Thursday, April 5, 2018

Benton's First Birthday Party

We celebrated Benton's first birthday by having a small party at our house on March 3rd.  His actual birthday was February 28th.  I'm really late with this posting but better late than never, I guess!

I love love love planning parties and celebrations.  I could browse Etsy and party stores all day.  Even though at times I got a little worried with the planning (like when Benton got a fever a few days before the party and two of the books for decor I ordered weren't shipped), I really enjoy it.  I decided on Winnie the Pooh as the theme for the party after he dressed up as Winnie the Pooh for Halloween. Below, I've shared some photos of the party.  I shared more on Instagram if you want to check out those.  We tried to keep the prep for it on the actual party day pretty simple.  We bought the cupcakes and got the free smash cake from Harris Teeter, ordered carry-out pizzas from Dominos, and we had sweet tea and lemonade to drink.  We set up the table the night before.  Josh had to run out the morning of for the balloons and to pick up the pizza though. For gifts, we gave the adults a bottle of honey, and the kids got the little baskets with some Teddy Grahams,  fruit snacks, a little clay pot, and I meant to put stickers in it but forgot, oops!

The party was a lot of fun though and was a special day for us.  We're thankful our loved ones could join us to celebrate our sweet boy.  Benton devoured his smash cake and the other little ones loved the cupcakes.  The kids mostly played in the little play "room" we have set up in our basement.  It was a little chilly for them to play outside that day.

I can't believe Benton is now one (well now he's actually 13 months!).

I've sourced the info at the bottom for all of the decor.  Now, I can't wait to plan Mary-Grace's next party!  But, that's a few months away.

Gift baskets: Target
Banner: Etsy
Vintage Winnie the Pooh Book:
Letter B: Michaels
Clay Pots: Dollar Tree
Cake Stands: Home Goods (we already had these)
Tree stand block: AC Moore
Ribbon: AC Moore
Pitcher and Beverage Dispenser: Bed Bath and Beyond
Winnie the Pooh Print and Invitations: Etsy
High Chair: FB Marketplace find
Benton's birthday party hat: Etsy
Wood Boxes: Tuesday Morning and Michaels
Table Runner: Amazon
Bees: AC Moore

Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday Focus- Earrings

Happy Friday!  It's been a busy week here.   Mary-Grace and I went to a fun kids museum with friends on Monday, she had gymnastics on Tuesday, and we've ran a ton of errands (which never seem to subside).  Mary-Grace is spending today and tomorrow with grandparents so it's just Benton and I during the day.  I've had a little extra time though to surf the net and I've found the prettiest and fun earrings I wanted to share in a quick post!  Which are your favorites?

Tear Dropped: here | Disco: here | Flower Studs: here | Hoops: here | Flower Drops: here | White Ball Drop: here 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Home Inspiration- Small Storage Solutions

I'm always looking for ways to organize my home.  It's especially hard to find great storage for the smaller items.  Organizing better is also a goal for me this year.  I've searched and read reviews (plus mine own) for some great small storage solutions!  Check them out below.

Pink Basket: here | Flat Seagrass Basket: here | Plastic Bins: here | Dresser storage cubes: here | Lidded cubes: here | Wicker Basket: here | Pantry Containers: here | Rolling clothing storage: here | Glass Jewelry Box: here | Food Storage: here | Office Boxes: here | Suitcase Cubes: here

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Recipe- Easy Chili

One of our favorite meals when it's chilly outside is Chili. Chili for when it's chili... It's so easy to make and will leave us with plenty of leftovers.  We use Josh's dads recipe and of course add toppings like sour cream, sprinkle of cheese, chives, and a side of cornbread or corn chips.  Josh recently gave the recipe to a friend who entered it into a chili cook-off and won!

2- 14.5 oz cans of kidney beans (dark or reg), drained
1 large can of pork-n-beans
3 or 4- 14.5 oz cans of chili beans (mild, medium, or hot)
1- 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
1- 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 packet of chili seasoning
1/4 cup of pickle juice (we usually use sweet gherkins)
Combine all the above in a large pot and simmer for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Who else is having a hard time believing it's already 2018?  It seems like such a futuristic date to me.  The holiday season came and went at super fast speed.  We took our Christmas decor down yesterday (which I was ready for) but it felt like we just put it up!  Over the past 2 weeks we've been so busy celebrating birthdays and Christmas.  My husbands birthday is Dec 17th and my moms is the 18th.  We didn't celebrate them in the usual way this year because of other holiday events and illnesses that took place.  For Christmas Eve, we have celebrated it at our house with my moms side of the family since we've been married.  We'll have dinner followed by drinks and dessert.  Christmas Day always involves visiting our family that we don't get to see on Christmas Day so there's a good bit of travel involved.  My favorite part of Christmas this year was seeing Mary-Grace get so excited about Christmas morning and also her understanding of the meaning of Christmas this year.  Our New Years Eve tradition is now going to bed before midnight!  Although, this year we were awake at midnight thanks to Benton who didn't get the memo that we wanted to sleep.  I think he heard the neighborhood fireworks and wanted to party with them.  I think the days of us getting dressed up and going out till 1am are long gone... at least for the near future which I'm completely O.K. with.

I've been thinking a lot about 2018 and my goals for the year.  2017 was a blessing for us in many ways.  Of course the biggest blessing was welcoming Benton to our family.  I can't believe he'll be one at the end of next month!  Even though 2017 brought such a wonderful blessing, in some ways I feel like I was just trying to get through the days and months.  Adjusting to 2 little ones wasn't easy at first and I've been sleep deprived the whole year (I really have!).  I think I made some things harder on myself than necessary.   Anyways, this all leads to my 2018 "goals" and what I feel will make life go more efficiently for us and also be better for us in many ways.

1. Live more healthily- this is something we are going to work on as a whole family.  I really do try to  make healthy meals but I'm going to kick it up a notch.  I meal plan for our week and do my grocery shopping usually on Sunday or Monday.  I may start actually prepping the meals on those days as well.  I think prepping snacks will also help with eating more healthily.  Also, this sounds very cliche but I want to start working out on regular basis.  I lost all of the extra pregnancy weight pretty fast after having Benton (something that took me forever after having Mary-Grace).  He has a milk protein allergy so I cut out all dairy which I think helped tremendously with losing the weight.  Even though I'm happy with the number on the scale, I lack energy and my body just feels weak and I'm not toned at all.  I think if I can start a good routine with working out, it'll help my energy levels, even when sleep deprived.  I'm thinking of either waking up an hour earlier to do this (and get ready before the kids wake up) or at night after they go to bed and having Josh join me.  If you workout, which time works best for you?

2. Be in the moment-  putting down my phone and computer more to cherish the time with my little ones because they are growing up so dang fast!  It's easy to get distracted by every thing going on in life.

3.  Stay organized-  I'm more of the type A personality anyways so this won't be hard for me.  Over the years I've tried not to be so neurotic about it and let some things "go as is" thinking it might be easier but I really do function better and feel more happy when I'm organized.  My closet is organized by type of clothing and by color, and that makes me happy.  Have y'all seen or started following The Home Edit?  I follow them on Instagram.  They have the BEST looking and organized pantries, closets, etc.  I really want my pantry to look like one of theirs.  Also, Emily Ley, who's photo of her Simplified Planner is shown below, has great tips.  I also want to become more organized with our finances and important documents.  I started this a couple of months ago but need to keep with it.  I may have mentioned this before, but at the end of my pregnancy with Benton I nested big time.  I cleaned and organized pretty much every little nook and cranny in our house... but as you know things get messy again over time.

4. Write it down- I can't remember everything (who can?) so I'm going to try to make more of an effort to write everything down that I need to remember- appointments, birthdays, random things I need to remember for the kids, random facts I want to remember, etc.  Also, I'd like to start making a daily routine/to-do list to follow which I think will help me in so many ways.  This all kind of goes along with #3 and staying organized.

5. Pay it forward- I want to teach my children what it means to give.  I'm still thinking of ways to do this but I'm thinking it could be something as small as buying someones coffee or giving a few minutes of time to someone in need.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Home Inspiration- Christmas Decor

I absolutely love looking at all of the Christmas decor that's displayed right now.  My own home is lacking a little though... too busy with a 3 year old and a baby.  We have our stockings up, large tree up and finally almost fully decorated, and a somewhat festive front door decor.  I'll also decorate and set the dining table our for Christmas Eve dinner that we host.  I have two small (under 2ft) trees to still put up as well- one in the kids room and maybe one in the kitchen.    I took the easy way out and put them back in the boxes still decorated from last year so they shouldn't take too long to put up.  Does anyone else do this?!  If I had some extra time and space I'd love to replicate the looks of the beautiful decor shown below.

How beautiful is this staircase garland? Goals.
Found on Pinterest here

I love the matching wreath above the mantle garland and the little village houses are a perfect with it all .
Found on Pinterest here

I love trees on tables like this one.  For Mary-Grace's second Christmas, she was only 16 months old and was into everything.  So, we put up a small 3ft tree on a table similar to this but I didn't have a cute basket like the one shown here.
Found on Pinterest here
 There's something about wreaths with striped ribbon that I love and especially shown with a boxwood wreath like this one.
Found on Pinterest here

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Must-Haves + Life Update

"Monday, Monday, so good to me" at least she better be.  This weekend.  These past 6 days.  They have been rough.  I've been MIA from quite a bit since then.  Last Tuesday, Mary-Grace had a stomach virus.  The day started with her vomiting everywhere and it lasted all day.  It was awful.  I felt so bad for her.  I prayed the rest of us wouldn't catch it and thank God we didn't.  Have any of you tried the grape juice "trick"?  I'm now convinced it really works.  The past 3 or so times Mary-Grace has had a stomach virus, we've drank multiple glasses of grape juice and we haven't gotten sick.  I think it's now more than coincidence.  It's suppose to do something with the acids in your stomach.  By Friday Mary-Grace was feeling a lot better.  However, right after helping her recover from that, Benton started to not act himself on Friday.  He was lethargic and more fussy than usual.  By late Friday evening, he had a fever of 103.2.  I was freaking out because I don't remember having a fever that high and Mary-Grace luckily has never battled fevers.  That same evening it so happened that his pediatricians (who we love btw) phone line was having technical difficulties and it took us a while to get in touch with the triage nurse to ask for advice.  I was seriously ready to take him to the ER.  He was sweating, beet red, and still lethargic.  We followed their advice though and stayed home treating him with Motrin and I nursed him as much as possible to keep him hydrated during the night.  We took him in Saturday morning and they told us he might have hands, foot and mouth.  We already had a bad experience with that with Mary-Grace and Josh a couple of years ago (another story for another day).  Thank God it doesn't seem that he has that though.  We think it was just another virus.  Josh and I didn't feel well all weekend either.  Sore throats and exhaustion for us.  We slept for a total of maybe 5-6 hours all weekend.  So yeah, Monday, please be good to us.  We want and we need a better week.  Please and thank you!

On to other things now.  I keep a running list of things I like or find useful on Pinterest, Instagram, or as a mental note. There are so many things right now that are on those lists but I'll start with sharing the most practical for the home.  What's on your lists of must-haves for the home?

First, these bins.  I grabbed one a couple of months ago to store our laundry detergent and the cleaning supplies that we keep upstairs.  I want to grab another to store toilet tissue and paper towels.

Also, one or two of these metal baskets to store breads. 

Next up, a couple of these picture frames for the kids' room to display some new family pictures (shared here). Their dresser and the crib is the same simply white.  

We've been acquiring more dishes that require washing by hand so this drying mat would be really helpful! For now, we've been letting them air dry on paper towels or dish towels. 

Our little peanut, Benton, still gets sink baths.  It's so much easier for me to give sink baths than using  the bathtub.  He's finally starting to outgrow the sink and he's starting to get "bored" while in the bath and there's not much room for toys in there.  I think it's about time we made the switch to bathing him in the bathtub.  We already have this bathtub that Mary-Grace used but this kneeling cushion may help save my knees when bending over to bathe him.  Also,  this cute matching rinser would be perfect for Mary-Grace.  We just use a plastic cup right now but she always freaks out when we try to rinse her hair saying it's going in her eyes or ears.  Maybe it would help?

We have a Shark steam mop that we got soon after getting married that we love. It's so easy to use and does a great job with getting any dust, grime, or spills up.  I can't find the exact one that we have so I'm not sure if they just changed the design.  It came with two or three mop pads but after years of use, even bleaching doesn't get them looking great anymore.  They're starting to look grungy so a new one would be practical.  I found this two-pack of replacement pads that should fit that were surprisingly just over $10.  

Also on the list (and the largest item), is this shelving system from Ikea. We are overloaded with toys, books, and movies.  I've seen this multiple times in photos of playrooms and I think it's just what we need (with cute bins).  The multiple baskets we have are no longer cutting it.  I can't decide if we need the 4x4 or 5x5.  I was also hoping for a Black Friday sale on this.  There's an in-store coupon but I believe the closest Ikea to us is in Charlotte, and I'm not about to drive there.  Do any of you have this and love it?

These bins to go with it to store the smaller toys?  By the way, I think Target has such a great selection of cute storage baskets and bins.  I already have some similar to these in gray and white for the kids' bedroom that stores diapers and wipes.