Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! I hope it's been a great week for you. We are still summering strong over here. We have one full week of summer left and intend to make the most of it. It will be a busy one for us but that seems to be nothing new. The boys head back to school after labor day which always makes me thankful and feels like we have a bit more of a summer to enjoy. I am looking forward to some more consistency and us getting back into a routine. Each summer seems to be getting harder for me to say goodbye knowing how this precious time with my boys is passing by. 

Here's a look at some of my favorites from the week...

Beach:

we were all in our happy place by the water and enjoying some beach fun. The water was nice and warm (or should I say not freezing) and I actually got to do some reading on the beach. What?!?! Remember that sip and swap my sister had a few weeks ago? Well I was finally able to start my book. The boys dug a big hole in the sand that kept them occupied for awhile while the baby napped. I got through six chapters so I'm considering that a big win.

we also went crabbing and finally caught some this time around. We went a bunch of times over the summer with no real luck. We used it as a way to teach the boys the good old lesson of, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. This time it payed off and we enjoyed some yummy crabs for dinner.

Peach Picking:

you might have seen my post this week about our peach picking adventure. We have been enjoying so many yummy peaches and still have a few left. The boys were their goofy self and the baby was too funny wanting all the leaves and grass he could get his little hands on.

FabFitFun:

if you caught my insta stories this week you might have seen that I hid out in my closet for a little peace and quiet for a few minutes to talk to you all about my new fall FabFitFun box. My friends got me a subscription box specific for when I was pregnant, and I loved it. Now that I'm no longer pregnant, I was interested in exploring other options that would be great to help with focusing on some self care. It's always nice to receive fun goodies! I really like that they have all full size products and that you can customize what you like. They have some great benefits if you become a member. They were so nice to offer all of you a coupon code if you'd like to take advantage of their fall box. You can check out more about FabFitFun here and enter code BEAUTIFULLY10 at checkout for $10 off.

9 Months:

i know I say this every month, but man oh man, this one seemed to sting a little bit. Time. Why, oh why, do you just like to speed on by?! There's something about that 9 month mark that puts things into perspective a little bit more. Maybe it's the fact that you realize it took 9 months for you to carry and help create your little one and now it's been the same amount of time that you've had the chance to create so many memories with them. It's also hitting me a little harder knowing that C's next cleft lip surgery is coming up in two weeks. I don't know if it will be easier on me knowing that we have some sort of idea with what to expect (he's already had a lip adhesion surgery if you haven't been following along) or if it will be harder knowing the struggles that lie ahead and the pain he will have to endure. Either way, this little guy is such a warrior and rocking each stage of life.

Favorite Finds:

let's talk booties, and I'm not talking about the kind my boys get a kick out of (that's another story if you saw my recent insta post). As much as I will be wearing my flip flops and espadrilles until I can't no more, I have my eye on so many cute fall booties. I used to really like taller boots, but the past two seasons have left me really loving booties for fall and my taller boots for winter. I love wearing open toe booties in early fall before it gets too cool out. I also really like the laser cut look and something with a low heel is always a favorite for everyday wear. I've also been liking the off the shoulder sweater look. I think it makes more sense for me because most sweaters that are knit or have an eyelet look to them, I will wear a cami under neither and don't feel like I constantly have to readjust the sweater. I mentioned last Friday that I was venturing out to go back to school shopping with the boys. We did end up getting the karate built-in flex jeans and they both wore them with no complaints. Let's hope tit stays that way. For the longest time they would only wear joggers. They both picked up these fun sequin changing shirts and these fun peekaboo shirts. It's really cute because the arms to the fox have velcro and you can pull them down. 

I hope you have a great weekend! 

I'd Pick You Every Time

Picking seasonal fruit is one of our favorite things to do from spring through fall. We don't always get the picking schedules correct (remember our strawberry picking fail?), but we somehow manage to get in what we can and still create memories.

Now that I'm thinking of it, there aren't very many fruits that we all don't enjoy. I am very thankful that getting my boys to eat fruits and vegetables isn't really a struggle. We've tried to teach them that making healthier choices is important and just because it's better for you, doesn't mean it doesn't taste good.

Around here it seems like clockwork every night that the boys get sooo hungry. Anyone else have hungry night time little snackers? Aside from it being a nice little stall tactic (we're on to you, boys), they know that if they want a snack at that time it's either a fruit or a vegetable option. Lucky for them our fruit bowl has been stocked with these delicious peaches that have made some great snacks.

A farm that we've been wanting to checkout was having a family night where their hayrides out to the orchards were free, they had live music, the kids could feed the animals (those goats ate great that night), and they even played a movie out in the fields. It was the perfect mix of family friendly without being overcrowded. Every where we turned we were surrounded by beautiful landscape. Several times I caught myself staring off into the distance as the sun set around us taking in these moments as the boys ran through the peach trees.

The boys were extra cute and so excited to get those juicy peaches. They had a little competition going on to see who could pick the biggest and juiciest peach. They would yell down the rows of trees, "I got the big one!". Of course that seemed to be the phrase after every new pick they found that seemed to be bigger than the last.

I loved seeing how excited they were to fill their bag and how excited they were for the baby to experience his first peach picking. Last year when we went peach picking, and nectarine picking thanks to my pregnancy brain, baby C was still in my belly. It was so special to have him with us now to share in the family fun.

Instead of our little guy actually wanting to pick peaches, he might have been more interested in grabbing onto any and every branch, leaf, or patch of grass he could fit in-between his little fingers. That's ok, though. He sure loves them mashed up and cut up to put into his little teether to suck on. I think it's safe to say he's a peach fan, too.

Sometimes I wonder where my little guys get their goofiness from, and then I have moments like this where the apple (or in this case, the peach) doesn't fall far from the tree. It's also moments like this that make me fall in love with Eric all over again. He's seriously the best dad and always having fun with us. Haha, A's face cracks me up and I can't get enough of looking at these pictures.

Ok, on a random note, I might have specifically gotten this shirt knowing that we were going peach picking. I mean, how could I not, though? At first it was all about the peach fun, and thinking this shirt was really cute, but then it arrived and it was better than I thought it would be. It's a really comfortable tee, which is always a plus in my book, especially when it was super hot out. As you can probably see, towards the end of picking, I was melting. But, hey, real life. Real women sweat ;) I'm wearing this shirt with jean shorts (and a hat of course, and my favorite espadrilles) but I think it will also look cute with distressed jeans, a long cardi for the fall, and booties.

We're still enjoying all of these peaches because picking a few seems impossible with my crew. Would they have it any other way other than to each have their own bag? The answer to that is, no. I keep thinking how we're going to end up with so many more once the baby joins in on the picking. Good thing there is a lot you can do with peaches and my crew doesn't seem to be getting tired of them anytime soon. 

Friday Favorites-Birthday Boy, DC, and More

Happy Friday, friends! I hope it's been a great week for you. It was an exciting one over here. We had a lot going on but it was fun celebrating a special little boy and having the opportunity to travel a bit for this blog. It was one of those weeks that left me feeling really thankful on so many levels. Thankful for my son's birthday, even though some days are harder knowing how fast he's growing, thankful for Eric and my mom who watched the boys while I was away, and thankful for this little space of mine and the opportunities it has opened up for me. When I hit publish over five years ago on a silly welcome post I would have never imagined all that was to come. 

Here's a look at some of my favorites from the week...

Washington DC: 

If you caught my stories then you might have seen that I was in DC for an opportunity with the American Red Cross. 14 of us bloggers had the privilege of being invited to visit their corporate headquarters and learn more about their mission,  the different service they provide, and bringing community together. I look forward to sharing more about my experience with all of you over the next few weeks. I wanted to open it up to you to see if you have any questions about the Red Cross that I can try to address in my upcoming posts? I know that in the past social media has really laid into them and there have been a lot of rumors circling. What I can say is, this experience was so much better than I ever thought it would be. It was nice to have the education and knowledge about the services they offer and how we can all play a part in getting involved more.

We also got to explore more of DC on our time that we were there. We took a nighttime trolley tour around the city that was beautiful to see throughout sunset. We got to see all of the major monuments  and landmarks. A big highlight for me was being able to stand right where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his speech. It was kind of a surreal moment. The pictures at night just didn't do it justice. It was nice though to not have the distractions of trying to document everything and really enjoy and appreciate the moment for what it was.

Birthday Boy: 

This big guy celebrated his 4th birthday on a Monday. I know all of us moms can relate that time does not stand still for our little ones. I've always referred to him on here as "little nugget" but I'm thinking I might need to start dropping the "little" soon. I had plans of ordering pizza and taking him out somewhere special but he had other ideas of how he wanted to celebrate. He wanted to stay home to do water balloons, ride his quad, and eat chicken fingers and french fries. And that's exactly what we did. Of course topped off with some cake and extra special birthday gifts. We celebrated with a carnival party for him over the weekend (you can read more if you missed it) and had a blast watching him smile and have fun. Side note, those colorful pennant flags are still hanging in my backyard and I'm not at all mad about it.

How Does Your Garden Grow:

I'm happy to say we have vegetation over here! We weren't sure if our plants were actually going to produce anything this year. Surprise, surprise, we got our first cucumber! Better late than never, right? Our zucchini and cucumber plants had tons of flowers on them all summer long, but none of them were changing over into the vegetable. Now, it looks like we have a few more forming. Hopefully we'll get more than one this year. I'm not banking on it though. I've already considered our pepper and tomato plants a lost cause. I'm determined that next year will be the year for my garden. Although, I somehow seem to be saying that every year. One of these years it has to change at some point,  hopefully.

Library Time: 

I love that the boys enjoy visiting our local library but we're still working on those library voices. They get so excited to play on the computers and pick out a new book. Our library has a kids section with some toys, and puzzles for the kids to enjoy.  This little man made himself right at home. Why is he looking so big?  I wish I would have paid attention to this sooner because our library offers free passes for so many things around us. They offer it all year long so now we'll be taking advantage of it, but it would have been great to try and go more over the summer. I always forget the library has so much to offer. If you haven't checked yours out in awhile, see if they have a similar program that you can take advantage of.

Favorite Finds: 

School doesn't start until after Labor Day around here and I'd be lying if I said we were set on back to school shopping. I'm going to be venturing into the mall with the boys in the next few weeks (wish me luck). Their pants sizes have been so difficult for me. I've mentioned before that A needs the length but the waist is always the tough part on him. I've heard great things about these karate stretch jeans for boys. Has anyone else tried them? They're on major sale right now. If you're also looking to stock up on summer things for next year, or even now, make sure you check out this kids clearance sale. Do you have kids that are in between sizes? What are some of your favorite back to school shops? 

I know we still have a few weeks left of summer, and I'm not rushing it by any means, but I did pick up a longer cardigan this week and I love it. I've already worn it with shorts on a cooler night. I also have my eye on this colorblock one and have heard good things about it.

I hope you have a great weekend!

A Carnival Celebration For The Birthday Boy

My oh my, how the time flies around here. Today my sweet little nugget wakes up a four year old and I'm not sure how my mama heart feels about it. It can be such a catch 22 to see our kids grow. We had so much fun celebrating him at his carnival birthday party this weekend.

Ever since my sister and I took the boys to a carnival earlier on in the summer he was asking for a carnival party. I thought, ok, I think we can work with this. I actually had a lot of fun planning this, as I do with all of their parties. Most of you know I enjoy a good Pinterest inspired party and I'm not even mad about it. I think when people think about parties like that they start assuming dollar signs ($$$). Yes, parties can be expensive but if you plan them right they don't have to be. 

Of course what it all comes down to, regardless of backdrops, feature walls, or themed food, is the fun and smiles that the kids have. On the other hand, if you also enjoy all those things (like I do) then you can incorporate them by using things that you already have or getting creative with the concepts.

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Last week I was rsvping to someone else's party when it dawned on me, oh shoot, we have nugget's party this weekend! For some reason it felt like I had soooo much more time to get everything together. I always had the general idea and theme for what we were doing, but aside from a few amazon purchases (thank God for them), I had nothing else prepared. I usually work well under pressure so I knew I could pull it off, but it wasn't without a few trips to the dollar store and amazon packages arriving everyday. I picked up this four shirt for him (that came with one day shipping) that he looked so cute wearing. I am happy to say, this time around there were no extreme late nights for me and everything came together really quickly.

What I learned through planning his party is that a lot of people are confused about what a carnival is and what a circus is. If you look up carnival parties online to get some inspiration, all of the sudden you see that people have elephants and big tops at the party, and I'm like, hold up, since when did a carnival ever have animals?? I don't know about you, but the carnivals around here are all about the food, rides, and games. Now that we have that cleared up, I'm going to focus on things that are relatable to a carnival.

Remember those wood pallets I stained for C's baby dedication? Well surprise, surprise, here they are again. I warned you all that they will probably be at most of our parties. They worked out perfectly here for a focal point on our food/dessert table. I took some basic string and strung it across them and then used clothes pins to secure bags of popcorn and cotton candy across them. Everyone got to take one as they wanted and I loved how it transformed the table decor.

I also used popcorn holders for decor around his party with yellow tissue paper to look like popcorn. I took the larger popcorn holders (all of this was found at the dollar store) and did centerpieces for the tables with tickets, candy, and balloons in them. We had typical carnival food, hot dogs, hamburgers, corn dogs, french fries, along with some sandwiches and other sides.

We had games for the kids they could play and win prizes for that also served as some of the things for their party bags, which were also popcorn holders by the way. My father in-law made this awesome wheel that spun around and the kids got to pick the color they thought it would land on. I recycled the baby's empty formula containers and made a can toss game out of them. We also had a bean bag toss that was fun and hung from the trees. One of my favorites though was old bottles we found that we recycled and used these ring toss rings for a bottle toss game. But, I think the one thing that really gave the feel like we were at a carnival were these multi-color pennant flags that we strung all throughout the backyard. I love them so much that I keep joking with Eric that we should just leave them up for the rest of the summer.

The weather ended up being beautiful, which I am so thankful for. I forgot to take a picture of it but we also had rubber ducks (all taken from the kids toy box) that we wrote numbers on the bottom and had floating in a little pool for the kids to pick and match the numbers. We also had some other yard games for the kids to play that the adults also jumped in on and had some fun with as well. We used our bounce house that also makes an appearance at most parties and had water balloons for the kids that they went nuts over. The best part was seeing him happy and enjoying all the fun.

We tried for a cute family pic but the cotton candy and a sneaky little brother that kept pulling party hats off made it interesting.
To my sweet birthday boy, you have been melting our hearts ever since you came into this world. There's something about your personality that is so genuine and caring. You have been rocking your new role as a big brother and have become so independent these last few months. I'm to blame for part of that as a lot of my attention has been on your baby brother. Through it all you have been so caring and most of the times (hence most of the times) you are understanding about it. You still give amazing hugs and such sweet kisses that melt my heart over and over again.

You love riding your quad and most people can't believe how well you handle it and that you started riding when you were three. Often times I think you are wise beyond years. You observe so much around you and know when to pull back and when to step up to things. You pick and choose the right moments to be extra loud, like when others are sleeping ;) and tell some of the most animated and amazing stories. You love playing uno and dominos and I have to laugh because when I was your age I'm not even sure I knew what both of those were. Your smile lights up the room and your infectious giggle brings a smile to everyone's face. I pray that God would continue to pour out his blessings upon you, that you would always keep Him first in your life, and that you would always remain as sweet as you are. Dream big my baby boy.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! I hope it's been a great week for you. It was another hot one over here and we had a lot we were working on outside of our house. Go figure. We're off on another camping trip and enjoying some fun family Airstream adventures. You guys, this campsite is something else. In a good way. So many things to do here. I'm looking forward to sharing more with you. We aren't off the grid by any means. There aren't a ton of places around here to do that, and most won't let you camp there, but we have fun anyway. In case you haven't noticed, we like to pack it in with all the adventures and travels when we can. 

Here's a look at some of my favorites from the week...

Chicago:

I skipped out on my favorites last week since I was in Chicago with my sister visiting our brother, but I did share more about our adorable fur baby, Hoppy. If you've been following along over here for a while then you know this has become a yearly tradition for my sister and I. We love visiting Chicago and always end up doing so many fun things. My brother, who also runs Reel Life Fishing, is obviously into fishing. Luckily my sister and I also enjoy fishing so we always hit up a local lake to see what we can all catch. This time around, we rented a boat at a lake closer to Iowa and spent a day on the water. We all caught something which made it a great day all around. After our fishing excursion, we ate and drank our way around Chicago. We found some of the cutest spots and enjoyed some local favorites. I'm hoping to put together a post about some of the places we stopped at because you all were loving them on my stories.

Summer Days: 

The boys have been keeping me on my toes this week. I might have raised my voice more than I would like to admit, but I'm continuing to work on grace and having those teachable moments for both myself and them. Most of the times they are a lot of fun and well behaved, and I am so thankful to have this time at home with them, but like most kids, when there's idle time they get antsy and start getting at each other. Unfortunately this makes it extremely hard for me to get things done when I'm constantly correcting them or them needing my focus and attention. Blogging becomes almost impossible. But I do what I can. I don't get too caught up on the house being perfect (thank God for my Roomba) or pushing out content just to say I have a post up. It's a give and take, and that's what this summer has been about for us.

Baby Dedication:

I know that a lot of you are Friday visitors around here and I never did get a chance to highlight baby C's dedication. In case you missed that post, we had a beautiful extremely hot day of precious celebrations and honoring our commitment to raising our boys with a faith filled foundation.

Amazon Finds:

Where are my amazon friends at? I think most of us can agree that amazon has been on point lately with just about everything. It's hard to beat the convenience, easy returns, and large selection. I still enjoy supporting local and small businesses when I can, but for things that I need quick or need to stay on a certain budget, I can usually find a good option here. I shared some of my recent purchases and favorite finds.

Sunflowers:

Ok, onto the sunflowers. I hate to keep sounding like a broken record or making it seem like I'm pushing my insta stories, but in all honesty, if you aren't watching them you're missing a lot. I'll have people message me for different things or say, oh wait, I didn't even know you had a rabbit, or a hedgehog, etc. Wellll, if you watch my stories then you would know :) Soooo, if you watched my stories then you probably saw that I planted almost a 100 sunflowers this week and broke in my new Hunter boots to start my little sunflower patch. We are in the very beginning stages of getting our land to how we would like it to be. In case you're new around here (or miss out on my stories, sorry I couldn't resist ;) we have a little over 28 acres that we're working with. A lot of it is wooded so we'd like to clear some out over time. We had the chance to start clearing a bit so I wanted to take advantage of it. I have always loved sunflowers and thought it would be fun to have a sunflower field. That will happen over time, but not this year. It's way too late to plant seeds and have those big beautiful ones that I envision. So we settled on smaller seedlings to enjoy for now. We actually decided to plant some pumpkins, too. Let's hope our days of not having much of a green thumb are over and these actually do somewhat well. I already can't wait until next spring when we can have more time, experience, and a better idea of how we want it to look. We'll consider this a practice round and hope for the best. Any green thumb pointers are always welcome around here.

I hope you have a great first weekend of August!
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