Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

Well hello there, day before I decorate for fall!!  EEEEK.  I have never been so excited to end a month in all of my life.  I am already on a fall high and tomorrow is the big day!!  And you better believe, I’ll be waving my fall flag proudly.  Heck, I might even go ahead and just decorate tonight.  ;o)

What We’re Eating This Week

Monday – Sausage, Peppers, and Onions Tacos, and Lime Chips, courtesy of Shay.

Tuesday – Rosemary Wine Chicken (will post the recipe soon… it’s incredible), mashed potatoes, broccoli

Wednesday – B is playing tennis in the evening, so we’ll likely feed the kids sandwiches, and he and I will have something that he picks up on the way home… Zaxby’s or Chick-Fil-A, maybe?

Thursday – I’m taking Olivia to her first dance class (heart eyes), so we’ll likely have to have sandwiches or something light at home again.

Friday – B has to work Friday night (a rare circumstance), so the kids and I will probably be having, you guessed it, sandwiches… maybe grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup?  Too much going on this week, not a lot of time to cook!

Saturday – B and I will be in ATL for the Georgia game, so we’ll be eating stadium fooood!!!!  I can’t freaking wait!

Sunday – Dinner at my Mom and Daddy’s house.  The usual good Sunday din! 

As I’ve mentioned 220,723,225 times already, I received an advanced copy of Shay's new cookbook, Eats, and I’ve been poring over it so I can start making some new recipes.  We just made her Taco Joe’s last week and they were so good.  You can pre-order it on Amazon now if you’re interested.

What I’m Reminiscing About

GA games past… it’s almost time to gear up for the new season!  Last year we went to the Georgia/Alabama game and it rained the entire day.  Hopefully we'll have better luck this year!

What I’m Loving

Working out.  I joined a gym a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been going on my lunchbreak and walking on the treadmill.  It’s making me feel great!  I’m also getting a lot of good use out of all of my cute workout clothes, and now other people can see them besides just Brian and me.  Haha.  You can see all of my workout faves here.

What We’ve Been Up To

We finally finished Jacob’s big boy room!!  After several months of decisions, hard work, and decorating, it’s finally done. You can tour it here.

I also completed and photographed our travel gallery wall and shared it on the blog, and I wrote my 300th post.  It’s been a big month for blog posts!  

We’ve also been baking more than usual… we made some delicious Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins last weekend and we made my very favorite Blueberry Lemon Drop Cookies a couple of weekends ago.

What I’m Dreading

What’s to dread?  My favorite four months of the year are finally here!

What I’m Working On

I hate to sound redundant, but I’m pretty much just focused on getting the house decorated for fall.  I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the evening tomorrow so it will be all ready for the weekend. Since Brian is working Friday night, I’m planning on pouring a glass of wine, putting on my snuggliest jammies, and watching something super girly while basking in the glow of my fall décor.  Lol.  I will likely post another fall home tour this year, even though it will likely be similar to last year’s.  If you missed last year’s you can see it here.  And also, if you’re looking for an idea on how to keep all of your children’s fall and Halloween books organized and readily available to your kids, check out my Seasonal Book Crate post.  It’s good stuff.

What I’m Excited About

Fall!  College football!  Fall!  College football!  You know, same as last month!  ;o)  I did a post about all things fall last Friday and Shay from Mix and Match Mama commented on it!!!!  #TotalFangirlingCommencing  #ImAwareThatImABigBigDork

What I’m Watching/Reading

Watching – Bachelor in Paradise, Friday Night Lights, America’s Got Talent… although, that’s mostly for B… I just kind of listen to it while I’m doing other things.

Reading – Ugh, I was just commenting on Shay’s book post for the month of August yesterday that I’m reading the worst book evarrrr.  Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley... SO. BORING.  I actually bought it because I thought the cover was cute (guess that'll teach me!), and when I researched the reviews someone had said, "If you like Emily Giffin, then you will love this book."  Well, being as how Emily Giffin is pretty much my favorite author, I snatched the book up really fast and had really high expectations for it.  However, I'd like to smack whoever said that because it's so far from the truth that it's not even funny.  The characters are underdeveloped, the author uses lots of big words which, to me, comes off like she's trying too hard, and the book is just, well, BORING.  As a matter of fact, I had to Google the name of it when I typed this because I couldn't even remember it!  And I'm CURRENTLY reading it.  Sigh.  I kinda just want to toss it in the trash, but I feel like I'm too invested now, so I'm trudging on through.  It’s like I'm in high school all over again being forced to read something I hate.  Haha. 

Anybody wanna buy mine when I’m done?  Haha.

What I’m Listening To

Aaaall the old standards!  Original versions (Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald), new versions (Rod Steward, Michael Buble, Steve Tyrell), and instrumental jazz versions (Attila Fias Quartet, Beegie Adair).  GIVE THEM ALL TO ME!!!! 

I just bought two new albums on Amazon and I. AM. IN. LOVE.  They are Cocktail Party Jazz and Cocktail Party Jazz 2… it’s all of the favorite standards done by a jazz quartet...  the kind of music you picture listening to in a classy jazz bar in a big city… the kind of music they played in the Rainbow Room when we visited NYC in 2005.  It is my favorite type of music to listen to during the fall, and well, probably all the time.  I’ve literally been coming home from work every single day and shuffling that genre while I cook and while we eat dinner.  I bet Brian is getting tired of it.   

What I’m Wearing

Still lots of sleeveless stuff and skirts to keep cool, but I’m praying for some cooler weather so I can start busting out the fall stuff.  I just got this graphic tee as well as these boyfriend jeans and another pair of my favorite skinny jeans, and I’m so ready to wear them… not so sure about the non-skinny jeans, but I’m going to give them a whirl since they’re coming back in style.  Target and Old Navy are on point for the fall fashion, let me just say!  I want this shirt dress so bad I can't stand it, and I also want this and this... oh, and also this for football season, so feel free to send gift cards my way!  You know, to celebrate fall!  ;o)

What I’m Doing This Weekend

An entire date day on Saturday!!!!  B and I are heading to Atlanta for the Georgia vs. North Carolina Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game.  It’s going to be in the Georgia Dome where the Falcons play and it will be our first chance to watch our new coach in action.  I still can’t believe that we have a new coach this year.  I will miss Mark Richt something fierce, and I’m praying that Kirby Smart is a good replacement.  Only time will tell…

What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month

College football, pumpkins, fall leaves, the sweet scent of cinnamon wafting through the air, and hopefully having a couple of days with weather cool enough to be able to wear a scarf.  Need I say more?

What Else Is New

My aunt and uncle have a mountain house in North Carolina and we just booked it for four days in October while Jacob is on fall break.  We’re going to go apple picking and do some wine tasting at the vineyards… to say I’m excited is an understatement.  We have never taken a “fall vacation” with the kids before and I’m absolutely over the moon that everything worked out for us to take one this year.  My aunt and uncle’s house is just gorgeous and the view is stunning… I can hardly believe it, but the last time we stayed there we didn’t even have any kids.  Crazy to think that there was once a time when we didn’t have kids.  Here's an old picture from the trip... it's hard to believe that this was six years ago!!

Well friends, happy last day of August!!!!  Helllloooo, September!!  I’ve been waiting for you.

*Linking up with Shay, Mel, and Sheaffer for What’s Up Wednesday and Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.

*This post may contain affiliate links.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Seasonal Book Crate for the Littles

I have been an avid reader my entire life and I’m hoping to pass that along to our kiddos as well, so we read a lot in our family.  A lot.  We have been reading to each of them since they were just days old, and we read to them every single night before bed.  As you can probably imagine, we have accumulated a lot of children’s books over the years.  We have books about everything – trucks, princesses, colors, feelings, letters, dinosaurs, teddy bears… you name it, we probably have it. 

In addition to all of the traditional children’s books, we also have tons of different books for each of the holidays – Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.    

Because we have so many, it’s really hard to keep up with all of them, and many of our holiday books were getting lost in the shuffle each year… weeks after Christmas I would find that we had forgotten to read one of our favorite Christmas books simply because we had forgotten that we had it in our collection.  Not to mention, all of the books are housed in the kids’ bedrooms, and we spend most of our time downstairs in our living room, so the only time the books were getting read was right before bedtime.

Last year I decided to do something about our book conundrum, and I purchased a cute little crate from Marshall’s, spray-painted it white to match our living room décor, and I positioned it in our living room right at the kids’ fingertips where we spend most of our time.  Each season I change out the books (and the decorations on the crate – so fun!) so they have the current holiday appropriate books all in one spot at the appropriate times. 

You may remember seeing it in our Valentine's Day Home Tour, our Easter Home Tour, our Fall Home Tour, our Christmas Home Tour, and our Living Room Home Tour.

Around mid-January I load it with all of our favorite books about love, so when Valentine’s Day rolls around, we’re all feeling lovey dovey.

As soon as Valentine’s Day is over, I put those books up and pull out the Easter books!

In mid-June, the July books come out… we don’t have any specifically about Independence Day, so I typically just throw some all-American books in there – trucks, superheroes, Dr. Seuss, and a book about our beautiful home state of Georgia.  I also throw the birthday book in there since July is Jacob’s birth month.  :o)

On September 1st, it’s aaaall about fall!  All of our books about Halloween, Thanksgiving, bears going into hibernation, fall leaves, etc. come out and get thrown into the crate.  

Then the day after Thanksgiving, all of the Christmas books come out.  These are my personal favorite (and the kids’ as well) and the Christmas genre is by far our biggest collection.  

During the off months with no major holidays, I fill the crate with random miscellaneous books, and rotate them out often so the kids are reading different stuff.  That way all of their books get read at some point, and we don’t have any just laying around collecting dust.

Win win win.

This past weekend I pulled out all of the fall books, and friends, let me tell you that I could not be more ecstatic!  This book crate has become such a source of excitement for preparing for our favorite holidays and I’m going to enjoy it while I can… I know our years for this particular tradition are numbered as one day our littles will no longer be interested in reading The Night Before Christmas and Happy Easter, Mouse.  I guess at that point, we will just have to figure out a new use for the crate!

*Linking up with Our Pretty Little Girls for Tuesday Talk and Simply Every.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The One with All the Birthday Parties

This weekend will go down as the weekend with the most birthday parties ever...  one for Jacob’s friend from his old school Sunday afternoon, one for Jacob’s friend from his current school Saturday evening, and one for my uncle’s girlfriend Sunday evening at my parents’ house.  And Jacob was actually invited to another one Sunday afternoon, but we had lunch with B’s fam, so we didn’t go to that one.  It is pure craziness when you have a kid in school… lots and lots of parties to attend!

We somehow managed to squeeze in lots of family time in between parties and get a few things done around the house, so that’s what I call a pretty ol’ good weekend. 

Friday evening J and I picked up pizza from Domino’s on the way home.  The kids love the Cinnastix and we hadn’t had them in forever, so we decided to treat them since they had both had good weeks at school.  And since we didn’t go anywhere out to eat, we had enough time after dinner to watch a movie.  We watched Home and it was really cute.  Not one of my faves, but definitely worth watching.  I snapped this picture halfway through the movie… be still my heart.  I know my days of Jacob wanting to hold my hand are numbered, so I’m cherishing every single second of the times that he does.

B and I got the kids in the bed and watched three episodes of FNL before calling it a night.

Saturday B had to get Maui to the groomer by 7:30, so he stopped by Krispy Kreme and Starbucks for a Saturday morning treat.  We spent the morning hanging out and being lazy… I got a few things cleaned up around the house and the kids played in their “fort”… under the dining room table.  They like to take lanterns under there and play.  So cute!

B picked up Maui from the groomer just before lunch and she is now all nice and clean and snuggly again.  They put a bow around her neck and I had to snap a picture because she looked like she wanted to punch me for leaving it on her that long.  Lol.

We all had sandwiches at home for lunch, and then Jacob and I ventured out for the first of his two birthday parties for the day. 

The first was at a local gymnastics place and the kids had a blast tumbling, jumping in the foam pit, walking the balance beam, and jumping on the trampolines.  This party was for Jacob’s friend Caitlin whom he went to school with from the age of 6ish months until we moved him to his new school last year for Pre-K4.  In their infant class they were always the first two there every morning and they would always sit side by side in their high chairs and eat bananas together.  He and Caitlin were inseparable during their almost 4 years together and they were ecstatic to see each other.  Jacob had been counting down the days (literally) every single morning this past week leading up to seeing his “Cait-Cait” and Caitlin’s parents and grandparents told us that they had heard nothing but “Jacob this, Jacob that” for the last couple of weeks as well.  Those sweet babies.  <3  Her parents and Brian and I have already arranged their marriage.  Hehe.  And I hate that I didn’t get a picture of the two of them together.  :o(  She's the one sitting on the purple mat in the top left corner of the photo below.

After party numero uno, we had just enough time to run home, change J into his bathing suit, grab a towel, and head out for party numero dos.  This party was for his current teacher’s son David, who is also in kindergarten at his school.  They had invited both kindergarten classes as well as many other people from the school so there were a ton of people everywhere.  There was an inflatable water slide, a playground, and one of those little plastic toddler “roller coasters” (which J spent most of his time on) and the kids all had a blast, while the adults conversed.  Half of the people there were old friends and classmates of mine from high school who now also have their kids at the school… it’s always wild seeing all of our kids play together knowing that we were all walking the halls at the same school together just a mere sixteen years ago.  Yikes, sixteen years ago… not so “mere” after all, I guess.

I was a horrible blogger this weekend because I barely took any pictures.  Only got this one from the second party.  #Woops 

Jacob was completely exhausted after that party, so he and I picked up Bojangles and took it home to B and Olivia, we all ate dinner, bathed the kids, and put them to bed promptly at 8 PM.  B and I then had three whole hours all to ourselves so we watched a few more episodes of Friday Night Lights, and y’all will be proud of me, because halfway through season two, I’m finally starting to understand the appeal for Tim Riggins.  #IveNeverLikedBadBoys #ButImStartingToLikeThisOne

Sunday morning was lazy and slow, just how I like it.  We ate leftover donuts, watched Chicken Little, painted Olivia’s nails, and played on the floor… Jacob with his Legos and Olivia with her girly Hotwheels.  She had Jacob round up all of her pink and purple ones and she made us some Hotwheels soup.  Keeping it girly!  Haha.  I finally gave in and started burning one of my fall candles and I even put Maui’s candy corn collar on.  Tis the season!

Sunday afternoon we had lunch at B’s momma’s and we got to visit with his aunt and uncle who are on their way back home from Minnesota.  They always spend summers in Minnesota (where they’re originally from) and they travel back down to their current home in Florida for the rest of the year.  They always stop by to visit on the way back so we get to spend some time with them.  It’s always so nice to hear about their summer adventures!

Sunday evening we had our usual family dinner at my parents’ house and we celebrated my uncle’s girlfriend for her birthday with vegetable lasagna, squash, salad, and bread and a chocolate peanut butter cake.  So.  Much.  Food.  After dinner my mom busted out my little brother's old Sit N Spin (anybody remember those?!) and the kids had a blast!  I even joined in on the fun... please don't make fun of my crazy eyes in this picture.  Haha.

Wearing my mom's apron... the sweetest!!
It was another wonderful weekend… now we’re just counting down the days to next weekend… did someone say three day weekend and college football?!  Yes, yes they did!  Amen.

And one more thing before I go... yesterday was B's and my 13 year dating anniversary, so shout out to my baby daddy!  Love you, Boo! 

*Linking up with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Five on Friday - Setting the Tone for Fall

The obsession with fall… you either love it or you hate it.  Many people I know are counting down the days until their first PSL and many people I know are dreading the end of summer and the start of all things pumpkin.  

I, without a doubt, fall in the lover category.  I live for September – December.  It has been my favorite time of year since I was a little girl.  And September 1 has always marked the first day acceptable to embrace all things fall in my book.  Never mind that it is still sweltering outside.  Never mind that the humidity still rivals that of the rain forest.  Once college football starts, my mind flips the switch to Pumpkin Spice Lattes, decorations of fall leaves in red and orange and yellow, and cozy evenings at home snuggled on the couch and watching our beloved Dawgs play… 

While we won’t be able to indulge in plush sweaters, snuggly scarves, and warm boots just yet (I mean, hey, we do live in the south), we can still set the tone for fall in other ways. 

O N E – Fall Decorations

Out they come!  I have two big plastic bins just waiting to be opened.  I will be pulling it all out next Thursday.  Until then, here's a little refresher on what our house looked like last year.  Isn’t it beautiful?

T W O – Fall Food

Bring on pumpkin and cinnamon errrrything!  #JustCallMeBasic #DontCare #IveLovedItSinceBeforeItWasDubbedBasic

I’ve always been obsessed with cinnamon and pumpkins, and ever since I started blogging and reading other people’s blogs, I have discovered that there are a lot of people out there who are just like me. 

A few of my favorite things?

The Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, Pumpkin Donuts from Krispy Kreme, Homemade Pumpkin Waffles, Homemade Cinnamon Waffles, Pumpkin Cookies, Pumpkin Pie… the list goes on…

I received an advanced copy of Shay Shull's new cookbook, Eats, and it is divided up by month.  I have already pored over September – December for new pumpkin recipes, and friends, she does not disappoint.  The very first thing that caught my eye is her Pumpkin Marshmallow Frozen Pie… it sounds divine and ridiculously easy to make.  I will be making it as soon as I can find a can of pumpkin.  I actually think I still have one leftover from last season…

Also, last week my boss came back from a trade show and dumped a heap of Cinnamon Fire Jolly Ranchers on my desk.  Y’ALL.  I had forgotten all about these!!  I used to love them when I was young!  Back then they were just called “Fire” but they changed the name, and now apparently they’re called “Cinnamon Fire!”  They taste just like Atomic Fireballs without the excessive heat.  Nothing says fall like the taste of cinnamon and I’ve been popping these like, well… candy.  These are definitely a favorite, and now I need to find out where my boss bought a bag of just this one flavor so I can get some more.  And in case you’re wondering, our marketing team always puts out candy at our booth at the trade shows to attract more people... like me, apparently.  :o)  

T H R E E – Fall Scents

And speaking of pumpkin and cinnamon errrrything, they’re not just good to eat, they’re also fantastic to smell!  My favorite candle in the entire universe will forever be the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin candle from Bath and Body Works.  I remember the first time I ever smelled it.  We were in Athens for game day years ago, and we were doing a bit of shopping.  I walked into one of my favorite boutiques there (The Red Dress Boutique, now famous for being on Shark Tank), and I smelled the best smell I’ve ever smelled in my entire life.  I marched right on up to the front desk, asked where the smell was coming from, and she showed me the candle burning on the desk.  I went immediately to B&B when we got home, loaded up, and the rest is history.  If they ever discontinue it, I will die.

As far as other fall scents go, on September 1, I also always switch my body lotion and spray over to Bath and Body Works Black Raspberry Vanilla.  Don’t ask why this particular scent for fall… I think I just wore it so much one fall that it eventually became synonymous with all of the wonderful fall memories we had made, so it just naturally became my signature fall scent.  They have since discontinued it, but a couple of years ago during one of their semi-annual sales they brought it back, I loaded up.  And by loaded up I mean I bought like 8 or 9 of the lotions, not even exaggerating.  They do still sell it here and there online, so I might have to stock up again soon before it's gone forever!

F O U R – College Football

It fires up next week and we are counting down the days!  Most of you know that we are HUGE Georgia Bulldog fans and we get season tickets every year… we love our football!  Our opening game this year is for the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, so instead of being in Athens, we will be in Atlanta at The Dome where the Atlanta Falcons usually play.  We have tickets to it and I cannot wait!

F I V E – Fall Activities

Aside from college football, we will also start planning our trip to the pumpkin patch, doing some fall crafts, shopping for fall clothes, and if I have my way, possibly going apple picking this year!  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but we don’t have apple orchards that are super close, so we will have to plan a little weekend getaway!

Pumpkin Patch 2015

Pumpkin Patch 2015... be still my heart.

If you’re obsessed with fall like I am, don’t forget to check out my fall Pinterest board.  You’ll find everything from fall recipes to fall decorations to Halloween costume ideas for the littles. 

As the sun starts to set a little earlier each evening and the evenings start to end with a slight chill in the air, I’ll be happier and happier.  Come to me, fall!  I’m ready for you!

Happy almost-September, y’all!  
*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites,  September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday, and Our Pretty Little Girls for Rewind Friday!