Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Disney Planning Help?!?

Okay, I have a HUGE request to ask of all you fabulous readers. You guys are often excellent sources of information and I could use some help. 

Next month we are surprising The Cutes with a trip to...


DISNEY WORLD! 

Now Carrie Beth has been a time or two with her little ones, but this will be our first visit with the kids. We had planned on doing this trip last year for Cute's fifth birthday, but then Baby Cute surprised us, and bringing a three week old to Disney just didn't sound like our kind of fun - so we tabled it. 

Fast forward to this year, and we came up with the same basic idea. We are surprising Cute for his birthday (because less toys and more fun - keep in mind that whole New Year's goal thing we've got going on), but we had no idea the amount of planning that had to go into it. Eek!

We have a few major things already planned, but overall I am feeling a little overwhelmed at all that there is to do there! 

So help a mommy out and tell me all your Disney tips and tricks! 

What parks do you like best (especially for younger kids)? 
Where do you like to stay? 
What are your favorite places to eat? 
Anything we MUST do? 
Are character meals worth it? 
What are your favorite shows? 

(and...)

Where do you find all the cute matching outfits? 



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Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Favorites: All the Winter Things

Hurray for Friday! 

It was a super short week for us due to our "snow storm", and that's just the way I like my weeks. Someone needs to invent the three day week. I could totally be on board with that. 

Linking up for our first Friday Favorites of the year, and I'm so excited to share some of my favorites lately. 




The topic around here earlier in the week was all about the snow storm that hit Atlanta. I use that term "snow storm" loosely because, as Carrie Beth mentioned, it wasn't nearly as much as the weathermen predicted for our area, but it provided for some of my favorite moments of the week. 

We live about 15 miles north of Carrie Beth, and while she only got a dusting, our portion of town at least got an inch or so of icy snow. The Cutes woke up on Saturday morning, and were beyond excited! 


Fortunately, I was all prepared with newly purchased snow gear to battle those frigid temps and blizzard like conditions. 

Snow Gear
Me: Coat, Hat, Gloves 
Little Cute: Coat, Hat, Snow suit


For my little winter baby this was her first official snow. The older Cutes ran around like crazy people the first few moments in the snow, but BC wasn't having it. She was not a fan of the cold weather or snow at all. She was finally cracked a smile when I put two coats on her, put another snow suit on top of this one that I had on hand one size larger, and let my neighbor hold her with a blanket. I needed that picture because it reminded me of this...

{Scene from A Christmas Story}

The Cutes though couldn't get enough  though, and spent hours tubing, making snow angels, and attempting a painful snowball fight. 


I had so much fun with them, and even though it wasn't a whole lot of snow they definitely made the most it!




One of my favorite things about the snow was getting to test out my new boots


I put these boots on my Christmas list, and Mr. Cute surprised me with them under the tree. He made fun of me a little bit for requesting such a cold weather purchase, but let me tell you - best purchase ever!

We played outside for hours, and not once were my feet wet or cold. And they were so so comfy! 

I'm am smitten and have my eye on a few other fun pairs by the same brand...




Snowy days meant snowy nights. 


I had a feeling school would be canceled the first part of the week just due to icy road conditions. I took full advantage of being able to stay up late and have movie nights with The Cutes. We watched a movie every night, but our favorite had to be The Secret Life of Pets


And most mornings we woke up and played in our pjs all. day. long.  


It was SO nice to just let lounge and enjoy playing all day. The Cutes have become OBSESSED with puzzles and spent hours putting them together - whether large or small. Between those and Legos, I never really had to worry about entertainment. Talk about some old school fun for the win!



Because of how chilly it was, I had to bring my exercise routine in, and rely on my trusty treadmill to help me counteract all the comfort food calories I was intaking. About mid-way through the week I decided to download this show to watch while I walked/ran. 


How had I not started watching this earlier?!?

I am a few episodes into This Is Us, but I'm hooked!!!

It is definitely my new favorite, and I can't wait until I can steal a moment away to watch another episode!


When I wasn't crying from both the show and my old lady parts trying to run, lounging in my pjs, frolicking in the snow, or staring at my cute feet, I was playing this song on repeat...




And that wraps up my favorites for the week.

What were some of your favorites for the week?

Now off to kick off another weekend of playing outside, this time to enjoy all the summer time fun. Because this is the South. And it's now 75 degrees again. 

Happy weekend y'all!

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Cocktail Confessions: Spiked Sparkling Peach Tea

Last week when I was prepping for snow I picked some Sparkling Ice because my kids love them and it is a special treat for them to drink.  I thought it would be fun to have some on hand for our snow days at home.  I love these because they are zero-calories, they are carbonated which makes them just more fun, and they have tons of yummy flavors.  I use them a lot in the summer as cocktail mixers!


When I spotted the peach iced tea flavor I knew it had to come home with me. I'm a sweet tea addict and also love anything peach flavored. We are Georgia peaches after all!


I also picked up my favorite, Fruitland Augusta peach flavored vodka before heading home.  This Georgia peach vodka has a lot of history.  Augusta, Georgia was home to Fruitland Nurseries and there, millions of peach trees were planted by a gentleman by the name of Berckmans.  He became well-known for all of the peaches and other fruit and trees on the property.  Eventually, the property was bought by investors and today, this property is home to Augusta National, perhaps the most famous golf course in the world and home to The Masters.


I just knew this vodka made with real Georgia peaches and the Sparkling Ice Peach Tea would be a perfect match.  This cocktail screams Georgia!  It was perfect for a southern snow day in Georgia and will also be perfect poolside as a way to beat the steamy summer days we experience.  Pretty much, this cocktail is good year round!


Spiked Sparkling Peach Tea 
2 ounces peach flavored vodka
6 ounces Sparkling Ice Peach Tea

Mix vodka and Sparkling Ice and pour over ice.  Garnish with a peach slice and enjoy!


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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kitchen Confessions: Pork Tenderloin Stroganoff

Today's kitchen confession is really brought to you by Mr. Cute. I just sat back, ate, and enjoyed. 

Of the two of us, Mr. Cute is way more of a food person. When it comes to dinner, he likes decadent elaborate meals, and I am happy with chicken nuggets and a few raw carrots (he's totally gagging and eye rolling just reading that). Unfortunately for him, I'm usually in charge of the dinner making department here at Casa de Cute. While I've made a few attempts at venturing out (awesome attempts if I do say so myself), I've convinced the kids that crockpot chicken tacos four nights out of the week is the best thing ever, and Mr. Cute's dreams of homemade five star dinners have been put on permanent hold. 

#welcometoreality

Some days I feel bad about it. I really do. Especially as he stares longingly over my shoulder at those Pinterest recipes I am scrolling over in order to make sure I pin the most amazing Valentine's Day crafts ever. Maybe one day, when we are retired, I will sign up for a few cooking classes and really try. 

Or maybe I will sit on the beach with a fruity cocktail and a big fat novel in my lap. 

You just never know what the golden years might bring. 

When the new year rolled around we hosted my family for an evening of dinner and football. Mr. Cute decided we were to venture outside of all things slow cooked, and made a delicious Pork Tenderloin. Even though there were eight of us, he made so much we had a ton of leftovers. So much so that we were able to make two more meals out of them - with hosting an additional four other people each time. At least we were prepared!

My favorite of the two meals was this Pork Tenderloin Stroganoff.


It was SO good! And after asking Mr. Cute about it, I realized it was actually kind of easy to make (especially if you have Pork Tenderloin already made). It was a hit amongst even our pickiest of eaters, so I know Mr. Cute we will put this into our dinner rotation again soon.


PORK TENDERLOIN STROGANOFF

Ingredients

  • Pork Tenderloin (approximately 2 cups, diced)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 16oz. of sour cream
  • 1 pkg. of egg noodles

Directions
  1. Dice pork and onion. 
  2. Saute pork and onion together in a pan with butter. Cook until onions are tender. 
  3. Add sour cream to pan and stir.
  4. Cook egg noodles according to package. Drain. 
  5. Place pork mixture over noodles. 
  6. Serve and enjoy!


Enjoy dinner now and thank Mr. Cute later!

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Faux Snow Day

Snow here in the south is a pretty rare thing. It maybe snows once a year and when it does the folks up north laugh at our over-reactions.  Jen shared this on our Facebook page and it just about summed up last weekend.  


The talk of the town last week was the snow we might get on Friday night and into Saturday.  The forecasts were calling for anywhere from 1-5 inches so that meant all of the typical prep for southern snow began.  Grocery shelves are wiped clean of bread and milk, schools start canceling or dismissing early, and people relive and remember the storms of the past that left our entire city literally frozen in time.  Jen and I were among those people a few years back.  It got way worse, way faster than anyone had predicted and practically our entire city was stuck somewhere other than their own homes. 

Because of that incident, people don't mess around anymore and I'm more than happy when I got the call that school would be dismissing two hours early on Friday just to be sure everyone was home safely way before the snow began.   For the few hours my kids were in school I did all of the prepping I could for a snow day including a grocery store run, liquor store stop, and making sure all of the kids heavy coats, gloves, etc. were washed and ready to be worn.  

I, personally, love the anticipation of snow.  The frenzy that occurs with people running around town, talking about the possibility of sledding and snow angels, and all of the hype on the news stations that go along with it makes everyone exited!  

The grocery store was busier than I had seen it in a long time and although the bread and milk was pretty well stocked the eggs and bacon were not.  Apparently people want good breakfast food on snow days!  




I got the essentials like popcorn for all of the movies we'd be watching, hot chocolate to warm the kids up after playing out in the cold and stuff to cook for dinner because we wouldn't be going out to eat.  Then my next stop was the liquor store, because in my mind, a little day drinking is perfectly acceptable on a snow day.



Then all of the kids were home and we started to wait.  Little Boo-Boo was looking out the window every chance he got.  Just wishing, waiting and hoping for snow.  


It started raining and then turned into sleet for a while so we knew the snow must be close.  The kids did their regular superstitions to assure the snow would come...pajamas inside out and flushing ice cubes down the potty.


When I went to bed around midnight it still wasn't snowing and I was starting to get nervous that we wouldn't get anything at all.  I woke up around 6 and before rolling over and going back to bed I peeked outside and saw just a very small dusting of snow.


I thought for sure that my kids would wake up and be disappointed, but it was actually quite the opposite.  They were SO excited to look outside and see any snow at all and couldn't wait to get out in it to play.  



It was only then that we realized that he little snow we did get was covered in a sheet of ice and everything else, including our driveway, was also ice.  The plants, the basketball net, the streets, all of it - ICE! 


We might not have been able to sled or make a snowman or even have a snowball fight, but by golly we were still going to make the most of it.  My kids (all 4 of them - yes, including the Mr.) had a ball on our giant ice skating rink of a driveway.  They did donuts in the golf cart and power wheels, pretended to ice skate and ate icicles all day long.  



Even our pup, Walker, was loving it.  He was running around, eating ice/snow, and just having a grand ol' time.  I was so happy to see them all having so much fun and loved that they got excited, even if it was just a tiny bit of winter fun.


I made them come in every once and a while to warm up, because it was seriously SO cold.  When I wasn't making hot chocolate I spent most of my time parked on the couch, warming up by the fire, sipping wine and enjoying this AMAZING book.  I couldn't put it down and can't wait to share more on our next Book Club day.  


On Sunday afternoon we were able to get out and about a bit because the roads around us were fine, but we got lucky because the northern part of the county was still dealing with icy road conditions, making it unsafe for buses and drives to get kids to school so we got another snow day at home!  Not really a snow day...more of a faux snow day, but we'll take it!  

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Club: January

It's a new year and that means new books!

But first we need to wrap up 2016, and share what we read in December. 


Cheers! It's time for book club!


WHAT WE READ...

CARRIE BETH
My reading was really laking in 2016.  It was just a busy year trying to keep up with the kids activities, helping with homework late into the nights, and keeping up with the blog.  However, one of my goals for 2017 is to read more and I wanted to start off fresh so that meant finally finishing The Light Between Oceans.


I'll be honest.  I usually prefer light and easy reads and this was not one of them.  It is set in a different time period, in a different country and it took me a while to really get into the book.  However, just after half-way through I was totally hooked and stayed up half the night to finish it one night. I was SO torn between the characters and found myself seeing both sides of the story and putting myself in both of their shoes.  It is a great book for mother's and although I was crying at the end of the book, it was REALLY good.  


JEN
Last month was crazy, but I was able to start off the month strong with two books. Both were extremely different. I came away liking both, but not loving them. I'm ready to find a book I absolutely love. I'm up for suggestions!

First up last month was The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer. Yes - the same Stephanie Meyer who wrote the Twilight series. And listen, who didn't love reading those?

When I saw she wrote a new book, I was all in.


I went into The Chemist blind and had no clue what to expect. First, it is drastically different than the her previous novels. The Chemist follows Alex, a former secret government employee, in her quest to stay alive by staying well hidden. Through various circumstances she gets hired to do one more job, and the job definitely doesn't go as planned. 

Without giving too much away, I could not put this book down. It was fast-paced, kept me thinking, and even had a little bit of an unlikely love story mixed in (Spoiler Alert: Although I liked the characters together, I can assure you that if someone ever tortured me and caused me immense pain, I would not fall madly in love with them. I would run. Far. Just saying.).   

If you are a fan of a good love story as well as the Jason Bourne movies, this would be the perfect read for you. You won't be disappointed. 

Next up, I read a book Carrie Beth suggested a few months ago as her book club read - First Comes Love by Emily Giffin. 



I went into this one blind too, but I've loved Giffin's past novels so when CB mentioned this I put it in my queue to read. From the first few pages I was excited from a completely personal front because I realized the novel was based in Atlanta! It was fun throughout the book to read about some of our favorite restaurants, landmarks, or even laugh about some of the "hot spots" Giffin included in the novel. 

The novel follows two sisters and their journey following a family tragedy. You read how the tragedy shapes each sister's life choices, affects their family, and the role it plays in their current relationship with one another. It was a beautifully written heartbreaking story, and even though it wasn't the happiest of stories, I loved how First Comes Love wraps up. 

Grab your tissues and add this one to you list as a good snuggle up read for the winter. 



JANUARY'S PICKS...

CARRIE BETH'S PICK
See below! After hearing Jen tell me about this book and seeing it suggested by another blogger, I'm excited to read it!  

JEN'S PICK
First up for us this month is It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover. 


I've seen a few suggestions for this book here and there, but never really thought twice of it. Then my friend N read it, texted me immediately when she finished, and said I had to read it right away. From the few details she described - and her overall excitement - it is now the first book on my 2017 reading list.

What are you currently reading to kick off the New Year? 

And just to recap all of the books we read in 2016...


BOOK CLUB 2016
January | February | March | April | May |June |July | August | September | October | November |December|

Happy Reading!
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