I hope you all have a great weekend!
Things I’m Loving Friday
Chase’s Fifth Birthday
Chase’s fifth birthday was a special one. A party wasn’t in the cards this year but we made the most of it and celebrated in a myriad of fun ways. My mom ended up driving in town to celebrate with us which absolutely made his day… and our week!
We spaced out his gifts from friends and family throughout the day and that helped extend the birthday fun. As for his main birthday activity, for the first time in months, we took the boys to an indoor public place and ventured out to the SeaLife aquarium in Concord. It’s a small aquarium where we are members and with mask requirements in full effect and past weekday experiences at the aquarium that lead me to believe it would be relatively empty, I felt comfortable taking our small crew out for a special occasion. Chase and Ryder were in absolute heaven and it was so nice to be able to do something unique that still felt safe for Chase’s birthday. I love that the tanks at the aquarium reach all the way to the floor so the boys could easily scope out all of their favorite sea creatures. They loved every second!
In the early evening, Granddad came over to join in the birthday fun (in case you missed it, my father-in-law moved into a nearby apartment last week!) and having Greg and my mom in town to help ring in Chase’s fifth birthday definitely added to the excitement of the day! As did vanilla cake with buttercream icing and lots of sprinkles — the birthday boy’s request!
I am all about keeping cards for various occasions on hand and often pick up great cards at HomeGoods, Marshalls and TJMaxx during various errands. Well, since I’m not popping in and out of stores with any kind of frequency these days, my card stash was running low and on more than one occasion, I found myself scrambling to find a card to accompany a gift or send to a loved one at the last minute. When I saw Ashley (@HappyHealthier) share this box of assorted Hallmark cards on her Instagram Stories, I was all about it! The cards range from Happy Birthday and Thank You cards to Thinking of You, Sending You Good Vibes cards and blank cards and has already come in handy numerous times. Woohoo for planning ahead!
Our Fig Tree Haul
Last weekend, we picked the first few ripe figs off our fig tree and then this week we have barely been able to keep up with the number of figs it is producing! We majorly lucked into having a huge fig tree in our front yard when we moved into our house and the boys LOVE picking figs to eat fresh off the tree all day long right now. They’re so sweet and juicy and I am looking forward to making some new figgy favorites with our latest haul this weekend.
If you have some favorite fig recipes you’d like to share with me, I’d love some recommendations! I had an IG follower DM me last night about Ina Garten’s fig cake and another person recommended making a pizza with figs, Gorgonzola cheese and arugula and both sound right up my alley!
Cobb Salad Bar
On Chase’s birthday, when we asked him to choose his special birthday dinner, he selected his favorite frozen pizza. Fancy, huh? As delicious as frozen pizza is, I knew the adults celebrating Chase’s birthday might want something a little more substantial than thin crust frozen pizza, so I put together a Cobb salad bar for all of us to enjoy. It was such a hit and a deliciously summery dinner that felt a little different from what we normally serve around here. I followed the Cobb salad recipe in the Against All Grain cookbook and we loved it! Toppings included bacon, tomatoes, marinated artichokes, avocado, hard boiled eggs and chicken and the dressing was a creamy basil balsamic delight that I whipped up in the blender. The dressing was a mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, fresh basil and fresh thyme and we all went crazy for it!
The Last Dance Documentary Miniseries (Netflix)
At first I thought this documentary would be old news by now since it initially debuted on ESPN back in April but since it was within the top 5 most viewed shows on Netflix the last time I looked, apparently Ryan and I aren’t too late to the party! We started watching it two weekends ago and are about halfway through the 10-part miniseries. The Last Dance follows Michael Jordan’s career with the Chicago Bulls with an emphasis on his final season with the team. As a kid who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and remembers all of the excitement surrounding our beloved basketball team, this documentary has been like a trip down memory lane for me but with a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes details I never knew about (or cared about as a kid) at the time. The Bulls are Ryan’s all-time favorite basketball team so we’ve loved watching this one together when we are looking for a little escape at the end of the day.
When I was pregnant with Ryder, I shared a recipe for DIY Organic Belly Butter on the blog that I loved rubbing all over my growing baby bump. Knowing whipping up a batch of belly butter isn’t too hard and realizing just how much I’ve loved and used my past batches (even not pregnant — it’s so thick and luxurious!) made me excited to make more, especially now that my belly is stretching to the max! My latest batch looked like a moisturizing blend of various butters mixed with magnesium and lavender essential oils to promote relaxation now that I’m struggling a bit with some pregnancy-related insomnia. I love the way this stuff feels and while I shared the full recipe on my Instagram feed yesterday, I wanted to highlight it on the blog as well just in case it’s of interest to any of you out there who don’t follow me on IG as well! You may find the recipe (shared on Instagram in partnership with NOW Foods) here! It feels like a dreeeeam!
Around the Internet
Crock Pot Coconut Chicken and Cauliflower Rice Stew (A creamy and satisfying stew made with a combination of coconut milk and butternut squash that morph together into a rich-tasting-but-still-healthy aromatic meal.)
Killer Cardio Total Body Tabata Workout (Looking at this workout actually makes me miss intense cardio sweat fests! I’m oddly excited to bring them back into my life post-baby… ya know in several months. Ha!)
Question of the Day
What is one thing you’re loving this week?