Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween, Little Gentry Style

Dr. Gentry and my sweet Cabbage Patch Kid

Happy Halloween!

All Jack wanted to be this year was "a doctor with a white coat" (his words.) I thought I had one good year to coordinate their costumes, but thanks to possibly a little too much Doc McStuffins, a doctor was the thing. I ordered his little coat and stethoscope on the world wide web, and since Annabelle is my real life baby doll, her costume was only natural.

Last Friday night was our church's Fall Festival, so we loaded up the kiddos to hang out there for a while. Jack is still a little small with so many big kids traipsing about, but that's where the action is, so of course that's where he wants to be! I don't blame him. It was a great chance to try out costumes!

Today we ran up to my old office to do a little Halloween celebrating. Southwest Airlines Halloween is epic and just "plane" fun! I knew there would be tons for my little guy to do, and it was an opportunity to catch up with friends that I've been missing.

I'm going to try and get another pic on the front porch this evening. A good goal would be to have at least one of them looking at the camera this time. There were so many fun things and people to see at the fall festival where this was taken. I don't blame them one bit!

I had grand plans to come up with some awesome Halloween themed dinner before heading out to trick or treat tonight, but all week I've been seeing those Papa Murphy's commercials for a jack o' lantern pizza. And I am not one to reinvent the wheel. For ten bucks, you get a festive pizza and a thing of cookie dough. Done and done. We've never tried it, so I'm interested to see if it's good!

From the Papa Murphy's website

Have a fun and safe evening!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pure Barre 100 Club

I'm proud to say that I officially hit my 100th class at Pure Barre on Monday!

From the Pure Barre Fort Worth Instagram feed
With super cute owner, Kelsey

Being a stay at home mom, I can't measure a lot of my successes these days. Parenting children has no end in sight. (My mom and yours would say amen to this.) The laundry basket is emptied to be filled the next hour, the toys are picked up to be scattered about the floor again, and meals are cooked for dishes to be washed to cook more meals. These are not complaints. I feel absolutely blessed to spend my time in this manner, but it's the reality of my current days.

It's nice to have something that's mine with benchmarked goals, and that's what Pure Barre is for me right now. I try each week to pick a new challenge for myself in class, whether it's making it through the abs section without needing support for my lower back (check!), actually picking my feet up in flat back (still working on this one), or making it through warm up and arms without breaking form (most of the time!)

Somewhere in the 100 classes (now 101!), I've lost weight, quite a few inches, and as you can imagine I'm loving those results. It's been worth the investment in myself, and now I have a wardrobe of clothes that fit again. Amazing how that happens when you work hard.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fresh Green Beans {Recipe}

I know fresh green beans are really in season during summer, but nothing makes a house smell more like a home than a big yummy pot of green beans with bacon simmering on the stove.

OK, maybe it's really the bacon that makes the house smell like a home.

Either way, this smells good.

My mom came to stay with us one week last summer while Mr. G was traveling and brought beans from my dad's garden. She snapped them and made this, and I've kept making it because it's semi-healthy (green beans, right?), easy, and also, bacon. I posted a pic on Instagram a few weeks ago and had several inquiries for the recipe. You'll notice I don't really have any measurements. No wrongs, just right on this one. And my preschooler loves helping me snap the beans, which I suppose is also working on those fine motor skills.

Before adding chicken stock

You'll need...

1 lb. fresh green beans, snapped (or as many as you like)
5 small red potatoes, cut up (or as many as you like, broken record)
bacon, strips cut into smaller pieces (I use half of a standard store size package)
1/2 onion, diced
Chicken stock - enough to cover your vegetables
salt and pepper to taste

In the bottom of your pot, cook your bacon pieces done but not crispy. Place green beans, potatoes, and onions on top, then cover with chicken stock. Add in salt and pepper, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. When beans and potatoes are tender, it's ready. This is usually about 25-30 minutes for me.

On nights where this is our main dish, I make sure to start with a LOT of bacon and add cornbread muffins alongside it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


This weekend was just an ordinary weekend. Nothing fancy, nothing big, just hanging out as a family doing the things that we do.

By some strange course of events, Thursday I had an allergic reaction--red welts and itching on my arms and legs. It got worse on Friday, and by the time Mr. G got home from work, I had checked in on the web at CareNow (a local urgent care clinic) to be seen ASAP! It was also parents' night out at our church, so first he dropped me off at the clinic, ran to drop off the kids, and came back to pick me up. By the time he was back, I had a steroid shot and a prescription.

We had easy plans to hang at Brewed so that's where we headed after my prescription was filled. Brewed has a Sweet Eugene's feel to it, if you're familiar with College Station, except they serve a full menu of food as well as coffee. We ate, people watched, and talked about Christmas. We're anticipating so much fun with our kids.

I wouldn't have even mentioned the breaking out allergic reaction thing, except that on Saturday we had family pictures scheduled. Red welts. On arms and legs. Some on neck. Awesome. By that evening, it didn't look too bad. (At least that's what I'm telling myself. And yes, #firstworldprobs.) We had a 20 minute mini-session for pictures this year because I wasn't sure how it would work out with a baby and preschooler. They were both great, although Annabelle didn't have the usual smiles I was expecting out of her. We're talking kids though--so really I should've known to expect the unexpected.

After, we made good on a promise for ice cream since the preschooler smiled well for the pics. I can't wait to see how they turned out. He definitely earned his ice cream!

A cookie monster from Cheddar's. YUM.

Sunday we spent the morning at church, then lunch after with friends. Later that afternoon, we BOO'd our neighbors. I took some covert pics, and I think the little guy had fun!

We filled the in between times with football (mostly him) and Pure Barre (all me) and trying to forget about the Aggie loss (both of us.) I hope you had a relaxing weekend too!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's About Time: The Mama VoxBox Post

Several weeks ago I received a VoxBox from Influenster, and I'm just now sitting down to let you know how I feel about it. Free products? I guess I feel pretty good about that, in particular.

Influenster is a social network of sorts, where you sign on to take surveys about your product usage, review items and services, and on occasion, if you meet the demographic, they send out something called a VoxBox with free products for you to try. I've heard some equate this to a BirchBox or something like that--it's definitely not that at all. You never know what interesting combination might included in these boxes. For example...

This particular VoxBox contained things that moms might be interested in.

Pond's Luminous Finish BB+ Cream, Annie's Microwaveable Mac and Cheese,
Dr. Scholl's For Her Comfort Insoles, belVita Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Breakfast Biscuit

Annie's Microwaveable Mac and Cheese: I haven't heated this one up yet, but my kid loves mac and cheese. If it comes back with a thumbs down, I'll let you know. A multipack retails for $3.29. ETA: Meh.

Dr. Scholl's For Her Comfort Insoles: I tried this in a variety of shoes. I wasn't impressed at all when I put them in my heels, but I loved them in my tall riding boots, which are flat and have no support in them. I also tried them in a new pair of non-stretching, unforgiving patent flats, and because they raised my foot up, the stiff elastic in the back hit my heel differently, making them much more comfortable. I'll keep trying these.

I'm deducting points for the hard plastic packaging that I cut my finger on while try to open them. It's 2013. We can do better. Retails for $12.49.

belVita Soft Baked Breakfast Biscuits: Jack and I ripped that sucker open as soon as we saw it. We both agreed we wish we hadn't had to share it, but I'm not sure even the whole thing would be enough for me for breakfast. I might buy them again. But at 5 WW pp, I might rather have a real cookie. (For comparison, a Great American Cookie Co. original only has 6 points.) Retails for $3.69.

Pond's BB+ Cream: I'll admit that I've been a make up snob. I don't buy it at the drugstore. I've even tried to like drugstore mascara, but just never found a good one. Within a few days of using the Pond's BB+ Cream, I raved about it on Instagram. I had even gotten several out of the blue compliments on my makeup. I definitely recommend this to my friends. One of my young friends bought it, told me she was skeptical because she thought Pond's was an old lady brand, and then told me how much she loved it.

It includes SPF 15, covers well, and the light shade is perfect for my pale self. It takes a minute to dry well, but that usually happens to me on products with SPF. I would compare this to a tinted moisturizer. Great for days when you don't want to put on heavy foundation. Retails for $9.99.

I would not lie about something as critical as your face, ladies. This one's a winner.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Too Easy To Mess Up Banana Bread

My favorite tea room in Fort Worth is the Rose Garden, located in the Fort Worth Mercantile tucked into the traffic circle over on the west side. It's twinkly, sparkly atmosphere, and I love to lady lunch there with friends. Or I lunch with my littles and just me. My usual order is a combination of everything delicious about tea rooms in general: a small bit of chicken salad, a cup of the soup du jour, a sliver of quiche, fruit, and they throw in two little delicious tea sandwiches that are basically pumpkin bread with cream cheese in the middle.

I used to be able to feed the little guy right off of my plate--we'd just split each thing because it's more than enough food. And then, he discovered the little pumpkin bread sandwiches. He would eat every single last bite and beg for mine! Now he gets his own order of sandwiches.

While I do like pumpkin bread on occasion, I don't like pumpkin flavored stuff in general, and cooking with pumpkin puree kind of grosses me out. (I know, I know--throw me out of the lovers of fall club and all that.)

I do, however, love banana bread (without pecans--I don't like those either. I know, I know.) Jack loves bananas too, and inevitably we have extras going a little past their prime probably once a month. And thus, I came up with another little treat to pack in the little guy's preschool lunch. Tiny banana bread sandwiches, similar to our tea room faves.

I've been using this easy recipe, which is simple enough that I can whip up a fresh loaf of bread in the morning before we leave for school. I use the lesser amount of sugar and 3 bananas. One slice of banana bread, cut in half, spread with a thin layer of cream cheese on one side, then smash the second side on it makes a great little half banana bread sandwich. He loves it, and I feel like it helps fill his belly, better than something like crackers or goldfish.

I make a second one for myself while I'm at it!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pure Barre Review Update!

I've mentioned going to Pure Barre several times since I did my original review, but I thought it was about time I did another update!

Pure Barre is my very favorite workout. Ever. I'm seeing amazing results that are the combined product of that old adage "decrease input, increase output," but they are great results. I'm within 3 pounds of my pre-Jack weight, a number on the scale I've not seen since approximately June 2010. I'm not big on before and after pics, but that stat speaks for itself.

I still have quite a way to go, but I know I'll get there. My three month baby bounce back package expired, but I just renewed and kept right on going. Right now my studio is having an October 20 classes in 30 day challenge, and I'm already 12 classes in on the 15th of the month. In a couple of weeks, I'll be joining what is called the "100 Club" which is Pure Barre speak for people who've been to 100 classes. You get fancy 100 Club sticky socks and everything! (Sticky socks are what you wear on your feet to keep them from sliding around on the carpet. You probably already figured that out, but just in case, there you have it.)

It's a really fun, challenging, and empowering workout. I highly recommend it if you have one in your area!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Weekending

Weekends have become such a sweet time to have Mr. G home now that I'm a full time homemaker. And I don't mean that in a, "Here! You take 'em now!" type of way. No, instead, it's a great time of Daddy being home to play with us. It excites our son so much to see his dad come through the door on Friday, and it's hard not to catch the excitement!

This weekend we made a quick overnight trip to see my family. My brother was off on Friday, my aunt was in town, and of course we got to see my grandparents and parents too. Lots of family packed into a less than 24 hour trip. A huge blessing!

My mom made a flying trip to Canton the weekend before to grab some metal orange Halloween buckets for Jack and Annabelle. I thought I bought one for Jack a couple of years ago and just needed another for Annabelle, but when I went to pull it out, it just said "The Gentrys." (Pictured here.) I have no idea what I was thinking. I was convinced that I bought one for him, but clearly not. I'm attributing that to combined pregnancy/new mommy brain shrinkage. How long can one reasonably continue to use that excuse? Either way, we're all fixed up now, thanks to Sugar. Halloween crisis averted.

It came a gully washer while we were there, and ultimately my car got stuck just off of my grandparents' driveway. I'd say it was quite an adventure, but by the time my dad pulled us out, the kiddos were already asleep.

After a quick trip home, a ridiculous Aggie football win, and church on Sunday, here we are, back at another Monday. I hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dr. Smith's Diaper Ointment at the Ritz

I'm late reporting back on this one, but two weekends ago, I headed over to the Ritz-Carlton Dallas for a national launch party of Dr. Smith's diaper ointment.

Now if there is anything I can step on my bully pulpit about, it's sunscreen and diaper ointment. I re-apply diaper cream at every diaper change. You know what they say, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Was Ben Franklin specifically talking about baby rears with that one?

Anywho, the nice folks at at Mission Pharmacal who make Dr. Smith's were kind enough to invite me to their truly lovely launch party at Fearing's. I learned so much about Dr. Smith's that morning, and the food was delicious! Mission is a generational family-owned company, based in San Antonio. They bought the Dr. Smith's brand several years ago, and until recently, their product was only available locally in the south Texas area. (Those South Texans--holding out on us. My friend Deanna who lives not far from San Antonio was all, "Oh yeah, we've been using that for years.")

With their national launch, you can now find the product everywhere. Just this week I spotted it next to the other big brand diaper creams at HEB and Wal-mart.

As part of the celebration, they had the beautiful Ali Landry in to host the event. She has a 10 week old baby herself and was so kind and friendly. Just another mom--a gorgeous one, at that!

With Ali and my friend, Becky

Pic courtesy of Dr. Smith's Facebook page.

I asked my doctor a few months ago what diaper cream she recommended, and all she said was "something with zinc." Well, this product fits the bill. We've been using what Dr. Smith's gave us, and I'm sold. I love supporting families, the Texas economy (I know, lots of Texas pride here), and just good people. I can't tell you how moving it was to hear the Leadership of Mission talk about how excited and yet humbled they felt to take their product to the next level. Those folks appeared to be the salt of the earth-type of people that you'd love to do business with.

Disclosure: I must tell you that I was by no means obligated to post this on my blog. I had such a fun morning and was inspired by their commitment to helping moms. I received a tube of the product for free, but I wouldn't have posted on the subject if we hadn't had a good experience with it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

That Baby in the Bonnet...

...belongs to me!

Facial expression not indicative of our feelings toward our bonnet.

Also, I could squeeze those cheeks all day long.

I was probably about 7 months pregnant with Annabelle when I came across the Beaufort Bonnet Company. I "liked" them on Facebook, and within a day, my mom had called and said, "I saw the bonnet company you liked, and Annabelle will have one of those."

Thanks, Mom!

I absolutely love the backstory behind the Company: how a mother, wanting classic, beautiful bonnets for her baby girl, bought the business and is expanding it. I love to shop, love supporting momtrepreneurs, and I love classic children's clothing, especially for little girls.

Annabelle even had newborn pics made in her sweet bow swaddle from BBC. This is the exact pic I used on our announcement. I love her little Mona Lisa smile!

If you're a boy mom, they have Beaufort Buckets for you--just perfect for those first few summers to keep sun out of a little man's face. Everything we've ordered from there has come beautifully packaged and out of the box ready to carry as a gift. And the craftsmanship is perfection. Once, my mom called them to order while their website was down, and they included the sweetest handwritten note, thanking her for her purchase and patience during that time. Great customer service.

At the zoo, in our first bonnet, the Worth Ave. White with a pale pink script monogram.

We usually have one on for church on Sunday morning, and the ladies who hold the door are always cooing over "that baby in that bonnet!" If you're looking for a unique and precious gift for a new baby or young child, I highly recommend the Beaufort Bonnet Company. They even have cute things for adults: travel accessories, towels...I would take one of everything!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Annabelle is 7 Months Old!

My sweet, blue-eyed baby doll turned 7 months old last Sunday. Seven months is starting to sound close to 12 months, and I am not prepared for that!

On the day we spent close to home this week, the kids were playing in the floor for quite a while together. She just giggled and giggled at her big brother. When I went to put her down for a nap, her brother said, "No, Mommy. Annabelle not take her nap yet. I am still sharing with her!" And then, I melted.

Not really. Then I made them both take a nap. But it was awesomely heartwarming!

At seven months, Annabelle has adjusted to a good eating schedule, including solids. She really, really likes the orange foods, so I expect her to be sporting a great tan in about a week. She's babbling and singing and giggling. At her check up last week, she was in the 96th percentile for height, which would explain why her 9 month clothes don't fit. (Also, she did not run fever with her shots, praise the Lord!) She just transitioned to her big girl car seat and wasn't nearly as excited about it as I was. She was really kinda "meh" about the whole thing, actually.

A smiley girl from the get-go, she completely lights up when you flash her a grin. She's so precious in so many ways, and we're thankful to have this beautiful little girl in our lives. That's really the understatement of the year. What a blessing she is!

I understand the whole "sugar and spice and everything nice" rhyme now. That is definitely what our little girl is made of.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Super Easy Gnome Halloween Costume

It's October! Time to ready the costumes and try not to eat all the candy on the seasonal aisle. For some reason, Reese's peanut butter pumpkins are so much more enticing than Reese's any other time of the year for me.

Stop calling my name, Reese's pumpkins! I have baby weight to lose!

Last year at this time, I was working on a big project, commuting, mothering a 20-month-old, and 5 months pregnant. To say I was tired was a total understatement. Then I came down with shingles. It was a really nutso time in my life.

I really wanted to phone it in and buy a pre-made costume, but I couldn't find anything that I liked. And yeah, there is a fairly cute, pre-made gnome costume floating around the internet, but I wanted something more akin to David the Gnome (please tell me you watched that on Nickelodeon also) rather than the garden gnome variety.

So, naturally, I decided to make my own! You can too, with some strategic purchases that you'll re-wear for the rest of the year, along with some super easy cutting and stitching. You might even have these items in your little guy's wardrobe already.

I can't believe he was so small last year. It goes too fast, too fast.

I started with a pair of GAP cords that, after the fact, he wore to church all winter long. I then added a blue sweater that came from GAP, however I couldn't find one for you from there this year, so below there's a link to one from Zara, and it has elbow patches. So cute. I've had a Zara sweater for him before, and it's good quality. A blue sweater is totally re-wearable without looking like a gnome.

Those boots? $15 at Wal-mart and in all sizes. They're called "chore boots." Re-wearable!

As a matter of fact, I plan on buying the pants and boots all over again for Jack's fall wardrobe simply because they are closet staples, and he outgrew last year's.

(Links to these items are all below the collage.)

Being Mrs. Gentry's Super Easy Gnome Costume

The hat is where you have to make any effort, as you can't just click "Add to shopping cart," followed by "Check out." A quick trip to Hobby Lobby yielded a yard of the stiffest red felt I could find, some fusible interfacing (don't be scared if you're not a seamstress!) to make it stiffer, and elastic. Mr. G stopped by our local costume warehouse and grabbed a white beard.

I followed this tutorial for the pattern of the hat. It tells you how to measure the head and all that technical stuff. After I cut out the felt, I ironed on the fusible interfacing (see, that's not scary), and hand stitched the hat together. The internet is so magical that I even found you a handstitching tutorial here. I then hand stitched the elastic on (it will look like a giant party hat) before tacking on the beard (more hand stitching.)

I had to trim the beard down a bit, but it was much easier than buying some fake fur or what not from Hobby Lobby. (Believe me, I tried. Don't be tempted. It was a mess.) I also cut the mustache off. We were dealing with a toddler, you understand.

I made the hat about 2 hours before we went to our church's fall festival. It took maybe 20 minutes. (Cleaning up the failed fake white fur mess took a bit longer.)

See? Super easy.

I hope this helps another crazy busy mama who's looking for a cute and unique costume!

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