MY BAB GOALS FOR 2018

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JEN’s GOALS

Ok, it is now my turn to share my goals for 2018. I am hoping by writing them down and sharing out in the virtual atmosphere I will be more accountable. Heck, maybe I will even have goal check in posts!

  1. The first goal is really to spend more time on this piece of the world wide web that Wendy and I share with you. I will admit that most of the heavy lifting of this blog comes from Wendy. My goal is to try and get more fun IG content and posts and make it more interactive and fun!!
  2. Exercise… isn’t this a goal that all of us have every year. This year I wanted to do something different. I work full time, have two kids and the list goes on and on and I feel like I never have time to dedicate to exercise. I get frustrated when I “fall off the exercise wagon” and struggle to get back on. I will also admit that I already wake up at 5:30 am (yep, Wendy you read that right!!) so getting up earlier ain’t happening. I also like my sleep since I don’t drink coffee so staying up late to workout also ain’t happening!! I saw an ad on IG for this app called “7 Minute Workout Challenge” and I thought, I can squeeze 7 minutes into my day. It is the only app I have ever paid for and let me tell you I am kind of addicted now. I have done it 26 days straight– yep you read that correctly and am already starting to see results. I have never stayed committed to an exercise routine that long, ever!! None of the exercises are complex (think: jumping jacks, push ups, etc) but they do enough to boost my exercise confidence and I actually look forward to it everyday. I now find myself wanting to do more than one cycle and keep going. Swimsuit season is just around the corner so this is great motivation!! And no, this is not a paid or sponsored portion of our post this is truly just me finding something and loving it!
  3. Quality time with my husband. I feel like every year I say this and every year it continues to be true. Often times after work, the kids, the house, and doing dumb grown up things (i.e. pay bills) we barely can keep our eyes open let alone spend quality time together. I want to try and make a big effort to get more date nights
  4. Less is More. The day after Christmas we went through a massive purge of toys and stuff to donate to Goodwill. My goal for 2018 is to be more mindful of what we bring into our house and teach the kids more about how you don’t “need” as much.
  5. Monthly Me Time. I always put everyone else first and it is my goal to do things alone, just me to get some breathing room. Fingers crossed I can make this happen!

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Weekday meals that are quick, easy, with a touch of healthy – that everyone eats

MYBAB COOKS (1)

 

As working moms with busy kids, we struggle to find meals that are quick and easy, throw in you want it to be healthy and something everyone eats and you’re asking for a lot. To be honest, we don’t really cook much and we do not have Instant Pots, so when all else fails, there is take out. But here are a few meals we got from Pinterest, cookbooks, and cooking blogs to come up with meals to fit our criteria and the bubbles we drink with them.

Jen

Hi, my name is Jen and I hate cooking. As in I do not enjoy it in any way. Maybe if I was just cooking for myself and had all the time in the world and a glass of wine in my hand I would like it but when nights are busy and I am tired and the kids are hungry cereal sounds like a great meal. My kids are super picky and of course like different things and I try very hard to not be a short order cook (heck I am barely a “cook”) so here are some tried and true common dinner staples that are not longer than 30 minutes. And don’t require complex recipe following!

  • Fish, veggies and pasta: My kids loved the baked tilapia from Costco (all praise Costco!) and it is a great way for them to get introduced to seafood because it doesn’t have a “seafood” taste. I always pair it with a veggie (my daughter LOVES steamed broccoli, corn for my son) and then a light alfredo type pasta.
    • Bubbles: Pinot Grigio
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce: Again, thanks to Costco I always have ground beef or ground turkey on hand. I brown that up and add can pasta sauce to let it simmer. Then I cook up the noodles and usually garlic bread and veggie sides. While my kids eat it in different ways (one doesn’t want the sauce on top of the noodles…) they at least all agree it is yummy.
    • Bubbles: Red Blend or Cab
  • Taco night! I buy the little taco boat shells and all of the sudden my kids think dinner is fun. My daughter also is obsessed with guac and salsa (who could blame her) so I have that as fun toppings and sides and the kids can make their own.
    • Bubbles: Margaritas or Prosecco
  • Breakfast for Dinner: There are two things that my husband is in charge of when it comes to cooking grill and breakfast. The kids love eating eggs, bacon, sausage and bagels. So when we are in a real hurry we scramble (pun intended, hehe) up some dinner.
    • Bubbles: Mimosa’s
  • Crockpot Meals: My favorites are chili and beef stew, they are super easy, just require me to dump a bunch of stuff in and turn on.
    • Bubbles: Whatever you want, you aren’t cooking!!

My other secret, I don’t even have time to look on Pinterest for recipes. I head to one place: Mix and Match Mama’s website. I have one of her cookbooks and if you want no stress or effort, she does it all for you with weekly meal planning.

Wen

A few years ago we started to cook more and eat out less (can we stop for a minute and talk about how expensive eating out has become?). I have tried Blue Apron, Home Chef, and Hello Fresh – all had pros and cons, but they’re subscriptions and on the weeks that we were unable to use, I would forget to skip the week, so I was spending the money, and in the end cancelled.

Now, on the weekdays we cook Monday-Thursday, Friday’s are moms night off, which tends to be our pizza night. I too, am not a good cook by any means, but meal planning is one thing that I do and try to incorporate something new or different every once in a while.

  • Skillet lasagna: this is my go-to meal since it’s quick, low mess, and we all enjoy it. I make a variation of this recipe from Damn Delicious and serve with salad and garlic bread.
    • Bubbles: Meiomi Pinot Noir
  • Italian Pork Chops: I LOVE one pan meals – easy clean up and boneless pork chops cook up quickly. Sear the pork chops, remove for a few minutes, add garlic, cherry tomatoes (canned work too), and some spices – oregano, basil, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook that for a few minutes, then add the chops back in along with fresh spinach and a splash of the white wine you’re drinking. Cook it all up until the spinach gets a little wilted, add a touch of fresh parmesan cheese and you’re done. Plate the spinach, add the pork chop, top with the tomato mixture, and garnish with Trader Joe’s balsamic glaze.
    •  Bubbles: Any white wine will do, but I prefer Pinot Grigio with pork chops
  • Chicken Parm Meatballs: these are so easy and freeze well too, so I tend to have them on hand for easy nights. The recipe is from Dinner: A Love Story and once mixed up, take about 20 minutes to bake. I’ve served with a side of green veggies or pasta.
    • Bubbles: Red Blend
  • Pasta e Fagioli soup: this pasta and bean soup is a fall/winter favorite that can be made with or without meat. I like to cook this up on a Sunday, enjoy for leftovers, and freeze to have on hand.
    • Bubbles: Cab or Merlot

  • Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables: sheet pan dinners are the rage right now – quick, easy, healthy, and almost no clean up – winning! I do make my own teriyaki glaze, but you can buy one to make this meal even easier. We use broccoli, carrots, edamame, and I’ll cook up some rice for this one. Pinterest has a lot of sheet pan ideas – I make one a week they’re that easy.
    • Bubbles:  Sauvignon Blanc

 

Happy Cooking, Eating, and Drinking!

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My BAB Goals for 2018

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We’re halfway through the first month of 2018 – can you believe it? Time seriously flies.

We thought we would share some of our personal goals for this year. Some are little things that we hope will make a difference in our day to day, some are projects that will take some time, but we’re looking forward to accomplishing these goals this year!

Wen’s Goals

1. Declutter like a Mother – I started this challenge on January 1 and am loving it. I’m being ruthless and honest about every item I come across. It was slightly embarrassing to realize I was using makeup from 5-6 years ago (so not okay!). I plan to continue decluttering and making monthly trips to the consignment and donation stores to get the stuff out of my house.

2. Curb the “no thought spending” – this is a big one as it’s way too easy to click and ship or to hand over that gold card at Starbucks and not think about the real cost. It’s easy to order a tube of toothpaste online, but it wasn’t that cheap and the overall packaging is wasteful. The other day, I asked my husband as we paid for our drinks in the Starbucks drive thru – would you have paid $8.xx in cash for that? His answer – probably not. We’re also guilty of seeing *sale* and think we need it, when we do fine without it. (Tip – this is also a good time to go over monthly expenses to see what can be cut or subscriptions you can cancel.) Spending in check.

3. Return to self-care Sunday’s – I used to take a few hours to myself on Sundays to do a face mask, take a bath, sip a glass of wine, read a book, shop alone, get in some spin or Pilates classes and I miss it so. I had major surgery in December 2016, and I’m still recovering and fell out of routine, but I need that me time.

4. Get fit and healthy – I started an ab and squat challenge at the beginning of the year and have found it manageable with my busy schedule. I found some challenges and videos online that I can squeeze in with my limited free time. Also in this is taking my vitamins and drinking more water. My goal is to lose a few lbs but overall I want to feel better, gain more muscle, increase my energy, and have my clothes fit well. Which brings me to…

5. Incorporate real food into meals – I’ve been doing pretty well with planning out our meals but now I’m ready to eat more real, more whole, more plant based, and less processed. I have been ordering grass-fed meats from a butcher for awhile and love hitting the farmers markets in the summer. The off-months take more effort. It will take some time to prep but I think we’ll all feel better in the end.

6. Make time to be present – as I was writing this my daughter said “mom, I want you to see this amazing thing I made” and it could have been so easy for me to say “in a minute” but I didn’t. Seeing her excited over her mess creation was worth it, that I would have been mad at myself for saying “later”.

7. Get to know the sports parents – we sit on the sidelines, cheer for each other’s kids, and barely know each other’s names. We’re not into the traveling team sports yet so we only see each other once a week, but I would like to be able get to know them instead of feeling like “hi…you”.

8. Reconnect with friends – we have a good group of preschool families we are so happy to have found, but we have felt bad about letting some of our old good friends take a back seat. i.e. We had plans with one couple to have dinner over the summer and it never happened. One reason or another, it wasn’t a priority, but it should have been.

9. Tackle home projects – we’ve got a move coming up and need to do some updates that are long overdue. I’ve been waiting on my husband to do a few things and well, I’m tired of waiting. I’ve added “call the handyman” to my to do list and am scheduling my brother-in-law to come over and get them done.

10. Get up earlier – this is going to be my biggest challenge. I don’t sleep well, so I don’t like getting up earlier than necessary. (I’m working on a bedtime routine for myself too.) My daughter is and always has been a good sleeper, which I’m so thankful for, but then I don’t have her waking me up or requiring me to get up any earlier than I really need to. But, since our nights are so busy, I need to make time in the morning for some little things – drink my coffee, empty the dishwasher, pack lunches, workout…If I’m really ambitious, I’ll work towards getting ready before my husband and daughter are up but I don’t see me getting up at 5:30 am anytime soon.

We hope your year is off to a great start! We’d love to hear your goals, comment below or on our instagram post!

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Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays just around the corner we are sharing some of our favorites with you and giving hints for Santa!

Wen’s Picks

I’m trying to be somewhat of a minimalist and since we try to follow the something to read, wear, need and want with stocking stuffers for my little, I figured I should ask Santa for the same.

Something to Read 📚

So this is a bit of a *read* stretch, but I will read it everyday. Every year under the tree I look forward to a new planner to start the new year fresh. As a busy working mom, a planner is a must for me. I’m a big fan of Erin Condren Life Planners and have already ordered my 2018. {Use the link and you’ll receive $20 off your first purchase!}

ECLP

Something to Wear 🧘🏼‍♀️

I’m eyeing the On The Fly Pant from Lululemon. Stretchy waistband, pockets, versatile to be worn on the go, to workout, or casual day at work.

lulu
&am

hi
d 👟

I’m in need of some new sneakers to wear to and from and have asked Santa for these. I love that they’re not a solid color.

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Something I Want 😴

This shirt really is me. I love to sleep {took a nap yesterday} and I love to be comfortable. Tees and sweatpants are my jam. {I love graphic tees right now}

iconStocking Stuffer 🛁

I don’ t take baths often, but when I do, I want it to feel like I’m at a spa. Music, candles, and bath bombs. This will be a perfect stocking stuffer.

iconNaughty, Nice, Whatever, I hope Santa is good to you! icon

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cheers-w

Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays just around the corner we are sharing some of our favorites with you and giving hints for Santa!

Jen’s Picks

I am always looking for cute boots. I HAVE to have my feet warm at all times. I recently picked up a super cute pair of Sperry’s that are perfect for running errands or rain and snow. My exact ones are sold out but similar ones here

sperry boots

I am really picky about scents and a lot of them give me headaches but one of my all time favorites has to be Amazing Grace by Philosophy. It is clean and fresh and lasts all day long. I wouldn’t mind this set under the tree Christmas morning.

amazing grace

 

What girl couldn’t use a little jewelry this holiday season? I have been eyeing these cute pieces from Kendra Scott. I wouldn’t mind this bracelet or this necklace (or if Santa is reading, maybe both 😉 ).

 

I have been wanting my own tablet for awhile now but I wasn’t willing to splurge on an iPad. I really wanted it for reading and movies etc while traveling. Given that I have an Amazon addiction and my kids have the Amazon Fire Kids tablets and I really like them I decided that Santa is bringing me a new Amazon Fire 10. Santa got a great deal during Black Friday but knowing Amazon I am sure another great deal will be just around the corner!

amazon fire

 

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MyBAB Local Spots for Coffee Dates

There’s something about coffee shops that are so inviting – the smell, the ambiance, the coffee itself – they’re great spots for coffee dates whether it’s with a girl friend or your spouse.

McHenry County has some charming local coffee shops that we wanted to share our top five places to grab a cup of java over good conversation.

Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters ~ Crystal Lake

“Thoughtfully sourced coffee grown by farmers committed to quality, sustainability and community” is a big part of what we love about Conscious Cup. The cafe is spacious, you’ll see people working over coffee or sitting in a comfy chair catching up with a friend. {Bonus: the drive-thru window for when you’re on the go but need to refuel}

Grounds Coffee Bar ~ Crystal Lake 

Also located in downtown Crystal Lake, at the train tracks and connected to Reclaimed {love to browse in there!} you’ll find a quaint coffee bar with Wen’s husband’s favorite cold brew. Serving up oatmeal and breakfast sandwiches this coffee shop is a commuters favorite.

Taste of Benedicts ~ Crystal Lake

Located in downtown Crystal Lake, and a compliment to Benedict’s La Strata {a brunch favorite!} it’s the perfect spot to meet before shopping or after Pilates. Aside from coffee you can also pick up a bite to eat {pastries, sandwiches & salads} before heading into the office.

Daily Projects Coffee Bar & Eatery ~ Algonquin

If you haven’t stopped into Daily Projects yet, make a point to soon! They use a semi-automatic espresso machine and high end grinders that shows in the taste of the coffee. Also available is loose leaf tea, smoothies, and delicious sandwiches. Open late and off Randall Rd, makes this a perfect spot for a night cap to end a date.

Ethereal Confections ~ Woodstock 

Coffee and chocolates! Situated on the historic Woodstock Square and allergy, gluten-free, and vegan friendly, you’ll find something you love while you warm up. Ethereal Confections has events such as beer and chocolates or wine and chocolates that are perfect for a date night!

Photo Credits: Facebook or Website from the business.

BTS Series: Get In Style With Gymboree

**This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link we may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. We really appreciate your support!

We can’t believe we’re already talking about back to school – didn’t Summer just start? We’re not ready for Summer to end quite yet, but kindergarten is right around the corner for two of our littles! It’s an exciting time, but we’re fully expecting some tears — from us, not the kids — on that first day. Since this is a big year, we have some #KidGoals for our littles – be brave, have fun, and meet new friends, while the #MomGoals are to not cry {much}and only follow the school bus once {or twice}.
As we approach the end of July, school supplies and new shoes have been purchased, next up are clothes. The back to school clothing sales are beginning and over the next few weeks we’re going be posting our favorite looks from a few of our go-to brands.

Gymboree has been a staple in our wardrobes and this year we expect to have a few items in rotation. Trendy, age-appropriate, and affordable are what we love about this line.

The space loving, future astronaut picked the Galaxy tee with the Super Skinny Moto pants and the Twofer dress with the shooting star. Getting her in a dress these days requires fun prints and bribes.

Cool and comfy is all we need and we’re in love with these Cargo Joggers. Since they have a real drawstring, they’re adjustable and we know they’ll fit. Paired with a Cool Monster tee and we’re set for the first day.

You can find shoes, backpacks, and several Gymboree pieces can be mixed and matched to maximize the littles looks and make getting ready in the morning a flash. #KidGoals #MomGoals

What are some of your favorite looks from Gymboree for Back to School? Do you have any #KidGoals for this school year? We’d love to hear yours!

Happy Shopping!

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

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Ok ladies, I know that some of you are still recovering from Amazon Prime Day but today is what we prep for all year! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!! Cardholders have access beginning today. Non cardholders the sale starts on July 20th but most of the must have items sell out fast so being a cardholder definitely has its advantages.

A few notes:

  • You can view the entire sale here.
  • One of the best things about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is that the products are all new arrivals for fall.
  • Remember Nordstrom offers free shipping and returns, so you may want to order two different sizes or two different colors. Return what you don’t want.
  • We’ll be sharing a few posts over the next few weeks on the #NSale, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Jen’s Picks

This sale is a great time to stock up on items for fall. I know, it is humid and hot and JULY but trust me when I say that these deals are great on items come fall and winter!

  • Free People Sweater: I am always looking for comfy and warm clothes. Living in Chicago I can wear a sweater for at least six months. This one looks cozy and put together.                                                          nsale1
  • Halogen V-Neck Tunic: With fall  being the official season of leggings I am always looking for shirts that I can wear with leggings. This shirt is a nice staple to have in your wardrobe.                                                   nsale2
  • Bobeau Ruffle Neck Babydoll: Ok, so this is my attempt to branch out a bit. I think this top will work really well in the fall and I can wear it to work and out for date night. Plus, the cold shoulder is totally on trend. nsale3
  • Caslon Space Dye Tunic: So clearly I have a theme: comfy. But when you work from home 4 days a week it becomes essential. I always want to look put together but at the same time be able to feel relaxed at home. And bonus, I can wear with leggings.nsale4
  • Zella Hatha Leggings: See, I have a problem….but I do need another pair of leggings. These ones look so cute.                         nsale5
  • Betsy Johnson Forever Perfect Tshirt Bra: I had to go to Nordstrom a few weeks ago for a new strapless bra and while I was getting fitted the sales lady had me try on this bra and it was comfy. She let me know it was going to be on sale during the anniversary sale so here it is. nsale6
  • Under Armour WarmUp Pants: My son is 5 and he only wears comfortable clothes (gets it from his Mama!) and Under Armour is the hot brand that him and all of his friends want to wear. These will be perfect for him when he starts Kindergarten this fall.                                  nsale7
  • The North Face Glacier Fleece: My 3 year old daughter wants to be warm and could care less about being cute or girly. She wants to match her brother. This jacket would be perfect for the fall and spring. nsale8
  • Vineyard Vines Quarter Zip: To not forget my husband, here is a cute half zip that he could take from work to the weekend. nsale9

Wen’s Picks

Welcome to Christmas in July where it’s more than appropriate to treat yourself! I needed some basics, but threw in a few wants and added an outfit for the little and the husband.

  • Lush White Tee: My *mom* uniform is jeans and a white tee. I love the slits and at $15, it’s a steal!

lush white tee

  • Ruffle Sleeve T-Shirt Dress: This jersey dress is $30 and darling! It’s simple, but the sleeves dress it up a bit. The shape is flattering and the material is so soft. Pair with leggings as the weather cools down. ruffle sleeve t-shirt dress
  • Lace Top: I’ve been wanting a lace top to pair with jeans for a night out, so I snagged this one in ivory.
    lace top
  • Pocket Tee: This is a must have and I think it will be a sell out. It’s super soft and perfect for layering. Comes in six colors, I love the stripes.

pocket tee

  • Ripped Jeans: Since I wear jeans a lot and can wear them to work on Fridays, I need a new pair of *non-work* jeans. Pair with the new white tee or the striped tee and I’m set for soccer mommin’ it!
    jeans
  • Zella Sweatshirt: Cozy and comfy as I run around town, to and from pilates, and chauffeuring the little to activities. zella
  • Reversible Long Sleeve T-Shirt: My husband likes the Original Penguin brand and could use a new long sleeve tee or two for after work and weekend wear.
    long sleeve tee
    One of my favorite things to do is shop for my little {her closet is way better than mine!}. I’m excited for her to start kindergarten and for us to start some back to school traditions — including back to school shopping!
  • Ripped Jeans: To match her mama!
    A jeans
  • Rainbow Sweater: We picked this sweater for the design and it looks soft. rainbow

Whew, that was fun! This is just a snippet of the sale, there are so many great items! Happy Shopping!

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