Category Archives: Life

Katie Loves This: Edition 1

There are always a ton of little things that come across my desk each week that aren’t really worthy of a full blog post, but that I’d still love to share. Hope you enjoy this new series on bellingFAM, which will be posted every Monday… Be sure to zip me an email (bellingFAM@gmail.com) if you have something you love. I always appreciate the tips! xxoo.

Katie Loves This- Edition 1

One.
I’m obsessed with this chalkboard skull for Halloween. We did a Halloween Pinterest Party with the Savvy Sassy Moms team (great for Halloween ideas, if you need some!) and it was one of my favorite finds.

Two.
I hardly need another jacket, but I really adore this one. Loving the pop of bright pink against the army green. (The North Face Aconcagua Jacket, OnlineShoes.com, $160)

Three.
Dishing Up the Dirt came to me via Pinterest and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I think it was this recipe for Spiced Apple Cider Champagne Cocktails that got me hooked. Loving her on Instagram, too.

Four.
We chatted about this book a little on Facebook last week and I’m nearly finished. If you haven’t read Eleanor & Park, add it to your must-read list. You can grab it on Amazon.

have something for me to love? send me an email! i’d love to hear about it! bellingFAM@gmail.com xxoo.

Fall 2014 TV review: What we’re watching

Fall 2014 TV Review

It’s no secret that I’m a big TV watcher. We are probably the only ones left in the world that get real life cable. I love it. Completely love it.

While I often cover Fall TV for other sites that I write for, this year, I’m bringing it to bellingFAM!

Here it goes… Can’t wait to hear what you’re loving/hating/holding out on, too!

NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD! 

RETURNING SHOWS

Survivor: This is the 29th season of Survivor, or something crazy like that. We haven’t watched it the entire time, just here and there, but have picked back up on it this season and it’s just as crazy as ever. I think I spend the entire hour thinking about what it takes to create everything behind-the-scenes — the challenges, the ever-changing issues, Jeff Probst’s endless safari-esque outfits… This year, I’m most impressed with the girl contestants who have caught on to getting a gel manicure before they head to Survivor. Brilliant.

Scandal: A favorite, naturally. I wasn’t that into the first episode, but the second felt like it was back in its groove. The Mellie story line is especially hilarious. Those Ugg boots? And the constant eating and grave sitting? It’s good. I’m not sure how much longer I can stand this coldness between Olivia and the President, however.

The Good Wife: If I had to pick one show as my favorite, this would be it. The Good Wife nails it, every episode, and I devour it as soon as I can find time to watch. Loving the potential of Alicia running for State’s Attorney, although, I’m not certain she’ll actually head down that path. And, the entire thing with Cary and jail and drug smuggling? Ugh. It kills me. He’s my fave.

Chicago Fire: I mean, I came for the fire fighters. But, I stayed for the stories. This show is a borderline soap opera, but Josh and I both love it. Everything is SO DRAMATIC all of the time.

Project Runway: This show is actually just wrapping up and it’s the kind of show that I put on when I’m working and need some background noise.

Modern Family: Finally, Modern Family is making me laugh again. I felt like the past couple of seasons were a bit womp-womp. But so far, so good. How much do you love Phil and Claire? I mean, I just can’t get enough of them.

Grey’s Anatomy: Is this show still going? I skipped a couple of seasons along the way and I just keep watching to see where it will end, but really, so many of the good main characters have left now that I feel like it’s just all Derek and Meredith, all of the time. Maybe time to pull the plug?

Saturday Night Live: I had such high hopes for this season, but I know that they made a lot of changes over the summer and I’m not sure it was for the best. We watched the first show, with Chris Pratt, and it was just okay. We didn’t even finish the show with Sarah Silverman. And, I miss Cecily Strong on Weekend Update.

Nashville: This is a soap opera in disguise, right? I’m this close to not watching anymore, because I feel like I can only go around-and-around on the relationship merry-go-round so many more times. But, I can’t quit Connie Britton.

Parenthood: Loving the final season, so far. And, super curious to see where things end up. I’ve loved this show, consistently, over the years and these are some of my favorite actors on TV. Plus, let’s talk about how glad we are that Hattie has dropped that horrible haircut.

Chicago PD: The sister show to Chicago Fire, this is one of my guilty pleasures. Sometimes, I can’t tell if it’s amazingly good or horribly awful. But, I don’t even care.

The Voice: Janie and I watch this together for a few minutes each night after the little kids go to bed. I don’t think we’ve ever watched the entire season, usually just the blind auditions at the beginning, but we’re hoping to stick it out this year. Loving Pharrell and Gwen.

NEW SHOWS

Manhattan Love Story: This show caught my eye at the last-minute and it was very cute. Looking forward to seeing where it goes as a funny romantic sitcom.

Bad Judge: I tried to watch this last week, but it was too awful. Deleted it.

The Mysteries of Laura: I stuck with this show for a few episodes, but I wasn’t that into it. I really wanted to like it. I really did, but I wanted it to either be funnier or more dramatic. It felt stuck in the middle in an awkward, soon-to-be-cancelled kind of way.

A to Z: I wasn’t expecting to like this sitcom as much as I did! It’s very well put-together and the story line is very clear and intentional. Thumbs-up for the pilot! Hoping it sticks around…

Red Band Society: Josh and I have been watching this together. We were torn after the first episode, but after watching another one last night, I think we both like it more.

How to Get Away with Murder: Apparently, this was the most-watched premiere of the season and I do like it. At times, it’s a little much and the secondary story line feels confusing. But, sticking with it to see where it goes, as we know that Shondra Rhimes can do no wrong.

YET TO WATCH

Madam Secretary: I have these stocked up to watch, but haven’t dug into them yet. Hoping it’s a hit!

The Amazing Race: Same old, same old. I’m not really sure why we keep watching it. I might save it to watch with Janie… she might think it’s cool.

Top Chef: This premieres next week (October 15) and I always love watching it. It’s another show that I often put on in the background while I work in the evenings.

Homeland: The last season just started on Sunday evening and I think we’ll save these up until we have the entire season to binge watch.

Forever: A new show about a doctor who has been alive for 200 years, or something like that. Looks interesting.

Scorpion: Josh was looking forward to watching this. I heard some very negative reviews, but that probably means we’ll like it.

Stalker: I added this one at the last-minute and it looks good. A good psychological thriller type of show.

The Affair: This is new on Showtime and it’s premiering this weekend. It looks juicy.

The Blacklist: One of our favorites that debuted last year (or earlier this year, maybe? January?), I’ve heard that this season kind of goes crazy town on you.

bellingFAM Approved: Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

A really fun (and really unexpected!) part of my job is that sometimes, car companies get in touch and they want us to give one of their cars a try. I mean, they obviously haven’t reviewed my teenage driving record. Let’s just say I’m a better driver. Now. Kind of.

Most recently, the nice people at Toyota asked if we’d like to test out their Highlander Hybrid. We took them up on it, spending a week running the Highlander around Seattle this summer. And, to be honest, I didn’t want to give it back.

Check out my full review of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid on Savvy Sassy Moms, where I reveal how I really feel about driving a hybrid.

Meet our newest family members

We’ve been thinking a lot about getting a dog since we moved into our new house. but we still need to build a fence in the backyard (a big one… Summer 2015 project, perhaps?) and we’ve been hoping to find a dog to rescue (rather than a puppy), but a kid-friendly rescue dog is hard to come by.

Meg, especially, has been begging for a pet. We’ve thought about bunnies, but they seem very unpredictable. And high-maintenance. Meg’s birthday is tomorrow and we were going to try to surprise her with these girls, but they needed to come home sooner than we thought (and we ALL had to be interviewed first!), so they came as a bit of an early birthday present.

Meet Bella.

New kittens at home

And, Pepper.

Kittens in Bellingham

 

First of all, let me tell you, it’s next to impossible to get pictures of kittens. They’d better learn, quickly, because obviously I’m going to become one of those people on Instagram who posts pictures of their cats. #TaylorSwift

These kittens came from the Whatcom Humane Society and they’re about two-months old. We hadn’t planned on getting two, but that’s how they are mostly adopted from the Humane Society, since they are raised together in foster homes and they become buddies. They prefer for them to go to homes as pairs and after we thought about it more, we figured that two could be smarter than one. More kittens to go around and they can (hopefully) keep each other company during the day when we’re at work and school. Bella and Pepper aren’t actually sisters, like we originally thought. In fact, we were originally told that Pepper was a boy.

So, here we go. Cat life.

The kids are still warming up to them. But, I’m pleased that the kitties have settled in quickly. They aren’t very shy and they love to snuggle and play. I mean, I don’t even think anyone begged me to watch cartoons this morning. Because, who needs Octonauts when you have KITTENS?

40 Random thoughts on the Scandal season premiere

Scandal
photo via the Scandal Facebook page

SPOILER ALERT:
If you haven’t watched the season premiere yet, don’t read this!

Gone Girl? Nice placement.
And, who is it…
Jake Ballard!
Her hair is so not Olivia Pope right now.
Where the hell are they and how the hell did they get there and… WTF in general?
Also, where is Zanzibar?
From Olivia Pope to Julia Baker.
Of course she opens the envelope.
Wait, who was Harrison? The guy in her office?
Okay, now that’s the Olivia Pope we know and love. Thank goodness the entire season wasn’t going to be Jake and Jules on the beach.
She got that hair straightened real quick.
I’m so glad she isn’t pregnant in real life anymore. Those hide-the-belly shots were getting old.
I mean, Huck is our favorite, right?
STOP IT. Abby in the White House? I love it.
I saw her on Ellen today and she’s 100x prettier in real life.
By real life, I mean on TV.
And… Mellie. (Who I thought was actually named Millie, until I just Googled it.)
I want one of those hanging clear white board things in my house.
For meal planning. Not so much war strategies.
What happened to Millie last season? I can’t even remember. Why did she lose it?
I love Portia. Hate her hair like that.
Do you think she just kept that long white coat stashed away while she was on the beach?
Completely forgot about the whole Mama Pope thing.
I love that Jake thinks that they’re going back to the island. Because they’re not.
Nothing like a senator’s murder to get a girl to stick around.
OH, I love that actress who is playing the senator’s wife! Who is she?
He’s alive? Nice touch.
That trench coat with the gold details is amazing.
I’m guessing that’s not in the Olivia Pope clothing line.
Because it cost $1200. At least.
Huck is so not a Randy.
I should have watched the last season before I started this.
I have no idea why Mellie is laying on a grave.
Um, hello, Jake Ballard with the sexy speech.
And, we’re back in the office! Olivia Pope and Associates!
Cyrus is having some hair issues this season. It’s a little out of control.
The funeral. I want Olivia Pope to plan mine. Those flowers.
I love that when FLOTUS goes crazy, she wears Uggs 24/7.
“It’s 1976 down there!”
(Pretty sure we should just end things there.)

Did you watch? Thoughts?

Hello, weekend!

Morning Routine

 we talked about our new found morning routine on instagram.

Hello, weekend!

Well, that was quite a busy little week, wasn’t it? I think I can say, with all certainty, that we’re settled into the school routine, which means that by Friday, we’re all craving some time to chill out. We don’t have many plans this weekend, other than the back-to-school dinner at the girls’ school tonight and a ton of catch-up housework and work work. I still feel like I’m recovering my life from being in Las Vegas last week!

Here’s what happened on bellingFAM the past few weeks:

Thanks for spending time on bellingFAM! xxoo.

The Drinking Game for Parents with Tween Girls

(Psst! Follow The Parent Drinking Game on Instagram!)

My oldest daughter turns ten today. TEN. When did that happen? I suppose around the same time I turned thirty-something. In my mind, she’s still six. And I’m still 26. Sigh. Where did the time go?

But now, we’re deep in the Land of Tween.

I had no idea this place existed. The one in between life with a child and life with a teenager. But, oh my, is it rough. The mood swings. The clothes. The hating of everything that breathes. Every time it breathes. I imagine that this is what it’s like having a wife.

Wait. Never mind.

The Homework Drinking Game for Parents was such a wild success and I’m so thrilled that I could help all of you drink your way through math worksheets and writing prompts (to date, it’s been shared on Facebook over 150,000 times!) that I knew that we needed a way to drink ourselves through the tween girl years, too.

So, I’m happy to introduce…

Tween Girl Drinking Game for Parents

The “My Daughter is a Tween” Drinking Game for Parents
(Note: This game pairs nicely with wine. Straight from the bottle, if necessary. Screw-top only. You don’t want any sharp objects, like a bottle opener, anywhere in reach of your tween.)

The game is easy. Grab a glass and drink when…

  • She slams the door. One drink for each time she opens it back up, yells something indistinguishable, and slams it again.
  • There is nothing in her closet to wear, according to her. Drink again if you know that every piece of clothing she owns is clean.
  • You have to tell her that leggings are not pants.
  • She steals your cell phone to text her friends. Drink again if she also fills up all of your storage with selfie videos.
  • You find a lip gloss that’s missing a lid.
  • Taylor Swift lyrics cross her lips. Drink twice if you accidentally sing along with her. Three times if she starts singing that song about how some girl looks in some guy’s American Apparel underwear.
  • She refuses to eat a meal… then eats you out of house and home an hour later.
  • She smells worse than your teenage son.
  • There is crying for no apparent reason. (Can we suggest a Costco membership? You’re going to need a case of wine for this one.)
  • There are sleepovers. Drink once for every extra tween girl staying at your house overnight. Twice if they’ve taken over your living room. Three times if they’re staying past 9 a.m. the next morning.
  • You forget the basic tween-survival rules and talk to her before she’s had a chance to wake-up properly in the morning. (Feel free to substitute mimosas/Bloody Mary’s for these circumstances.)

 What would you add to the Tween Drinking Game? Suggestions welcome! We’ll add them, with credit!

Note: We hate to state the obvious, but drinking this much probably isn’t safe. This drinking game is only intended to be read for fun. They are not actual drinking suggestions. Because if you drank this much, you’d be drunk. Or if you’re me, super drunk. Please be safe and responsible and put the safety of your children first. <stepping down>

We’re nominated!

Best of Western Washington 2014

We are over the moon to be nominated for a King5 Best of Western Washington award for Best Parenting Blog! And, as if being nominated wasn’t enough, being in the top three (and even lobbying back and forth for the No. 1 position!) is thrilling. Beyond thrilling.

Please go throw a vote our way! You can vote once per email address and every time you vote, you’re entered into a giveaway for a trip to Mexico, so… You do have to log-in to vote, but you can use your Facebook account, which is super easy.

Fingers crossed!
xxoo.

9 People you meet on a flight to Las Vegas

Last week, I flew to Las Vegas for work. I wasn’t paying that much attention to the people around me as I waited to board my flight, with my head down in my laptop to prep for my trip, but then, there was a fuel leak. And a two-hour delay. In a very small airport.

Let me tell you, after two-hours with the same group of 200-ish people, all crammed into a semi-small-ish room, knowing that you still have to get on the plane and fly with them (you know, sometime after they figure out why there is JET FUEL POURING OUT OF YOUR RIDE), you start to judge them. Harshly. (They were likely judging me too. And, that’s fine with me. All is fair in love and flight delays.)

People You Meet on a Flight to Las Vegas

9 People you meet on a flight to Las Vegas

1. The one who is most likely a “dancer”
Girl, guess who you’re fooling? Nobody.

2. The ones on a guys’ trip
There are two of them. Trying so hard to look as heterosexual as possible. Because in actuality, they’re on a date. Even if they’re going to Vegas to pick up women. They’re on a date. And they really, really, REALLY don’t want it to look that way.

3. The ones on a girls’ trip
There are matching capri yoga pants and ponytails and by the time they leave the airport bar after the flight delay, there’s a local shortage of skinny margaritas. There are selfies. And mentions of husbands who will likely not feed the children while they’re gone. And more margaritas.

4. The ones who are ready to hit the pool
He’s wearing swim trunks with his sneakers. She’s wearing her bikini and a cover-up (I have the same one, from Target). They’re going straight from the airport to the pool when they hit the ground. And, from the smell of them, they took those sunscreen application suggestions very seriously.

5. The ones who golf
They didn’t bat an eye when the airline charged them $75 each to check their precious golf bags. They are wearing golf gear, head-to-toe. Lots of breathable fabrics and polo shirts. And, they have a limo picking them up at the airport.

6. The ones who are drunk before we even board
You’re praying that they aren’t sitting behind you on the plane. And, they are. They’re teasing the flight attendants. They DIYing their in-flight cocktails with extra splashes from a bottle of something from their carry-ons. And, after a two-hour delay in the terminal bar, they end up passing out 10-seconds after the plane finally takes off. Thank goodness.

7. The ones with kids
Apparently, Las Vegas is more family-friendly than ever. Apparently, this news doesn’t make parents less bitter about having their kids tagging along.

8. The ones who left the kids at home
They’re pretending to be ready to party, but they’re checking their texts obsessively and they’re the last ones to turn off their cell before taking off, with endless “I love you!”s and “I promise to FaceTime every night!”s. Then, they order doubles from the drink cart and get shitfaced.

9. The ones who are going to gamble
They don’t have any luggage. Maybe a fanny pack. Or, a card holder/wallet that hangs around their neck for convenience. They have their favorite slot machine at the Las Vegas airport and they refuse to tell the guy sitting next to them which one it is. Because they come to Vegas every year and this year, that machine is going to make them rich.

Next up… 9 People you meet on the way home from Las Vegas. (Spoiler: Same people. All passed out.)

The Homework Drinking Game for Parents

Homework Drinking Game

(Psst! Follow The Parent Drinking Game on Instagram!)

Let’s be honest. Our kids’ homework is driving us to drink.

As I was having a beer while helping Janie with her homework last night, I realized that we’re really all in this together. Homework. Common Core. Math worksheets. Spelling tests. Trying to remember where the hell that comma goes.

And, since misery loves company, I’m happy to introduce bellingFAM’s own Homework Drinking Game.

You’ll never dread homework time again! (Although, your kids might start to…)

Don’t worry, the instructions are easy. Grab the drink of your choice — a glass of wine, a pint of beer, or something more serious in a coffee mug that makes it look like you’re drinking tea — then sit down with your kids to help with their homework.

Next, channel those good old college days and drink when…

  • Your child brings up anything to do with Common Core. Drink again if you rolled your eyes.
  • You start any sentence with “When I was in school…”
  • You question if you even went to college considering you can’t seem to do 1st grade math problems
  • You have to sign your full name in a teeny tiny box somewhere on your child’s homework sheet
  • You successfully remember how to use it’s vs. its
  • You have a child who can read to you, rather than the other way around
  • You have to use Google to remember how to add/subtract/multiply/divide fractions
  • You say “I before E” in your head… take two drinks if you say it out loud
  • You try to convince your child to finish their homework in the morning… when your co-parent is on homework duty for the day
  • You suggest they look that up in an encyclopedia and they look at you like your hair is on fire
  • You get caught skipping pages when reading to your child
  • You can actually spell any of the spelling words on their list yourself… one drink for every correct word, folks!
  • Your child runs out of mechanical pencil lead and refuses to use an old fashioned No. 2
  • There are assignments that need to be hand-written… drink once for double-spaced and twice for single-spaced
  • You sign your name to each permission slip/release form/emergency information sheet/parent note in their folder
  • You volunteered in their class today
  • Your child had early-release or late-arrival today
  • And, last, but not least, drink when they finish for the night… And, if they finished their homework in less than an hour, take another drink. Hell, pour yourself a fresh one. You deserve it.

Don’t miss our newest version… The “My Daughter is a Tween” Drinking Game for Parents.

Note: We hate to state the obvious, but drinking this much probably isn’t safe. This drinking game is only intended to be read for fun. They are not actual drinking suggestions. Because if you drank this much, you’d be drunk. Or if you’re me, super drunk. Please be safe and responsible and put the safety of your children first. <stepping down>