What’s Up February

Hi friends! It’s time for my monthly What’s Up Wednesday where I link up with Sheaffer and Shay to fill you in on what’s been going on over the past month. How has your month been? Leave me a comment telling me about what you’ve been eating, loving, watching, listening and reading lately. I always love to hear from you💕

What We’re Eating This Month

Have you ever started a recipe only to realize you have gotten in over your head. That happened with the Braised Cabernet Short Ribs and Parmesan Polenta pictured above. I spotted this recipe in an old issue of Cooking Light. Everything about it appealed to me, but I neglected to carefully read the cooking time. Two and a half hours later my very hungry family was rewarded with an amazing meal. This recipe is a good one for special occasions and not at all difficult to make, but the cooking time is not ideal for busy nights when you are trying to get dinner on the table in a limited amount of time. Try this recipe if you have a special occasion dinner coming up and a few open hours to prepare.

Looking for something a little simpler? I shared this Rachel Ray recipe for Chicken Noodle Hold the Soup on Instagram earlier in the month. My family requests it often despite the fact that it is packed with veggies.

What I’m Reminiscing About

This time last year we headed out to Umigo GoKart Racing in Livermore for some competitive family fun. It was a blast racing each other around the indoor track as fast as we could for bragging rights.

What I’m Loving

My new vacuum! I have been hearing about how amazing the Dyson stick vacuum is for years, but had a hard time justifying the purchase of a new (expensive) vacuum when our existing vacuum worked just fine. This month we finally found ourselves in need of a new vacuum cleaner and decided to splurge on the Dyson Cyclone V10 Total Clean+ Cordfree Stick Vacuum. It normally sells for $479.99 at Costco, but it was on sale for $379.99 at the warehouse. I had been keeping an eye on the price of the Dyson V10 over the past year during big sales (Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday) and knew that this was one of the best deals we were going to find. I couldn’t be happier with our purchase. It is much easier to transport up and down the stairs of our two story house than our old upright vacuum, I can quickly move from room to room without stopping to plug and unplug the cord, and best of all my kids actually volunteer to vacuum. Before, I never vacuumed more than 1-2 times a week. Now I find myself vacuuming once a day because of how quick and easy the Dyson Cyclone V10 Total Clean+ Cordfree Stick Vacuum is to use. If you would like to see more of my Costco Favorite Finds click here and here.

What We’ve Been Up To

Not a whole lot! I have been down for the count this month. It started with an ear infection at the end of January that left me with muffled hearing, a cough and sore throat for the majority of February while the fluid from my ear drained. This past Monday was the first day that I felt like I was 100% myself again. I know that so many of you have been in the same boat with illnesses this winter and I hope its a healthier March all around.

What I’m Working On

I had big plans to organize my kitchen panty at the beginning of the new year, but life and illness derailed my plans until last week. I emptied the pantry from top to bottom before giving the shelves a thorough cleaning and putting it back together again. I am excited to show you the finished results and how I solved some of my biggest organizational issues in an upcoming blog post.

before photo

What I’m Excited About

I’m headed to Anaheim for a long weekend with my daughter in March. She will be competing in a cheer competition the first day and we are going to spend the following day at California Adventure. I’m excited to have a mother-daughter weekend away!

What I’m Watching

I haven’t been to the movie theater yet this year, but I was able to enjoy a movie night at home with my son this month. We chose to rent Harriet. It was a fantastic movie to watch with my middle schooler because although it included racial slurs and violence, it stayed true to its PG-13 rating and didn’t cross any lines that would have made it inappropriate for a young teen to watch with his mom. I appreciated the fact that it provided some important lessons, but my son didn’t feel like he was being asked to watch an “educational” movie. We were both engaged and it sparked some great discussion.

What I’m Listening To

Same old, same old. Do you have a radio station that you love? I tend to always listen to either Hits 1 on XM for music or 740 AM for news. I would love to switch it up a little.

What I’m Reading

I discovered an older Jodi Picoult novel that I hadn’t read yet on my last visit to the library. Vanishing Acts is yet another fascinating read by one of my all time favorite authors that tells the story of Delia, a search and rescue specialist, who discovers that she is in fact a missing person.

This month each member of my Bunco group brought a favorite book to use in our gift exchange. I was excited to see that Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner was one of the books up for grabs. I have enjoyed her books in the past, and I kept my fingers crossed that it would be the book I walked away with at the end of the night. Although I didn’t roll any buncos or walk away with any cash, I did manage to snag Mrs. Everything #winning. I’ll let you know next month what my verdict is.

What I’m Wearing

Leisure wear was my go-to while I was feeling under the weather and taking it easy. Once I was well enough to venture out I stuck to a uniform of jeans and tees, but made a concerted effort to never wear the same thing twice and make use of everything in my winter wardrobe. I haven’t shopped for anything new since before Christmas because I felt like I had a pretty well rounded selection of cold weather clothing. My plan is to hold out on making any new purchases until the spring. In my 20’s and 30’s I used to shop for outfits and only wear those specific pieces together. Towards the end of my 30’s I started to focus more on well fitting wardrobe staples that I could wear multiple ways. I have so much more fun getting dressed in the mornings now and finding new clothing combinations. Having a great pair of cropped wide-leg, skinny and boyfriend jeans to rotate through are really the only bottoms I need for my casual day to day (#momstyle).

What I’m Doing This Weekend

We are celebrating my daughter’s 15th birthday. She requested a trip to the San Francisco Creamery for a birthday treat. Have you heard about the San Francisco Creamery’s kitchen sink? It is an over the top banana split that includes 8 flavors of ice creams, 8 servings of toppings, mounds and mounds of whipped cream, chopped toasted almonds and cherries. It serves one (if you dare) to six people. If an individual manages to finish the kitchen sink in record time they earn free ice cream for a year. My daughter isn’t going to be taking the challenge, but she is looking forward to one of the San Francisco Creamery’s over-the-top treats.

enjoying the kitchen sink on her 9th birthday

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

One of my elementary school classmates is organizing a brunch for our class next month. I went to a small Catholic school and was with the same group of students for all nine years. It will be so great to catch up with everyone that was such a big part of my life for the majority of my childhood. Can you spot me in the photo below?

3rd row, 4th column

Don’t forget…you have an additional day added to your calendar this month. Hope you you are able to take time to do something a little EXTRA for yourself with the extra day we’ve been gifted. Happy Leap Year!

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  1. Kimberly Schaefer

    February 26, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    If you need something new to listen to then I’d recommend podcasts. I’m currently listening to My Own Backyard and Crime Junkie. I was intimidated by the thought of listening to them, but I’m so glad I did! It really helps time pass during long car rides. I’m hooked! In addition, a great historical fiction book was The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham.

    1. Parker

      February 27, 2020 at 9:46 pm

      Thank you for the recommendations! I love historical fiction and am adding The German Midwife to my reading list now. I haven’t tried any crime podcasts yet. I’ve listened mainly to entertainment and lifestyle podcasts. Do they freak you out at all? I am not a scary movie kind of girl.

  2. Malu

    February 26, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Love the shoes in the bottom pic (near the stairs). The chicken noodle dish looks delicious. I might try that but swap the chicken for tofu in our veg house. Thank you for sharing your cool tips!

    1. Parker

      February 26, 2020 at 11:37 am

      Thanks! I picked up the shoes at J Crew Factory a couple years ago. I really like how the pointed toe and flesh tone elongates my legs. Let me know how the tofu works out. If you have any specific tips on brands or prep with tofu I would love to hear them and add them to the post for meat free followers.

  3. Natashajk

    February 26, 2020 at 10:03 am

    That sundae looks INSANE!!! I can’t imagine eating one all by myself.
    And I HATE when a new meal takes way longer to make than I had anticipated.

    1. Parker

      February 26, 2020 at 11:29 am

      I can’t imagine eating it all either, but I’m sure it would be fun trying! 30 minutes is usually my sweet spot for dinner prep, so 2 1/2 hours was not ideal. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sherrill Dalto

    February 26, 2020 at 6:27 am

    Love my Wednesday before work read! ❤️ Glad you are feeling better. Good luck with cheer competition and Happy Birthday to Mikayla! ( I finally bought the beer batter bread mix – can’t wait to try it)

    1. Parker

      February 26, 2020 at 11:27 am

      Thank you! I will pass your wishes on to Miss M. I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that our girls will be turning 16 on their next birthday and that driving is right around the corner 😬. Let me know your verdict on the beer bread.

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