Friday, July 28, 2017

Back-to-School Teacher Gift Baskets

The time as come for back to school.  We were all digging in our heels and trying to make summer break last as long as possible, but we are into our last few days before the first day of school.  We had meet and greet at our school yesterday where the kids got to meet their new teachers and see their new classrooms.  We're thrilled with their teachers and after meeting them all three of my kids said they couldn't wait for school to start on Monday! I just know they are going to have a great year.

I've shared this idea several times before, but I always like to make little gift baskets to take to the teachers on this day.  It helps let them know just how excited the kids are to be in their class and really sets the tone for how much we appreciate them all year long!

What we put in the baskets will vary from year to year and since we've been so busy recently, this year I made it easy on myself.  I got some great gift basket supplies from Oriental Trading.  They have a huge selection of items for teachers and classroom supplies.  I went with Sharpies, large colorful binder clips, magnetic hooks and fun washi tape.

I always pick up baskets for this project at the Dollar Store and while I was there I grabbed a few other items to help fill the baskets.  Pain relief for those days that noisy children might give them headaches, gum, notepads, and other little goodies. We arrange everything in a basket, wrap it up with clear cellophane and tie it with a pretty bow!

The kids love helping to put these baskets together for their teachers and they are always even more excited to give it to them.  I feel like this is a great ice breaker for kids that might be a little nervous or timid to meet their teachers because it gives them a purpose and makes them excited to walk into their room and present the gift to their teachers.

It's always a pleasant surprise for the teachers and puts a smile on their faces.  They love being shown how much we appreciate them from day one.

Carrie Beth 

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**Some of these items were gifted to us through our partnership with Oriental Trading. All thoughts and opinions are our own. **

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Shark Party

How to plan an easy shark party! Great shark themed party with free activity printables.

This week has been filled with all sorts of shark related fun, and we thought, "Why not have a party?!"

Last year, the boys in my family became obsessed with Shark Week, and when I saw it fell right after our vacation, I knew I wanted to have a little fun with it since we had left the kids behind for a few days. #momguilt

Plus, I am all about any excuse to throw a party. Life's too short not to celebrate the little things. And by little things, I mean toothy creatures lurking on every beach of my family vacation ready to make me it's snack. 

I might be slightly traumatized from some of the episodes that I've seen. Slightly. 

But that doesn't stop my little family from soaking up all things shark. So...SHARK PARTY!


I've kept everything super simple so that I could whip this together any time we had downtime this week.  Before I left for vacation I ordered a ton of supplies from Oriental Trading. They have a ton of cute shark themed party items.  They even had some fun nautical themed decor I was able to tie in.

Shark party ideas. Great kids party theme for shark week.

I love these navy striped runners, and as a bonus - they are washable! I love being able to re-use party decor. I placed it on top of my go-to reusable  wipeable white table cloth, and then I sprinkled the table with this fun turquoise acrylic ice that I found.

After dinner I was able to quickly set up the Shark Bar. Once the kids grabbed their goodies we settled in to watch. I put the bar together with a couple of fun shark themed salty sweet snacks, and a few activities the kids could do while they were watching. It all took a matter of minutes, but put a huge smile on their faces!


I like to keep my party food fairly simple. Since this was just a little after dinner shark soiree everything I planned took literally seconds. 

These shark lollipops were the biggest hit. Not only were they yummy and adorable, they made for an easy way to tie in the shark theme to a pop corn snack.

I simply popped popcorn, put it in a fun navy popcorn box, stuck the unwrapped lollipop in the popcorn, and sprinkled it with red M&Ms. Easy, themed, and delicious!

Easy shark party snack. Cute shark lollipops!

These shark favor boxes also contained a yummy little treat. I made some Shark Bark, and placed a few pieces in each box. They gobbled this up faster than you could say, "Shark Attack!".


Even though the main event was watching the Shark Week episodes, I wanted to throw in a few fun activities the kids could do while watching as well. 

Full Disclosure: I recorded everything ahead of time and made Mr. Cute (he happily volunteered) make sure it was "kid-friendly" before I let The Cutes preview anything. 

I set up a little shark booth so that during commercial breaks we could have some fun. I love a good Photo Booth and when I saw this shark photo prop I couldn't resist. I re-used my red photo backdrop from the Emoji Party we had at the beginning of summer, and put out some sunglasses we had left over as well. It was hilarious and the kids had so much fun with it!

And maybe I had a little fun with it too.

A lot of fun.

During the show we played Shark Bingo. I made these cute little Bingo cards for the kids to interact with while they were watching their episodes. I found some super cute coordinating shark pens, and let them go. Whoever won got to read an extra shark story before bed time.  This was a game that even Mr. Cute and I got into. The kids come by their competitiveness honestly.

Shark Bingo Cards. A free downloadable shark bingo card for kids. Great for shark week or a fun shark party activity!

Another activity I had out were these Magic Color Scratch Sharks. L.C. has a short attention span - even when shark shows are involved - so I thought this would be an easy little thing the kids could have on hand.

I doubled them as decor for the Shark Bar, and the kids loved how they turned into multi-colored holographic sharks. There were four different varieties included in the pack so they were able to get lots of coloring done if they wanted.

Overall we have had a blast celebrating shark week and learning a little bit more about the rulers of the ocean. It's been a great summer time activity, and nothing is more fun than a little shark party. 

Create a shark photo booth in just a few easy steps. Great for a shark party!

Have you been enjoying Shark Week? How do you make it fun? 


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**Some of these items were gifted to us through our partnership with Oriental Trading. All thoughts and opinions are our own. **

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Children's Book Club: Shark Attack!

It's Shark Week, and our kids are obsessed! Every time we turn around they are turning on the Discovery Channel to see what sharks are terrorizing swimming the ocean waters at that moment. Sharks are serious business year round in this house though, and through some of our summer adventures, it seems like the excitement about those toothy sea creatures has been amplified.

Cute came home from our family vacation, and wanted to read anything and everything about sharks. 

From fiction to non-fiction he soaks up every. single. word. Now I know way more about sharks than I ever wanted to in my life. 

You might find us sticking to pools from now on. 

We got our shark loving little boys (and girls!) together and asked them to pick their favorite shark themed books. They were so excited about this task and made sure to pick the "very best and baddest" shark books.


  1. Sharks Discovery Kids - This is one of our favorites! It has realistic photos, tons of great facts, and a peek at a variety of different sharks that are swimming in the ocean. 
  2. The Shark Who Learned a Lessson - This story follows Shadow the Shark, who sadly has become the ocean bully. The creatures of the ocean ban together and show Shadow a different way to be. 
  3. Clark the Shark - This is the original in the "Clark the Shark" series. Clark is a rambunctious little shark just trying to fit in at school. The series follows the lessons that Clark has to learn along the way. Great for any young school aged child!
  4. Nugget & Fang - Nugget and Fang are the best of friends. Nugget goes to school and finds that his best friend is a little different. A great book to show young children even though we are all different we can all be friends. 
  5. Finn Flips - Finn is a shark with lots of pep in his fins, but when he flips, all his ocean friends at Club Shark better watch out! A fun little story our early readers love!
  6. Hark! A Shark! - A rhyming shark book from our favorite Dr. Suess character - the Cat in the Hat. This is a fun little book to teach shark loving little ones facts about their favorite ocean creatures. 
  7. Wild Kratts: Sharks, Whales & Dolphins! -  Our favorite animal loving duo share all about sharks, and some of the larger creatures they share the ocean with. A great way to show how sharks interact with their oceanic neighbors. 
  8. If Sharks Disappeared - A great way to further the conversation of why we can't get rid of sharks even if they are sometimes scary. 
  9. Shark Lady - This new to us story has quickly become a favorite of all of our kids. This follows the true story of Eugenie Clark, one of the world's greatest shark loving scientists. A fun story and lots of great facts. 
  10. National Geographic Kids Everything Sharks - Part fact book and part activity book this is one of our shark loving little ones favorite shark books. It's great book for car rides and restaurant entertainment. 

The are tons of great shark books for kids out there, but hopefully this list has narrowed it down for you! 

And because it just happens to be "Shark Week" we are going to extend the shark filled fun by giving away one of our favorite shark tales. Pop over to Instagram to win your own copy of The Shark Who Learned a Lesson from Hawaiian children's book author Gil McBarnet

The giveaway will go live later today and the winner will be announced Sunday, July 30th. 

Happy Shark Week everyone!

Carrie Beth & Jen

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10 Great Shark Books for Kids.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Kitchen Confessions: Shark Week Snack {Shark Bark}

We love themes around here.  Doesn't matter if it is for a major holiday, a made-up one, or just a week surrounding our boy's favorite ocean animal.  Theme wear, themed decorations and theme snacks make celebrating, no matter what the occasion, more fun!  

It's shark week and the kids had so much fun helping us create this delicious shark bark to snack on all week. 

Bark recipes are some of our favorites because they are so dang simple!  Some melted chocolate, some sprinkles and toppings and it is done. That is our kind of recipe. It looks colorful and cute and our taste testers always approve of this yummy sweet treat.  We're sharing the details of this shark bark over on Savvy Sassy Moms today so be sure to head over and check it out!

Jen & Carrie Beth 

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Favorites

Usually I'm counting down to the weekend, but this week I'm sad to see it here already.  Our kids start back to school in just one week, so the weekend being here means we are closer to them heading back to school.  Some moms are jumping for joy and counting down the days right now, but I'm in total denial.  Part of the reason is because my little Boo-Boo, the baby of the family is going to be heading off to Kindergarten.  He's nervous, but excited.  He's ready.  But I'm not.  I have an entire post in my head dedicated to this idea and all of my thoughts and feelings surrounding it, but that is a topic for another day.

Today I'm linking up with some of our favorite bloggers and sharing my Friday Favorites.  Since my little guy is on my brain and since he just had his 6th birthday last weekend, I thought I'd share six favorites surrounding the fun we had celebrating him!

I've thrown some pretty elaborate birthday parties for my kids.  From hand making decorations and coordinating every little detail, those parties were pretty.  But, they were a lot of work.  When Boo-Boo said he wanted to have an arcade party at one of those places where all I had to do was show up with a cake, I was sold.  Those kind of parties are my favorite because they are so easy and the kids have a blast!  It was the perfect little boy party.  They played laser tag, rode bumper cars, played arcade games and won tickets.  They all had a blast, even the biggest kid of them all, my Mr. 

Getting to bring home balloons, prizes from all the tickets he racked up, and his birthday gifts were definitely a favorite for the birthday boy! 

You might not be able to tell, but that ball is a giant tennis ball.  He picked that with some of his tickets and has had THE best time playing with it.  It bounces really high and is so much fun! 
My kids' favorite breakfast is donuts and the Mr. will take them once in a while to get them on the weekends.  Sometimes they ask and he'll say no because we are busy or have something going on that morning, but they always know if they ask they will get donuts on their birthdays.  And what better way to start off your birthday than with a candle in a donut?! 

Speaking of candles, blowing them out and making wishes is one of Boo-Boo's favorites.  He'd be happy if we had put candles in every single thing he ate that weekend.  He and his Papa's birthdays are only one day apart so we had dinner together to celebrate and made brownies for dessert...complete with candles! 

I have two brothers.  One lives in Atlanta and the other doesn't, but he was in town visiting friends and family for the weekend, so we all gathered to hang out and catch up.  It's rare for all of us to be together except at Christmas, so it was a nice treat!  They are such big kids and had so much fun with Boo-Boo playing baseball, trying to throw a boomerang and getting into a Nerf gun war. Watching them all play together was a favorite memory from that day. (Even if it means I'm still finding Nerf darts all over my house!)

He had been counting down to his birthday for months. He kept up with the number of days until the big day and couldn't wait to be six.  He is, by far, the funniest of all my kids and keeps me laughing with his one-liners and constant commentary on life.  He's totally obsessed with all sports and is competitive to a fault, but he's also the sweetest and most thoughtful kid.  I've always said that I absolutely love being a girl mama, but there is just something so special about the bond between a mother and her son.  

Last night our school had a Kindergarten popsicle party and we found out who his Kindergarten teacher would be.  He was so eager and happy to learn the news that he was giddy! His excitement my favorite!  Watching him run around the playground, interact with other kids and be totally comfortable and confident without even looking back for me was all the reassurance I needed to know he was going to have a blast in Kindergarten.

Carrie Beth 

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cocktail Confessions: 7 Refreshing Poptails

Last summer we discovered the "poptail", and this genius little invention is still a favorite cocktail of ours this summer. 

Popsicles just make everything just a little bit happier. Popsicles in an adult beverage or two make mommy a whole lot happier. ;)

From wine poptails to bourbon poptails we've tried them all! And we've rounded up all of our favorites to share with our friends over on Savvy Sassy Moms

These 7 Poptail Recipes are what summer is all about...fruity, fun, and oh so cool. Give them a try and let us know which one is your favorite!

Now this post is making us all sorts of thirsty...
Off to beat this southern heat with a little popsicle yum!


Jen & Carrie Beth 

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

DIY Magnolia Wreaths {Tutorial}

It's no secret that I love all things farmhouse including the use of greenery and wreaths both indoors and out.  I have two of these boxwood wreaths that I had tried to use on my front doors, but instead they found their home indoors instead.

I've really been wanting a magnolia wreath for a while now, but didn't want the steep price tag that most of them come with.  I love the look of them though and the southern ties that magnolias have!  These were just a few of the ones I was swooning over! 

After visiting my local craft store to search for some basement decor I came across some pretty real looking silk magnolia leaves and an idea popped in my head. I decided that I'm not stranger to making my own wreaths so I got to work and made my own DIY magnolia wreaths!  I have to say, these might be some of my very favorite wreaths I've ever made and probably the easiest by far!  

I started with basic grapevine wreaths.  I had one at home from an old project and the other was 50% off at my local craft store so I paid less than $5 for it.

Then I bought this bunch of magnolia leaves that look and feel so real.  I also had a coupon for them so they were less than $10 each.  I bought two bunches for each wreath because I wanted them to be nice and full. 

One thing you should know about any type of silk flowers or plants is that they can be taken part very easily.  For this all I needed to do was pull on the leaves and they popped right off of the "stem" making it easy to take a part. 

Now I was ready to get started assembling the wreath.  I started by sticking the ends of the leaves in through the vines just so I could see what it would look like and discovered it was going to be super easy to achieve the look I was going for.  

Using a hot glue gun I put a dab of glue the ends of each leave and continued sticking them into the wreath and over lapping each one as I went along. I used two bunches of the leaves to fill each wreath and went back with any extra leaves to fill in the gaps.  

These wreaths took me less than an hour and I'm so happy with how they turned out. 

I had originally made them to go on the barn doors in our basement and I still might move them down there when the basement is complete (we're so very close!!!), but for now I put them on my front doors because I couldn't wait to have them hanging somewhere! 

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