Monday, February 27, 2017

Favorite Weekend Highlights

I am just sitting down for the first time today. The weekend flew by and we had a blast enjoying the 70 degree weather. Caroline's nap time is fleeting as she is fighting her second nap of the day now. So I wanted to pop in and quickly share some of my favorite highlights from the weekend.

The weather was gorgeous on Saturday. We spent the morning at Pullen Park with friends. This is the second weekend in the row we had went to Pullen Park and I see us going there all the time during the summer. It is not your typical park and has several different amusement rides including kiddie boats, paddle boats, a carousel and train along with multiple playgrounds and sand activities for different ages. Caroline is not quite walking yet but we still had a blast on the swings, carousel and train.

Joe had the great idea to grill out one night for dinner. I just love veggies on the grill and devoured some corn on the cob and grilled onion. I also rediscovered these chicken sausages which are amazing on the grill.

While this may not seem like a big deal for most, we finally installed a baby gate! We have been on edge since Caroline started crawling toward the stairs with purpose. We always try to keep her corralled upstairs with the sectional sofa and away from the landing. She finally had figured us out and became frustrated with our barriers. After much research, we installed this retract a gate using a banister kit. It's so easy to install and use. It's not a complete eyesore either which is great! 

The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying long walks as a family and enjoying ice cream on the couch. 

How was your weekend? What were some of the highlights? 

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

100th Birthday

Last month, we headed to Georgia to visit my grandmother and celebrate her turning 100 years old. My grandmother and I were close growing up. I only lived 5 blocks from my grandparents house until I moved away for college. My grandfather passed away from Altimeters 10 years ago. My grandmother continued to live on her own until just 3 years ago.

She lives in an assisted living facility in Peachtree City, Georgia. It's about a 45 minute drive south of Atlanta. This was Caroline's third visit to Peachtree. We drove down once at Christmas when I was pregnant and again when she was 1 month old.

This time we skipped the drive and flew into Atlanta. The trip was very easy and painless thanks to the direct flight out of Raleigh. Carrying all the extra necessities for baby was a hassle but with my parent's extra helping hands it was not too bad.

The flight is only about an hour. Caroline did great on the trip down. She loved chatting with everyone around her and staring out the window at take off and landing. The trip back was not as smooth because she had not napped all day. She only cried for a few minutes before settling down for a nap. However, those few minutes on a tiny plane felt like an eternity. Being on such a small enclosed space makes you hyper aware of others and the fact that your  baby is screaming. Even if it was only for a few minutes. 

We had a great time visiting grandmother each day. One day, we went for lunch and birthday cake in the dining room. My family also planned a big party for Saturday celebrating her 100th birthday.

We spent the rest of our trip enjoying trips to the park and doing some shopping. I would love to make it to Atlanta once to visit the aquarium. 

I am so thankful that Caroline has gotten the chance to meet her great grandmother twice now. Caroline is so sweet and gentle with grandmother almost like she knew her immediately. The resemblance between the two is remarkable. Caroline got her bright blue eyes and curly blond locks from her great grandmother for sure. 

I'm also extremely grateful that Joe was able to make the trip with us. This was his first time visiting Peachtree with my family. 

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sweetheart First Birthday

Last weekend, we invited friends and family over to celebrate Caroline's first birthday. While she is not old enough to understand what having a birthday party means, Caroline still had a blast seeing all of her favorite people and tearing up some wrapping paper. This party was really a celebration for all three of us making it a year together as a family. 

All things pink and Valentines Day was the party theme. Perfect since she is our sweetheart through and though. My inspiration was lots of hearts, gold and pink. 

Decorations were a cinch thanks to Target's dollar spot. Including the huge pink tassel balloon that I found one day in the bins. Several of the items I used were repurposed from her bedroom as well. I printed out her monthly photos through Amazon's photo service which was a breeze to use and cost under $2. 

The milestone chalkboard was a labor of love as I am not crafty at all! The smash cake and cupcakes were homemade using this recipe from Courtney. The icing was delicious and beats store-bought 100%.

The weather was unseasonably warm for February so we were able to enjoy the patio and lawn games outside. We also had beer and punch for the adults to enjoy. 

Sweet Caroline was not a fan of the smash cake. She was very timid in picking at the icing at first. Then we we tried to have her get messy, she became upset with the stickiness of her hands. This photo captures her frustration in trying to get the icing off her hands but not knowing what to do. 

Overall, it was a perfect party celebrating our little one. This year has flown by so quickly it is astounding. So many great memories have been made and I am sure there are plenty more to come. 

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Caroline | Twelve Months

Sweet, sweet Caroline you are officially 12 months old. I swear something clicked on your birthday and you decided to become an independent, curious, on the move toddler. You love reading and pointing at faces in books. Enjoy chasing Charlie around the house. Your favorite by far is eating and you love to feed yourself and stuff your little cheeks full of cheese!

Here are a few little things about you from your twelfth month:

Nicknames: Little Bit, Sweet Girl

Height & Weight: As of your one year doctor appointment, you weigh 19 1/2 pounds and are 28 inches long. 

Looks: Your blonde hair is getting full and curlier with every passing week. Those chipmunk cheeks and bright blue eyes are my favorite.

Personality: Getting more independent each day. You are becoming quite vocal about likes and dislikes. You will become upset and ask for help when something you want is a bit out of reach. You are truly a happy and joyful little girl every day.

Eating: We have a little toddler on our hands when it comes to eating. Finger foods are your favorite especially fruit and cheese. Yogurt and cheese are still your two favorite foods. We are working together to eliminate bottles completely. Right now you have one in the morning and one before bed. You still get so excited when you see your bottle and immediately grab for it at bedtime.

Sleeping:  You are consistently sleeping from 6pm- 5ish. Naps are a different story. We try 2 naps a day but you are consistently getting in a morning nap from 9- 11. The afternoon nap sometimes ends up being a playtime in your crib. 

Wearing:  Size 4 diapers. 9 - 12 month clothing depending on the brand. You have been wearing the same pair of gold moccs (size 2) for a year now. We still get tons of compliments on them daily!

Favorite Things: You love your family including the pups. You squeal anytime one of us enters the room. There are extra belly laughs for the pups and their crazy antics. 

Least Favorite Things: Not being able to get things you find interest in and then being reprimanded because they are dangerous. Quite a battle keeping you away from cords, stairs and outlet plugs. You will persist in trying to get things and then begin to grunt/pout when you can't get it.  

Big things happening this month: 
The biggest of all, celebrating your first birthday!!
You can pull to stand on almost anything and can cruise for a few steps.
You visited your great grandmother and helped her celebrate her 100th birthday!!

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekend Sales

Popping in today to share some great sales I stumbled upon at a few of my favorite stores. I love stocking up in preparation of spring and my wardrobe needs a major revamp since all my pre-baby clothes fit completely differently these days. Ahem...goodbye boobs. Old Navy is running a great promo where the entire site is up to 40% off also you can get another 30% off all order with the code: Enjoy only good for today!  You can also snag an additional 30% with the code: Deal.  This one is good the entire weekend. These are few of my favorites including my favorite peplum t and distressed jeans.

Of course, most of my cart is filled with adorable finds for Caroline. I love Old Navy's baby line. You really can't beat the price and can always wait to snag basics on sale.

Gap is also running a great sale right now the entire site is 40% off online only. Plus you can save 25% off with the code more.

Favs for mom:

Favs for baby girl:

Lastly, Loft is having 40% off the entire site with the code: Happy.

Happy Shopping!!!

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Five

Sorry for the late post. I'm getting straight to the point and sharing five favorites with y'all today! I'm just as excited as Caroline for another beautiful weekend.

{One} Collagen Peptides. You guys, this one surprised me. I have seen on social media several different people adding collagen to their morning coffee. Collagen is touted as a natural way to plump skin, thicken hair and clear skin. I was intrigued but so worried about the taste and texture. When I saw a friend adding it to her coffee and saying she did not taste a thing I decided to  finally give it a try. Well it really works! I have been taking it daily with my iced coffee for about a month. I have noticed my lashes getting longer, my nails break less and I have lost a few extra pounds without changing my diet. I attribute the weight loss to all the nutritional benefits of the collagen including 18g of protein which helps keep my full until lunch. 

The trick I have found is to stir immediately into your favorite cold drink. If you don't the collagen will get gummy. Letting it sit for about 15 minutes or so helps it dissolves even more.

{Two} Birthday Gal. Our sweet little baby celebrated her first birthday on Sunday. We have a great time with our friends and family celebrating one entire year with our ray of sunshine. 

{Three} Weekend Sales. I am in desperate need of some new clothes that fit my post baby bod. I saw that two of my favorite stores Gap and Loft were having huge sales this weekend! Loft has such beautiful pieces right now that can transition easily from winter to spring. Here are a few of my favs from Loft. That tankini is just perfect. 

{Four} Kitchen Update. I am itching to do a little update on our kitchen nook. The table in our kitchen right now is one I bought for my first apartment in college and is over 10 years old. I would love to update it with a clean white table perfect for family dinners and homework down the road. 

{Five} Target Find. Some days my entire wardrobe is "sponsored" by Target. Today is one of those days. I love these new casual sneaks that I found for the spring. It brightens up my black leggings and long top combo that I wear most days. 

Linking up with Karli & April .

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

DIY | Diaper Genie Refills

One thing that was on every single must have list when I was expecting was a diaper pail. I had shopped for baby showers before and was not sold this contraption that magically kept odors at bay. Why not just take out the trash everyday? Also, the roll of bags seemed so wasteful and expensive! I told my mom that we were just not going to use one and instead just use a trashcan we already had. Saving $35- $40, smart right!? Well, she insisted we get one and then after baby came I understood the draw.

However, I was not keen on the price of the refills so once the sample bags ran out I decided to just use what we had on hand! Our tall kitchen bags fit perfectly in the diaper pail and eliminated the need for any additional purchases.

This trick is so simple. All you have to do is grab a tall kitchen trash bag. Then thread the bag through the empty diaper genie cartridge and tuck it around the bottom. Cinch the trash bag in place and pop it back into the diaper genie!

You can get a box of 45 garbage bags for the same amount of the Playtex brand bags which only come around 10 to a box! Based on store prices, the refills are $1.75- $2.75 per bag vs $0.58 per trash bag.

While nothing truly covers the sent of an awful dirty diaper the diaper genie does make it more bearable. I have also linked some of my favorite odor eliminating products that we use in the bathroom and nursery.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Easiest Potluck Around

Good morning everyone! Today I am sharing a ridiculously simple and delicious dip which I brought to a Super Bowl potluck this weekend. It is a spin on the classic Rotel Cheese Dip which is always a huge hit! I added a Mexican flair and which paired deliciously with homemade guacamole. Which someone else brought. I need to learn how to make guac ASAP. Honestly, it just seems like a lot of work and so I have never attempted it. Anyways, here is the easiest slow cooker dip around.

1 package (16oz) Velveeta Queso Blanco
1 can (10oz) Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
1/2 lb Ground Sausage

Cook the sausage and drain the extra fat. Chop the Velveeta into cubes and combine with the undrained tomatoes and sausage in a slow cooker. Set heat to low for 1-2 hours. Stir and enjoy.

Using the slow cooker helps thicken the dip and enhances the richness of the flavors as they simmer. You can server with tortilla chips, veggies or in mini pastry shells. This dip is perfect to turn into nachos or quesadillas the next day. Although it is unlikely that you will have any leftover.

Told you it was the easiest potluck recipe around. It is always a favorite in our house for that very reason.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Five

Happy. Happy  Friday loves! I think this Friday is extra exciting with Super Bowl on Sunday. I am not an avid football fan but appreciate anytime we can get together with friends and enjoy yummy food. Looking forward to a weekend filled with great friends and yummy food. I'm happy to be here with y'all to kick of Friday with a few favorites and thoughts that have been running around my head.

Running Inspiration. I have been getting the itch to train for a half-marathon. My last race was a marathon back in 2014! The weather here has been perfect and I love an excuse to push myself. I don't have a lot of time to train during the week but know I could get in a long run on the weekend. One of my favorite fitness bloggers Sarah Fit just posted a 6 week training plan which would be perfect for those mid March races!

Book Reads. Looking for some good book reads. I am trying to limit my time on Facebook and social media in the evenings and replace it with a bit more positive and fulfilling reads. I have heard great things about Sarah Jio's series.

Bargain Shopping. I stopped by a local retail shop to donate some items through the Junior League of Raleigh. While in the back, I stumbled across the cutest Lilly shorts and just happened to be in my size!

Camera Upgrade. For Christmas, I received a new lens for my Sony Nex6 camera. It's a 50mm lens perfect for portrait photos. Now I need to figure out how to best use my camera! Great review of the lens here. 

Baby Sign Language. Caroline's want to communicate is expanding along with her increased mobility. I can tell she is desperate to tell us what she wants and needs. We have been doing a few basic signs with her to help increase her communication but still encourage her spoken language skills. This little board book has been perfect to read and go over with her daily. We also use a lot of signs during playtime and mealtimes. 

Linking up with Amanda, ErikaKarli & April .

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