Friday, October 30, 2020

Five on Friday - Charcuterie Sunday, Christmas Tree Sale, and Christmas Music

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Yes, yes, you did read that right… it’s not even Halloween yet and I’m already talking about Christmas over here.  Haha.  I can’t help myself, I just love it so much!  I figure, if Hallmark can start their Countdown to Christmas already, then I can start talking about it here on the blog!  We could all use a little bit of extra cheer this year anyway, right?  Okay, let’s get down to the favorites from the week!

O N E – Charcuterie Sundays

Pre-Covid, we went to my parents’ house every single Sunday evening for a traditional Sunday dinner, and it has always been my favorite way to end the weekend.  Since the pandemic started, we decided to put our Sunday dinners on hold to ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy, and while I know it’s the right thing to do, it still makes me incredibly sad to be missing so much quality time with my parents. 

Since our long-standing Sunday tradition has been put on hold indefinitely, we had to figure out what to do with our Sunday evenings, and since I’m always tired of cooking by the time the weekend rolls around, I decided to implement Charcuterie Sundays as a fun (and easy) way to end the weekend.  Grazing has always been my favorite way to eat, and our kids could not agree more!

I’ve been doing charcuterie boards nearly every Sunday evening for a few months now, and we’ve all been enjoying it so much.  I try to change it up from week to week so we’re having a variety of things, and it’s been a lot of fun to get creative when putting the board together each week.  This past weekend, I did a Halloween-ish charcuterie board and it was one of my favorites yet! 

If you want to see some of the other holiday boards I’ve done in the past, the links are below.

Valentine’s Day Board

4th of July Board

Halloween Board

T W O – HUGE Artificial Christmas Tree Sale

Last year, I bought this 7-foot, pre-lit pencil Christmas tree from Michael’s in their HUGE October artificial tree sale, and I loved having it in my office so much that I considered leaving it up year-round.  The tree looks great in-person, the branches are thick and fluffy, it already contains lights, and it’s the perfect width for small spaces.  I love that it’s tall and skinny because it doesn’t take up much space, yet it has ample room for ornaments.

I loved mine so much last year that I tried to purchase two more, one for each of the kids’ rooms, but they sold out very early in the season online and in-store.  I put a note in my planner for September 2020 to remind me to start looking for them early this year, and I’ve been stalking them ever since. 

They’ve been sitting at regular price, which is $109.99, since September, and then a couple of weeks ago, they put them on sale for $30 off.  I knew I had gotten mine way cheaper than that last year, so I held out, and I’m so glad I did, because this past weekend, they dropped the price by $60!!  That’s right, right now, they are on SUPER sale for just $49.99!!  I added two of them to my cart last weekend, and we did curbside pickup on Sunday to get them.  They do ship free, too, so that’s also an option if you don’t have time to go get them. 

We’re going to get these put up in the kids’ room next week and I’m soooo excited, y’all!  Just wanted to give y’all a little PSA about the sale since so many people asked about mine last year.  Make sure you grab one early because last year they weren’t in stock for very long… I want to say that they were sold out by the end of November!  And all of their artificial trees are on sale right now, so even if you're looking for a different size or style, now would be the time to check them out!

T H R E E – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and I am one in four.  After my miscarriage, I tried tirelessly to make sense of everything that had happened, and although I’ll truly never understand, I found some solace in knowing that God’s plan is always bigger than mine.  As I healed, I clung to one single bible verse and it’s still my favorite to this day.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

Weathering that storm is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but the rainbow that came afterward has been so sweet.  Jacob has been, and always will be, one of my favorite things.

F O U R – My Mini

Sometimes I look at Olivia and all I see is Brian’s two sisters, but most of the time, I look at her, and I swear, it’s like looking at a picture of myself when I was six.  My little girlfriend has my eye shape and undereye bags (sorry, Olivia!  Haha), my smile, and my SAME EXACT hair line, part, and almost (real – lol) hair color.  I took this picture of her the other day and it just blew me away how much she looks like me when I was little. 

I thought it would be fun to do a little side-by-side comparison so I dug up this old picture of myself from when I was about her age.  I wish I could find one of myself smiling bigger, but I couldn't.  What do y’all think? 

F I V E – Christmas Music

And finally, our local radio station already started playing Christmas music, and I’m not the least bit ashamed to say that I’ve been listening to it pretty much nonstop all week while I’ve been working… and it’s not even Halloween.  I typically wait until November 1 to start listening, but blame it on the ‘Rona, because I decided to start a little early this year.  It brings me SO MUCH JOY, so why not?

Friday Funnies

Just kidding, I already know.  ;o)

At every. single. house.  Lol.

Lol.  Why is this so true?

Except replace peanut butter cups with Kit Kats.  ;o)

On the Blog This Week

 Our Week – The One with Quarantine, Week 32 (Elbow Update, Halloween Activities, and Family Pictures)

What I Wore – September 2020

The Best Fall Books for Kids

Happy Friday, y’all!  I hope you all enjoy Halloween weekend with your favorite people!

*Linking up with A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Best Fall Books for Kids

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

While perusing books for my Halloween books roundup a couple of weeks ago, I came across some great fall books, so I thought I’d dedicate an entire post to those, too.  We love a festive, seasonal book, so I had a great time searching to see what all was out there.

Our latest purchase was Sweep, and it might be my favorite fall book yet.  The illustrations are gorgeous… there are so many beautiful pictures of fall leaves and the dust jacket has foil accents on the cover.  And not only is it beautiful, it also has a great message for kids about dealing with big emotions.  I’m going to give it to our kiddos next week and I can’t wait to read it with them. 

Here are a few more books dedicated to all things fall, a couple of which also include Thanksgiving… 






I’m sure we’ll be spending lots of time reading our fall and Thanksgiving books over these next few weeks, and we’ll probably be sprinkling in a few Christmas books, too!  ‘Tis almost the season!  ;o)

Happy Wednesday!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

What I Wore - September 2020

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I’m a little behind posting my outfits for September, but I haven’t been all that excited to do these posts this year since I’ve been living in athleisure.  Haha.

I did start easing back into some more stylish clothes last month, though, as we had a few outings here and there, but other than that, it was mostly cutoff jean shorts, leggings, and a whole lot of t-shirts.  #2020Vibes

Here are my looks from September…

September 1 - Top // Brown Sandals

September 2 - Tank // Zella Pocket Leggings // Black and White Tennis Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 3 - Brown Sandals // Leopard Watch Band

September 4 - Black and White Tennis Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 5 - Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 6 - Cutoff Jean Shorts // Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 7 - Leopard Watch Band

September 8 - Tank // Brown Sandals // Leopard Watch Band

September 9 - Tank // Best Leggings Ever! // Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 10 - Zella Live-In Leggings // Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 11 - Cutoff Jean Shorts // Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 12 - Zella Pocket Leggings // Leopard Watch Band

September 13 - Pumpkin Spice Top // Leopard Watch Band

September 14 - Fall Y'all Top // Cutoff Jean Shorts // Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 15 - Tank // Zella Live-In Leggings // Black White Tennis Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 16 - Hunter Boots // Leopard Watch Band

September 17 - Pivot Tee (similar) // Zella Pocket Leggings // Black and White Tennis Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 18 - Tank // Leopard Watch Band

September 19 - Zella Live-In Leggings

September 20 - Pink Dress // Striped Cardi (similar) // Leopard Watch Band

September 21 - Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 22 - Zella Live-In Leggings // Native Shoes

September 23 - Converse // Leopard Watch Band

September 24 - Tank // Best Leggings Ever! // Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 25 - Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 26 - Zella Live-In Leggings // Leopard Watch Band

September 27 - Fall Top (similar) // Nike Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 28 - Top // Brown Sandals // Leopard Watch Band

September 29 - Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

September 30 - Knot-Front Tee // Native Shoes // Leopard Watch Band

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Our Week - The One with Quarantine, Week 32 (Elbow Update, Halloween Activities, and Family Pictures)

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Last week was another busy week, but we got everything done and I feel like I was pretty productive.  Here’s the recap.

Monday, October 19 (Day 220 of Quarantine)

Monday morning, we all got up and got out the door at our usual time, but instead of dropping both kids at school, Olivia and I dropped Jacob, and then headed straight to her appointment with the orthopedic surgeon.  Last week, you may remember that she had a bad fall, and the doctor at the emergency room put her in a splint and sling due to a small fracture in her elbow.

We have an orthopedic surgeon who is friends of our family, and he was kind enough to call me over the weekend and arrange to see her first thing Monday morning, so we didn’t have to wait until Friday to see a doctor.  He told us to come in first thing even though we didn’t have an appointment, and to just text him when we arrived.  I was a bit nervous doing that because I didn’t want to cause any issues in the office, but everything went as smoothly as could be.

The doctor had already added her to his schedule, so the lady at the front desk was expecting us, and within ten minutes, Olivia had already been triaged and was in a room.  When the nurse removed her splint, I could see the relief on Olivia’s face, and she spent the next five minutes scratching her arm and moving it all around because it felt so good to be free!

The doctor came in within five minutes and did a thorough examination, asking Olivia to move her arm in every way possible, and after seeing how excellent her range of motion was, coupled with the fact that she was hardly having any pain, he told us that a cast would not be needed!!!!  He said that he looked at her x-rays and, while she does have the “fat pad” that the doctor in the emergency room told us about, he didn’t think her injury was serious enough to warrant a cast or even a splint for that matter.

He told us that she needs to take it easy for a couple of weeks, and doesn’t need to do any running, jumping, or anything that could cause her to fall down again, but he said she is free to do dance and behave as normal otherwise.  She doesn’t have to wear anything on her arm, but he did tell us that she should wear the sling if her elbow hurts.  He said he actually doesn’t want her in the sling too much because it’s important for her to be moving her arm around for the healing process.

We were in and out of there in less than an hour, so she only had to miss about an hour of school.  I got her all checked in at school, sent her teacher a quick email with the update, and then I headed home to work for the rest of the morning. 

Monday afternoon, the kids and I picked up leftovers from my parents on the way home from school, I cooked dinner, and we hung out at home.  I also snapped a few pictures of my best girl with her sling and without because we had to document the good news!

Tuesday, October 20 (Day 221 of Quarantine)

Tuesday morning after I dropped the kids off, B and I went to the tag office.  When I bought my Telluride, the Kia dealership handled all of the tag paperwork, but instead of transferring my old tag to the new vehicle, they ordered a new one.  I’ve had the same specialty UGA plate for years and years, and I didn’t want to give it up, so unfortunately that meant we had to go to the tag office to do the paperwork.  Yuck. 

The line was long when we arrived, but we ended up getting in and out of there in about 50 minutes, which was actually faster than I expected.  Thankfully, the transition process was smooth and easy and my OG tag is on my Telluride right where it should be.  ;o) 

The afternoon was spent working and doing laundry, and I just had to laugh when I pulled the red load out of the dryer... it was HUGE because all Brian wears this time of year is University of Georgia shirts.  I mean, he wears those all year-round, but this time of year, it's like every single day.  

Tuesday evening, Jacob had a game at 6, which made dinnertime very awkward – it was either eat at 4:45 before the game, or 8:30 afterward, so we opted for the early-bird special.  We had picked up that leftover beef stew and homemade beer bread from my momma on Monday, so we heated that up, and it made for a delicious and super easy early dinner.

Jacob’s team had to play the same team we’d played at our last game, but this time instead of losing, we ended up whooping them, 23-13.  We were so far ahead that they stopped the game because of the mercy rule.  Jacob had three singles, one RBI, and two runs scored, but he did have one strikeout.  I think I jinxed him by saying he hadn’t had any this season in my last post.  Boooo.

While we were at baseball, we got two not-so-good texts from family – one that my cousin had been in a car accident (not her fault), and another that my uncle was being taken to the ER for potential blood clots.  2020, y’all.  Thankfully, my cousin was totally fine (though her car is likely totaled), and my uncle ended up being released later that night with no blood clots.  Thank goodness. 

When we got home, I got in a quick stair workout while the kids got ready for bed, and then B and I spent the rest of the night watching The Bachelorette.

Wednesday, October 21 (Day 222 of Quarantine)

Wednesday morning, I got in a dance workout after I dropped the kids at school and then I worked all day.  Olivia had dance after school, so we dropped Jacob at home, I dropped her at dance (and gave her teacher the rundown on Olivia’s elbow since she has to be careful), and then I headed to the car wash down the street from her dance studio to give my new baby a bath.  It was terribly dirty after our trip to the mountains, so it’s nice to have it looking all shiny and new again.  Although, having it all clean does make the dent more noticeable.  Sigh.

Wednesday evening, we had breakfast for dinner, and then we spent the rest of the evening in the back yard.  Jacob wanted to play wiffle ball, and Brian’s back has healed which means he can pitch again, so they played while I swept off the back porch.  I went in and out of the house a couple of times while working on some small projects, and right before it was time to go in, I accidentally locked us out.  Womp womp.  

Just as we discovered that we were locked out, a huge, completely unexpected rainstorm blew in and it started pouring.  Lol.  Thankfully, my father-in-law only lives about five minutes down the road from us, so he hopped in the car and brought our spare key.  Our garage was open, so we were able to wait in there to stay out of the rain while we waited. 

Thursday, October 22 (Day 223 of Quarantine)

Thursday, I had nowhere to be, so I spent the entire day working.  Doing all of these weekend and vacation recaps are extremely time intensive, so I’ve been struggling to get ahead again… in fact, I can barely keep up!

Jacob had another baseball game Thursday evening, and they got another win, 13-9.  The score probably would have been higher, but they called the game before we had the chance to bat in the last inning… there was no reason for us to bat since we were batting last and already ahead.  Jacob had three singles and two runs… would have been three runs, but he was tagged out at home plate on a super close play.  He slid, but the catcher was a split second faster than he was, and he tagged him out.  It was an exciting play!

We had leftover baked ziti for dinner when we got home, and then B and I watched the debate after the kids went to bed.  Thank goodness both candidates were more respectful of each other this time… I would have turned it right off if they spent the whole time yelling over each other like they did the last time.  I’ve already voted anyway, so it doesn’t make much of a difference to me at this point.

Thursday also marked the day that the mask ordinance in our city was suspended.  Apparently, cases in our city dropped below the governor’s threshold, and our mayor is no longer legally able to enforce a mandate because of it.  While it’s great that cases have dropped here, suspending the mask mandate is a TERRIBLE idea, especially since cold and flu season is right around the corner.  I’m praying that most businesses and schools will continue to do the right thing and enforce a mask policy.  Otherwise, cases will spike, and the mask mandate will come right back anyway.

Friday, October 23 (Day 224 of Quarantine)

Friday, I spent the entire day blogging.  I’m trying so hard to get ahead in posting so I can have some free time during the day to work on house stuff.  There are several areas of the house that need to be cleaned out, there is lots of house cleaning that needs to be done, and in about a week, there will be lots of Christmas decorating to do!  EEEEK!

And speaking of Christmas, on the way home from dropping the kids at school Friday morning, I was flipping through the local radio stations while my favorite morning show was on commercial break, and one of our radio stations had started playing… Christmas music!  I usually wait until after Halloween to start listening to Christmas music, but I’m not going to lie, y’all, aaaallll of the warm and fuzzies came over me when I heard it and I may have even teared up a little.  After this crazy-ass year, I think we could all just use some extra joy, and Christmas music is one of the top things that makes me happy, so I’m just rolling with it! 

This station typically starts playing nonstop Christmas music sometime during the first week of November, but I think even they realized that we all just need some extra cheer to end 2020.  They aren’t playing it nonstop just yet… it appears they’re just mixing it in with regular music so far, so they seem to be easing into it.  Haha.  I went straight home and texted my momma and my aunt about it, and one of my old friends from high school who I haven’t heard from in a while texted me to let me know it was on the radio, and that it made her think of me.  <3  I love that Christmas music made her think of me.  Just call me Buddy the Elf.  ;o)

Friday evening, we got Five Guys takeout and then we all piled on the couch with a festive treat to watch Casper, the 1995 version from my childhood.  It’s one of my favorite movies of all-time, and I’ve probably seen it a hundred times.  The last ten minutes is one of my favorite scenes from a movie ever… if you know, you know!  I had a poster of Devon Sawa’s face hanging right by my bed for years after that movie came out.  Haha. 

Both kids absolutely loved it, and I think B enjoyed it, too… he had never seen it.  I mean, WHAT?!  Sometimes I forget that he’s four years older than I am, and that age gap is surprisingly large enough that he was “too old” to watch some of the kids movies that I grew up with.  So crazy! 

I hadn’t watched it in probably 20 years, and I enjoyed every single second… it is every bit as good as I remembered!

After the kids went to bed, B and I watched Hubie Halloween, the new Adam Sandler movie on Netflix, and it was SO dumb, but so dang funny.  Y’all, it is typical old-school Adam Sandler stuff, so if you grew up loving him, then you’ll love it, too.  And even if you don’t love him, it’s pretty much worth the watch just to see all of the cameos in the movie (SO many famous people) and to see all of the hilarious graphic t-shirts Adam Sandler’s mom wears.  I laughed so hard.      

Saturday, October 24 (Day 225 of Quarantine)

Saturday morning, I made more pumpkin-shaped waffles for breakfast, and then I got in a good mixed cardio workout.  I slacked off a good bit this week in the fitness department, so it was much needed. 

After lunch, the kids decorated their haunted houses that we’d bought at Trader Joe’s.  They love doing gingerbread houses every year at Christmastime, so I wanted to find some Halloween ones this year as something festive to do since there are a couple of things we can’t do because of Covid.  They had a blast doing them, and I enjoyed helping. 

Jacob needed help getting his put together, but he ended up decorating the whole thing himself, including doing most of the frosting.  Olivia needed help getting hers put together, and she also wanted help with her frosting, which is why hers looks a little more detailed than Jacob’s.  She applied all of the candy herself, though, and she gave her ghost a bat bowtie and “blushy cheeks” as she says.  So dang cute. 

Jacob opted to eat a good bit of his candy, so that’s why his is a little more sparse than hers.  Lol.  Also, in case you’re wondering, yes I took a picture of Jacob with his house, but I didn’t post his because he was running around in his boxers.  Lol.  Our kids run around in their underwear VERY often, so I don’t post half of the pictures I take.  Lol.

While the kids decorated their houses, I cleaned out Olivia’s artwork basket because it was a HOT MESS, and I got rid of soooo much stuff.  It felt so good!  That basket has been the bane of my existence for the past month, so it was well overdue. 

We were supposed to have had a Georgia game this weekend, but several games got moved around due to Florida’s team having so many players positive for Covid, so we didn’t have a Georgia game to watch.  Therefore, I spent the whole afternoon in my office doing some work.  It poured all afternoon, so it was dark outside and therefore, very cozy inside… I turned on the twinkle lights in my office along with The Wedding Planner (yes, again… don’t judge me), and I knocked out some picture-editing. 

Saturday evening, the kids and I baked some Halloween Funfetti cupcakes, we got pizza for dinner, and then we watched The Dog Who Saved Halloween.  Do not waste your time with that one.  Y’all, it was so bad.  Lol.

Sunday, October 25 (Day 226 of Quarantine)

Sunday morning was family fall picture day, so B grabbed some donuts for breakfast so we could bribe the kids to cooperate.  Haha.  We usually take pictures early and then go get donuts, but this year, it was really cloudy, so we wanted to go a little later in order to have decent light. 

As usual, we did our own pictures using my DSLR camera and a tripod.  Everything went well, and I’m hoping we got some decent shots.  As I already said, the day was very cloudy, so there wasn’t any good sunlight to work with, but hopefully they’ll turn out okay.

Here's a little sneak-peek of our outfits... Olivia's dress from Amazon was PERFECTION.

We stopped by Walmart Neighborhood Market on the way home to let the kids pick out candy for their class parties, and by the time we got home, it was time for lunch.  We had a quick lunch at home, and then we left again to drop a couple of things at my mother-in-law and step-father-in-law’s house. 

My step-FIL’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and we obviously haven’t had a chance to celebrate him since we’re not getting together for Sunday lunches anymore, so we wanted to drop a little gift for him and tell him we’ve been thinking about him.  We stayed and chatted at their house for a while, and then we headed to Michael’s to pick up a couple of pencil Christmas trees that I had ordered for the kids’ bedrooms.

In the past, we’ve put up small three-foot trees in their rooms to house all of their handmade ornaments, but they’ve both already run out of space.  I loved my seven-foot pencil tree so much last year in my office, that I decided to get them for the kids, too.  They were on SUPER sale this weekend, so I snagged two at just $49.99 each… they are regularly priced at $109.99 EACH so they were a steal!  We did curbside pickup and didn’t even have to set foot in the store, so it was winning on every level!

After Michael’s, we decided to make a pit stop at the Dairy Queen drive-thru to grab some Blizzards.  The kids have been asking for one for weeks, so we finally grabbed some while we had the chance.  The mini Blizzards make the perfect afternoon snack, and I wanted to have one more of the pumpkin pie ones before they’re gone until fall 2021. 

The kids did all of their homework when we got home, and then the next couple of hours was spent working while B and the kids played video games.  They’re way into their newest Zelda game, and they all love to play together on the weekends.  Our kids get zero screen time during the week, so we don’t mind letting them spend a little more time on them during the weekend.

I made a charcuterie board for dinner that was Halloween themed, and we decided to eat outside since our porch is so clean.  It’s been a little warmer and very humid here all week, so the weather wasn’t ideal for fall, but it sure beats the stifling heat that we’re so used to during the summer.

After dinner, we carved our pumpkin into a scary face per the kids’ request, and they were so pleased with the way it turned out.  After that, it was showers and bedtime for the kids, Shark Tank and Supermarket Sweep (the new one) for B and me, and a slightly earlier bedtime to get the week started out right!

It was a great week and we’re hoping to have another one since Halloween is here!

Happy Monday, y’all!

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