Friday, July 20, 2018

Five on Friday - Back-to-School Favorites

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through or make a purchase.

We officially have eight weeks of summer under our belts which means we only have two weeks left before the kids go back to school.  How that happened, I do not know!    Earlier this week we got phone calls from both of the kids’ new teachers, and when those phone calls came it made me realize just how close we are to going back.  Needless to say, I went into full productivity mode this week.  Jacob finished his summer homework, we did some back-to-school shopping, and I started making a list of everything else that needs to be accomplished before the big day.

Today I’m going to share a few of our favorite back-to-school items with you because I know a lot of you are in the same boat.  With only a few weeks to go, it’s time to get motivated, mommas!! 

O N E – These Book Bags/Lunch Boxes

When Jacob started Pre-K 4 three years ago we splurged and bought a Pottery Barn book bag for him.  They are not cheap by any means, but friends, they hold up like nothing I’ve ever seen!  Jacob has used this book bag every single day for Pre-K4, Kindergarten, and First Grade, and he will now be taking the same exact bag to second grade. 

This bag has been taken on vacations, it’s been taken to sleepovers with the grandparents, it was taken to school every single day for three years, it has been kicked around, thrown, punched on, and left in the middle of the floor in the hallway at school… and it still looks brand spanking new.  BRAND NEW.  And I have never so much as washed it.  Come to think of it, that’s probably pretty gross.  Lol.



Anywaaaayyyy…

If you are looking for a quality bag that will last for years, go ahead and grab one of these.  We loved Jacob’s so much that we bought one for Olivia a couple of years ago as well.  They come in so many colors and patterns (Disney Princesses, Hot Wheels, Mermaids, and Ballerinas) and and they have matching lunch bags, too… and the lunch bags attach right to the book bags, which we love!  :o) 



The only thing I would suggest is to order darker colored bags because I’ve heard that the lighter bags start showing dirt and stains faster.  Jacob has this Justice League one and, I swear, I do not see a stain on it anywhere.  Olivia’s pattern has been discontinued, but hers is a dark green with light pink flowers and trim and hers still looks brand new as well.  She hasn’t used hers as much as Jacob has used his yet, though, so the true test will be this year. 

In addition to these book bags and lunch bags, we also use these containers to put in the lunch bags.  They fit perfectly in this style of lunch bag and I can comfortably fit a sandwich, fruit, and a couple of other sides in there without wasting a bunch of plastic baggies.  They are dishwasher safe, and they’re so affordable that it won’t break the bank to keep several on hand.  We keep three on hand for each child so there is always a clean one… that way we don’t ever have to worry about washing anything by hand.  We send the kids to school with those along with one of these thermoses filled with water.  The thermoses are awesome because they keep cold stuff cold for 12 hours and they fit right in the cup holders on the sides of the book bags or the lunch boxes.  They come in tons of colors and patterns and characters so just search Thermos Funtainer on Amazon to see what all they have!







Right now all of Pottery Barn's back-to-school gear is 20-60% off with free shipping, so now is your chance to get them on sale!!!!  

School lunches made easy, y’all! 


T W O – These Polos

Our kids are required to wear uniforms since they go to a private school.  We have two choices when buying the uniforms – a) purchase them from the uniform company that the school uses, or b) buy shirts from wherever we’d like and have the school seamstress add the school crest to them.  Well, since our kids are so rough on shirts – dirt, spills, stains, paint, glue, etc. – we opt to buy shirts on our own and have the seamstress add the school crest to them.  She only charges $6 per shirt, so when we go that route, it always comes out cheaper.  In the past, we have bought polos from Old Navy, but they honestly seem to wear out pretty quickly around the collar area, so this year we ran to Target and loaded up on the Cat & Jack uniform stuff.  I can already tell that the polos are better quality than the ones at Old Navy, and they were only $2 more apiece. 

We still love Old Navy for Jacob’s navy shorts and pants, but we have so much trouble finding them there in his size.  That said, this year we’re trying out these from the Cat & Jack brand because our store had loads of his size in stock when we went this past weekend!  They are sturdy and good looking, so I have a feeling they will hold up just as well as the ones from Old Navy. 

If you’re looking for uniform choices (or just polos in general) check these out from Target!!  They are much better quality than Old Navy, but they are every bit as affordable!  Target is also offering 20% off of all Cat & Jack uniform stuff for a limited time online with the code UNIFORMS so go buy them now!





T H R E E – Footwear

Since our kids wear uniforms, they also have a dress code for shoes.  They are not allowed to wear sandals or any other type of open-toe shoe or any shoes without socks.  They can, however, wear any type of tennis shoe that they want, so we let them pick theirs out this year.  Jacob has this pair of navy ones, but we already have our eye on this pair of red ones when his wear out. 




Olivia opted for these Nikes in white with a gold swoosh (she is her mother’s daughter!) and then we also bought a pair of Mary Janes for her to wear on church days.  I just ordered this pair and this pair from Amazon earlier this week and we will decide which ones are our favorites and send the other pair back.  Free shipping and free returns… can’t go wrong with that!!


If your child doesn’t have restrictions on shoes, though, I am going to say yet another time that Natives are AWESOME!  They are lightweight and cushioned, they’re water-proof, they are breathable, they don’t rub blisters on the kids’ feet, and they don’t make their feet stink either.  Both of our kids have these – Jacob has these red ones and Olivia has them in milk pink – and they love them!!  If they get dirty, all you have to do is hose them off!  Our kids have worn theirs nonstop this summer, and I SO wish they could wear these to school with their uniforms!




F O U R – Amazon for School Supplies

Our school does the most amazing thing with regard to school supplies… they offer school supply bundles through a company so we do zero school supply shopping.  ZERO.  All I have to do is go to the company’s website, put in our school’s code, click the grades that my kids’ are going into, give them my kids’ names, and pay right there online with my credit card.  The company then creates a box for each child containing every single item on the school supply list for their grade and then they ship it straight to the school. 

Do you know how wonderful this is?!  This means that I don’t have to set foot in a store, I don’t have to hunt around looking for extremely specific things that I can’t find, I don’t have to fight with the back-to-school crowds, and to top it all off – it saves us money!!  And we don’t even have to carry giant boxes or bags to school on the first day… it’s already there waiting for them!  I mean, I will never shop for school supplies again!  Well, until the kids are old enough to decide that they actually want to pick out their own stuff.  Haha.  I know that was always my favorite thing, but until that day comes for them, momma is taking the easy way out!

Anyway, we have utilized this service for the last two years, but the first year that Jacob was in Pre-K 4 I got flat-out tired driving all over creation to find nit-picky specific stuff, so I took all of my searching to Amazon – BOOM, DONE!  They have great options and, of course, free two-day shipping for Prime members.  I cannot even tell you how much I love being a Prime member… that membership is worth every single penny.  

If you don't want to search 18 different stores for an "oxford pink pocket & brad folder" <insert eye roll here> just head straight to Amazon and search comfortably from your couch.  :o)

F I V E – Gifts for Birthday Parties

With back-to-school season comes… loads of birthday parties as well!  I recently came across this game and it would make the perfect give for girls or boys of many different ages.  Jacob has played it at school and he said all of the kids thought it was so much fun.  It’s basically beer pong for kids, so I’m sure this would be fun for adults, too.  Lol.   

I always try to keep a few gifts on hand for birthday parties, and this one is perfect for that.  At less than $10 per game it’s easy to load up! 



Well, that about does it, y’all!  What are some your back-to-school favorites?

And just quick reminder before I go – my friend, Brandi, released her new novel today!  I just received my copy yesterday and I can’t wait to read it.  You can purchase it here.    

Happy Friday, y’all!

*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday FavoritesMeet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, and Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday.



Thursday, July 19, 2018

Girl Chat - Summer Recipes

‘Tis the season for warm weather, cookouts, and outdoor get-togethers and in today’s edition of Girl Chat we’re discussing our favorite summer recipes.  I don’t know about you, but during the summer we tend to eat lighter, often trading in our rich carb-loaded pastas for baked or grilled chicken, plates loaded with veggies and fruits, and light refreshing desserts.  Without further ado, here are several of my favorites that we love during the summer…

Main Courses

This One Dish Sausage and Roasted Vegetables is easy to make, it only dirties one dish, and it’s loaded with fresh veggies.  I use turkey sausage to make it even lighter.

This One Dish Chicken, Red Potatoes, and Broccoli is also another favorite because it’s easy, it only dirties one dish, and it’s nice and light since it’s baked and simple.  No heavy sauces or seasonings.


One pasta that we do enjoy during the summer is my Cajun Chicken Pasta.  While it does contain alfredo sauce and cheese, it still manages to feel lighter, probably because of the fresh tomatoes and green onions sprinkled in.  Serve it up with some fresh green beans and you have yourself a fine summer evening meal!


Desserts

This No Bake Three Ingredients Hershey Pie is always a major crowd pleaser!  I got this recipe from Brian’s mom when we first started dating and it’s been a staple in our house ever since.  Like the other recipes, this one is super simple and quick to make and it’s served nice and cold which is perfect for those steamy evenings.  It’s also not too rich or filling, so it won’t leave you with too much regret.  ;o)


My Blueberry Lemon Drop Cookies are probably one of my favorite cookies EVER and we really only eat these during the summer, probably because blueberries and lemons are such fun, happy, summery fruits.  These are a bit more complicated to make than my other recipes, but trust me, they’re well worth it!


This Sensational Strawberry Pie is a good way to use of all of those strawberries that you picked at the strawberry patch earlier this summer and it’s also served cold… nice and refreshing even on the hottest of days!


These Patriotic Strawberries are also another favorite for all of the summer holidays – Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.  So festive!



Cocktails

During the colder months I typically stick with red wine, but during the warm weather months, I also love to throw in an ice cold beer or cocktail.  These Vodka Strawberry Lemonades are DIVINE, y’all.  They even have my Momma’s stamp of approval and she’s not a big alcohol drinker. 


These Red, White, & Blue Jello Shots are also fun for summer because, hello, Jello shots!  And again, so festive for the patriotic summer holidays!


That’s my round-up… I hope you found something to throw into your summer rotation!  And if you want to see the rest of my recipes, click here!

*Linking up with Home of Malones for Thoughts for Thursday.



To link up – just grab our graphic, link upand let’s get to chatting!  Make sure to stop by a few others in the link up for an extra bit of girl chat!


And don’t forget to follow your hosts!

Danielle - Bloglovin / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter
Emily - Bloglovin / Instagram / Pinterest 
Lindsay - Bloglovin / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter
Lizzie - Bloglovin / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest
Sierra - Bloglovin / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

This is Seven... Jacob's Birthday Interview

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through or make a purchase.

Jacob's birthday is right around the corner and I can hardly believe it.  I have asked him the same 30 questions each year since his fourth birthday and I plan to do this every year as long as he lets me.  I love seeing how his answers change throughout the years and I know it’s something that he will love looking back on one day. 

This was the first year where he pretty much answered every question straightforward.  He didn’t have to ask what anything meant.  He didn’t mess around and act goofy like he has in the past. 

My baby is growing up, y’all.



P.S. It was his idea to take pictures in the tree leaves.  Lol.

1.      What is your favorite toy?  “Um… Nerf guns!”  (For some reason he hoards Nerf guns yet he rarely actually plays with them.)
2.      What is your favorite stuffed animal?  “My little mouse that Stephanie gave me.”  (Same answer as last year!  And Stephanie is my uncle’s girlfriend for those of you who don’t know.)
3.      What is your favorite game?  “Um… The PJ Masks game that Olivia got for her birthday.”  (We do have this game, but we’ve only played it once as they always choose something else.)
4.      What is your favorite sport?  “Um… soccer.”  (And he’ll be starting his third season this fall!)
5.      What is your favorite book?  “Do I have a Voltron book?”  Me: “Nope.”  Jacob: “My 5,000 Awesome Facts.”  (#Truth  This kid reads excerpts from this book every single day!)
6.      What is your favorite TV show?  “Um… Voltron.”  (This is also the truth!  This boy loves that show!)
7.      What is your favorite movie?  “Ummmm… The Greatest Showman!”  (We watched it with the kids a couple of months ago and they have been obsessed with it ever since!)
8.      What is your favorite song?  “Song?  Um… Batman soundtrack.”  (Brian has the Batman soundtrack on his phone and Jacob requests to listen to it a lot.  It’s instrumental and I love that he loves that genre!)
9.      What is your favorite band or singer?  “Um… Dave Matthews Band.”  (That’s my boy!)
10. What is your favorite holiday?  “Ummmm… Christmas!”  Olivia: “My best is Disney World!!”  Jacob: “That’s not a holiday!  That’s a place!  Your favorite PLACE is Disney World!”  (Y’all, I wish you could just be around these two sometimes.  They are a hoot!  And I love that Olivia says “best” in place of “favorite.”  <3)
11. What is your favorite season?  “Um, summer!”  Me: <Awwww, must be because I’m staying home with them now!>  Jacob: “Because we get to go to the beach!”  Me: <Never mind then.  Haha.>
12. What is your favorite color?  “Um, black.”  Me: “Black?”  Jacob: “Yeah, for Georgia!”  (GO DAWGS!  Raising ‘em right!)
13. What is your favorite animal?  “Ummmm… hyena.”  (Interesting choice…)
14. What is your favorite shirt?  “Ummmm… I don’t know…”  Me: “WHAAAAT?!”  Jacob: ”Oh, my no-sleeves Spiderman shirt!  I forgot about that!”  (Y’all.  This kid has not stopped wearing this shirt for the last six months.  If it’s clean, it’s the first thing he grabs every. single. time.  We call it his Sunday uniform because he wears it almost every Sunday… and that’s because it gets washed on Saturday afternoon so the first day it’s available is Sunday.  Haha.)
15. What is your favorite fruit?  “Um, lemons and limes!”  (Lol.  He’s saying this because that’s his favorite fruity candy flavor.)
16. What is your favorite vegetable?  “Brocolli.  Because I don’t like any other vegetables.  I only like broccoli a little bit.”  (This is pretty much true, although, he will eat the occasional cooked carrot.)
17. What is your favorite snack?  “Um, key lime popsicles.”  (I guess he really loved the homemade ones we made a couple of weeks ago!  I did, too!)
18. What is your favorite treat?  “Um, treat out of my bucket.”  (Well obviously this one’s gonna need an explanation!  Haha.  He and Olivia both have tin buckets that they use for trick-or-treating each Halloween.  They started out just being for Halloween, but then we ended up tossing Christmas candy in there, followed by Valentine’s Day candy, followed by Easter candy, and so on… so now the buckets are basically just year-round treat buckets that hold their candy.  If they behave all day and eat a good dinner they are allowed to select one thing out of their bucket after dinner for a goody.)
19. What is your favorite drink?  “Drink?  Powerade.”  (He does love some Powerade!)
20. What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner?  “Mac n cheese.”  (I can’t even remember the last time that we had mac n cheese for dinner… or lunch for that matter, so I have no clue where this one even came from!  I guess I need to make some!)
21. What is your favorite restaurant?  Olivia: “Chipotle?”  Jacob: “I think I might like Fazoli’s.”  (We’ve totally never even eaten there… I think he’s only saying that because we just had a new one open near our house recently.)  Me: “You’ve never even eaten there, Bud!  So what is your favorite restaurant that you’ve actually been to?”  Jacob: “Panera… because cinnamon rolls.”  (Can’t blame him for that one!)
22. Who is your best friend?  “Um, Alex and Garrett.” 
23. What makes you feel happy?  “Um… when you hug me.”  (Awwww!!!!)
24. What makes you feel sad?  “Um… when Olivia does something mean to me.”  (Poor kid, that means he’s probably sad for, like, half the day.  Haha.)
25. What are you afraid of?  “Um, monsters.  I’m not afraid of vampires or ghosts.  Or zombies.  Or bats.  Or Frankenstein.  Or aliens.  Or skeletons.”
26. What are you thankful for?  “Um, my family.”  Me: “Anything else?”  Jacob: “And God and Jesus… and Mary.”  (Looks like his priorities have straightened out since last year.  Haha.)
27. What are you really good at?  “Um, drawing and writing.” 
28. What is your best memory?  “Um… I don’t know.  Oh, DISNEY WORLD!”
29. What do you want to be when you grow up?  “Um… I want to work at Disney World.”  Me: “And what do you want to do there?”  Jacob: “I want to invent the rides and help build them.”  (Yep, this kid has truly talked non-stop about being a ride designer for Disney ever since we went there back in March.  I’m not even sure what kind of degree you would need to do that… engineering?  Animation?  Hmmmm…)
30. If you could have one wish, what would it be?  “To have the Ultimate Garage!!!!”  (He’s referring to the new Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage and he’s in luck because – IT’S ALREADY HERE, WRAPPED UP AND READY TO GO!!) 

Happy almost birthday, my sweet!


Don't forget to link up with us below!  




Your Hosts! 

Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place / Bloglovin / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter 
Keri at Keri Lynn Synder / Faceobok / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest 
Sarah at Sarah E. Frazer / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest 


*Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I What I Wore, Pumps & Push Ups for Oh, Hey Girl! Link-Up, The Mummy ChroniclesTucker UpShopping My Closet for Style Me Wednesday, Classy Yet Trendy for Trendy Wednesday Link-Up, The Blended Blog and Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.






<!-- end InLinkz script —>

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What I Wore - June Recap

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through or make a purchase.

I usually do these posts the first Wednesday of the month, but things kept getting in the way this month so I’m just now getting around to it… on a Tuesday.  #BetterLateThanNever

Before I get started with this month’s looks I also wanted to remind y’all, Amazon Prime Day is still going on!!!!  What do y’all have your eye on?  Anything?  We ordered several things last night:

This 55-inch Roku TV - we've been needing a TV for our back porch so we figured Prime Day would be the day to get one!  This one is marked down to just $379.99... for a 55-inch TV, y'all!!!!  It's normally $599.99 so this is a GREAT deal if you're in the market for a TV.

This car seat - we need another one for my Momma's car for when she picks up the kids.

This Ravensburger Moana puzzle - our kiddos LOVE these puzzles and they love Moana!  It is currently marked down to just $9.79 which is 30% off!  This will be stowed away for Christmas!!

The Hedbanz Game - another Christmas gift that will be stashed away!  This is normally $19.99 and Amazon has it for just $9.59 today only!  Stock up for Christmas gifts and birthday parties!

I also grabbed a couple of books that I've been wanting forever because today only for select books you can get an additional $5 off of $20 with the code PRIMEBOOKS18.  I got Elements of Style (currently 43% off) and When Life Gives You LuluLemons (currently 40% off).  They were both already marked down HUGELY and then I got the additional $5 off, too.  #Winning

The Echo Dot is also deeply discounted today as well ($29.99 down from $49.99), so you can grab an Alexa for your home!  I hear she's a peach, but we have never used her services.  ;o)  Maybe one of these days!

And if you’re curious about any of our favorite past Amazon purchases, you can check out this post here.  I shared a lot of my all-time faves along with a peek inside our Amazon account.  Check it out!

Now, back to the matter at hand – what I wore in the month of June.  To sum it up, shorts and tanks, shorts and tanks.  Haha.  My wardrobe has definitely changed since I quit working last November and in all honesty, it’s nice to be able to dress down every day.  I love that I can wear shorts and not sweat my hiney off on a daily basis! 

These tanks and these tops from Walmart have definitely been a favorite as well as these sandals.  I have barely stopped wearing them since I bought them.  Just wait until you see my July recap.  Haha! 

Anyway, here are all 30 (well, 31 since I had an outfit change one day) looks for the month of June…

June 1

June 2

June 3

June 4

June 5 

June 6

June 7

June 8

June 9

June 10

June 11

June 12

June 13

June 14

June 15

June 16

June 17

June 18

June 19

June 20

June 21

June 22

June 23

June 24

June 25

June 26

June 27

June 27 (Evening)

June 28

June 29

June 30

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

*Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I What I Wore, Pumps & Push Ups for Oh, Hey Girl! Link-Up, The Mummy ChroniclesTucker UpShopping My Closet for Style Me Wednesday, Classy Yet Trendy for Trendy Wednesday Link-Up, The Blended Blog and Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.