Seraphina : 5 months old

This is the first update I’ve done on Seraphina since I blogged her birth story. What can I say? Time got away from me. And also I have 3 kids now so…yeah.

Sera is everyone’s favorite these days. We all compete for her attention when she is awake. She is happy, sweet and just adds so much love to our family.

sera 2

size: She weighs 18 lbs and is 26 inches long. She is in the 90th percentile for her age. She’s wearing a size 4 diaper. Yes a 4! She could probably still fit a 3 but I got tired of cleaning poop explosions out of her clothes so I moved up to a 4. She wears size 9 month clothes and I have no idea what size shoe because she never wears them. #thirdbabyprobs

sera 1

eating: Still 100% breastfed. I own a really great pump that I got from my insurance back in September. It’s just sitting there unopened. I know that’s a great problem to have though. You won’t find me complaining. After struggling with Alina to nurse after 3 months and having to pump. I don’t mind it sitting unused at all.

She nurses on demand. Honestly I don’t keep up with it. I think it’s about every 3-4 hours a day. At night she nurses even more frequently. Sometimes every 2 hours. It’s a work in progress.

She’s had a taste of avacado ,banana and apple. Just a spoonful or two. She wasn’t overly interested after that so I’m going to hold off a few more weeks.

sera 4

sleeping: She naps 3-4 times a day in the swing. I don’t know what I would do without our swing. Right now it’s the only place she will nap. At night she sleeps in the rock and play beside our bed but will only sleep 2-3 hour stretches in that. Sometimes I pull her into bed with me and of course she will sleep longer stretches there but pretty soon I am going to move her to the crib. All of my kids do this until about 6 months and then they’re golden. It’s coming little missy.

sera 5

movement: She finally rolled over! Now she’s rolling all over the place. She likes to play in her new exersaucer or sit in her little chair with some toys.

sera 6

likes: Mama and Emma are probably her favorites right now. Emma can get her to laugh better than anyone and she pouts when she walks away. It is the cutest thing. She loves to be held, loves to ride in the Ergo and just basically like to have your attention.

dislikes: um..sleeping….being left alone. Oh and pacis! Never had a baby that will not take one.

sera 3

I love this age. Still a baby, still likes to be cuddled before the independence sets in. Can’t wait to see what the next months hold.

Easy tater tot casserole

Let’s be clear. I am not a food blogger. I take all of my pictures with my iPhone and own approximately 1 casserole dish. When we moved I had to pare down my dishes, pots and pans to only the necessities. It’s been kind of nice. I’ve learned I can cook almost anything with just a few tools. That being said, you will notice that I do have a “recipes” tab up there at the top of my blog. I added it there when I first started this blog in hopes that I would fill it to overflowing with a plethora of original recipes……

Yeah. That didn’t happen.

Here’s my cooking style. I browse Pinterest, pinning recipes I think we would like to try. When I sit down to meal plan, I choose from this board. Then once I’ve tried a recipe and we like it, I move it to this board. That way I have all of my favorites in the same place. See. Easy.

Today I want to share one of our very favorites. The warm cheesy deliciousness that is Tater Tot Casserole. You know how you always have that old standby recipe..something like spaghetti..that you can count on? Well, this is mine. I have made this 100 times over the years and tweaked it until I have it just the way we like it.

Keep reading for the recipe and directions complete with pics!

tater tot casserole

What you need:

-1 lb of ground beef 

-1 can of corn 

-1/2 cup of sour cream

-1 can cream of mushroom soup 

-salt to taste

-pepper to taste

-1 tsp garlic powder

-1/2 tsp onion powder 

-3/4 cup shredded cheese of choice

-1/2 bag of tater rounds {Ore Ida Crispy Rounds are the best!}

tater tot casserole

Directions:

1//Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8×8 dish with cooking spray.

2//Brown your beef, seasoning with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder as you go. Break it up into small pieces until well done. I drain mine. You don’t have to.

tater tot casserole

3// Turn off the heat then add the sour cream, soup, corn and mix well.

tater tot casserole

4// Pour the mixture into your waiting dish.

tater tot casserole

5// Top with shredded cheese. This step is crucial to making a good tater tot casserole. I used to put the cheese on top of the tater tots and I never liked it that way. Until one day….duh… I put the cheese UNDER the tater tots. It makes a world of difference. We like ALOT of cheese ..mmm.

tater tot casserole

6//Add the tater tots on the top. Now. Listen .We used to use just any ol’ offbrand tater tots until I made a startling discovery. The Ore Ida cripsy crowns are sooo much better than any other ones. No this is not a sponsored post. I promise you. It makes the difference. Crispy Crowns are rounder and flatter than a tator tot. They are just so much better on this casserole. Try it.

tater tot casserole

7//Bake for 40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle a little salt on the top if you like.

tater tot casserole

Dish it up while it’s hot and enjoy.

If you want to kick it up a notch squirt some ketchup or mustard on top and add some dill pickles to the side. Basically treat it like a cheeseburger. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. My girls really like this one. It’s very kid friendly.

tater tot casserole

I hope you love it. Let me know if you try it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Our trip to Mt. Whitney

Back in January when we drove across the country ,one of the highlights of our trip was taking scenic Hwy 395 up southern, middle and northern California. It was amazing. There really aren’t enough words. Amazing doesn’t do it justice but I’m probably going to use it 1,000 times in this post.

lone pine ca

We had planned to stop in Lone Pine, Ca. to see Mt. Whitney. Of course we had no idea what the town would be like, we just wanted to see the mountain. Lone Pine is quite possibly the smallest town I have ever been to…and I went to high school in a town with 1 stoplight. We drove through the town before we realized we were there. Literally, we had to turn around and go back. It was a blink and you miss Main Street town. I loved it. Absolutely loved it.

lone pine ca

(source)

It turns out that Lone Pine, Ca. and the nearby Alabama Hills are the shooting locations for over 400 movies. Famous movies. Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid, Iron Man, Gladiator, Star Wars Generations, Tremors, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen to name a few. We were blown away by this information. There is a small Movie History Museum in the town where you can take a self guided tour and learn all about them. We didn’t take the tour, we didn’t think our girls would be as thrilled as we were. We did stop at the visitors center which was just..so cool. It had maps of the surrounding mountains, a gift shop and really nice restrooms …which..is very important when you have 3 kids on a road trip.

Then we went to the Mountain. Oh Mt. Whitney.

We made the drive about 25 minutes up the road twice during our stop as close as we could get to Mt. Whitney. Yes twice. We went once, got out, took pictures, drove back to town to eat lunch …then drove all the way back out to that mountain again. It was just that amazing and worth going twice.

Mt Whitney

mt. whitney

mt. whitney

These are some of my favorite pictures of all time. One day when we buy our forever home I am going to have all of these printed on canvas for a gallery wall.

It was quite chilly the closer you drove to the mountain, so baby Sera stayed in the van to stay warm. It was very rural with only 1-2 cars passing us while we parked on the side of the road and got out. Because of that we felt safe letting the girls get out and explore. …And by explore I mean sit in the middle of the road for pictures.

mt. Whitney

Mt. whitney

It was a spiritual experience. You can’t see scenery like this and not be moved by the Creator of it all. We honestly talked about what it would take to move there, going as far as looking up real estate. Then we came to our senses and realized we were 100’s of miles from a Starbucks or even a hospital for Jon to work at. But it was a nice little dream bubble while it lasted.

whitney 6

We will be back for you Lone Pine and Mt. Whitney. I think we left a piece of our hearts there.

Mom Confessional+Win a $25 Visa card!

Hey Hey Hey, it’s Tuesday! I’m linking up with Karli over at September Farm for 10 on Tuesday!

I’m giving away a $25 Visa gift card at the end of this post so stick around.

I’m just feeling the need to be brutally honest today. A confessional of sorts. I think I’ve seen one too many crispy coordinated Instagram posts lately so I need to even the playing field some. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pretty, staged pic just as much as the next gal but 99% of the time, that is not my life. So here goes.

1//My living room looks like the aftermath of a toy explosion the majority of the time and it doesn’t bother me. I clean it up every other day or so. Meh.

2//I don’t vacuum. My husband does.

3//My kids watch tv…alot. Like you would probably mom judge me if you knew how much.

4//I wash my hair maybe twice a week.

5//Sometimes I put my kids to bed early because I.just.can’t.

6//I did not do Easter baskets this year…no egg hunts either, no pictures with scary bunnies or anything. I’m surprisingly ok with it.

7//Some days I think we could be done having kids….other days I want 4 more.

8//My husband and I both feel guilty for making them leave the majority of their toys 2,700 miles away when we moved…so sometimes they get a new toy like every week. Hence the toy explosion problem.

9//I don’t bathe them every night. nope.

10// My taste in food is like that of a teenage boy. Pizza? yep. Sweets? yep. Soda? yep. I have to make myself eat veggies. Except salad…I like salad.

So now that I’ve aired my laundry, it’s your turn.

TO ENTER:

1) Watch this video below because it is spot on. I can so relate to this mom…we’ve all been there!

2.) Leave me a comment telling me a confession, a mom-moment (good or bad) or a mom-dream. Anything that we moms can relate to and say “Hey I’ve been there sister!”

I’ll randomly choose someone to win a $25 Visa gift card. (US Residents only) GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Learn more about #AMomCanDream and #SickJustGotReal by visiting their facebook and website.

**The video and gift card have been provided by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. All thoughts and reviews are my own.”

Gift ideas for a 2 year old girl

I made a very similar post to this one here . In fact it’s titled the exact same thing and is one of the most pinned posts on this blog. However, that post is over 2 years old and was made with a different 2 year old girl in mind. Now that I have lived through having a second 2 year old girl I thought a new list was in order. One with newer, fresher suggestions. I mean, at this point I’m basically an expert on what a 2 year old girl would want.

All these are linked below.

  gift ideas for 2 year old girl

1//First Words Book.  A very cool book if you have a little one that loves pointing and naming things. There are so many pretty object/animal/word illustrations in this book. They could spend hours looking at it..or you know… 15 minutes since that’s about their attention span. Here’s a post with more book suggestions.

2//Minnie Mouse Grocery Cart. Or as we Southerners call it, a “grocery buggy”.  To push around play food, stuffed animals and the random knickknacks that 2 year olds like to collect.

3//Cool plates.  I know it isn’t the most exciting gift but these plates are the most durable, picture friendly plates you will find (you know..for those lunchtime IG snaps) . We own lots.

4//Play food. For the girl who loves to cook. This is a great set with durable pieces. My girl loves the bread slices, mac and cheese and cereal bowl the best.

5// Little Bookbag. I love these book bags. They are small but not too small. Perfect for carrying on a road trip or just to the store with your little one. This same brand can be bought on Etsy too. We had ours embroidered with her name and that was the icing on the cake.

6//Play Kitchen.  I should have listed this before the grocery cart and play food. It would have made more sense. Every little girl needs a kitchen and this is a great one. It has 4 parts that open and close (oven, microwave, cabinet, fridge). It has a sink, a burner, a phone, a towel bar and the best part…a coffee pot. This is the most played with thing in our house.

7//Panties. Because it would be nice to think they will use them soon and they’ll be thrilled with the characters on them.

That’s all I have today! What are some things you think a 2 year old girl would love? Let me know in the comments.

Click here to read Gift Ideas for a 2 year old boy!

Lately

Happy April!

I haven’t done a Lately post since before Seraphina was born so I thought it was time for one. Today I’m linking up with Oh Hey Friday, 5 on Friday and Friday Favorites. I love these linkups and it’s an easy way to find more bloggy friends so check them out.

California

1//California. For years we talked about stepping out and doing something adventurous. Jonathan would always say the line from The Lord of the Rings when old Bilbo is talking to Gandalf “I want to see mountains again. Mountains Gandalf! “. It was our way of saying we wanted adventure, we wanted to see sights and do spontaneous things. We wanted more than what we were doing. Most days I can’t believe that we actually did it. That we picked up our lives and moved 2, 700 miles away from home. It has been 90% wonderful and amazing. I’m kind of falling in love with California. I love the weather, the amazing views, the fun adventures our family goes on (read here, here and here). The job opportunities have been unbeatable for our line of work and financially the best thing for us. The other 10% is that we do get lonely and miss our family terribly. We’re sad the girls don’t see their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles regularly. We miss home. But for now we are happy here. We can finally dream again.

sera

2// Seraphina. My baby is 5 months old. I have a new post coming soon with all of her updates and stats. But I really can’t believe how quickly the baby stage went by. I knew it was going to be fast but gee whiz. She is my little angel. Sweet and happy all the time. If I could only get her to sleep at night I would clone her and have 10 more. Speaking of sleeping at night. That is my mission in the next few weeks. Get her to sleep so I can finally sleep.  And all the moms that nurse/feed babies all night said Amen. Amen.

la croix water

3//La Croix water.  I don’t know where I’ve been the past…however long these have been around. Usually I hate drinks like this. Fake ones. I love my sweet tea and soda. However, it does not love me. I have been making an effort to eat healthier the past few weeks so I can drop the rest of this baby soda/sweet tea weight. I picked these up on a whim and fell in love. It still has the carbonation that I apparently love and a hint of flavor but not really since there is nothing in them. I drink one at night while I’m blogging or watching shows and it has helped curb the snacking.

daredevil

4//Daredevil. We just finished binge watching all of season 2 this past week. It’s a tad gory for my taste, I just look down during some parts but darn it if we’re not hooked on ol’ Murdock. Thank you Netflix for these awesome Netflix original shows. Here are 10 other shows and movies that we love.

Let it echo

5// I have this album from Jesus Culture playing on repeat. While I wash dishes, when I drive or even while I eat lunch with the girls. It is so so good. It brings a calm atmosphere when it gets chaotic. Try it, you won’t be sorry.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Our trip to Muir Woods National Monument

I mentioned in this post that we had taken a trip to San Francisco and it turned out to be very rainy and foggy, impeding our views of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. However on that trip we were able to make a visit to Muir Woods which is nearby. The woods were magical! It wasn’t raining while we were there and the fog just made the woods seem mystical. I have never seen such TALL trees. There is the greatest boardwalk trail that is stroller friendly! We walked the whole loop. It was well worth the $10 per adult (kids are free). There are plenty of other trails that you could hike if that’s your thing.

Muir Woods

Since my parents were with us we had someone to take our family picture. So nice to not have to take turns posing with the kids.

muir woods 3

muir woods 4

The girls wanted to get out of the stroller immediately of course so my dad ended up pushing the empty stroller. He was a great sport. I loved having them with us.

muir woods 5

muir woods 6 muir woods 7

If you ever get the chance to go you should!

10 hilarious things my kids say

It’s Tuesday again and I’m linking up with Karli over at Sept. Farm.!

I thought to myself, what do I want to blog about self? Obviously it needs to be entertaining and along the lines of something I would normally post on this blog. The answer came to me easily. Without a doubt the most entertaining and amusing thing about my life these days is my girls…and the things they say. Several times a day they make me bust out laughing at the unexpected things that come out of their mouth. Usually it’s a conversation I overhear between the 2 of them or something they say directly to me. I mean…I can’t make this stuff up you guys. So here are 10 of the funniest things they have said lately. Enjoy!

Emerald, Age 3.5 years

Alina, Age 2 years

Seraphina- Age 5 months

things my kids say

1.// Emma watching the rain falling outside. She starts laughing “Mama look at those rain crumbs!”

2//Alina- “Mama can I hold Emma’s brown Kagaroot?”

3//I wrapped Emma’s hair up in a towel after her bath, you know how girls do. Well it fell off after a few seconds and she said “Mama I think my head is too small, maybe we can try again after my head grows up.”

4//Emma crying after an unfortunate mishap with the concrete and a scraped knee –“Mama my eyebrows are so sad”

5//Emma in Target- “Mama hold my hand because I’m about to run away”

6//Emma- “Mama when you were born was daddy holding you?”

7//Alina- “Look it’s a Elodoctor!” (helicopter)

Emma- “No, it’s Elllocopter Lina”

Alina- “oh ELLLodoctor” (with more flair this time)

Emma- “no ELLOcopter…like ELLOvator”

7//Me- “Emma, do you want me to fix your hair?” Her- “No thanks, I want it in my eyes”

8//Me- “Alina do you want a baby doll or care bear for your birthday?”  Her- “ummm….a cheesestick”

9//Me- “Alina did you break that Christmas light?” (she is actually standing with her hand on the light)  Her- “No, Sera broke it.” (Sera is an infant)

10//Emma got in trouble for taking the last strawberry off Alina’s plate. She apologized with her mouth full of chewed up strawberry and I thought that was the end of it. A few minutes later she comes to me and says quietly “Mama, I gave Alina her strawberry back”. 

Me- “The one from your mouth?!”

Emma- “yes”

I look at Alina who is just cheesing over there. “And did you eat it Alina?”

Mmm hmm” she nods, still cheesing.

I freaking love these ages! They keep me cracking up and on my toes!

Happy Tuesday!

Our trip to San Francisco

We live roughly 2 hours from beautiful San Francisco. It was high on our list of places we wanted to visit. I love that it is close enough that a hotel doesn’t have to be involved. Hello day trip! When my parents came to visit we jumped at the chance to have extra hands go with us. That trip was fun and exciting since it was our first time but we were disappointed since it was rainy and foggy and we couldn’t see any of the breathtaking views of the bay.

So we set out to go again 2 weeks later. We made sure the weather was clear this time and we were not disappointed. I totally understand why people love this city! It is beautiful and unique and I just feel refreshed being in it. I wish the cost of living weren’t so high and the traffic so rage inducing or we would be there in a heartbeat. So here are some pics from our special day! I can’t wait to go back, I’m trying to talk Jonathan into a ferry ride so we can explore the pier area.

San Francisco

San Francisco

The way to get up to this viewing area is up a fireman type ladder on a cement structure, it’s hard to explain. We kind of just stood at the bottom of this ladder trying to figure out how to get the kids up there. We wanted to see the views so badly. I know people watching us were thinking “Really now, you’re going to take all 3 kids up that ladder to an area with a cliff and sharp rocks?” We talked over a few options then decided on me going up first and Jonathan handing me the girls one by one, mind you I’m also wearing a baby on my chest. But this option was easier than me being the one to lift them up to him since I was wearing said baby.

San Francisco

San Francisco

That’s what this “life on the road” has been about. Discovering an issue or dilemma and working together to solve it. We have grown so much as a family and as a couple by doing things like this.We are much braver now than we used to be, more willing to try adventurous things with our young family. Pretty much all you need is a bag full of extra clothes, diapers and tons of snacks and you can do anything with kids. In theory at least.

San Francisco

San Francisco

We visited Baker Beach again too. So cool with the Golden Gate Bridge right there looming in the background. We found a picnic table and ate our sandwiches and fruit we brought along.  I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to bring out the bathing suits. We will definitely come back for a day in the sun!

San Francisco

Our last stop was at The Painted Ladies. Otherwise known as the Full House houses. I did not grow up watching Full House but Jonathan did. Still a very cool thing to see. Everyone was tired by this point and the baby had just fallen asleep (I hate to wake a sleeping baby) when we pulled up and miraculously found a parking spot in a prime location. It was another moment of deciding what to do. I made the decision this time and said we’re here let’s do it. We all got out and trecked up the hill to get a good view. I am so glad we did. These are memories we will have in photograph for our girls to have one day.

It was a great trip! We love San Francisco. If you’ve ever been what are some places you went? If we go back we need some suggestions on places to eat and go. Leave me your suggestions in the comments.

5 things that make my life easier

We all have those things in our life that make it so much easier. Whether it be a tangible product that you use or the way you do something (routines, schedules, habit) that make it easier. I’ve thought long and hard and narrowed it down to 5 products that without a doubt make my life so much easier and I could not do without. I truly love these things and I’ll tell you why. Just keep reading.

items that make life easier

1//Crock-pot liners.
I use my crock-pot SO much. (a post with my favorite recipes coming soon!) Maybe that makes me less of a Betty Crocker homemaker but so be it (Is it a coincidence that “crock” is in her name? I think not). My crock-pot it my best friend. She has my back when the 5 o’clock hour chaos rolls around and everyone is starving. The liners make my life so much easier. I truly hate scrubbing my slow cooker, just hate it. All that caked and baked on mess. The liner takes my anxiety down about 3 levels because I know I won’t have to spend my night scrubbing when I could be playing with the fam. I still have to rinse it out after I toss the liner but it’s just a simple rinse, not requiring elbow grease. My only wish is that more came in a box. If you have Amazon prime, it’s more cost-effective to buy them that way in bulk. Try them, you’ll see.

Slow Cooker liners

 2// Baby Video Monitor + 3 cameras. If my sister is reading this she is probably rolling her eyes at me because she knows this is true. Next to me is always my phone and the baby monitor. Let me say it…I DO NOT TRAVEL WITHOUT MY BABY MONITOR! Oddly enough when my oldest was born we didn’t use any sort of monitor for more than a year. We lived in a tiny apartment and didn’t need it. With the addition of more children we started using one. Let me tell you. This thing has saved me from waking up my kids so much. I don’t have to open the door to check on them and risk the outside noise waking them up. I don’t bother them when they sleep and keep the doors closed. With 3 kids there seems to always be someone sleeping in another room. Often in different rooms. Not a problem. I have 3 cameras set up and I put my kids down in their various rooms and grab my monitor and set it to scan. It scans between the 3 cameras unless I set it to stay on 1 camera. I take my monitor on vacation or anywhere I know my kids will need to nap away from me in another room. I take the monitor outside with us when the baby is napping and the girls want to play. I can’t say enough good. It sets my mind at ease and I could not have survived the last 3 years without it. Here’s a link to the one we use. We have purchased extra cameras obviously.

baby video monitor

3//This Lunchbag. Now don’t laugh. I’m serious. My husband has taken a lunch bag to work every shift for as long as I can remember. I know lunch boxes. We’ve been through a variety of them but this one takes the cake and is worth the $20 bucks (which I think is a little much for a lunchbox). Here’s why. He is a float nurse which means he travels to different units throughout the hospital sometimes “floating” every 4 hours during his 12 hour shifts. This makes it difficult for him to keep up with his lunch bag if it’s in a fridge. Also, there is often not room for his lunch in the current staff fridge on whatever floor he is on since he is not part of that floor’s staff. If that makes sense. He’s like an “extra nurse” Trust me, it was a big issue until we bought this bag. It folds up when it’s empty and you stick it in the freezer, the gel lining freezes. Then you put your lunch in it and it keeps it cold for 10 hours! It solved the problem for us immediately. And since it has made his life easier, it has made mine as well. I ordered it from Amazon here.

freezable lunch bag

4//Yeti tumbler. I was gifted this 20 oz Yeti Rambler from my parents last summer. They sell them at their store and they gave both Jonathan and I one. We didn’t really know what they were or what the big deal was. Everyone else in my family was RAVING about them. We took them on vacation and fell in love. Never had I met a cup like this. I think voodoo is involved because it keeps cold drinks cold forrrreevver and hot drinks hot forrreevver. I mean…I’ll fix myself a cold drink at night and the next morning the ice will still be in the cup. But the real kicker is coffee. I drink coffee basically all day and this cup completely eliminates the need to reheat my coffee a million times a day. I don’t have to reheat at all. It has made my life easier. We use these constantly. They are sold in various places and online but I know that most places have trouble keeping them in stock because they are just that awesome. So if you come across one snatch it up. Yes they are pricey but if you are a cup/coffee/drink person. This cup is for you.

yeti rambler

5// Glitter Crocs. Last year I did a review on these Crocs, you can read that post here. I loved them then but I had no idea how much we would use those darn Crocs. I was never really a Croc fan because I thought they looked tacky but when I saw these glitter ones I was sold. I still don’t really like the plain ones but I like the glitter a lot. If you scroll through my IG feed you will see my girls wear their pink and purple Crocs time and time again. With everything and everywhere we go. With socks, without socks, with shorts, with pants, with bathing suits, to the beach, to the park, to the grocery store..You get it. When your kids can put on their own shoes it makes your life a heck of a lot easier. In fact just this past week we lost one of Alina’s beloved pink Crocs (it fell out of the van we think). When I told her, her eyes welled up with tears. They love those shoes. So I plan to order her some more very soon.

glitter crocs

That was quite the random assortment I know. But I proudly stand by my choices! If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment. Hope you have a great day. Thanks for stopping by.

Linking up with Oh Hey Friday,

Five on Friday and Friday Favorites