Friday, June 24, 2016

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! Linking up with April today for a little Five on Friday Fun!

1. This is a random one, but my first favorite for the week is this salad from Trader Joe's. I love a good salad at a restaurant, but can never seem to make one that is equally delicious at home...UNTIL I found this Kale and Edamame Salad in the refrigerated section at TJ's. To kick it up a notch, I highly recommend putting in some crumbled bacon. It's so yummy and makes a great, fast lunch....and way cheaper than a restaurant salad!

2. This Aveeno CC Cream! I am loving this tinted moisturizer for summer. It's great for evening out my skin tone, has SPF 30, and feels light on my face (unlike some other BB and CC creams I've tried). This is definitely one of my favorite finds this summer.

3. With school and our other weekly activities out for summer, I knew I needed to find some fun things to keep M busy in the morning, especially when I would be feeding T (he WON'T eat if he can see or hear her...super distracted baby!). I found these books on Amazon for cheap (and prime!) and M has loved them! The mazes are super simple for preschoolers and she loves the dot to dot book because she then colors in the picture at the end.

4. Along the same lines as the activities above, I picked up this cute felt board at Michael's yesterday. It was $10.99, but I used my 40% off coupon on my phone. M played with it for almost an hour during her afternoon rest time in her room. I'd consider that a win!

5. I love crafty projects, but it's been awhile since I've had the chance to do anything crafty that didn't involve M. I made this inbox system for our kitchen a few weeks ago to help reduce the clutter in our kitchen (so.many.papers.everywhere.) I bought the inboxes at Staples and used my silhouette to cut vinyl letters for our names. So far so good, and we've seen less piles of mail and school papers stacking up on our kitchen counters.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hilton Head Vacation

We spent all of last week down in South Carolina on Hilton Head Island. This was not only our first real vacation as a family of four, but it was also our first REAL trip to the beach with kids! Last spring we went to the Dominican Republic with M, but that was a very different type of beach trip since we were at a resort in the Caribbean. We knew M would have a ball playing in the sand and the ocean, but we weren't sure about T, but it took him no time at all to decide he loved it as well. He mostly enjoyed eating the sand and doing his best to crawl off into the ocean, but fun was had by all. 

I won't lie, J and I both like the beach, but we're both more mountains kind of people. So by the end of the week, he and I were both pretty happy to come back home to a sand free house and be done trecking both kids and all of their stuff out onto the beach each day. But despite the hard work and the abundant amount of sand we brought in every day, we really did have a fun time making memories as a family.

It was a hot week pretty much all over the southeast US last week, and it definitely didn't miss us. Most days the temperature was in the upper 90's, but with the heat index it felt well over 100. On Tuesday afternoon my phone said it felt like 121 outside. We spent a lot of afternoons inside just hanging out and then we'd do an early dinner and head down to the beach after we ate. Much more enjoyable once that sun was down!

One thing that was neat about HHI was all of the bike trails! We bought T his own helmet and J took both kids on lots of bike rides in the mornings before it got too hot out. T and I both were dealing with a yucky cold (and teeth for him) for the first part of the week, but thankfully by the end of the week we were both feeling better. But I will say, a cold for a baby means lots of snot, and lots of snot plus a sand eating baby makes for a lovely combo!

A few of our favorite places we visited while there...The Coastal Discovery Museum, Harbour Town (especially their playground!), French Kiss Bakery Cinnamon Buns, Breakfast at Skillets, Skull Creek Boathouse, Hudson's (which was very fun until Teddy knocked over a glass and broke it and proceeded to spill the drink all over his sister...which looking back is kinda funny now, but not fun when she screamed at the top of her lungs. For the rest of the evening she kept saying "T will never go back to a restaurant again!")

Another highlight of the beach was NAP TIME for M! She never naps at home these days, so this was a fun treat in the afternoons for everyone! We were even able to transfer her from the car to her bed for two full hours one afternoon!

T has really decided he likes to eat these days! We've been doing baby led weaning with him since he turned six months (I should do a full post on this) and just recently he has really gotten into it now that he's gotten the hang of the pincer grip. Homeboy is a MESS when he eats but he's loving it. 

On Thursday we drove to to Savannah to do some sightseeing and had a fun time! It's one of my favorite cities so I'm glad we made the little trip! We found a great playground there and had some lunch in between walking around and taking in the sights. M also picked out a souvenir t-shirt that's she's pretty proud of!

"Vacations" with little ones are work and you tend to come back more tired than you were before you left, but it's so worth it to see how much fun they have! Also, I will say, at 3.5, I think we may have even hit that magic of age of traveling with M. She stays happy and entertained in the car for long periods, she sleeps great in new places (which was SO not the case for her as a baby and small toddler), I don't have to pack as much for her, and she can happily be entertained with a coloring book and crayons when we go out to eat. It gives me hope for many more family vacations as both kids get bigger!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Preschool Game Recommendation for Going Out to Eat

About a year ago, we got a small sample version of the game Spot It Jr. in a kid's meal from Chick Fil A. The way it works is, you have a deck of cards that each have a combo of pictures and symbols on them. You turn over two cards at a time and any two cards will have one matching item on them. The goal is to be the first one to spot the match. It quickly became a go to game I kept in my bag for when we would go out to eat. I recently "upgraded" to the real version of the game from Amazon for $9.99. If you're a mom to a preschooler, get this game! It's comes in a small can that you can toss in your bag and you can easily pull it out at a restaurant when your kid gets bored coloring with the crayons and kids menu that they're given! There are a few different versions on Amazon, including a letters and numbers version which would be great if you're working on recognition.

M and J playing at Chuy's the other night...

The box said ages 4-7, but M has been happily playing since before she was 3. If they can recognize the pictures, they can play!

No one paid me to write about this game! It's just been a big hit for us, and I wanted to share! I did use Amazon affiliate links.

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!