kale was really delicious with the pasta.  This dish was definitely a hit!  BA8

The prep work took about 20 minutes total and then the cooking itself took about 20 minutes as well so it wasn’t a very labor-intensive meal.  BA7

And the end result looked just like the picture, which always makes me happy! :)

This recipe definitely made enough for both of us to eat plus leftovers, so the portion sizes were generous.

Next up, we made a banana leaf wrapped cod with spiced rice: BA4

The rice and fish were both a little too spicy for Julia but we really enjoyed the flavors.  Ken said his fish was a little dry so it probably could have cooked a little less time, but overall this dish was fun to make, beautiful and delicious. BA3



And finally, a couple nights ago we made a Tuscan Ribolita Soup:BA11

This turned out more like a stew than a soup.  The bread cubes definitely made it thick like a stew but the egg added a nice something extra on top.  The flavors were delicious in this and again, it made enough for both of us to eat for dinner and we had leftovers.  BA10


We have another meal to make tonight (a gnocchi dish) and then we’re skipping the delivery on Saturday because the recipes didn’t look all that appealing to us but next week we’ll be back on!  I can’t wait!  :)

Second Blue Apron Meal

Last night we made the Mushroom & Barley soup from Blue Apron and it got wonderful reviews from both myself and Ken! BA4

I did the prep work (which took about 30 minutes) while Ken gave Julia her dinner and entertained her.  BA3

And then after she went to bed I started cooking the soup.  I like that they have you do all the prep work first so that when you’re ready to cook, you just dump things in the pot.  It also makes it easier for families with working parents because if you wanted to, you could do the prep work in the morning and cook in the evening or you could do your prep work the night before, even.

The soup smelled delicious while it was cooking!  I wish I could pass smells along to you through the computer! BA2

And then when it was all done the recipe had us add a garnish of Fennel Fronds & Creme Fraiche, which added a little something extra creamy to the soup!  BA

There was enough for each of us to have 2 bowls of soup last night and there’s enough leftover for one person to have a BIG bowl of soup or for each of us to have a little bowl.  The soup was chock full of veggies so it was surprisingly filling, and the broth was delicious and just creamy enough.  I probably could have added a little more salt, but I’d rather my food be under-salted than over salted.

I’m looking forward to our third Blue Apron meal this week and then to three more arriving for next week!  We’re skipping the following week since the recipes didn’t look all that good to us but we’ll have to see what’s on the menu the following week to decide after that!

Blue Apron

I’ve mentioned Blue Apron before… but up until now we had not actually signed up to receive a box from them.  We had only ever used their recipes which they have available on their website.  Well now that Ken is so busy studying for OKAPs and we still want to make delicious healthy meals at home, I decided to finally sign up to receive a box from them…

Basically the way it works is you tell them what kinds of foods you eat (we said fish & vegetarian) and then they send you the list of recipes available each week and you can opt in or opt out, depending on what recipes are on the menu, and you receive a box of ingredients.  You can also pick and choose a little… so for example, this week the fish was a catfish (which is not kosher) so we opted instead for the 3 vegetarian dishes.  It includes exactly the amount you need to make the recipe–no more, no less–and a beautiful recipe card.  You can sign up to receive meals for 2 people or “family style” meals that feed 4 people and you get 3 meals to make for the week.  So our first box arrived on Saturday with 3 meals and we made the first one last night.  1.20.2015(3)

We started out with the Roasted Root Vegetable Salad.  Tonight I’ll be making the Cremini & Porcini Mushroom & Barley Soup and then on Thursday I’m planning to make the Whole Wheat Linguine with Kale & Red Walnuts.

The salad last night was delicious, used some interesting ingredients we wouldn’t ordinarily buy or be able to find (like a Cara Cara Orange and heirloom carrots), and made enough food for seconds and leftovers.  The ingredients were all very fresh and the flavor was fantastic.  The best part about this service is that if you enjoy cooking and are open to trying new recipes, it takes the planning and shopping out of making healthy meals for your family.  I don’t mind the cooking, and actually really enjoy it, but with busy weekends and a busy 2-year old and Ken having study sessions 3 nights a week, it’s nice to not have to think about what I’m going to make and to not have to go to the grocery store.  Obviously we still need to go for basics like milk, eggs, and things to have for breakfasts and lunches but it’s nice to have three meals all planned out for us.  I might try the family-style meals at some point since they seem to make more leftovers (which would be nice to have for lunches and nights we’re not cooking) but for now I’m excited to try a few weeks of the 2-person meals.  I’ll try to give a full review at the end of the week once we’ve tried the other two recipes.

And our second shipment will be arriving on Saturday with 3 more delicious meals to try!