Friday, January 24, 2020

Friday Favorites: Gift Ideas for Boys

Happy Friday!!!  I always love seeing another weekend roll around, and this one came especially quickly since it was a 4-day school week. If you have kids then your weekends are likely to involve some birthday parties. I feel like it sort of comes in waves, but the birthday party circuit is going strong around here.  Often times we just do gift cards for my kids' friends, but if I'm feeling on top of it I will stock up on gifts to have on hand.  Today for Friday Favorites I thought it might be kind of fun to share some of our favorite gift ideas for boys.  Some of these are items my son has had for a while and some are gifts they he got for Christmas and has just LOVED.  

1. Cotton Candy Maker ($29.99) and Supplies ($18.99): My son got this cotton candy maker for Christmas and all of my kids have loved it! It's so fun to see the cotton candy form right in front of their eyes and also a fun treat to make when they have friends over.  It's small enough to stick under a cabinet or in your pantry when you aren't using it and I have been impressed with how well it works and how easy it is to clean up when they are done. 

2. Slushy Maker Cup ($23.99): My kids all over these slushy maker cups. You keep the inner cup part in the freezer and when you are ready to make a slushy you put whatever kind of drink you want in it and continue stirring/scrapping the sides for about 5-10 minutes until it is frozen.  It's a fun after school treat and perfect in the summer when it is SO hot!  

3. Dig It Up Dinosaur Eggs ($25.99): These little eggs each contain little dinosaur figurines and the kids have to chip away using the given tools to find what is inside.  This kept my son entertained for what felt like HOURS.  He loved seeing what was in each one. It's a bit messy so I would recommend setting them up outside or make sure you cover their work surface, but such a fun activity. 

4. Alexa Echo Dot ($34.99): Quite possibly one of his favorite gifts was his Echo Dot which he calls his Alexa.  I hear him up in his room talking to Alexa all the time. He asks her what the weather is, he uses it as his alarm clock, he has it play music and he just talks to it like a friend. When he leaves he tells Alexa goodbye and she tells him jokes, sings him songs, etc. It was so easy to set up using my Amazon account and my daughters already had them so he loves being able to "drop in" on their rooms to talk to them. I was hesitant about him having one, but it has been the the greatest! 

5. Alpha Rouge Blaster with Scope ($9.97): My son will get hooked on something and WILL NOT stop talking about it.  He played with this dart gun at a friend's house and when he came home it was all I heard about. We searched and searched and finally found it!  He spent some of his Christmas money on it and has used it every day since. It isn't a NERF brand, but it fits the NERF darts  and he loves it because of the scope and the way it loads the darts.  It is a great value and has held up really well, even with all of his rough play. 

6. Over the Door Basketball Hoop ($24.99): This is one of those things we have had for several years now and something he still uses daily.  We used to keep to in our playroom, but moved it to the back of his bedroom door and he will constantly shoot baskets when he is getting ready for bed or when he is just hanging out in his room. He'll try all sorts of different "trick shots" from all over his room.  It has little rubber backers so it doesn't damage the door.

7. Zipline ($99.95): This one is definitely pricier, but would be a great gift to get your own child for a birthday if you have the space for it.  We installed this just after Christmas and all of the kids love riding on it.  It is a legit zipline and I couldn't get over having something like this in our yard!  Such a fun thing for kids to play on and something that will keep them outdoors! 

8. Dino Fossil Kit ($7.99): I was SO impressed with this National Geographic Dino Fossil kit. My son LOVED using the little tools and chipping away to find the treasures inside. Every kit contains part of a dinosaur tooth, bone and even dino poop which he got a kick out of.  This would be a fun add on to a gift since the price is so affordable or you could buy several and use it as a party activity for your dinosaur loving kids! They make several other similar kits (gemstones, shark fossils, fools gold) and I imagine they would all be just as good. 

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Weekend Getaway: Cheer Competition in Indianapolis

If you follow us on Instagram you probably saw my little getaway to Indianapolis this past weekend.  My oldest daughter and I went there for a big cheer competition she was competing in and we had the best time. I had no idea what to expect because I had never been to Indy before, but all I kept thinking about was the cute movie Turbo.

My son used to LOVE this movie. It's about a snail gets super speed powers and races in the Indy 500. If you have little boys and haven't seen this movie you should watch is so cute!

I looked into flights, but waited too long and they were all so expensive so I decided to make the 7 1/2 hour drive instead. It turned out to be such an easy drive. When I saw that we were going to be heading right through Nashville we decided to forgo a quick fast food and instead make the most of our time there.

We ended up taking a pictures with the famous mural wall, walked around a bit, and ate at a great little sandwich shop that was nearby.

There were so many fun places to see and I just wish we had a little longer there.  I definitely want to go back to Nashville for a weekend.

When we got to Indianapolis we got settled in our hotel, which was located right downtown. My daughter was surprised by a fun little good luck treat my mother-in-law had sent to our hotel.  It was from Cookies by Design and was such a sweet surprise!  Her team name is Moonlight and their signature color is purple, so these cookies were just perfect.

We met some friends from her team for dinner and then tried to get to bed somewhat early to be ready for the first day of competition.

Unlike other sports where my kids can just throw on a uniform and head to a game, cheer requires a lot of time for hair and makeup to be competition ready.

Y'all know I love theme wear so I'll take any chance I get to dress to match a theme.  Most of the moms try to wear purple to support the girls and when I found this Shoot for the Moon necklace from James Avery I knew I had to have it.

I love that James Avery creates one of a kind jewelry with meaningful messages of family, faith and love.  This necklace is certainly meaningful to myself and my daughter.  This team is so special because is her first year cheering at this prestigious gym. It is also a team that has overcome so many obstacles to be where the are now! 

The way cheer competition scoring works is that they compete two days in a row. One day is generally worth 25% of their score and the next day is worth 75% of their score.  A hit routine means they got zero deductions and that is always the goal!

As we get closer to the time for them to take the stage,  I get SUPER nervous. I have butterflies in my stomach, my hands start shaking and I just feel sick.  She is a flyer and I am always nervous she will fall so I think that is part of where my nerves come from. I'm not ever worried about her falling and getting hurt, I'm worried about her falling and being upset and feeling like she let her team and coaches down.  They practice longer and harder and have more heart than any sport I have ever witnessed and I just want them to do their best!  I was talking with another mom and the thing with this sport is that they only get once chance.  It's not like other sports where you can make a mistake and then comeback from it to win.  This sport only gives them 2 1/2 minutes to show what they can do and if they make a mistake, there is no coming back from it. The great news is that they looked amazing on Saturday and hit their routine!

Their coach was in tears by the end of their performance because she was just so proud and all of the parents felt the same way.  The girls came off stage on a high and were SO excited.

Day one was done so she could relax for the rest of the day!  That afternoon we decided to walk around the mall a little. It is located right int he middle of downtown and has tons of windows so you can see all of the city.

While we were there there was a photo op with the Navarro cheerleaders from the Netflix show CHEER  She was so excited to see them person and get a photo with them.  For all of you CHEER fans, Morgan was super nice to her and it totally made her day.

That night we walked around the town a bit and about froze!  It was such a neat city though and I love how everything was easy to get to on foot.

That night we ate dinner with some friends at a place called Burger Study and it was delicious!

The next morning we were up early and ready for day 2!  It's always more of the emotional roller coaster and all I want them to do is come off the stage feeling like they did their best.

It was another beautiful HIT routine and you could just tell that they all felt SO good about what they had done.

Two hit zero routines over the weekend was a huge accomplishment for them!  

They were awarded an execution award for their stunting which was such an honor because that is one of the things they work hardest on!  

We knew there was a very good chance they could win the competition.  After day 1 they were in 2nd place and with the routine they performed on Sunday they all felt confident they had moved up.  It was incredibly heartbreaking for them all when they were announced as second place and even more so when we learned that they had only lost by 0.05.  SO close!  

However, a great thing came out of the weekend.  Even though they didn't win, their score was SO high that they were awarded a bid to The Summit!  Summit is in Orlando and is like the Super Bowl of allstar cheer for her level. You have to be invited to attend and it is a really big deal.  They were all ecstatic when they found out on Monday night!  

There is a bid reveal show so we planned a team party so they could watch it together and celebrate!  The very next night they had a 3 hours practice so it was right back at it for this team.  No rest, but they wouldn't have it any other way! 

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Valentine's Day Style on Amazon

We blinked and it's already Wednesday. How did that happen?! Usually this time of year seems to drag on. The post holiday lull in combination with frigid weather usually makes us longing for warmer weather and Spring days. But this year, between the kids and house projects, we look at our calendars and realize it's almost the end of January. Bless those tiny people and their 1,004,594 activities and hours of Common Core math homework for distracting us from the blah that is January.

And with February on the horizon we get a little giddy. With its days filled of Super Bowl excitement, all things hearts and love, a break from school, and the hope of warmer days just around the corner - we can't help but feel excitement. 

A month with all those fun things needs to be celebrated. And you know how we like to celebrate - with theme wear. While we were shopping at our favorite store (Amazon) we couldn't resist adding a little Valentine's Day attire to our Prime order. I don't know why we were surprised, but Amazon just has so many cute options! It was hard to narrow it down to just one (or, ahem, three).

Here's just a peek at some of our favorite Valentine's Day options we found...

  1. XOXO Shirt - Love the cute buffalo check pattern of the hearts. Only $13!
  2. Simple Heart Long Sleeve - Tunic length and comes in a couple of colors. 
  3. Love Tee - Has an option to have your mini match you! Comes in two colors and under $16. 
  4. Heart Sweater - Several color options. 
  5. Long Sleeve Heart Elbow Tee - Comes in three colors and is monogrammable. 
  6. Heart Elbow Sweater - Super cozy material and has great reviews! 

  1. Red Heart Ruffle Neck Top - Cute ruffle details and comes in at under $17.
  2. Heart Belted Tunic Top - Long enough to be worn with leather leggings. 
  3. Pink Heart Puff Sleeve Top - Comes in tons of colors and has great reviews. Under $30. 

The options on Amazon are endless. To see all of our favorite Valentine's Day Styles for the whole family, we've put everything in one quick spot for you easily check out.  See all of our Valentine's Day Styles on Amazon HERE

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Rug Refresh with Old Time Pottery

Thank you Old Time Pottery for sponsoring our Rug Refresh. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

I'm knocking items off my January project list left and right. This week's project was a rug refresh. I feel like a rug is one of those decor pieces that you should always put at the top of the list. It anchors the room, can pull together colors, or can serve as texture to your space. Last year I updated all the rugs on the main floor of our home, so this year I decided to set my sights on our bedrooms and upper floor of our home. 

Because these are some of the rooms the kids frequent the most, and not ones typically seen by guests, I wanted to try to keep these rugs more budget friendly. Old Time Pottery was one of the first places that popped into my mind. They are usually one of the top places I go when I need seasonal decor or great accessories, but I remembered they also have a large rug section. 

And boy do they ever. I didn't realize how large of a selection they actually have until I started working my way through it. 

Indoor rugs. Out door rugs. Bathroom rugs. Large, medium sized, small, handmade...they offer it all. 

There are tons of colors, patterns, piles, and textures available in a variety of sizes. I knew I needed something in the 5x7 to 8x10 range, and had specific colors in mind. I had a hard time limiting myself to not take a basket full of rugs home. There were so many great options and one rug in particular had me almost convinced to re-do an entire space around it. But, I managed to show restraint. 

For now. 

My favorite shopping buddy and I left with two rugs - one for the baby's room and one for our master bedroom. 


Our bedroom seems to be one of those spaces I constantly am tweaking. I think because it is one of the rooms we spend the most time in it. We have a little reading/TV watching nook set up in it and the kids love snuggling up in it while I'm folding laundry or cleaning. 

I've actually been on a hunt for a rug for this room for years, but could never find anything I just loved. Just when I put it out of my mind, I find something. This was actually the first rug I spotted at Old Time Pottery. I noticed the cute tassel edges and it looked like the right color blue that we have sprinkled throughout the room. When I opened it up to check it, I knew immediately it was going to come home with me. And for less than $130...Mr. Cute is lucky I didn't buy two. 

The rug also has a subtle cream pattern in it too that I love. 

The rug was just what our bedroom needed for a little pop of color amidst all the neutral whites we have going on. 


The nursery is the room that will be getting the biggest makeover this year. Our baby isn't so baby any more. It's more than time for her to be in a big girl bed. And let's be honest, she's only slept in that crib like five days her entire life. She "naps" in it some nights, but most of the time she sneaks into our bed or her siblings beds. 

Her room will be staying similar colors, but she's requested a "princess" room. When I spotted this rug, I knew it would be the perfect addition to her big girl room makeover. 

But I just couldn't resist going ahead and putting it out. It immediately brightened her entire room. I wish I had done a rug refresh in there earlier. 

Her room is one of my favorites we've done in our house. It will be bitter sweet to see it change from nursery to a big girl room. She's the last of our little ones and it reminds me how quickly she is growing up. 

But it is fun getting her input and seeing her little personality take shape in her room. More pink, more "make-up", and more soft touches like this rug. It was also a steal at under $100 for the quality and the size (its a 5x7). 

I'll share more about her updated room soon, but for now we're all enjoying these little rug refreshes I found at Old Time Pottery. Now to decide whether to go back for that rug I'm still thinking about days later...

Visit HERE to start your own rug refresh with Old Time Pottery. 

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Home Sweet Home Tour: Dining Room

It's been a hot minute since I've shared a post in the Home Sweet Home Tour series.  With the holidays and everything being decorated for Christmas I took a little break from it, but now the house is back in order and I'm back to sharing!

Today I'm sharing our dinning room, but first here is a little look back and the other posts in this series: 

Just after buying our first house we needed to have the exterior painted.  We were in our early 20's, trying to save money every way we could, and the Mr. got a wild hair that instead of paying professional painters, he would just do it himself. I wasn't really on board and didn't think it was the greatest idea because it was a two story house.  However, he convinced me by saying that with the money we saved we could buy dining room furniture.  That's all it took to sell me on the idea! We had been living with an empty dining room and I was eager to buy furniture. He bought all the equipment (including a two story ladder), painted the house every weekend for about a month, and then we were off to buy furniture! 

We found our table at a store in Atlanta called Manorisms that I believe has closed down now.  They used to carry one-of-a-kind pieces and the second we saw the table we fell in love with it!  

It didn't have chairs to match, but we found a bench at the same store that worked for one side and then ended up getting Parsons chairs from Ballard Designs for the other sides. 

The table is oversized and every time we moved and looked for a new house the dining room was often a make or break for us.  I wasn't willing to give up the table and a lot of homes we looked at didn't have dining rooms that were big enough to fit the table.  

When we bought the house we live in now, the original house had a sunken living room that was just one step down from the rest of the house.  As we were reworking the layout and changing things up, this space was going to become our new dining room.  We talked about raising the floor to make it all level, but I kind of liked that it was different. And, it fit our dining room table perfectly! 

It's hard to tell from the picture above, but we ultimately decided to keep the step down and added an archway to set this room apart.

I knew I wanted judges paneling on the walls and I like having the little ledge on the top of the paneling. I'm able to rest things there instead of having to put more holes in the wall. I bought those HOME letters from Hobby Lobby to go somewhere else in the house, but they ended up working better in here.  

I found these giant mason jars in the basement left from the original owners and I can't even image how old they are.  The house was built in the 60's and when I found them they were covered in what looked like years and years of dust and dirt.  It was such a treasure though because I cleaned them up, filled them with some greenery and found the little caddy at Home Goods to hold them all.  

That pretty much sums up the dining room.  The Mr. jokes that this room never gets used, but we actually used it a ton over the holidays so it just sort of depends on what we have going on.  I love having this space though and wouldn't change it! 

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