Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! As always I hope it was a good week for you. It was an interesting one for me. I think for the first time I really started to feel burnt out. It was a weird feeling for me because I'm typically not like that. I can go, go, go, and having a full plate has never really bother me. This was a bit different. I've had the opportunity to be at home with the baby for almost a year now, in which I am sooo thankful for. Don't get me wrong, my kids are my everything, but I'm also used to having a lot of adult interaction and working with a team of people day in and day out. I don't have that anymore. And life at home with three little ones, blogging, keeping up with social media, is extremely different. 

While I would love to dive full force into this and make this more of a career for me, I also don't want to put all of my eggs in one basket. Influencer marketing is really hot right now, but will it be in the years to come? You hear so many people, even brands I've partnered with, say that their focus isn't on bloggers anymore and more on instagram and youtube. Who really knows what the years down the road will dictate. Do I see myself going back to work when my kids are all in school? More than likely. I enjoy making consistent money, I enjoy putting my degree (that cost a ton of money) to use, but I also LOVE being with my kids. For the first time it just felt like everything came crashing down on me. After loads of laundry, dirty diapers, making meals, and the endless messes, I had a moment of thinking that being at work in so many ways was a lot easier. I could go on and on about this, which I might expand on more in a future post, sometimes that always helps me too. But for now, I'm thankful for friends who text just at the right time and show their support and encouragement, and a husband who recognized I needed some me time and took care of the kids so I could get a haircut. It's funny how the little things that were just normal occurrences can take on a new meaning and become big things to you now. 

Anyway, my week wasn't all about feeling at a crossroad and thinking about what 2020 might look like for me. Yup, I let my mind jump that far. Thankfully after a good cry, some apple cider donuts (bless those donuts), and some time for myself, I felt a lot better and focused on the joys around me. Here's a look at some of my favorites from the week...

More Fall Fun: 

this time of year has always been so special for us. We live in an area where there are a lot of farms, fall activities and festivals, and endless opportunities to jump into fall things full force. I loved that we spent some time with my sister and cousin at local farm and got a good laugh when my sister and I showed up in our unintentional matching outfits. You can read more about adventures here.

Woodland Birthday Party: 

i had a lot of fun with this woodland party theme for my oldest son's 6th birthday. I was able to put together a post showing more of the details and how everything came together. Our sweet little hedgehog also made an appearance and was a big hit with the kids. I can't believe that I'm already thinking about baby C's first birthday coming up next month. Once August hits we have birthday's every month through November.

Trader Joe's: 

i made my way over to Trader Joe's this week to pick up some of our fall favorites and found some new ones to enjoy. I always love seeing what others find or what they enjoy. The butternut mac and cheese was so good and the gummies and the hedgehog cookies were a hit with the kids. Our mornings have started off with a bowl of pumpkin o's and our nights have ended with some pumpkin joe joe's, and I'm not even mad about it.

Jack O' Lanter Fun:  

i was really glad we were able to continue our tradition of going to NY for the blaze jack o lantern event. We've been going for almost five years now and it's always really cool to check it out. They added some new things this year and it was great to see the boys excitement. Unfortunately We had a camping fail when or original plan was to take the Airstream for the weekend and stay at a campground near the event and make a whole weekend out of it. We didn't realize it was Columbus Day weekend (for some reason the boys didn't have off) and every campsite within an hour radius  of the jack o lanterns was booked. We found one that was further north but at that point we would have been driving a ridiculous amount, they also wanted to charge us a premium for the weekend, and at that point it made more sense to drive the hour and 45 minutes back home. I guess better luck planning for next year.

Favorite Finds:

Well, well, one of my favorite places got me again but they were all reasonable buys and I'm excited to share them with you. I picked up this long sleeve cozy tee in-store on a whim in a pretty green color. I don't see the green color online, but I was also between the gray and honey and considering getting as well. This tee is sooo soft, and I think it would be great with jeans, leggings, or a dress. And speaking of dresses, I saw this striped knit midi dress that I really liked while I was there but they did not have it in my size. I ended up scanning the bar code and found that it's on major clearance for only $11! Of course I hit purchase on that and I'm looking forward to it arriving. I've learned that when things are on clearance you can't hesitate because they don't last. I have some ideas with how I want to wear this for fall and hopefully I can snap some pics and share with you. I also saw this perfect yellow cable sweater on sale from Nordstrom's markdowns. I have it in my cart but I'm not sure if it's too similar to one I got last year. Ughhh but it looks so cozy though! I'm also thinking about boots for the boys (yes, already thinking about that cold weather that will be rolling in), they have grown out of anything that fit them last year and I think these winter boots will be great for them. I love the faux fur line on these. 

I hope everyone has a great weekend! 

Woodland Themed Birthday Party

It was no surprise to me when my oldest son wanted another outdoor animal inspired party. Some of you might remember last year how we had a reptile party for him with a bunch of real reptile friends that came for a visit. I'm pretty sure he would have this same type of party over and over again each year if he could. It will be interesting to see when he changes his mind or wants something completely different.

He has been an animal lover ever since he was little and would ask us at two years old if we could get a cow. While there are still no cows around here (I think that's one animal we won't be getting), we have expanded our furry, and prickly friends. You might remember how this spring we added our rabbit, Hoppy, and our hedgehog, Flower, to the family. Since the hedgehog is technically his, he wanted to incorporate her into the party, which I thought was a cute idea.

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We kept the decor pretty simple which felt like it was just enough to give it some added touches. A lot of these ideas I have recycled from his first birthday camping party and his reptile party. If there was anything else that I needed I just went to the backyard which made it really convenient. Some sticks in a mason jar make for an easy and simple center piece. I also made a pinecone garland that we strung along our ever famous pallets.

The stump seats are always a big hit with the kids, and really what I've learned is, regardless of all the things you have setup for them to do, most of the time they just want to run around and have fun with each other. I forgot to take pictures of them but we did have a giant jenga for everyone to play and also a big connect four. Since we have a lot of land to explore the kids wanted to go on a nature walk that Eric and some of the parents went on with the kids.

We also kept the food very basic and kid friendly. There are a lot of really cute food ideas if you take a look on Pinterest, but the birthday boy wanted chick fil a nuggets and pizza, so that's what he got.  We also broke out the pretzel bar again which is quickly becoming another favorite of mine. This time around we had mini pretzels for the kids and they were a hit. My mom did make this fun hedgehog cheese ball with pretzel sticks as the quills that came out really cute.

My sister also made his cake which turned our amazing and I am still obsessing over. She does such a good job with things. Remember how she also made C's baby dedication cake? I think she needs to just make all of my cakes from now on. We also had some cupcakes for the kids to enjoy that we put on the cupcake stand my father in-law made for A's first birthday. I seriously love how much use this has gotten. I feel like it needs to be a tradition now and I also have to use it for C's first birthday, which will be here before I know it. You guys, I'm not sure I can handle him being one just yet.

The kids were all excited to see the hedgehog so we sat them around the stumps and A and I did a little presentation about her and shared some facts with the kids and parents. He's wearing this six shirt that was the perfect birthday shirt for him. I love how he still wears it now since it isn't a typical birthday shirt. We also let the kids come up and get a chance to pet the hedgehog or hold her if they wanted to. I know there are some kids in his class still talking about her and I'm pretty sure a few of them asked their parents if they could get one.

I'm not sure about your little ones but my guys are always so excited to see what the goods are in their party bags. Actually, I'm kind of convinced that it's not even really what's in the party bag, but the fact that they actually get one. Anyway, I found these adorable woodland treat bags that I could not pass up. They were a hit with the kids and they all enjoyed deciding which animal they wanted to pick.

I was so thankful for a day of beautiful weather and a time for him to enjoy celebrating with his friends. Do you throw parties at your house or do you typically have them at another place?


Animal Print For Fall-Falling For You

Oh fall, can you stay this sweet for a little while longer? Our leaves are just starting to change, and while I'm so excited to see those bright bursts of beautiful colors, I'm also sad to know what comes after that. Leaves falling, the trees looking bare, and then I'm kind of over it until spring gets here.

In the meantime, we are enjoying the joy of this season and the special moments that we create together. Since we live in the garden state there are a ton of farms and fall activities around us that are easy for us to take part in. I recently read somewhere that others were having a hard time on social media seeing all of the fall fun a lot of us have been posting because they haven't had a chance to visit a pumpkin patch yet, or don't live in an area where they have them, or don't get a chance to do a lot with their kids during this time of year. That made me so sad to hear, but also left me feeling at a bit of a crossroad.

I never come on here with the intent or want to brag about our life. If anything, I want to share these moments as a way for me to relive these family memories years down the road and also share experiences with all of you that we can connect with each other and relate to each other. I am also a firm believer in that you create your own happiness. Yes, for some of us it can be picking apples, eating apple cider donuts, or visiting numerous farms around this time of year. But happiness can also be found in simple joys. Things like raking a pile of leaves and jumping in them, doing a fun fall craft with recycled items from your home, or just walking around and enjoying nature. While I won't hold back on sharing our family moments, I will encourage you to find joy in your everyday experiences, because we all deserve to feel happy.

My cousin recently mentioned a local farm that she used to go to when she was younger and thought it would be a lot of fun to take the boys there. It happened to work out for us to be able to go and my sister was also able to meet us there. Like most things on the weekends, it was crowded, but it didn't feel overwhelming. They did a good job at having different areas where you could buy things and kept the lines moving. They were having an apple festival that had so many things for the boys to do. They enjoyed feeding the animals, bouncing around, and working their way through a hay bale and corn maze.

While the boys were enjoying some yummy cornbread (I snuck a few bites, it was sooo good) us adults sipped on a glass of wine from their winery (cheers). I opted for a glass of their apple wine which was a white wine that was not too sweet or bitter. It was a nice mix of both and quite refreshing. We also enjoyed some lunch and were able to snag a picnic table near the live band they had playing.

After we finished our food we made our way over to the pumpkin patch area and the apple orchards. My sister wanted to grab some apples to make apple muffins and of course we couldn't pass up walking up and down the rows of trees and letting the boys run around. We even got some smiles out of the baby, so you know it was a good time. And since we had someone else with us, that always makes snapping some fun family pictures a lot easier. For as long as I can remember the boys have always loved, one, two, three, weeeee! I'm just hoping I can multi-task and get the baby up on the other end of me when it comes time for him to want to join in. How awesome would it be if we somehow had a third hand. I know a lot of situations where that would have come in handy (hehe, get it).

When we showed up to the farm my sister and I were walking towards each other and realized we were unintentionally matching. Clearly great minds think alike, and animal print is a hit for the fall.  After I got several compliments on my sweater, I decided to take a few pictures wearing it and I'm glad that I did. It was funny, earlier that morning at church, I was in the bathroom with little nugget because we wanted the boys to go before we got in the car. You know how that can be, five minutes later and they're looking for a bathroom break. Anyway, a woman walked in as we were washing our hands, and said, oh I love your sweater. I smiled at her and thanked her. Little nugget turned to me and said, mommy, did you hear that? She really likes my sweater. I couldn't help but giggle and told him, you're right buddy, I'm sure she really does like yours. Even though he wasn't wearing a sweater, that little compliment that might not have been meant for him, sure made him smile. He even ran out to Eric and told him, hey daddy, this lady really likes my sweater.

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What I do love about this animal print sweater is the fit. I have been all about oversized sweaters and more of a chunky look, but this one is so simple and perfect that it just works. I think the bigger animal print on it with the mix of the solid tan color really makes it stand out a bit without being loud or obnoxious. It's also great for layering since it's not chunky or oversized. I love when a sweater can fit under jackets or a cardigan and be worn all throughout the winter as well.

I think this makes a great transition piece that I can also wear in the spring. I also think this would look really cute with a skirt and sneakers. I love a simple sweater that makes a statement and you feel like you can get a lot of wear out of it. Of course I couldn't help wearing it with a pair of my distressed denim (similar), booties (similar), and my favorite accessory, a hat (similar).  Do you have a new favorite you've added to your wardrobe? This one might be it for me. 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! I hope it's been a great week for you. It felt like a quick one over here and I can't believe we're nearing closer to the middle of October. A had off on Wednesday for a teachers inservice, I had to take all the boys for their flu shots, I squeezed a girls night in there before heading to church, and somehow made it to a few pumpkin patches this week with good friends. I've been putting off my laundry, my roomba has been going everyday, and some easy slow cooker meals were my bffs this week. Let's take a look at what some of my favorites were...

A's Woodland Birthday Party: 

last weekend we celebrated our big boy with his woodland themed birthday party. I actually loved that he wanted this as his theme because it was somewhat similar to his reptile party the year before. At least when it came to decor. I recycled a lot of what I had and for other things that I needed I just went out in the backyard and got some sticks and pinecones. I'm hoping to put a post together soon with some more details. My sister made the cutest cake, ever! A had these little hedgehog figurines that we put on the cake and I just love the way it turned out. Oh, and of course our sweet little hedgehog girl was the highlight of the party when we brought her out for all of the kids to see. Hopefully we didn't start something or annoy the parents because I'm pretty sure a few of them left asking their parents if they could get one.

All The Fall Fun:

it always feels like this great time of year can be so limited. At least when it comes to weather wise. It just started cooling down more consistently around here which I think makes visiting pumpkin patches, orchards, and all that good stuff a little more enjoyable when you aren't melting like an ice cream cone. I mentioned before a group of us mamas who met on instagram have had the chance to meet up several times now. What I love is that we've turned these meetups into a more consistent thing. It's just so nice to connect with others in person who share similar values and experiences as you. We met at the farm my sister had her reception at and we happened to go on their mommy and me day which meant the hayrides to the different orchards were free. Score! Baby C still wasn't up for giving me smiles and was more concerned about those dang leaves again.

We also made our way to a second patch of the week, really, how many pumpkin patches is too many? I think the answer is none. Anyway, I went with one of my good friends and her adorable baby girl and they were both being so sweet on the hayride. Wouldn't you know, we get out to the patch and he was not really having it. You guys, I'm starting to think he is just not into basic fall things. Sigh.

Fall Outfit Inspiration: 

speaking of fall things, I shared earlier this week my fall inspired outfit that I wore to our first apple and pumpkin experience. I'm all about an oversized comfy sweater. A lot of my fall outfits are very basic, as they say, but I love it, and I'm all about being cozy this time of year.

Canning Experience:

I also shared this week more about my time in South Carolina at McCall Farms. I love that a lot of companies are inviting bloggers/influencers to witness firsthand their operations. It's great to be able to see the behind the scenes of something and have an even greater personal association with them. I learned so much on this trip and have been excited to share the process with all of you. Stay tuned to my insta stories where I'll be sharing even more about a fun challenge coming up and a chance to win groceries free for a month. How awesome is that?! 

Favorite Finds: 

it's officially sweater weather and I just can't get enough of them. I shared this rust colored sweater link before but since I'm wearing it in the picture above in the pumpkin patch I figured I would link it again. Sometimes I appreciate when I can get a visual of someone wearing it, because no offense, the picture that they decided to put on the website would probably deter me from it because I just don't think it does it justice. I wore this bralette under it because I felt like the v-neck might have been lower, but on me, it really does not sit down as low as they show in the picture. Did anyone catch the Old Navy 50% off sale? They have a lot of corduroy options and I'm thinking about getting a pair of their rockstar cordy pants. How do you feel about corduroy?  

Hope you have a great weekend! 
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