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Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Favorites: End of Summer!?!?


It is really hard to believe summer is rolling up and moving out.  I feel like we were just celebrating Memorial Day Weekend and now we've blinked and Labor Day is upon us.  Sure, there will be more 80+ degree days where I live but all too soon my mom's pool will be closed and the evenings will find me in a sweatshirt.  I must admit...I do enjoy the fall but the summer is my favorite.

So lets celebrate the end of summer (unofficially) with five things I've loved about this summer....

1.  The Beach

This summer we visited a new beach - Ocean Isle - and had a great time.  We feel like its our new go to spot for the family trip.  The kids had a ball and it was hard to leave after our five days were over.  Oh well...we'll see it again soon!

2.  The River

We didn't get out on it as much as we would have liked but now that we have the option to go when we can it was great.  Very peaceful and fun....a lot of memories from back in my college days came back to my mind!  Of course tubing sucks so its kayak only now.

3.  Camping

Most of our camping this year will be done in the fall.  I guess we won't miss it too bad since its getting ramped up.  But I still associate camping with summer!

4.  Pool time

Since my mom is a teacher she'll try to shut her pool down very soon after this post goes live.  I hate it when the pool closes up for the year.  I really love swimming and hanging out by the pool.  Its a good tool for the kids too....and wears them slap out!  

5.  Summer

Truly, it is the BEST season because you can run around half naked....ok shorts, tank top and barefoot, in your back yard.  You can catch lightning bugs or a buzz while gazing at the stars (seriously, did that).  You get extended day time (perhaps the best part!).  I think its safe to say that summer makes you feel young no matter how old you may be.  Summer time is freedom and fun and unforgettable moments.

It has been a great summer.

Now get me a PSL and drop the temp about fifteen degrees so I can try to feel festive for fall.... <wink>

Have a lovely long weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Thankfulness

Thanking this Thursday...

Thankful for...

Photo: Perfect weather day!!!

Getting to spend time with my Little Man.
I had been so upset that I wouldn't be in regular work on August 19th.  This week I've figured out it's not the worst thing in the world and this is an opportunity I'm meant to have right now.  My Little Man and I have had loads of fun playing in the dirt and with tractors and singing E-I-E-I-O.

Another school year.
My Diva loves school so much.  She's a better kid at home when she's going to school.  I'm thrilled we're back to the books.  I feel like its going to be a great year.

Menu for a month.
Last weekend I made a menu for a full month.  Then we went shopping for it.  Yes, I'll still have to pick up odds and ends but the majority of the shopping was completed in one day.  You wouldn't believe it but it really takes a huge load off my shoulders.

Cooler days.
Fall is teasing us here in NC.  Its been cool in the mornings and nice to go out and walk and play in the yard.  I'm ready to plant some mums but I know I better hold off (90 this coming weekend so says the weather girl!).

Jersey Belle.
Its a new show on Bravo.  I'm suckered in.  I enjoy it.  

The dog.

She's got up me and going before I had planned to be.  Had we not got her I would be asleep til 7 in the mornings and not peppy at 6:00 to go for a mile stroll.  It makes my whole day better.  Thanks Chipster.

Vet Friends.
That save me money.  Need I say more?  NO!

My husband.
He's just an all around great guy.  He's always got the kids and me in the forefront (ok 90% of the time...) I really adore that dude.

Sweet Frog.
If you don't have a Sweet Frogs then you're missing out.  On Tuesday they posted to their FB page they were having an after school scavenger hunt.  We were in the area so we went by to get a cup of yogurt.  Turns out no one had came in to find the hidden giftcards.  We found two and got extra punches on our punch card!  Awesome!

Can you think of one thing to share that you are thankful for today?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Its The First Day...In the First Grade

My daughter used to watch VeggieTales all the time.  In one show Junior Asparagus is singing a song about the first day in the first grade and second day in the second grade, etc.  That song has been burning up my brain.

On Monday my Diva began the first grade.  And zooooom went life...

For the first time ever my child had jitters.  The night before school she kept waking up and giving me a bogus excuse as to why she was up.  Finally, I sat down with her and said, "Are you nervous about school?"  She had tears coming in her eyes and shook her head yes.  I reassured her she would still love school and she would have no worries the minute she walked into the school. A good batch of you know that school like the back of your hand and your teacher will love you to pieces (she already knows her) and you know the kids at your table helped her finally fall asleep.

I hated going to school.  I never saw joy in going to school.  Never.  For the first time I could relate to my kid as far as school goes.  The night before classes I was sick and sad.  But I always learned after you walk through the door its all gravy.

I pray for all the school kids to have a good year.  I hope they are all compassionate to others and passionate to learning.  I hope they make good decisions and learn more than we can imagine.  I also pray their teachers are empathetic and sympathetic.  I pray they are in the job they love and will show each child the love that a good mom and dad do as they instruct and nurture for 7ish hours of interaction time.  I hope that the students, teachers, staff, and parents all give their best to make this year safe, productive and awesome.

Let's do this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tested, Tasted, Totally Delicious: Week 3

I am seriously enjoying trying out new recipes and sharing them with you all!  This week we're on our third trial of yummy goodness from Pinterest and around the web.

I love bringing you easy foods that are healthier than a drive thru or carryout. 

One cut of meat I love to purchase is organic chicken breast tender.  If you opt to not buy it organic its a cheaper choice from the meat counter.  Chicken breast tenders are very versatile and offer you savings and health savings with portion control.

When most of us think about chicken breast tenders we think about, well...chicken tenders.  I love chicken tenders but I tend to like mine baked and not fried.  So I took to Pinterest to give me some ideas as to how to fix the batch I purchased.

There are a blue million recipes out there and most are very redundant.  However, I found a total winner for anyone who likes some spice!

Let me introduce you to my new go-to dinner. It’s, like, the most perfect weeknight meal, ever. I mean, 5 ingredients? You can’t go wrong. Ready in 45 minutes? It couldn’t be easier. Tastes so ridiculously good that you and your fiancĂ© eat enough servings to feed a family of five, and still fight each other to lick the dish? It happened.
This recipe comes from{}.  It is her version of sweet and spicy chicken and I adore it.  It only calls for 5 main ingredients and chances are you have them all.  I did not have the siracha so I used my Frank's Hot Sauce in place of it.  It was divine and the kids loved it too.

What do you need?

45 minutes and a good oven
Chicken tenders or breasts you can cut into tender style portions
Brown Sugar
Sriracha (or hot sauce if you're me)
Salt and Pepper

Click the link and get to cooking!  I served with fresh green beans and mac n cheese (because three out of four members of this family eat it!)

See ya next week with another recipe and tomorrow with something on my brain...who knows what!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend Recap: Birthday!

Our weekend was great and I hope yours was.  Today my baby girl begins first grade!  I cannot believe she's already nearly seven and in her second year of elementary school.  Time goes by in a blink.

Speaking of time going by in a blink, my Little Man turned 2 over the weekend.  As mentioned last week we had our party and it was a success.  It was great to have family and friends over but man was it a whirlwind for this mama!  I didn't get many pictures at all :(  but I have some mental memories for now yay!

Sunday was the actual birthday.  We went out to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and then to the Greensboro Science Center.  I hadn't been there since I was a little thing so it was so fun to go back.  If you are in North Carolina you should plan to go here for a day.  They have so much!  The have a zoo (with tigers, gibbons, howler monkeys, tortoises, red pandas, snakes, turtles, etc) and an aquarium with sharks, rays, penguins, and so much more.  They also have a dinosaur exhibit, geology exhibit, human body exhibit, space, and plenty of play areas.

I stamped the picture wrong...its the Greensboro Science Center...didn't want confusion!

Shots from the aquarium:  

The large tank was awesome and reminded us of Ft. Fisher's aquarium, lots of sea life living in there!  

The touch tank was a big hit.  Little Man enjoyed the water while Diva loved actually touching the rays.  

How about some penguins?  I swear I need one.  They were so cute!  

Dad and Little Man posing for me.  

The bubble is super cool it was in the otter's area.  You could literally walk into the bubble and be in there with the otters!  

Of course I had to get a shot of the shark.

Shots from what I refer to as the original structure (because I'm old school...apparently!)

This place rocks because its a mix of The Children's Museum, SciWorks, Natural History Museum, Zoo, and aquarium all in one.  If school systems aren't taking advantage of this gem they need to check into it STAT!

The kids enjoyed playing in various activity rooms.  The water table was a HUGE hit with all four of us.

The dinosaurs were a plus for the boys.

Right now they are hosting a Pirate special (but we didn't take advantage of visiting it this trip).

Shots from the animal park

I love favorite picture is on the left in the middle.  Its Little Man and a Meerkat.  The tiny Meerkat is looking at Little Man like, "Hello big yet small human.  How may I help you?"  Little Man is looking down like "What in the world are you?"

See the monkey?  He's a Howler Monkey.  He is why I am not a monkey fan.  Do you see how he can contort himself?  He was a total show off.  Before you knew it he was pressed against the glass.  Monkeys scare the crap out of me.  They are little and spidery and smart and deceiving and remember that movie where the monkey gave the guy the disease that virtually was about to wipe out the human race.  Yep, keep that monkey over there.

I don't care if it is my cousin.

Tigers are huge and massive and sleep like my husband.

Why do they always have farm animals at zoos?  Ok duh not everyone lives where I do, that's why.  

Best animal awards go to:  The Alpaca who I named Snow White and should have brought home in my mid size sedan.  And the insane tortoise that was a speed demon who liked to crap in front of the other tortoises.

They also are one of two zoos that have Gibbons in the USA but I didn't take a picture....because they are monkeys.  Just kidding...because I didn't care much about them.  The tortoises were cooler.

It was a great weekend.  Honestly, great is an understatement.  Happy birthday Little Man.  You're the bomb to sister golden hair.

See ya tomorrow!  We'll be eating something good...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Favorites....This week.


Tomorrow is the birthday party!  I'm so excited to see friends I haven't seen in quite a while and enjoy the giggles of the littles in the backyard.  I'm also totally stoked about cake.  I love cake.

Ok guys here's my Friday 5 --- its a random hodge podge.

1.  You met Chippy (Ethel)

On Wednesday I introduced you to Chippy (Ethel)!!!  She's our new puggle.  Gosh, I love this dog.  Even more reason to love her?  She is my daughter's body guard.  Tuesday night I had showered and taken out my contacts and put my Coke bottle thick glasses on.  The dog has never seen me clean wearing glasses.  She was on my daughter's bed and I started walking towards her room.  Dear Chippy (Ethel) lunged from the bed barking and snarling at me.  Then she realized who I was and had a mild heart attack.  Just kidding.  Seriously, she did go into attack mode on my tail.  Lesson learned:  Don't mess with Chippy (Ethel) when she's with the kids....she'll eff you up.

2.  Recipes

I am so stoked to be trying out recipes and sharing them with you guys (on Tuesdays).  I really love cooking above and beyond the way a normal human being should.  I was mapping out September posts and the most excited I became was when I was looking at all the recipes.

3.  I cannot believe summer break is over

My daughter goes back to school on Monday.  Wow. I am totally ecstatic over that but also a little lost without her and her sassy self around.  It is odd not going to work (because I loved working in elementary school last year) hopefully before you know it I'll be busy making my substitute rounds.  I'm also sad that another speedy year is starting up. I know teachers don't feel that it is too speedy but for parents it is.  I was told that when my daughter started school the years would go faster.  Guys, that is so on target.  My baby is in first grade....ZOOM.

Fall Fashion for the Heat
Go visit Lisa Loves John Blog!

4.  I wish I had some money

I would love to get some new clothes for fall.  Oh wait I live in NC and that whole fall thing isn't a worry until maybe October...ok seriously November.  One of my new fave bloggers {Lisa Loves John} posted some cute ideas for outfits for fall when fall is a gazillion degrees...loved them all.  Link above.

My guy in May this picture of my chunky baby boy.  He's turning two on Sunday!

5.  My boy

On Sunday my son will be two years old.  He's my last baby and he's my heart.  The speed at which he is growing and learning is amazing.  He makes me laugh and sometimes want to scream simaltaneously.  He's a total blessing.  He's made us all better from dad to mom to big sister.  Thank you God for my sweet boy.  Please always keep him healthy and safe.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Birthday Boy Week: I don't go crazy


Though sometimes I do go crazy (because I'm a wife and mom and at home a lot) I do not go crazy over birthdays.

I'm such an atypical blogger.  

I see bloggy friends who have these HUGE bashes for their kid's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 13th, 54th birthdays.

That's just not how I roll.

Last year - good cake.

Don't get me wrong I like a good birthday celebration but to me that's a yummy cake and some good champagne.  Champagne at a kid's part is a little necessary not necessary though haha.

Kids are simple (unless you groom them otherwise) and I prefer embracing that simplicity.  

This weekend my Little Man turns two.  Yes, its hard to believe he'll be two years old; yes, I think his babyhood flew by at great speed and yes it is a bit sad.  In a week and a half my daughter will turn lucky number seven.  Am I baffled at that mere turn of another calendar year?  Yes, it scares me.  At the speed this is all happening it looks like I'll be picking out my retirement trailer in T minus twenty.

I love retro pics...sorry not sorry.

The coolest part, for me, about birthday time, is I realize neither of my kids care about decorations or photo booths or having a $450 blow away bouncy house here.  They are into their friends, good food, giggles, and running around screaming.  That's the perk of birthdays....lots of giggling and screaming because you're a little kid and you can do it and not get strange looks or a police cruiser to ride in.

I guess that's why our party (which will be mainly family with some wonderful friends coming too) will consist of hot dogs and fixings, cake, and the toys in the back yard for entertainment.


It may not be pin worthy but it will be a good time centered around a cute little birthday boy and his soon to turn seven sister.