Friday, May 20, 2016

Five on Friday: Summer Fun

Sharing five preschool summer activities/favorites today! 

M's last day of preschool is next week, and we're getting ready for a busy summer at home! She'll be doing a camp at her school for a few mornings a week in July, but for the most part, she'll be home with me and T all summer, and we're on the hunt for some fun summer activities for home!

1. Picnics! T is barely old enough to participate in these, but in M's world, picnics for lunch turn any day into the best day ever. I can always pull this out to make a boring morning at home into a fun afternoon! She loves to eat outside, and it's even better when she gets to do it on a blanket and doesn't have to wear her shoes. It's the little things in life! We have a blanket we put out in our front yard pretty regularly, and it makes her day when we take our lunch out there with us!

2. M is into all things "art" these days. She loves painting, coloring, glueing, cutting, etc, so I have multiple art projects pinned for us to do together this summer, but this might be my favorite! How cute are these fireworks prints for July? So easy and only require an old toilet paper tube and some paint. I'm thinking this could make some cute art work for our mantle for July! (found from the blog Happiness is Homemade)

3. We will likely be spending many morning at our neighborhood pool before we come home for naps. I still have a princess fanatic on my hands, so I've ordered her these princess pool toys to add to our pool bag this summer. I am pretty sure they'll be a big hit! Even better, they double as a great water table toy!


4. The Farmer's Market! I really want to try and utilize our local farmer's markets more this summer. I usually meal plan once a week and order my groceries from Harris Teeter, but I'm thinking of leaving my sides for the meals sort of "open" and visiting to the farmer's market one or two mornings during the week and picking up whatever looks good to be our sides. I think M would like this too because it's more fun than regular shopping, and she'll most definitely like picking out fresh flowers while we're there!

5. $1 movies! I took her to a few of these at the theatre last summer and this is such a cheap and easy way to have some air conditioned fun when it's super hot out. It's going to be trickier this year since we have T, but I'm thinking of getting a sitter a few times this summer for T so she and I can go to see a few movies together!

What else do we need to put on our list of summer fun? Here's my pinterest board I've started, but I'm looking forward to adding more!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

This past Sunday I got to celebrate my fourth mother's day as a mama. I can't believe I've been a mama for 3+ years now. And before we get to Sunday I need to brag on M and J for a second for going and getting me a donut from Duck Donuts on Saturday morning along with some roses. She is really into fresh flowers in our house right now, and she was so excited to carry in the bouquet to me! Our Sunday started out a little rocky when not one but both kids were crying so hard in the nursery at church that they had to come get me. I think T was fussy because we forgot his paci and so they had him in the stroller and were walking him around. I think M saw this all going down outside of her room, and it upset her, so she was then in hysterics about her sad baby brother. So, I got to enjoy worship, but no sermon. Oh well...that's what the podcast is for!

Anyhow, after our failed attempt at church, we came home for T to get in his morning nap, because at 12:45 we had brunch reservations at one of my favorite places, Nolen Kitchen! I love my husband dearly (he is such a good husband and dad), but he and I have both have learned over the years that if there's something I want to do on a special day like my birthday or mother's day, I need to either tell him ahead of time or just plan it myself. So a few weeks ago I made us reservations on open table, and our brunch was wonderful! I had a mimosa with crab cakes benedict and it was all delicious!

Both kids were pretty well behaved at lunch. At the end M was getting restless, but overall, it was a pretty successful meal out with two little ones. 

When we got home, they gifted me with a beautiful necklace and a water ring sling! Which, I want to also add that I sent J an email a few weeks ago with each of these exact items and mentioned I'd like them for Mother's Day. He didn't have to guess what to get me and I was thrilled to get some thing I really wanted! He and M also surprised me with some chocolate (which she is convinced is for me to share with her)!

I can't wait to try this out at the pool in two weeks!

I love my new necklace. Only problem is so does T, so it may be a few more months before I can wear it regularly without fearing he's going to rip it off my neck!

During nap time I sat outside and read for awhile, and then when both kids were up from naps (or rest time for M these days), I asked J to take some pictures for me with the kids. I set up the camera settings for him in manual, but he did the hard part of getting everyone to look and smile at the same time and he got a couple of great shots. I just love this one of me and my babies!

And this boy!! He turned 7 months on Mother's Day, and y'all...he fills a big piece of my heart that I didn't know was missing! I just love him!

M's "smile" is cracking me up here...

While we were sitting out in the yard we facetimed with my mom for a bit so we could wish her a happy Mother's Day, but it sort of turned into a just Gigi and M conversation when M stole the phone from me and sat alone in the yard and told me Gigi only wanted to talk to her. So much for talking to my own mom on Mother's Day when a three year old dictates the rules to me.

J knows I love a good steak dinner, and even though he actually doesn't care much for steak, he went out to Block and Grinder and bought two great steaks to grill for us. They were fantastic! M and I prepped the sides, and he grilled the asparagus while I roasted out little potatoes. This meal was delicious.

And before bed we watched Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley, which, if I'm being honest...Game of Thrones was probably at the top of my list of things I wanted to do for Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Asheville Weekend

A few months ago, J and I thought it'd be fun to try a mini family trip to Asheville one weekend for the spring. It's one of our favorite places in North Carolina thanks to the scenery, the great food, and of course...the awesome craft beer. We knew it would be "eventful" with two littles tagging along, but we also want our kids to enjoy traveling and exploring new places as much as we do. It's not easy (at all) to travel with babies and small children, but it's so worth it. M loves to talk about places she's visited (she is still talking about her trip to NYC in February 2015), and we knew a weekend in the NC mountains would be fun to add to her list of travels.

We headed up Friday morning after we took our dogs to the kennel, and we actually stopped a little south of Asheville to visit the new Sierra Nevada Brewery in Fletcher, NC. This is where they distribute beer from for the east coast, and the facility was pretty amazing. The outdoor space was gorgeous and the indoor space had tons of room. The food was fantastic (we did lunch here), and the beer selection was awesome. They had probably 20+ beers on tap, and we shared two flights and everything we had was awesome. It's definitely worth the visit if you find yourself in Asheville and it was also very kid friendly! There were definitely a lot of younger folks with no children here, but we saw several other families and groups with little ones like us!

After the brewery visit, we had some time to kill before we could check in to our VRBO cabin, so we headed downtown and strolled around for a bit and stopped for some ice cream.

We headed out to our cabin sometime in the late afternoon, and the cabin was about 25 minutes east of the city, way out in the middle of nowhere. Both kids passed out on the way there, but that was for the best, Everyone was exhausted by this point!

We had initially planned to go back into the city for dinner that night, but both kids were so tired so J ran into the grocery store and we got burgers and peppers to grill at our cabin. It was a gorgeous afternoon/evening, so we enjoyed sitting outside while dinner cooked. 

Eating at the cabin also made it easy to get some early bedtimes in for the babies, and we stayed up and watched the Hornets game

Saturday morning, after a big breakfast, we headed out to Pisgah National Forest for a little hike, specifically Moore Cove Falls Hike. This was M's first time really hiking on her own, and T's first time in our Kelty backpack, so we were a little hesitant, but in the end, they both did really well. M is really afraid of bugs (like...truly fears them), so things started a bit rough since we were, ya know, in the woods and bugs happen to live there, but I promised her if she could be brave we'd find her more ice cream. And while she was still nervous around them, she really tried her best to be brave. 

The hike was about 1.5 miles round trip and honestly pretty easy, so a great first hike for a 3.5 year old. She was tired by the end, but not so tired that she was melting down. It was perfect. And the best part was we got to see a waterfall which was pretty cool for everyone!

T loved riding in the hiking backpack, and as always, he was pretty much an angel baby the whole time. I'm not playing around when I say he's a good baby. He is so easy going and just so happy most of the time.

About half way down the trail back to the car he snoozed on J. Sweet little guy!

After our hike, we found a barbecue joint to have lunch at in Brevard. It was good southern cooking, and M was thrilled to see that there was an ice cream shop across the street and she held us to our promise. 

We headed back to our cabin and everyone got some rest. M never napped, but she did lay in bed and read for an hour and a half. And poor T, he was out like a light till we woke up for dinner!

We did some coloring...

And then headed into West Asheville for some dinner at a Mexican Place called Papas and Beer that had been suggested to us. Crazy enough, I ran into a guy I grew up with in Virginia, who now lives in South Carolina. He was there celebrating a birthday with his girlfriend's family. It was so crazy when I made the connection that it was him. What are the chances?

Sunday morning, we woke up and packed up. M sang on the balcony off of our bedroom one more time...she pretty much was convinced it was her own personal stage.

After cleaning up and packing the car, we headed back to West Asheville to have brunch at Sunny Pointe Cafe. We got there at 10:30 and said the wait would be an hour, but we figured that would work because they had an awesome play area and garden to explore outside. We also had out double stroller and they said we'd get a text when we were close to being ready for a table. 

Well...the one hour wait actually turned into an almost two hour wait, and finally at 12:20, we got a table. Both kids hung in surprisingly well (T napped in the Ergo), but next time I have two little ones with me, remind me to never wait this long for a table. No matter how great the food is, it won't be worth it! BUT...with all that said, the food was fantastic and we really did like the restaurant. Just not the wait!

After brunch, we were all more than ready to get back to Charlotte to pick up the pups from the kennel. It was a fun weekend, just the four of us, and I felt like both kids, especially M, enjoyed the variation in our weekend routine and the chance to get to try some new things!

Friday, April 29, 2016

If we sat down for coffee...

If you and I were going to have coffee (probably at Amelie's!) together one morning, here's a little of what we might chat about...
  • The fact that I can't stop listening to podcasts. Like, if M isn't around, I pretty much always have a podcast on in the background of whatever I'm doing. I have been so encouraged and inspired and entertained the last few months from podcasts, and I feel like I'm discovering a new one each week. It's by far my favorite form of entertainment right now. If you weren't already listening, I'd probably encourage you to listen The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, Sorta Awesome, and Around the Table. And if you needed a good laugh, The Popcast!
  • How my baby won't take a bottle, and truthfully, while it's super frustrating and I wish I had a little more freedom from time to time, it's not all that terrible and I'm reminding myself that this is really only a short stage of his life. It won't always be like this. I will have the ability to go out to dinner again with friends or just my husband one day. But I am starting to panic some about a concert I'm attending in August...thankfully August is still 3 months away.
  • I've 95% finished For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, and I have loved it so much. I got it from the library, but I'm kind of thinking of ordering a copy for me to keep so I can highlight and dog ear about half the book.
  • Hair issues...I can't ever decide if I want mine long or short. I love how I look with shorter hair, but I love that I can throw my long hair up and be "done" so quickly...but then when it's down, all T wants to do is pull it. Clearly, this is a major issue in my life.
  • M has pretty much abandoned nap time. She still goes to her room daily for "rest time" but naps are just....done. And it's hurting us all big time in the evenings because she is just SO tired and grumpy from about 5-7pm. I realize this is a totally normal mom problem and every kid eventually outgrows their nap, but it's been tough on everyone come dinner time. If you were a verteran mom, I'd want you to pat me on the back and remind me just how great it is that she's getting bigger and all of the fun "big girl" things we have to look forward to. 
  • How I would pay big bucks right now to fly to NYC for a night to see Sara Bareille's show, Waitress. This goes back to the baby who won't take a bottle issue. I guess the soundtrack will do for now.
  • We'd also probably discuss your go to week night meals, because this seems to be a constant topic among all of my friends and me lately. I'm always on the hunt for a new (and easy!) dish to make for us at dinner time.
  • If you're a nerd like me, we'd also probably talk about the Game of Thrones premiere and our predictions. I am still dying to know where in the world Bran Stark is....
By the time we had covered all these topics and anything you'd bring to the table (and the tangents they all would lead to), we'd probably need to order a scone or a muffin because we would have been sitting at the table for two+ hours. And chances are the employees would be side eyeing us since we would be taking up a table. That's okay though, because it would have been a wonderful morning of conversation, and the scone would be an added bonus! 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Five on Friday

Linking up with April (yay for baby#2! Congrats friend!) for a Friday 5!

 Not even sure if she'll have the link up going on today, but here are 5 things I'm loving right now...

1. An Easter recap just never happened on the ol' blog this year...partially because I never make time to blog these days and partially because we traveled to VA to see family a few days after Easter. Our Easter was an eventful one, as you already know if we're instagram friends, since M busted her head open running through the house. 

She got three staples put in and all was well, and we still got to have a little family Easter brunch. I made something new this year and it's definitely worth sharing on here. I made these Honey Ham Biscuits the night before and they were so super easy and delicious and paired nicely with all of our hard boiled eggs! Make these for your next brunch get together!

Do you have a Google account and need to get your life organized? Download the Google Keep App TODAY. J got me hooked on using this, and I am obsessed. I used to use "Notes" in my iphone, but definitely prefer this system. It's super simple, but I use it to jot down ideas, quotes I hear or read, lists for places like Target and Trader Joe's. I love that it's super basic, but can be synced across my phone and the website. I've always been a google calendar lover, and this is a great compliment to it!

3. I got this Contigo Snap and Seal Travel Coffee Mug after I dropped my beloved Tervis mug in our garage a few weeks ago. I picked up this mug on a whim at Target because I needed something to put my coffee in in the morning, and this is what I randomly chose off the shelf, and I am hear to tell is fantastic! I love it for a million reasons, but mainly because I can carry it out to the car in the morning while juggling T's car seat, M's school bag, and my diaper bag, and no matter how I jostle it around, it does not spill! I can even put it in my diaper bag standing up, and if the seal is closed, nothing spills. I love this cup so much!

4. New favorite Trader Joe's find? This popcorn with herbed and spices. It makes the best light snack!  I bought it for bunco last week, and it made the perfect table top snack. If you don't have a Trader Joe's, you can pay a ton of extra money to get it shipped via Amazon!

5. Two weeks ago I mixed things up a little and saw a new hair stylist and tried balayage. I had been getting some subtle highlights for the past year, but turns out I do not have time for that kind of maintenance these days.  Especially since a certain little boy in our family is still hating the bottle (insert an angry face emoji). Anyhow, I love the subtle color from the balayage and I love the "pattern" in how it was painted on. I can tell it'll definitely grow out nicely allowing me more time between trips to the salon. Highly recommend this approach to hair color if you've been considering it!
...a pic of the new "do"...