This Week At the Brennans’

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family in a selfie

Well, friends, it has been a few weeks, but we’re still here, working like crazy.

Here’s what has happened these past few weeks:

Porter is climbing stairs and knows how to come down safely too! Still keeping the gate at the bottom of the stairs because sometimes its nice to just keep him on one level versus the other.

I made a Thanksgiving dinner…twice these past two weeks. Just testing and testing my recipes. And prepping my body for all that extra weight I’m sure to be gaining this holiday season. Doh!

We ended up getting Blake a bigger bike because he just wants to bike every day. He was borderline too big for his last bike and now this one makes a lot more sense for him and his age. All our kids want to bike every day! We’re hoping we can find some decent bikes for Gordon and I (and a baby seat for Porter) so we can bike all together since we all love it. We have also been looking for biking trails around our new home and we’ve found quite a few that we are excited to test out.

Brooke is in swim team (not sure I mentioned that previously?!) and has already moved up a level! She was so nervous to get started with it and me not being able to go with her the first few times (because of the covid rules) just added to her nerves. But, that nervousness quickly subsided thanks to some really nice coaches and she now loves swim team. She told me on Wednesday that she is really happy she’s doing it which just made my mama heart so happy. Just like me, she doesn’t like trying anything new because its new and uncomfortable. But once you get into it, it gets better!

I have emailed a few soccer coaches for Blake, but I’m getting nowhere in a hurry. Maybe by spring I’ll have more success? But in the mean time, he’s just thrilled he gets to ride his bike every day around the neighborhood.

dad and two sons walking along a path by the coast

Our fireplace is actually getting moved!! We currently have a corner fireplace and were wanting to move it to the center of the living room. We’ve been struggling to find someone to come out to the boonies where we live to make this change. But after getting recommendations from several people for this one contractor and meeting with him, we have a date set on the calendar. Woot! Soon we’ll be saying goodbye to the corner fireplace and hello to a gorgeous new centered fireplace with some lovely built-ins on either side. I ended up ordering a frame tv on amazon prime day that I’m so excited to mount. It’s gonna be good once it’s all done. (Have you heard of the Samsung frame TV? It’s so pretty and looks like a framed picture on the wall. I’m so excited to mount it and have this project done.)

Speaking of built-ins, we are trying to find some that will get here before Christmas. First the fireplace will be finished completely, and then we will be able to get our built-ins ordered and added in. My dilemma is do we just to bottom cabinets and leave the space above it open for artwork and a cute light? Or should we add open shelving above the cabinets? I just don’t know what to do. We are also adding built-ins to our office.

Other home projects we are looking to complete in the next few months include: replacing our carpet once the fireplace and all the built-ins are done (maybe we’ll do hardwood in here if we can find a match for our flooring), painting the entry and getting rid of all the green paint including in the kitchen. Yes, our kitchen is green!!

Gordon has been killing it in the homeschooling department and I have been working like crazy, trying to get recipes done for Thanksgiving (lots of yummy ones coming in November!) It’s really lovely scrolling through my website, but man, its a lot of behind the scenes work that you don’t see. Also, on top of all of that, I have a project I’ve been working on for the past few months that I’m excited to roll out mid December/early January that I think will significantly help all my readers week to week. Obviously that will make a lot more sense in the coming weeks, but for now I’m holding that one close to the vest.

girl looking through coin operated binoculars

I’ve started Christmas shopping believe it or not. Since shipping has been all over the place this year, I’m not taking any chances. Plus, it’ll be good just to get it over with so I can cross that off in my mind. Have you started Christmas shopping yet?

Last week, Gordon and I had to go to the DMV and get our licenses switched over to Oregon. All the DMV’s around us were booked until 2021, so we travelled to Tillamook (by the coast) to take out test and get our licenses. We brought all four kiddos with us and made a day trip out of it. SO glad Gordon packed our winter coats cause it was so cold. Most of the photos in this post are from that day trip. Of course we finished off our day trip with a quick stop at Tillamook Cheese Factory for some ice cream. Yum! (I’m still mad they discontinued the cinnamon roll ice cream, but whatever. I guess I’ll just eat my butter pecan in peace.)

I went to the dentist! I thought I for sure had some major cavities based on some extra sensitivity I’ve been having for the past six weeks, but turns out everything is fine. Thank goodness for that, but I still have some uber sensitive teeth. They gave me some new toothpaste to try, so hopefully that will help. Ah, the joys of getting older.

rocky cliff and ocean

And finally, here are a few of my favorite things as of late.

After falling in love with these $20 jeans from Target, I’ve been on the hunt for other jeans/pants that fit short people, like myself. I had to dig and buy and send back a few pairs, but I think I’ve found some real winners. These high waisted jegging jogger pants from American Eagle are the bomb. So comfortable and they come in short and extra short lengths. Hallelujah! I ordered two other pairs of jeans from Madewell during one of their sales after hearing about these particular styles from other influencers I follow on instagram. I didn’t have high hopes because my waist is small and my thighs are big. (It’s really hard for me to have things fit me right off the rack.) These jeans really worked well for me though and I’ve come to really love them! Both are high waisted, cropped and lighter in color. “Mom jeans” as Brooke likes to call them. Here are my two pairs I got: Petite Perfect Vintage Jeans in Rosabelle wash. Not too tight in the leg or too loose around the waist. Petite Perfect Vintage Jeans in Enmore wash with raw hem- these fit a little looser, but I love the look of the raw hem! 

I ordered this chandelier for the living room and I’m kind of in love with it. I got the ‘oil rubbed bronze with white linen shades”. Basically, its a long and skinny black base with cute little white shades.

My white converse (chuck taylor style) were falling apart and had holes in them, so I bought a new pair because I liked them so much and they are so much more comfortable than my first pair ever were. Since when do converse have squishy bottoms? When did they make that switch? I am HERE FOR IT.

On instagram, I’ve been asked about my skin care routine several times and I thought I’d give you all the details here. I wish this list was more exciting, but I use cetaphil cleanser and lotion day and night. I’ve started using the cetaphil eye cream which I like using in the morning so my concealer goes on smoother. I also use the cetaphil exfoliating cleanser which is so so good and under $10. Every few days, I’ll use these exfoliating wipes (which I cannot recommend enough) which were recommended to me from my previous dermatologist in NYC, but that’s basically it! I’ve tried different oils and creams, but my skin breaks out so easily. Nothing really keeps my skin looking as good as the cetaphil, so that is what I use. 

With all my Thanksgiving recipe testing I’ve been doing, I’ve realized there are certain brands and kinds of things I love way more than others. So, now would be the time to order this small list of items in time for Thanksgiving! Most of these things are around $20!

  • OXO fat separator. I might only use this 3 times per year, but it is SO worth it. Works perfectly. 
  • Instant Read Meat Thermometer. Yes you can spend hundreds on a brand name one, orrrr get this $18 one off amazon (that does a great job).
  • Oven Thermometer. Want to be a better cook or baker? Get an oven thermometer and know with assurance your oven is working at the temperature it says it is. Got mine on sale for under $10.
  • Staub White Baking Dishes. For casseroles and potatoes and stuffing and anything else you’re serving. I have this pack of two in matte white that is less than $50 for both, (which breaks down to about $24 each.)

two kids doing homeschool

Here’s what is coming up this next week:

Our fireplace should be done! Yahoo! Still working out what the heck to do about those built-ins beside the fireplace though. Puzzler. 

Homeschool continues onward! Gordon is doing an awesome job and I’m trying to keep up with teaching Blake math. It’s tough stuff, this common core!

I am going to stay with some good girlfriends at a vacation rental in the desert of Nevada next weekend. I don’t know much more then than because I didn’t book the flights or really have done anything to plan this, but I feel like its going to be tons of fun and I’ll come back more tired than when I left. Ha! Gordon loves when I do that. He’s told me that he needs a man vacation because he is realizing just how tough this stay-at-home mom stuff really is.

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7 Responses
  1. Karen

    Hello Lauren, Glad you’re getting settled in and got the fireplace figured out. In regard to your tooth sensitivity, use the sensitivity tooth paste at night when you go to bed. Rub a little on the gum area that’s sensitive and leave it on, yes, no rinsing. After a couple of weeks the sensitivity should go away, unless there is an underlying problem. I wear plastic retainers so it keeps the toothpaste in place over night, but it should help even without the retainers. My dentist recommended this to me years ago and when I have tooth sensitivity it’s my go to solution. I hope it helps.

  2. Linda

    The lesson we learned on bikes, we started out with cruiser to ride in the neighborhood, after a short while we realized cruiser wasn’t for us, we upgraded to hybrid by Giant. Our son likes Specialized. Also we have several bikes store nearby so we went to the one that seems like a good fix for us. Enjoy 😀

  3. Virginia

    So glad you are getting settled in your new home. Photos of landscape are beautiful!
    Love Brooke’s mismatched socks, something I would probably do myself! So glad Gordon
    is able to help school the kids. I really feel for kids because they miss their friends at school.
    Hopefully this will get better as we go into 2021.

  4. Courtney

    Good call on ripping out he carpet, not a fan either. I was told once though if you can’t get a close match, go completely different. That’s what we did in our kitchen when we finally tore out the linoleum, but couldn’t find an oak shade that came close, so we went with a Brazilian pecan and loved that it defined the open spaces. Why do people paint kitchens green? Ours was a green textured, not good. Love that brook loves swim team. Good luck with Blake & soccer. Love that fat separator too. We will use it with roast chickens too and just simmer the juices for a quick sauce. Can’t wait to see the new fireplace. I say keep it open for artwork and photos and maybe a couple low shelves for the kids books. 🙂 Have a great week! 🙂

  5. Dee

    Guess I must have missed a “ this week at the Brennan’s to know when & why you decided to move from NY to Oregon? I’m very behind on emails. Sorry
    Nope haven’t started Christmas shopping yet. Not really in spirit for the holidays this year. It’s been a rough year. Lost my sister in March & my father in law has been ill.

  6. Lena Boyd

    So good to hear all of you are loving your new home and reall have settled into normal life. You all sound so busy and doing outside activities, like the kids riding bikes and Brook on the swim team. The fireplace sounds amazing, be sure and share pictures. Good to hear from you..