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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Katie's Closet ~ April Edition

Here's a recap of my outfits from this month. Click on fashion to see more outfit ideas!
 
 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Taylor's Closet

baby girl rompers

baby girl rompers by allthingskatiemarie on Polyvore

Things I love- ROMPERS! These look so cute on babies with their chunky little legs! Makes me squeal with delight! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

The word casserole used to totally freak me out.  Just the sound of it reminds me of something my grandma would bring to an Easter brunch. Now, I'm totally obsessed. This loaded baked potato casserole is delicious! I love just throwing everything in one pan and baking it. SO easy! Thanks rachelschultz.com for this great recipe!


Ingredients
  • 4 russet potatoes, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 cup bacon, crumbled
  • 1 and ½ cups cheddar
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, sliced
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place potatoes in a 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Stir to coat potatoes. Mix in bacon, raw chicken, and cheddar.
  3. Lay butter slices over casserole. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.
  5. Top with green onion.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Katie's Closet

Pants: Forever 21
Cardigan: TJ Maxx
Shirt: Kohls
Shoes: Steve Madden

Friday, April 25, 2014

Reader Q & A ~ Balancing Life


Hi Katie
I LOVE your blog. Since I admire your organization as a new mom (who works and teaches like me!) I would love to hear how you balance things over the course of the week. I feel like I leave so much until Sunday afternoon! This means lesson plans, kids clothes and laundry, etc. How do you balance it all? Thanks!
~Nicole

Hi Nicole,
    I wish I had the perfect answer for you, but all I can say is that I just try my best. When we decided to start a family, I knew I was about to board a one way ticket on the crazy train. Whenever I feel like complaining or am totally stressed and overwhelmed, I remind myself that this is what I signed up for and this is what I so badly wanted. So here I am, living this crazy, beautiful life!
   Being a mom isn’t easy. Period. Add the stress of work, household chores, and day-to-day activities and you quickly realize there’s not enough time in the day to do it all. Honestly, no one can do it all and no one should expect to do it all. The only way I keep sane is by surrounding myself with a great support system and keeping as organized as possible.
   I’ve read that the key to staying happy is to throw away “to-do” lists. Well, I believe it’s just the opposite! As much as I would like to simply remember everything that I need to do at work and at home, my brain just doesn’t function that way. My first tip would be to get organized and create a “to-do” list. You can break it down by daily tasks, weekly tasks, or long term goals.  I love this FREE printable and use it to organize myself at work and home. Don’t stress out if you don’t complete everything on it. It will get done at some point!
     My second tip is to ask for help. I really struggled with this at first. Being a total perfectionist, I want to do everything myself because I know it will get done the right way.  I finally realized that I needed to ask for help and get over myself. Who cares if it’s not done my way…it’s done!  I was starting to resent my husband for not helping out as much as I would like. Then I realized that he’s a man, and can’t read my mind. If I don’t tell him what I need, then it won’t get done. Once I finally asked him for help, he gladly accepted the simple tasks and life has been much easier. I can’t expect him to do the dishes or vacuum if I don’t ASK!
         A few other things I’ve come to realize that are necessary in my life are a housecleaner, family support, and help at work. When we bought our house a few years ago, our real estate agent told me that a housecleaner should be the first thing in a budget and the last thing out. Ha! Well, she was right and I couldn’t be happier about having some extra help around the house. I know this isn’t feasible for everyone, but if you cut back on Starbucks, eating out, or other unnecessary purchases, you might discover that having a housecleaner isn’t an outlandish concept.
      I’m also fortunate enough to have my entire family living within five minutes of my house. It’s pretty amazing and has been such a lifesaver. Just last weekend our daughter spent six hours at my parent’s house so my husband and I could do extensive yard work and deep cleaning around the house.  There are many times I’ve dropped her off with family so I can have a few hours to be insanely productive and work on slashing tasks off of my “to-do” list.
     At work, staying organized is absolutely essential! Again, I have a “to-do” list with meetings, lesson plan prep, copies, etc. that needs to get done. Teaching special education, I’m fortunate enough to have a classroom aide who does all of my copies, helps run stations, and allows me to get so many things done! My students also have classroom jobs, which gives them a sense of responsibility and pride within the classroom. Don’t waste your time after school erasing the white board, filing papers, cleaning up, etc. Those are all tasks that I have my students do. It’s mutually beneficial and makes everyone happy!
      In regards to time management, simple things like planning meals, prepping frozen meals, assigning tasks to your spouse, etc. can make a big difference. At the end of every day, I make sure to wash bottles, load the dishwasher, make lunches, and pack my bag for the next day. I plan my outfits for the week every Sunday, lay out my workout clothes the night before, and get everything ready for the next day. I also wake up about fifteen minutes earlier than necessary so I can do simple tasks, like unload the dishwasher or fold some laundry before my daughter wakes up and I have to go to work.
   To sum it up:
·      Make a “to-do” list
      Keep track of exactly what you want vs. what you need to accomplish
·      Ask for help
      Surround yourself with a good support system and don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.
·      Prepare in advance when possible
      Plan dinners, make lunches, layout clothes, etc. as best you can.
·      Prioritize your time
      Don’t get so consumed in your “to-do” list than you neglect your life! Be present with your family and friends and carve out some time for yourself.



How do you balance your life? Is there truly a way to "do it all?" Feel free to add some great suggestions and leave your thoughts!  

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday ~ Baseball Wreath

Baseball Wreath

I decided it was time to get into the baseball spirit! I was as a charity event last December and saw a wreath like this being auctioned off for...(brace yourself!)...$150! I know. I know....but it's for charity! Whatever! Instead of forking over the money and tax write off, I decided I could definitely make it myself! Thanks to a little lot of help from my husband, I made this adorable wreath for free using supplies around my house and in just 20 minutes!

Supplies needed:
- wire hanger
-14 baseballs
-drill
-ribbon of choice (I used burlap)



Step 1: Beg your wonderful husband to drill holes in the baseballs. Or, do it yourself. Personally, I didn't want to drill off my hand.
Drill pro and hand model extraordinaire, Brandon!

Easy!
Step 2: Straighten out hanger and thread baseball onto wire.
Step 3: Tighten ends of wire together using pliers.
Step: Add bow of choice and admire your neighbors envy!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Katie's Closet

Shirt: Kohls
Jeans: Citizens of Humanity
Shoes: Target
Necklace: Local Boutique 
 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Taylor's Closet



Oooooohhhh mmmmmmyyyyyyy goodnessssssss!!! I'm so so so in love with these "bibdanas" for babies! Instead of the old school round bibs, some genius person designed these bibs that look like scarves! SO cute and fashionable! Perfect for your teething, drooling baby (oh the joys!) Here's my little bundle of joy in a cute bibdana from Etsy.

Here are some other great bibdanas:

CHEVRON Infant Infinity Scarves 
Purchase here 

 
Purchase here 

 
Purchase here

Monday, April 21, 2014

Month Four Favorites

month four favorites

month four favorites by allthingskatiemarie on Polyvore


Here are my favorites items from this past month.

1. Fisher Price Sit-me-up floor seat- Another great invention for helping babies sit up when they're not quite there yet. I love the hanging toys and ability to take off the cover and wash it.
2. Take Along Toy Bar- This is the best car toy ever! I hate the toys that hang from the car handle because they're always in the way when I'm trying to get Taylor in and out of the carseat. This toy bar is awesome because it's so easy to move up and down along the handle and she loves playing with it! Just the perfect size for the carseat!  
3. Bottle Drying Rack- After accidentally melting my old bottle drying rack in the dishwasher, I was forced to buy a new one. I love this drying rack because it's modern and small, which helps save counter space. 
4. Water tummy time mat- This mat is so cute and fun! It's filled with a little bit of water and is super fun during tummy time. 
5. Hooded towels- This are so cute and make bath time so much more fun! I wish I had one in my size! 
6. Kolcraft light weight stroller- I have a jogging stroller, but I wanted something I could take out and about that was light weight, compact, and folded up easily. This stroller is great and only weighs 11 lbs! It can be folded up with one hand and has a great sun shade. It's perfect for outings and traveling.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Katie's Closet

Dress: Old Navy
Blazer: Catch Bliss Boutique
Belt: Local Boutique
Shoes: Calvin Klein

Friday, April 18, 2014

Guest Blogger ~ Chambray Trend

Hey there, ATKM readers! My name is Steph and I am a Physician Assistant student! I will be graduating in June, but for the past year, I have been chronicling my daily outfits over at White Coat Wardrobe. I am living on a grad student-sized budget, but have big, bold style and a passion for professional fashion. In the medical world, bright colors and pattern mixing are often unexpected wardrobe choices. I believe that you can be modest and professional without compromising personal style! Today, I am sharing with you one of my FAVORITE fashion trends: chambray!

1. WORK

Dress (similar) | Shirt (similar) | Belt (similar) | Necklace (20% off with code SCODE20)
 Wedges | Leopard Bracelet | Monogram Bracelet | Spike Bracelet

For work, I tend to grab my chambray dress and layer it with a bright or bold button down, slip into some polished wedges, and pile on some fun accessories. My other favorite work pairing is a darker wash chambray shirt, paired with a pencil skirt or pixie pant and a statement necklace or scarf. Does your work environment/dress code allow for chambray to be worn? How do you wear chambray to work?

2. DATE NIGHT

Shirt | Skirt (similarsequinedsplurge) | Shoes (similar) | Earrings (similarsimilar)
Watch | Monogram Bracelet | Twist Bracelet (similar) | Nails

My weeks are filled with charting, busy clinic days, quizzes, and studying for boards. When the weekend comes, I love to put by work aside and enjoy a date night with my fiance, Adam! I use this time as an excuse to curl my hair, put on some statement earrings, and enjoy the time off. For this date night look, I paired my favorite faded chambray shirt with a neon skirt and a petal pink cheek for a soft, romantic feel. A simple "arm party" and metallic flats allow the skirt and earrings to take the spotlight!

3. WEEKEND

Shirt | Tee | Leggings (similar) | Scarf c/o Echo Design (similaroptionoption)
Shoes (similarsimilar) | Bracelets c/o Jane (similar) | Earrings | Bag (similar)

Ahh, the weekend! It's my time to catch up on the "to do's" that I don't complete during the week! For a trip to the grocery and bank, I choose comfy but polished layers like these! Ladies, if you do not own a pair of thick, ponte leggings, do yourself a favor and GET SOME! I am a huge fan of the comfort level and basic palette that leggings provide for an outfit, but they look a lot nicer when the fabric is opaque! ;) In addition, the heavier weight tends to contour and shape more than a simple cotton spandex blend will do. READ: Shapewear that looks like clothing! I'll throw my chambray shirt over a tunic-length tee, add a bright scarf and fun shoes, and I'm ready to roll.

Thanks to Katie for having me today! I hope that you will stop by White Coat Wardrobe and say hello! For my daily outfits, find me on Instagram, and get more behind the scenes peeks at my life on Bloglovin', Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday ~ Vacation on a Budget


With summer fast approaching, it’s time to start planning trips and activities! Here are some great ideas for planning and finding trips on a budget.

·         *Check out website like Groupon and Living Social. There are many hotel, flight, and activity discounts for children and adults.
·         *Always be on the lookout. Check out silent auctions and fundraiser events throughout the year and bid on great vacations for a fraction of the cost.
·         *Find last minute deals on travel websites such as Travel Zoo, Expedia,  Orbitz, etc.
·         *Trade with a friend! If a friend has a timeshare and you have a family cabin, switch it up!
·         *Have a birthday during summer? Celebrate your special day with discounts! Many theme parks offer discounts and many restaurants will give you a free meal!
·         *Check for coupons on cereal boxes, soda cans, and at fast food restaurants.
·         *Cut food costs by checking out restaurants.com for local restaurants. You can buy $25 gift cards for $2!  
·         *Many local attractions (fair, boardwalk, etc.) will offer discounts for bringing in recyclables or canned goods.
·         *Check out large chain stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. They have discounted movie tickets, local restaurant gift certificates, and vacation packages at a reduced price.
·         *Take advantage of AAA, ARP, and credit card rewards and discounts.
·         *Do your research! Print coupons online, look at forms for special promotions and discounts, and call theme parks and hotels for unknown discounts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Katie's Closet

Shirt: Old Navy
Skirt: TJMaxx
Shoes: Calvin Klein
Pearl Necklace: Kohls
Monogram Necklace: Bauble Bar
Watch: Michael Kors

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chalkboard Tracker ~ 4 Months


Our happy little girl is 4 months old today! I just love this nugget to pieces!

Taylor's Closet

baby girl swim suits

baby girl swim suits by allthingskatiemarie on Polyvore

I'm madly in love with baby swimsuits! They are just so cute and tiny! I can't wait for summer fun in the sun with my little nugget in some fabulous suits!! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake

Looking for something new to try? This amazing recipe from Inspire Dreamer is so yummy and easy! It's so full of flavor and great for big groups.


Ingredients
  • 10 ounces dry pasta (I used a combination of rotini, farfalle and penne. Any similar size would work.)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces chive and onion cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup whole milk, heavy cream or half-and-half (I used half-and-half)
  • 1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (cubed or shredded)
  • 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, cut into large chunks (I used grape tomatoes sliced in half)
  • Fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Coat a medium casserole dish with non-stick spray. (Mine was a 10" round, but a 9 x 13 would work fine.)
  3. Cook pasta in salted, boiling water to al dente. Drain and set aside.
  4. While pasta is cooking, heat butter in a medium saute pan set to medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes to slightly soften veggies. Do not brown.
  5. Add in cream cheese and stir to melt. Reduce heat to low. Stir in sour cream, milk, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir until everything is well-combined and melted. Turn off heat.
  6. Combine the pasta, chicken, spinach and tomatoes in a large bowl.
  7. Add in the sauce and gently stir to coat.
  8. Pour into the prepared baking dish. (I drizzled in a little more half-and-half over the mixture once it was in the baking dish because it looked a little dry to me.)
  9. Top with the remaining mozzarella.
  10. Bake uncovered for about 20 -25 minutes ... or until casserole is bubbly and beginning to brown. Top with basil or parsley for garnish.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Katie's Closet

Shirt: Forever 21
Jeans: Target
Scarf: Old Navy
Shoes: Target 

Friday, April 11, 2014

DIY Baby Bling Hanger

I thought I would save myself some time by setting out Taylor's outfits each night so that I wouldn't have to decide what she should wear in the mornings before work. Then I got the genius idea to create some blinged out baby hangers to adorn her wall. I know what you're thinking...She has too much time on her hands! When it comes to crafts, I make time!
Yep! That just happened! I wish every single hanger in my closet looked like this! So fabulous!!!

This project was super cheap and took me no time at all!
Here's what you need:
-wooden baby hangers
-spray paint
-bling on a roll (purchased at Michael's crafts)
- bows

First, spray paint the hangers. I placed a plastic bag on the silver parts of the hanger to keep it from getting painted.
Next, add bling on a roll. Yes, seriously. That's what it's called! Lastly, add the bow and you're done!

Here's the finished product on the wall! Love it!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday ~ Protein Shake

Chocolate Banana Protein Shake

This protein shake has only 4 ingredients and takes about a minute to make. It's a delicious drink packed with tons of protein and vitamins! Enjoy after a hard workout, or just as a yummy snack!
Ingredients:
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
2 bananas
1 cup almond milk
ice to liking

Blend together and enjoy!