Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! 
And let the countdown begin...we officially have four weeks until SUMMER!! I've hit that point in the school year where I am just D.O.N.E. 

I am ready to fill my days with swimming in the pool, lounging at the beach, late night cookouts, running through the sprinkler, sleeping in late (a mom can dream)...all of it! 

Until then I will just day dream of all that gloriousness and rejoice in the present with some of the fun finds I stumbled upon this week. 

As usual with most Fridays, we are linking up for Friday Favorites and sharing a few fun things that have excited us this week. 

I know Book Club isn't until next week, but I've been in the waiting room of various appointments these last few weeks, and boy do I have a lot to share for our next "meeting", but go ahead and put this little novel on your radar...

Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey

I told you I'm excited for summer, right? The summer-like temps combined with the start of swim lessons has me breaking out some of our summer clothes already. 

Cute girls clothes from Old Navy. Flamingos & Watermelon style for summer!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I did a little summer shopping for the kids, but I forgot to mention how cute everything was for the kids too! I couldn't resist these little shorts for L.C. The flamingo shorts were a must and the watermelon shorts were just too cute to leave behind. 

These shorts are the perfect weight for hot summer days, and they are so soft and comfortable. They come in a ton of other patterns and colors as well (and bonus right now they are only $4/pair!). 

There are tons of other cute style shorts available as well that I might have to go back and scoop up. These are just a few of my favorites (click pictures for details)...

The kids aren't the only one breaking out some of their summer finds though. I've wore one of my all time favorite t-shirt dresses so many times lately I'm nervous people are going to wonder if it's the only article of clothing I own aside from my infamous black yoga pants.

| Minnie Mouse Jelly Bellys | Necklace | Bracelet |
Sail to Sable makes the most adorable coastal style clothing, and I just adore all of their dresses. How darling are these?!?

(Click pics for details.) 

Their tunic shifts are one of my favorite things to wear throughout summer when I just want to throw on something cute over my swimsuit or to run an errand with the kids. You look so put together, yet you're comfortable. 

And a few of them are on sale right now! And the green strapless dress comes in a maxi length as well that is marked down to under $60!

Now I do love the warmer temperatures, but I do not like the amount of yuck this time of year brings from the outdoors to the inside. Between the pollen and the hair from our lab Max, my vacuums have been running in over drive. 

I've never been so thankful for our Roomba or normal vacuum cleaner than ever before. It seems like this season has been worse than the past few years. 

{O.M.G.! Look how tiny Baby Cute is here!! Excuse me while I go cry big ugly tears...)

Over a year later and still having a great love affair with the Roomba, and can't think of a better house cleaning investment. If you have to have a favorite vacuum in your life these two would have to make the cut. 

One of my favorite things from the whole entire month was a little gift package from our good friends Kathryn at Feathered Nest Boutique.  

Georgia state pride theme wear. Makes for a great gift for grads!

Carrie Beth unboxed our goodies on Instagram, but for those of you who didn't get to see, check out these amazing monogrammed hometown goodies she sent. 

I have been so excited to show off my peach state pride. Georgia will always be my favorite!

And if you haven't taken a peek at all the adorable things Kathryn creates on her website, you are missing out! 

And that wraps up my favorites lately. Now onto my weekend and to let the countdown really start commencing! 

 Happy weekend! What are some things that would make your favorites from this past week? 

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Basement Inspiration

Some of you may remember that when I shared my goals for 2017 one of them was to complete some BIG house projects including finishing our basement and a big yard project.  We're currently in the middle of both and it's been going on in parts and pieces for almost a month now, including lots of trucks at my house on a daily basis and a lovely construction dumpster in front of the house.

I'm trying to be patient because these things take time, but there is still a lot to be done.  Today I thought I'd share my inspiration for the basement project and I hope to share yard inspiration soon and then updates for both along the way!

First though...a little background.  When we bought our home several years ago it was a 1966 ranch that we pretty much took down to the basement foundation and rebuilt.  We wanted to be in a certain school district and in a certain area, but finding a house we loved was tough so instead we took on a major project.  We loved the property.  It felt like we were in the middle of no where, but we are literally minutes away from everything.  There is a small creek running through the property, right beside the house, so we had to keep the existing foundation during the rebuild. If you walked in our front door you'd think everything was new and for the most part it is.

However, the basement still looks like 1966.  It's like a deep, dark dungeon that we didn't use except for storage.  And when I say storage, I mean all of the stuff we never needed, but held onto just because we had the space to store it.  Before we could get started on the basement we had to tackle cleaning it out.  We moved a bunch of shelves to the garage so I could store all of my holiday decorations and other things we were keeping.  The rest of it we either donated or tossed at the dump.  We had SO much stuff down there.  Teaching supplies I hadn't used in 10 years, old furniture, a pressure washer that had NEVER worked in the time we owned it...just so much stuff.

I'm lucky that the Mr. is really handy and he also is very knowledgeable about construction and design so he drew out our plans for the basement and with a little feedback from me he finalized the layout.

When we were first getting started I did what I always do when I have a home project to make decisions about.  I consult my favorite design source...Pinterest!  When we were building our house a few years ago I had so many people ask me if I had a designer to help me, but I didn't.  I always tell people who are building or remodeling to use my method. I pinned a bunch of things I liked or that caught my eye and then looked for a trend in what I had pinned.  For example, when we were picking out things for the kitchen I looked at my Kitchen Pinterest board and saw that I loved a certain type of cabinet, a certain style of tile back splash, a wooden counter top, etc.  I printed off pictures, took them with me to the design appointments with those vendors and tried to recreate what I saw in the pictures I had pinned.

For this basement project I'm basically doing the same thing.  We're planning to have a kitchen/bar area, a tv space, a workout room, bathroom and bedroom so I've been pinning things for those spaces.  Here's some of the trends that I've narrowed down in all of my pins that I just love and plan to incorporate in one way or another!

I blame Chip and Joanna for my love of shiplap, but it adds such interesting detail and I just love the look of it.  I really love any unique paneling, woodwork, trim and shiplap falls into that category for me.  Anything besides just plain ole drywall gives me big heart eyes!

Interesting Island 
While I'd love to do a fun color on the cabinets in the basement, I'm leaning towards an off-white like we have in our kitchen just because I feel like it is pretty classic and will last with the times.  However, we plan on having a very large island in the basement so I'm hoping to do something fun with it.  Maybe a different color or some interesting details on it?!  I really wanted an X on the end of our island in the kitchen, but it just didn't work out so I'm hoping to do that for the basement.  Love all of these details!

Barn Doors 
Another thing I really wanted in our house that we couldn't work in anywhere were barn doors.  I'm literally obsessed and love them so much.  I think we have the perfect space for them in the basement so I can't wait!

Neutral Tones 
One of the main reasons we ended up rebuilding our house instead of our original plan to renovate was the low ceiling heights in the original home.  Tall ceilings just make everything seem so much more open, but we won't have that option in the basement.  The ceilings are 1966 low so I'm going to be doing everything I can to trick the eye into thinking they are higher than they are.  One of the big things is to keep everything neutral.  I plan to paint the walls and ceilings the same light color, keep the furniture and accessories pretty neutral.

These are obviously just some of the many ideas floating around in my head and there is no telling if we'll be able to do them all, but I'm really hopeful! I want this space to be inviting and comfortable for our family and our guests because I see it as the place where we will do a lot of entertaining.  I'm excited to share the progress with anyone who is interested in following along!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Amara Organic Baby Food

I am continuously amazed at how genius some people are. When I stumbled upon these organic dried baby food packets from Amara Baby Food, I had an "aha!" moment. I only wish I had found these a little sooner. Like six years sooner. They would have made life so much easier when I started this little journey called motherhood. Now I am making up for lost time though, as they have quickly become one of my favorite healthy ways to feed my children children on the go.

(Parents of older children, stay with me - because even though these dried baby food packets and for tinier tots, I have a sneaky way or two on how to make them useful for older children as well.)

These organic dried baby food packets make feeding baby so easy! Imagine getting all the healthy benefits of fresh homemade pureed baby food with out any of the time, effort, or the huge mess and clean-up in your kitchen. All you have to do is add a little water, formula, or breast milk to the contents of the packet and you have an amazing meal ready to go for your little one.

Not to mention the packets are light weight and mess free. Say goodbye to those cumbersome baby food containers! You can free up all that space in your diaper bag, and no longer worry about any accidental spills or breakages that might have previously occurred.

Now Baby Cute is just beyond the age of baby food, but I've loved feeding her a serving of the Oats n' Berries packet with her breakfast. It makes for a quick, easy, and healthy addition to what finger foods she might be eating.

We've been working on her utensil skills lately and clearly she's in love with the taste as much as I love feeding it to her.

And apparently so is L.C. Queen Elsa.

As for Cute, and L.C. they have no idea, but they love the Amara Organic Baby Food packets too! While I've tried my best to get my children to eat great right from the start, sometimes they need a little boost now and then. And never in my life have I heard either one of them utter, "Mom, I would absolutely love a large serving of kale right now! And can I get that with a large side of broccoli, please?". Not in my wildest dreams would that ever happen.

Long ago I was given a sneaky little trick to get kids to incorporate more fruits and veggies into their diet. A friend told me to mix baby food into their smoothies or into certain recipes. I love this little healthy hack because I feel like I'm totally beating them at the "anti-veggie" battle.

So when I received the dried baby food packets, I realized using my sneaky trick would work a lot easier now for some of my favorite recipes.

After school I mix up a quick smoothie of some fruit (usually a banana or strawberries), yogurt, a little ice, and then blend in a little dried baby food. Voila! Healthy snack that everyone is happy about. 

Later I realized that I'm not the only one who has thought of this genius idea. Upon visiting their website, and social media accounts, I noticed the lovely people at Amara also have some fabulous ideas for how to use their packets in other yummy recipes. 

If you're interested in testing out the Amara Organic Dried Baby Food, I was able to find the packets at Whole Foods, but spotted all the flavors on Amazon as well. 

Now tell me, what mom hacks do you have for sneaking in extra fruits and veggies into your children's diets? Inquiring minds want to know!

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The easiest way to feed baby and kids a healthy meal while on the go.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  So happy the weekend is almost here.  It's been a doozy of a week and our weekend is going to be even crazier, but tons of fun.  We have a birthday sleepover party, a company-wide family picnic day at Six Flags in the morning, then we travel an hour for a soccer game and then back to our side of town for a baseball game.  Then I can guarantee I am going to crash.   

As usual, I'm linking up with some of our favorite bloggers for Friday Favorites and have a fun assortment of stuff things to share.  

First up one of my favorites is when my family wears coordinating outfits!  When my kids were little I dressed them in matching and coordinating outfits almost daily, but now it is very, very rare.  However, for Easter this year it all kind of worked out.  I had bought my dress at the Lilly Pulitzer sale at the end of last summer and knew I wanted to wear it for Easter.  The girls dresses are Lilly Pulitzer for Target that still fit them from a few years ago because they ran so big and the Mr. happened to pick up a pink striped polo for Boo-Boo at the Masters this year.  It was like it was meant to be!

After church on Easter we changed into comfortable clothes and made our way to my in-laws' home for the afternoon.  The kids hunted for eggs, we played outside and even enjoyed a quick boat ride.  Their favorite thing from that day that they loved playing with was this Super Duper Spinner.  It's like a giant disk swing and it is so much fun!

Gigi bought it and has it hanging in front of her house. You can sit or stand and it holds up to 650 pounds so the kids can all climb on it.  We're in the middle of a big yard project, but when we are done I'm planning to order one (or more) of these and have them at home in our yard, too! 

Are anyone else's kids obsessed with Fidget Spinners?  It's the new craze and my kids would say this is certainly their new favorite thing.  I would say it is a favorite of mine because it keeps them happy and entertained in the car.  I had no idea what they were when my kids were telling me "everyone at school has them."  

Let's just say we can add this to the list of things I wish I'd invented.  They are small hand-held gadgets that you hold at the center and spin around.  Yep, that is it.  And for $20 you can have one of your own.  Seriously, why didn't I think of this.  They are apparently nothing new.  They were originally invented to help people with anxiety, ADHD, people with bad habits like nail biting and other focusing issues.  Well somehow this little gadget exploded in popularity overnight and now every kid around wants one.  We found ours at a local toy store, but Amazon has them, too! 

Anyone have kids that play sports?  If so that probably means you deal with your fair share of stinky shoes, cleats and equipment.  Last week I came across this Stink Stoppers spray and it is my new favorite thing for keeping my kids sports equipment smelling fresh.  I'd tried lots of other methods, but this seems to work the best so far.  After they take off their cleats, shin guards, etc. I just give it all a quick spray and it really freshens them up and eliminated the odors.  So much better than it smelling like a sweaty locker room!  I will probably be buying this spray in bulk over the next few years!

This is kind of random, but my new favorite spot in my bathroom is this little corner. I used to have my jewelry, lotions, and other stuff all spread out all over my counter, but I decided to put it all on a silver tray to kind of contain it all in one spot.  The result is a much tidier bathroom counter.  The silver tray was a wedding gift and we used it when entertaining, but not that often so now I get to put it to great use every single day.  I did the same thing for the Mr. on his side of the bathroom, but used a painted clay bowl instead so it would look a little more manly.  He keeps all sorts of things in the bowl and empties his pockets there each evening so it has worked out great.  

My last favorite this week is this amazing letter.  My daughter is taking the statewide standardized test this week.  Last year she felt stressed, pressured and overwhelmed by what she thought was such a big and important test.  Her teacher this year is taking an approach that I completely agree with.  She wrote this note to her students and when I read it I was brought to tears. I am so thankful for wonderful teachers like this one that make such a positive difference in my kids lives.  This was definitely my favorite thing I read all week long.  

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!!  

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