Brown Butter Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

Good Morning!

I have come to realize that my blog has slowly turned into more of a Mommy blog. I apologize, kind of, for that. You see whenever you have children, they do turn into a HUGE part of your life. So it’s hard to NOT talk about Gabriella whenever I write a post. I also realize that not everyone is interested in what my daughter is up to on a daily basis. 😉

But I will do my best to try to mix it up a bit more- with some recipes & workouts. I have a whole list of workouts that I have made up, I just haven’t put them on here yet. They are coming!

Today I have a recipe to share with you. It’s not my own, it’s from one of my favorite baking websites that I have mentioned on here many times…Sally’s Baking Addiction. Trust me, just one look on her site & you will want to make EVERYTHING.

To be honest, I really don’t bake often, only because it’s just Craig & I and the last thing we want is a bunch of sweets laying around. But this week we have guests, my in laws are in town, and I always like to have some kind of goody! 🙂

After spotting some Easter M&M’s in the store this past weekend, I knew I had to find a recipe to use them in.

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After searching around on Sally’s site, I found THE recipe- Brown Butter Pretzel M&M Blondies. Now, I was wondering after reading the recipe what kind of impact the brown butter actually made. Let me tell you, it’s HUGE. Seriously. You MUST brown the butter. It gives the blondies SO MUCH FLAVOR. I really had no idea what a difference browning butter makes to the flavor of butter.

The only thing that I changed about the recipes was the I used peanut butter M&M’s instead of the pretzel M&M’s. And to be completely honest, the only reason was because Craig & I did a number on the bag of pretzel M&M’s that I had. Oops 😉

Brown Butter Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

makes 16 blondies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter M&M’s

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly. Remove from heat immediately when the butter begins to turn brown (about 6 minutes). Pour browned butter into large mixing bowl. Stir in brown sugar. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8×8 square baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. To the cooled down butter/sugar mixture, stir in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in peanut butter M&Ms.
  4. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Allow blondies to cool for at least 1 hour and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

Notes

RECIPE SOURCE: sallysbakingaddiction.com

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These were FANTASTIC!! Like I said before, the browned butter is KEY!

And of course, because I CANNOT go a post without a Gabriella photo…I had to show you what she did when I put the blondies next to her, she was longingly looking at them.

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(PLEASE notice her belly button. It’s mandatory 😉 )

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Poor girl wanted to try one SO bad.

Then she got mad at me because I wouldn’t let her have one, and look what she did. Knocked them RIGHT over. Notice that hand mid swing.

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That’s the it wasn’t me Mommy! look.

Love that girl to pieces.

If you are looking for an Easter dessert, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend these. I think they would be a hit with anyone, which is sometimes hard to find with a dessert.

Have a great Thursday…some of you may have off tomorrow- ENJOY!! 🙂

Hot Topic: Becoming Your Mother

I bet the topic caught your eye today! 🙂

You know the old saying, “I can’t believe I’m becoming my mother!” Little things you start to do, that you once told yourself you would never do and you catch yourself doing them that completely remind you of something your Mom would do.

I have definitely caught myself a few times and I just chuckle a bit.

This post is a bit different though. This weekend I was cleaning the house, and I got to my bathroom. Don’t we all just love cleaning the bathroom?! 😉 I went to vacuum the floor, when I looked down & moved the scale to clean under it just like always. But then something hit me.

Part of my EVERY day routine is weighing myself. It’s nothing new, I’ve been doing it for YEARS & YEARS. Why?, you ask. Well, honestly it has just become very much routine, but also it’s a comfort thing. Knowing that I am a certain weight, makes me happy.

Pathetic? Yes. But you know what? I have done it for SO long that it doesn’t even phase me now.

But as I looked at that scale this time, something else ran through my head. What if my daughter sees me doing this.

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What kind of example does that set? That weight is everything? That the number on the scale determines my mood for the day?

Ugh. How terrible!

The last thing that I want to pass on to my daughter is body image issues. I have been through the ringer regarding body image, and it SUCKS. Plain & simply SUCKS. The worst part is that it is SO common. It’s no longer a rare thing. Hearing that someone has anorexia or bulimia is like saying the sky is blue. I HATE that it has become this way, but the facts are facts. 😦

Because of these facts, my goal is to set a positive body image for Gabriella. I want her to see me as STRONG, HAPPY, and someone that loves herself as a person.

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I totally agree with the statement that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else.

I want her to LOVE herself and know that no matter what a number on a scale says, that she is a wonderful, precious, unique person.

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So what does all of this mean?

Well, I have a lot to fix…about myself. Now, this is NOT, by any means, going to be an overnight fix. This is something that takes time…and lots of it. But you know what? I’m willing to take the time. This is something that I WANT to do.

When I look at Gabriella I see my EVERYTHING. She is a little me. Looks wise, heck no, she’s completely her father :), but everything else is me. The stubbornness, the strong willed personality, the independence…I swear it’s me in a nutshell. (& hey, a little bit of Craig thrown in there too 😉 ) But the thing I don’t want to pass on is that lack of self worth. She needs to know from the beginning how to value herself as a person. I think it’s one of the MOST important lessons that someone can learn.

What I promised myself was to work on this whole scale thing.

Again, it’s NOT going to be overnight. But I WILL accomplish it. I will get over this need to weigh myself everyday. My goal is to one day get to just weighing once a week. I think that is a healthy goal.

I know I can do it. I have a MUCH stronger motivation…my daughter. Amazing how much she can influence me. In more ways than one 😉

It’s so funny how such a little person can affect you so much. I want to make myself a better person because of her. She just means the world to me, and how she looks at me when she gets older is HUGE. I do not want to lead with a bad example.

I want her to look at me and WANT to be like me.

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Hates the Crib

Good Monday Morning!!

I hope most of you have a short week, or at least a half day on Friday due to the Easter holiday. Should make for a better start to your week, right?! 😀

This is just a quick post, I just need some advice, if possible.

We have a little issue with little Miss G Marie.

See since she got home from the hospital, she has been sleeping in her Rock n’ Play.

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She loves it, and thankfully it has worked out perfectly for us so far.

Only problem now is that she is getting way too big for it. She can still fit (barely), so it’s not a safety concern…yet.

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^^she’s no longer that little 🙂

You are probably asking, why not put her in her crib???

Well, that’s the whole problem. She hates it.

It’s terrible. I have tried all sorts of suggestions that I have read online- like make her more comfortable in it by playing with toys in there with it. I have also tried putting her in there just for nap time, which she wakes up almost instantly & will cry (pretty much just scream) until someone gets her. I can only let her cry for so long, and it really just breaks my heart.

I am hoping someone has some advice they can offer that may help her like her crib.

Some ideas that I have, that I’m hoping to start this week or next is to have her nap in her pack n’ play. That way it’s flat, not inclined like her rock n’ play. Also it is not as big as her crib, so maybe that will be a bit more comforting. I know part of the problem is that the crib is just so big compared to her rock n’ play.

We can always move her pack n’ play upstairs, that way it’s a start. I’m just not sure if she will even like that.

Other ideas- getting a mobile that is battery powered. She loves her mobile, but it only lasts for about 3 minutes, if that. She likes to look at it and I think that if she had something to look at continuously that may help.

The one good thing is that we have had her in her room since she was about two months old, so thankfully we don’t have to get her used to her room AND the crib, it’s just getting her used to the crib.

Any advice would be MUCH appreciated! 🙂

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Gabriella says thank you in advance 😀 That was her basketball outfit that she wore to watch March Madness with her Daddy. She LOVES basketball, it calms her right down if she is fussy. I swear it’s in her blood.

Thank you, as always, for reading & for sharing experiences & suggestions that you my have I truly appreciate it and use the advice often.

 

 

A Little Reminder of What’s Important

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Oh I CANNOT tell you HOW MUCH I have been looking forward to this day ALL week.

This week has been TERRIBLE. Like one for the books kind of terrible.

This post is going to start out TOTALLY like a Debbie downer kind of post, but then I promise it makes a turn for the better at the end. It’s a LOT of words, not many pictures, but I just need to vent.

As you know this weekend was kind of rough on the Mom front. Gabriella just wasn’t her normal self (extra fussy & wouldn’t sleep), and I just felt burned out completely.

Monday was similar- just a rough day for the little one. She is teething pretty bad now, so it’s definitely NOT her fault, I just feel bad that I can’t help her out more. Although I did just purchase some Hyland’s teething tablets for her. So far so good! They seem to help her, and of course anytime she can chew on my fingers she is happy. (or her toes :D)

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Tuesday nothing really happened too out of the ordinary. We actually had a pretty good day. & it was MUCH needed.

Wednesday. oh Wednesday, how I wish I could travel back in time. Wednesday was one of the worst days of my life. And it all started at 6:50am. I had just left the gym (I still go every now & then…can’t stay away 😉 ), and figured that I would get gas since I had a free minute. I go to a 7-11 by my house, and as I am pulling into the parking lot I get backed into.

UGH! The good part, or so I thought, was that there was a cop actually in the parking lot as well, just stopping to get his morning coffee. He ended up seeing the whole thing and came over & asked the guy what he was thinking- like did he not see me, or was he distracted. The guy fully admitted that he just didn’t look. He saw the car in front of me, but didn’t see me. Lovely, right?!

So I’m thinking that it actually may be my lucky day…a cop IN the parking lot when I got hit. Yes, the accident sucks, at hey, at least a COP witnessed the whole thing & can now help. Boy was I completely wrong. The cop said that because the accident happened on ‘private property’ (the parking lot) that he could not help us- that they do not respond to accidents in parking lots unless someone is injured- and that all he could do was provide us with some paper to exchange insurance & license information.

Not so lucky day.

After the cop leaves and we are in the middle of filling out the paperwork the guy then proceeds to tell me that he is going to have his girlfriend come up and fill out the paperwork, since it was her car & he was going to have her ‘act’ as the driver. SAY WHAT?! At this point I really don’t know what to do. The cop is gone, and I’m all by myself in a 7-11 parking lot at 7am. (it’s still dark out) I mean what am I supposed to do…tackle the guy and demand he give me his information? Uh no thanks. Who know what could of happened.

The girl ends up coming up, fills out the paperwork, and we exchange all of the information. While she was doing this I DID contact FHP (Florida Highway Patrol) just to find out their recommendation- again, nothing they could do, but the guy told me he would document it & gave me a case number. Umm, thanks? (I also called my insurance company as well, just to cover all of my bases.)

Once she was finished we exchanged information and we continued on our way.

As soon as I got home I told Craig about it- I had tried calling him several times after it happened, but he didn’t have his phone on yet- and then I IMMEDIATELY called their insurance company to start the claim process.

Well, I’m sure this will probably come as no surprise to you after you have read all of this, but they gave me FALSE INSURANCE INFORMATION. No policy could be found on them, and come to find out the vehicle they were driving is COMPLETELY uninsured. (I had the VIN so they could run it.)

I seriously just saw everything crumble around me. I thought Craig was going to lose it…and I don’t blame him. I mean HOW does this STILL happen?! People can drive around with NO insurance. SERIOUSLY?!

After a lot of investigation by my insurance, there was really nothing we could do. I would have to file a claim with them (as not responsible for the accident…but still have to file a claim) & then we could start on the repair process. – which is pretty significant considering that we were both going pretty slow- passenger door can’t close all the way & the back passenger door is also messed up.

AWFUL. So because we have to file a claim, even though it’s not my fault & I have evidence to prove it (surveillance at 7-11) , our premiums will likely go up the next time we renew.

I’m still in shock. But honestly, you know what??? The only thing I kept thinking was thank God Gabriella was not in the car with me because that is where he hit me. Seriously THANK GOD. I don’t know what I would of done, but I can assure you a whole new side of Holly would of come out & it wouldn’t of been pretty.

That was only the BEGINNING of the day. From there it only got worse.

The whole day was kind of ruined by the whole accident situation, but that night I was SO SICK. Around 10pm I woke up and started throwing up like crazy. (sorry, hope you aren’t eating breakfast) I cannot even remember the last time I threw up. I NEVER throw up. EVER. So I knew something was seriously wrong. I woke Craig up & told him what was going on. He was AMAZING after that. He said he was going to stay up with me all night, no matter what. He went & got me some Pepto Bismal to take. When G woke up around midnight, he changed her diaper and brought her to me so I could feed her. And I didn’t sleep at all. He stayed up with me the whole time. SO SWEET. Husband of the year right here!

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How did I get so lucky?! He wanted to make sure that I didn’t have appendix issues, and it wasn’t…thankfully. I’m pretty sure it’s Crohn’s related- could possibly be a flair starting up. :/ Let’s hope not. But it sure does appear to be that.

And yesterday, well, we won’t talk about that. I think I’ve expressed enough downer stuff for the day. 😉 Time to MOVE on!

Throughout this WHOLE week there was one thing that ALWAYS lit up my day.

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(she tried sweet potatoes & LOVED them. pretty much yanked the spoon away from me.)

That little lady. Even though I may have some rough Mommy days, the minute she smiles at me or does goofy stuff like the face above I can’t help but remember HOW lucky I am. HOW LUCKY I am to have this precious baby girl and HOW LUCKY I am to have a wonderful husband who I love more & more every single day, especially when I see how he is with G.

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Those two are my WHOLE world.

So no matter how rough life I can be sometimes, I literally just have to go home & I am reminded HOW blessed I am. NOTHING can bring me down when I see those two. NOTHING.

ENJOY your weekend, and remember to do something for YOU! You deserve it. And tell someone you love how much they mean to you. They may wonder why all of the sudden you are doing this, but I guarantee you it will bring a smile to their face. 🙂

Hot Topic: Being a Parent is TOUGH

Good Morning!

Today I wanted to discuss how being a parent can be REALLY hard sometimes.

I know that things are usually light & fluffy on my blog, and I like it that way. But this is something that I want to talk about because I feel like EVERY Mom out there can relate to.

During those ten months leading up to having your baby are a time of LOTS of thinking. Worrying about EVERY little thing that could happen while you are pregnant & also what will happen during birth. If you have never given birth before you have NO idea what to expect. It’s a WHOLE new journey and as much as you can hear EVERY labor story under the sun, you really have NO idea what to think until you go through it yourself. And even then you may not know what to expect since a lot of pregnancies & delivery are different than your first one.

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One thing I can ASSURE is that it was the ABSOLUTE BEST day of my ENTIRE life. There are NO words that I could ever write to tell you HOW special that day was for me. My whole world just stopped when that little lady was born…and the moment that it went from the two of us to the three of us was a moment that will forever be embedded in my heart.

But once your baby is born you have a whole new sets of worries. And I hear this will NEVER end. There are always a new set of worries as your child ages. All part of being a parent, right?? 🙂

Here’s one thing that people might not tell you…being a parent is TOUGH. It’s HARD work, and honestly it can really test you in a lot of ways. Now, please do NOT take this the wrong way. I love my daughter more than anything in this world. She has completely stolen our hearts. But she really can test us. Not only can she test patience sometimes, but she can also test our marriage and test our sanity. 😉

IMG_2337-1<—sometimes that’s how I feel- AHH! 😀

The good thing is that all of these ‘tests’ are GOOD & only make us stronger, but sometimes they are hard to get through when you are right in the middle of them.

Now, let me explain a bit more.

As for testing our marriage. First…NO WORRIES, our marriage is 100% great!! But children can make you take a step back & re evaluate how you view things. Like Gabriella’s doctor told me, when you are dating someone you talk about things you enjoy doing, the topic of ‘How do you feel about a baby crying?’ never comes up. It is SO true…and you will probably not understand that statement until you are a parent.

When we first brought Gabriella I didn’t want her to cry for a second. I mean the minute I heard even just a peep out of her, I was right by her side- holding or rocking her. Whatever she needed. I would never change that. I think when they are that little they NEED to immediate comfort, even if they really are just crying to cry. They need to know early on that you will be there for them.

IMG_0605<—Not even a month old! so tiny.

As time went on, probably once she was about two months old, Craig had the ‘crying baby’ talk with me. He was ok with the idea of letting her cry for a little bit.- IF we knew everything was ok. (fed, clean diaper, burped, etc) I was not. I believed that she was still too young (I still believe this), and if she started to cry I went & got her. He told me to talk to her doctor about it to see what he said. He told me it was OK to let her cry for a bit- babies need to learn to self soothe at some point.

It was still VERY hard for me, and most times I just could NOT do it…but I let her cry for maybe two minutes. HEY, it was a HUGE step for me. 🙂

As time went on, and she got older, I kept giving Craig the same reason for immediately going to get her if she cried- that she was ‘still so little.’ He then reminded me that I have been using that excuse for months now. He caught on to me- lol! 🙂

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He kept encouraging me to TRY to let her cry, even if it was just for five minutes. I tried, but sometimes I can’t always do it. He just looks at me and says ‘Well, you’re the one who is with her all day…so you’re going to have to deal with it if you can’t let her soothe herself.’ He’s 100% right. Although I have gotten better, and I CAN let her cry for a bit (ok, let’s be real…probably at most 10 minutes), I still have a hard time hearing it. But I DO acknowledge the fact that she does need to learn how to self soothe.

That’s just one example of how it can be tough on your marriage at times- you have different views or opinions on how to raise your child. It’s OK to have different views, but you have to learn to compromise to a point. Our new issue now is trying to get G to sleep in her crib. She’s in her room & has been for about 2 months now, but she is still in her Rock n’ Play…and is NOT into the idea of moving to her crib.

Now, on to the ‘losing my sanity’ side of being a parent. I think this is a CRUIAL side to being a parent. You have to admit that sometimes you feel as though you are going INSANE.

IMG_1736<—Mad G. Even mad G makes me smile.

As much as I ADORE and completely LOVE my daughter, I have days that I really could just use a break. Of course I’m sure some of it has to do with the fact that I AM with her 24/7. I would NOT change that fact. I am so blessed & lucky to be able to work from home and take care of her.

But there comes a time when you just feel like you might pull your hair out if you don’t get a little bit of a break. Just time for ME. Even if it’s just to shave my legs. Now how lame does that sound?! But it’s SO true.

I was having a REALLY rough time on Sunday. I just felt like I was going to break down. I really just wished that I could spend the day out of the house. That I could have Craig take care of her for the day. I just NEEDED, desperately, some ME time. G has not been sleeping well (she was doing SO much better before…I’m not sure what happened), she’s been a bit fussier than normal, and she did NOT want to nap no matter what we tried. (I’m guessing it MAY be a growth spurt.)

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What makes it harder is the fact that she will not take a bottle…which means that no matter what, even if I do go somewhere, I HAVE to be back within 3 or 4 hours.  Now, this isn’t a ‘poor me’ kind of post, please do NOT feel bad for me. I am SO incredibly luck to be a Mom and I LOVE it so much. I just could use a day, or even an afternoon to do stupid stuff. Like look around Target (without an Ergo attached to me 😉 ), go clothes shopping, go to the MALL, or to go to the spa. What I would give for a spa day…probably my right arm. No, just kidding 😀

The WHOLE point of this post is to tell you (all of you new parents and soon to be parents out there) is that it is TOTALLY 100% OK to admit you need a break. It’s OK to try to take a day for some YOU time. It’s OK to say that you may lose your mind if you don’t get out of the house. IT’S OK! Do not feel bad. Do not feel guilty. I used to be REALLY hard on myself. I was constantly putting the guilt trip on myself if I ever felt like I needed even a ten minute shower. (it’s amazing how showers suddenly turn into MINUTE showers once you have a baby…you had no idea HOW fast you can actually shower. 😀 )

As much as I would love an afternoon for just me, the pathetic part is that I know that I would INSTANTLY miss G.

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Even when I go on long runs on the weekend, when Craig is home, I might be gone for 2 hours & the second I get home I HAVE to hold her. Talk about attachment issues 😉 But I also know that I NEED those two hours- just to clear my mind and enjoy my run.

Oh, and if you have family near by (we do not)- take them up on some date nights out with your husband/ significant other!! How I miss those- even just the late night runs for a Wendy’s frosty. 🙂 (HUGE pregnancy craving)

I just want to tell you that being a parent is HARD WORK!! It’s no easy task. Just remember to try to take a little time for yourself every now & then. You NEED it & you DESERVE it. Your child will appreciate a refreshed Mommy or Daddy. 🙂

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We Got a BOB!

Welcome to a new week!

This weekend was pretty on the go for us. My Mom & Aunt came down and we went to the Winter Park Art Festival. It wasn’t as good as I remembered it, just a LOT of paintings…not much crafts. I just remember that two years ago there were more crafts & ‘fun stuff.’ But it was still nice to get out- it was absolutely gorgeous outside.

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Gabriella was her usual ‘social’ self and again was in the Ergo the whole afternoon. 😉

Other than that, I had an AWESOME run on Saturday morning- ran all 5 miles (I had planned to do at least 6 or 7, but my Mom & Aunt arrived earlier than I thought…but it ended up being a very good thing because I pushed myself to get home faster 🙂 ) under 8 minutes, and then my last mile was in 6:45! I was pretty happy and the best part was that I wasn’t tired at all- could of kept running for much longer.

Speaking of running, guess what we got?!

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A BOB!!! It was an early Baptism gift from Mike, Steph & Nathan. I must say, I think it may end up being our MOST used gift for Gabriella. I already go running twice a day- well, at least once…and usually twice (or a do a long walk, if I did a long run in the morning) so it is going to pack on some miles!

I couldn’t wait to show Gabriella her new gift when she got up the next morning. I knew she would love it! 😀

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How goofy does she look?! Haha! The flash always makes her have the funniest faces. 🙂

We took it for a test drive that morning…and it worked like a charm. I had a sleeping baby in about 10 minutes. LOVE that! Perfect for nap time 😉

Afterwards I figured we would take some more pictures of it…G found her feet FAR more interesting that looking at the camera. Like I said…her new best friends.

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(don’t worry, she was strapped in during the run 🙂 )

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That picture above just makes me laugh. She’s like ‘c’mon Mom…this is getting ridiculous.’ 😀

I picked out the Plum color for the Ravens. I almost went with the Orange, because it’s nice & bright…but then I saw plum & well, I’m a bit obsessed with purple.

Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying this gift VERY much! It is SO much lighter than the other stroller I was using- like my brother in law said ‘It just glides across the pavement.’ So true, so true.

Anyways, yesterday was a bit emotionally draining…I don’t know exactly what it was, but I’ll talk about it more tomorrow. It’s Monday, no sense in getting into deep conversation.

I hope you all enjoy your day…and that you can make the most of this Monday!