Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples


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This Is Real Life

Social media has a way of presenting your life to others in the best of light. Not that it is a bad thing, but majority of people only post the good photos or share the happy moments. I do it too. But what most people don’t see, is how I seriously don’t have everything together. I have always been very responsible and organized, but since becoming a mom, I feel like I can’t remember anything any more. It is like I am stuck in this mom mode and everything else is just noise in the background. Like, my brain can only focus on Ada therefore, other things slip my mind. This became a problem for me this past week while Randy was away on business.

A few days ago I went to Target, which I use to love to do, but now it is an almost Herculean task when all Ada wants to do is scoot and climb all over the store. But this trip, I went quickly and Ada was pretty great for most of it. So I figured I could push my luck and make one more stop before going home. I wanted to go to REI to pick up Randy a birthday present for him to open when he returned.

Well, I pushed my luck too far. As soon as I got Ada into the store, she started screaming. So here I am, trying to juggle a wiggling, screaming toddler into a cart, my diaper bag, the car keys, and Ada’s precious lovie. When I finally got her into the cart, I started trying to pacify her with snacks, books, toys, and my car keys. I walked around the store for about 5 minutes when I remembered that I gave Ada the car keys. When I looked down, she no longer had them.

This started the panicky search for the car keys. I mean, I was crawling all around REI trying to find my keys. Ada was having a blast scooting around and climbing onto stairs, chairs, tables – you name it, and pulling merchandise off the shelves. I finally got an employee to help me search for my keys, but still, no luck. So now I am sitting on the floor digging everything out of my diaper bag and checking my pockets for these keys (including my bra, because who knows where I could have stuffed those keys in the middle of a toddler scream fest). After about 30 minutes of searching, I begin to cry. Yeah, sitting in the middle of REI, with my stuff dispersed all around me, with my toddler terrorizing the store and me crying. I definitely felt like my life was nothing but a sh*t show.

For a moment, I seriously didn’t know what to do. We were stranded in a store with no way to get back into my car, Ada was in a desperate need of a nap, Randy was across the country, and I have no family nearby. And even if I called a locksmith to get me into my car, I still couldn’t get us home. Oh, and to top it all off, I had groceries in the car, melting away. Yeah, I was in a pickle and I couldn’t figure a way out.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful, fantastic friend nearby who came to mine and Ada’s rescue. I am so very thankful and blessed to have such a great friend. A friend, who drops everything to come help, even when she is trying to figure out how to juggle life with a toddler, too. I am so grateful that I have a friend to share motherhood with, where there are no judgements allowed! 😉

So what is the point to this post? Nothing really. Just to share that I really don’t have it all together all the time. Most of the time, I feel like I am in survival mode. Every once in a while, I feel like superwoman – on the days I can take a shower, dress out of my yoga pants, and get dinner on the table all the while, keeping my kid in one piece! But most of the time, I am lucky to remember to brush my teeth in the mornings! After this week, I think I need this coffee mug in my life!

One thing is for certain, I am so glad that it is Friday! Happy Friday ya’ll!


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Mama + Mini Monday: Grey & Mustard

As you all know, I have an obsession a passion for coordinating mine and Ada’s outfits. It is something I have been dreaming about doing long before Ada came into my life. I guess you can say that I am now living out my dream! I love, love doing it so I thought I would have a spot dedicated for it, here. Welcome to the first Mama + Mini Monday!

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Right now, I am loving rompers. I know there are some mix feelings about them, but I can’t get enough of them. Especially, ones like this. I think I like that they make getting ready easy. I don’t have to think about a top and bottom, I just throw this one garment on, pair it with some cute shoes and I am good to go. Anything to save time is a must for this new mama here! 😉

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Loft is killing it with rompers this summer! I love the lace details of this one and I will be able to wear it this fall with some booties. Also, it has pockets – need I say more? Ada is wearing a June&January dress, which is amazing! No tags, no weird seams, it is very soft, and it stretches so well. Ada hates putting on clothes, so these stretchy dresses have been great. Plus, have you seen June&January knit tights? They will pair perfectly with this dress in the fall!

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I just replaced my mustard heels a few weeks ago, with these from Seychelles. My others were in pretty bad shape. But I love that these heels are made with leather and I love the vintage design.

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Hope you are all having a wonderful Monday! Until next time!


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Our July 4th

I have always enjoyed the 4th of July – sunshine, parades, cookouts, fireworks, and all red, white and blue! And I was even more excited to share this holiday with my daughter! We had a low key weekend at home, mostly because I am pretty sure fireworks and parades would absolutely terrify Ada right now! But next year, I am sure that we will watch fireworks. I can’t wait to see her first reaction to them! Although, I am sure she will be terrified of fireworks then, too! 😉

I am glad that we were able to get a July 4th family photo – thanks to a newly required selfie stick. I think they are terribly hilarious, but they sure do make family photos a lot easier!

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We even sported our red, white, and blue for church. I love her little pointed toes in this photo.

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For the 4th, we had our friends over for a cookout, complete with red, white, and blue sangria! It was the first time I have ever made sangria and it was pretty darn delicious! You can find the recipe I used here. We had a great time, drinking sangria and watching our little babies play together.

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Ada’s first July 4th outfit was so cute! When I saw this onesie, I couldn’t resist. I knew it would make the perfect first July 4th outfit for Ada!

She is definitely our little firecracker!

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It is getting a little bit harder to take good picture of her any more, she is such a little wiggle worm!

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I hope you had a wonderful 4th filled with fun, friends, and family! Now that July 4th is over, it is officially fall in my mind. Bring on the cooler weather and everything pumpkin!


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Five Months

Another month with Ada and we couldn’t be happier or more in love with this little baby! It has been an absolute joy watching Ada grow and learn about the world around her. We love watching her look at everything and watching how she reacts when she sees something new, which is pretty much everything! 🙂

Ada is sitting up so well now! There are times when she sits up unassisted and I just jump up and down in delight! It’s funny, when you’re a parent, everything your kid does is amazing! I get so excited with every milestone Ada reaches. At her last appointment she weighed in at 15.5 lbs and measured almost 26 inches long. The doctor was so very pleased at how much weight she had put on, since she had measured a little on the small side last time he saw her. I am pleased too, of course, but it is definitely a workout carrying her around all day! I am getting some definition in one arm, so I guess that is good. I will have to even out my other arm pretty soon though! Haha!

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Ada is such a great baby! She is happy and laid back most of the time. Her naps have become more consistent; that is, in her crib. She doesn’t sleep at all when we are out running errands; which means one cranky baby when we get home. But we are working on it. At least she is napping at home well.

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Teething is no joke. We have good days and bad days. The bad days keep me up at all hours of the night, making the next day hard for both of us. Then some days, she sleeps through the night, happy all day and takes multiple naps. One thing is for certain, she keeps me on my toes and every day is different!

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The biggest milestone this month is Ada is now eating solids! I sometimes can’t believe it! My little baby is already sitting up and eating solids!?! So far we have only tried oatmeal with banana puree. She eats it like a champ! I’m pretty sure Ada is a natural born eater. She breastfeeds, takes a bottle, a spoon and a sippy cup with no problems. She amazes me how good she is at eating! That’s my girl! 😉

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She loves studying her hands, fingers and toes. Sometimes when she sits up, she leans over to study her toes. She leans over so far that it makes her spit up. It will even come out of her nose! She just squeezes the milk right out of her. Silly girl! She also loves playing peek-a-boo with her blanket. Randy and Ada play that game every night and Ada just squeals and laughs. It is the cutest thing ever! I just love listening to them play.

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She can now do tummy time without screaming, thanks to the tummy time pillow! She doesn’t roll over yet, which in way, I am kind of glad. One less thing to worry about in the night, right? But I am working with her. I lay her on her tummy and help her roll onto her back, then back to her tummy. I guess she will try on her own one day!

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Happy Five Months Ada Marie! You are truly loved!


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Fashion Friday: Favorite Color Combo

Mustard and navy… my favorite combo! I’m pretty sure that half of my closet consists of these two colors! I know mustard isn’t everyone’s favorite, but something about mustard at this time of year just works. The pop of yellow against the crisp blue skies and the colorful leaves of fall – perfection!

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I really like the way this utility blouse from Loft fits. Some utility blouses I have tried tend to look funny on me, but this one fits better than most. This blouse isn’t too big and it isn’t too tight… fits just right. And the color is fantastic!

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These boots are my most favorite pair of shoes I own. They are unique, they are comfortable and I love the color (of course)! I wear these boots as much as possible in fall and most of winter! It is a shame that these boots are no longer available! I don’t know what I am going to do if they ever wear out or tear on me! Heaven forbid!

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When I saw this necklace at Loft, I just had to have it! It is a nice size statement piece, not too big and chunky, but definitely big enough to be seen. And in person the colors are so vibrant and pretty. This necklace will work well in my closet of yellows and blues! 😉

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Mustard Blouse – Loft

Navy Cardigan – TJMaxx, similar

Jeans – No Nonsense

Boots – Miz Mooz (no longer available) similar, similar, similar

Necklace – Loft

Earrings – Loft

Hope you ya’ll have a great weekend and get to enjoy this beautiful fall! Happy Friday!

 


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Taking a Break from the Norm

Tuesday night Randy and I decided not to stay home and do chores. We decided to enjoy this beautiful fall-like weather we have been having here lately! I know! We are such rebels! 😉 We took Tesla for a short hike up Bearwallow Mountain. It is about a 2 minute drive from our house, basically our back yard, with a gorgeous view.

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The only little downfall about the summit is that we have to share it with cows, therefore there are cow-patties everywhere! So as I was taking this shot I stepped and slid in a cow-patty. Lovely!

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Pretty sunset.

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Happy Tesla!

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And the great view!

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When we got home we made grilled caprese chicken, from Iowa Girl Eats. It has become one of our favorites! And to make it even better, it is super easy and quick. Perfect for a weekday dinner! We usually make a little bit more and eat on it for about a week. We love it that much!

Grilled Caprese Chicken with Basil Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 4 small chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8oz mozzarella pearls
  • For the Fresh Basil Vinaigrette/Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, lightly packed
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 large clove garlic (or 2 small cloves)
  • lots of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Pour vinegar into a saucepan then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium then simmer until the consistency is slightly thinner than maple syrup (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan for a moment when scraping a spatula across the bottom,) 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. For the Fresh Basil Vinaigrette/Marinade: add all ingredients except extra virgin olive oil to a food processor or blender then pulse to roughly chop the basil and garlic. Turn processor on then slowly stream in oil.
  3. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper then add to a Ziplock back with half the vinaigrette/marinade. Marinate for 15 minutes or up to a 4 hours in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, combine cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls with the remaining vinaigrette in a large bowl.
  4. Preheat grill over medium-high heat then grill chicken for 3-4 minutes a side. Plate then top with cherry tomato and mozzarella topping and reduced balsamic vinegar.
http://ourmapletree.com/taking-a-break-from-the-norm/

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I hope everyone’s week has been great and that you have been enjoying this excellent weather! Happy Friday!


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Bloglovin’

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I have joined bloglovin’… I have finally started to immerse my blog into the blogging community! 😉
Not sure if I will like it, but I am willing to give it a try!

The only reason this post exist, is so my blog will appear in my profile for bloglovin’ (for those of you wondering why in the world I am sharing this!).

Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. I have been terribly busy! But I have some posts planned! Stay tuned! And Happy Friday!


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Valentine’s Day

For the 8 years Randy and I have been together, we have not really been into celebrating Valentine’s Day. Nothing against the holiday, just didn’t see the point of it all. If you want to show someone you love them, you don’t need a holiday to do it. But this year is about change for us. This year, we were going to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

This year Randy was going to be out of town on business for Valentine’s Day, in San Francisco. Now let me give you a little back story on why this was such a big deal for me.

My favorite TV shows in high school and college were, “Great Hotels” and “Passport to Europe” with Samantha Brown. I love her! She has always been my idol, in a way. I love her shows so much, that she was my inspiration for my Italy series …”Passport to Italy.” I would love her job… I mean, I could stand in for her every once in while, couldn’t I?

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Ok… moving on from my childhood fantasy. I watched her show on “Great Hotels” where she visited San Francisco and just fell in love with the city. It has been on my top ten list of most wanted cities to visit in the US. So this year, I was going to meet Randy in San Francisco, during Valentine’s Day weekend! How romantic is that?

Well, it would have been… if it had not been for the snow storm Pax. That storm cancelled both of my flights and I never made it out to San Francisco. 🙁

I was very, very upset and disappointed. Not only could I not make it out to one of my dream vacation spots, I was snowed in at home, alone. After a glass (or two, or three) of wine, I put on my big girl pants and went to work that Friday (Valentine’s Day).

During my work day, Randy surprised more than once. He was able to get a flight back home early and was going to be arriving late on Valentine’s Day. Yay! And since I couldn’t meet up with him in San Francisco, he sent me flowers at work. Isn’t he the best!?

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Later that night I picked Randy up from the airport and we had a wonderful Valentine’s Day dinner – filet mignon, roasted asparagus, roasted ranch potatoes and sauteed mushrooms. And most important, one of our favorite wines, Torii Mor pinot noir. We had our dinner picnic style by the fire. (Be still my hopeless romantic heart!) For dessert I made Randy’s favorite, chocolate lava cake!

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We enjoyed this dinner so much, that we decided to have it again the following night! I know, I know! You will find me on the treadmill this week for sure! To change it up a little bit, we sliced the steaks thin and drizzled balsamic vinegar glaze on top… just like in Italy.

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We had a three day weekend this weekend, which is the best. Monday we slept in and made a wonderful brunch! Eggs-in-a-blanket, bacon, strawberries, coffee and you can’t have brunch without it, Mimosas!

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Our Valentine’s Day was not what we planned, but in the end, turned out fantastic. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter where Randy and I spent our Valentine’s Day, what mattered is that we spent it together. I am grateful to have Randy in my life, without whom, I would be totally lost.

I hope your Valentine’s Day was filled with everything that you love and with all the people you love! I know mine was; great company, great food and great wine…. now it’s time to get on the treadmill! Have a great week!


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Snow Day

So we finally had a snow day here in Asheville! Woo Hoo!

After a two hour commute home from work, we finally got home to enjoy the snow!

I love how our house looks in the snow!

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Tesla did not like being contained for this photo…

 

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She wanted to run around us in circles… as you can see here (blurry picture).

 

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Randy spreading salt on our road. I played the role of supervisor. All that was missing was a cup of coffee! 😉

 

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I think the best part of a snow day is the peace and quiet. After everyone rushes to get home, it seems like they all stay in their homes. That is when I like to get out and walk around. All you can hear are your footsteps crunching and the snow falling. It is the perfect time to stop and reflect. To marvel at God’s beautiful creation and works.

 

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I hope everyone finds peace today, with or without the snow! 🙂 And I hope that you had time today to stop and enjoy the day!

 

 


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Thanksgiving Part 2

This year, my brother and his wife hosted Thanksgiving. They live almost 4 hours away from us, so we do not get to see them very often. We were very excited to see them and meet their new puppy, Indy!

We woke up to this beautiful view:

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First snow of the season! I hope this is a good indicator that we will have a good winter this year! (Keeping fingers crossed!)

After a very long drive, we finally made it to my brother’s and got to meet this little bundle of joy! When we drove up she came running outside to meet us. Randy opened up his door to get out and she just jumped right in, onto Randy’s lap! I wish I had got that on camera.

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She is a jug – which is a pug and jack russell mix. Isn’t she adorable? She is so sweet and a little ball of energy! She ran circles around us the entire time we were there!

My sister-in-law made a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch for us. She stuffed the turkey, which was a first for me. I have always heard of people stuffing their turkeys but I have never tasted one before. It was of course delicious!

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And my favorite… dessert! Kathy made pumpkin pie bites. They were so light and wonderful! I ate more than I should have!

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We did a little Black Friday shopping. It was madness! It is terrifying out there on Black Friday! I think I prefer to wait for Cyber Monday and do all my shopping online! Speaking of which, I ordered my first Philosophy purchase. I have heard so many good things about them so I wanted to try them out. I ordered the by the fire kit and a few bottles of silent night shower gel. The “by the fire kit” is amazing! I love anything to do with s’mores and this kit is my new favorite thing! I just wish I ordered more than one!

That night we were still so full from our Thanksgiving lunch we just had a little bit of cheese and wine for dinner. (I think Randy and I are missing Italy!)

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Afterwards, Kathy and I painted our nails. I cannot paint my right hand to save my life, so I always make Kathy or my mom paint my right hand whenever they are around! (mustard scarf from kiki la’rue)

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For dessert that night; because one cannot have too much dessert in one day; (I have a t-shirt that says, “Life is short, eat dessert first!” It is my life motto!) we had pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake ice-cream from Ben&Jerry’s. Yum!

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Our Thanksgiving with my family came to an end all too quickly.  🙁  I always feel like I never get enough time with my family. But in a way, it makes our time together that much sweeter.

It is funny when you are young, all you think about is getting out of the house. As soon as you get out of the house, all you think about is being with your family! At least, that is how it is for me! Don’t get me wrong, I love my life just the way it is. But it would be nice to have my family a little bit closer so I could see them a little more often; like once a day! 😉

I am so grateful for my family; without them, I would be lost. They are my teachers, my comedians, my loves, my best friends.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with good food, good friends, good times and most of all, family.

“The love of family is life’s greatest blessing.”