Thursday, August 25, 2016

Blue Eyed Boy

I picked up Fletcher's pictures from his 4 month photo shoot earlier this week and I love how they turned out!  It was a quick session.  We did two outfits.  He arrived in my favorite and then we switched to one other outfit.  We had to keep things moving quickly, but our photographer got some great shots.  I thought I'd share my favorites with you.  I paid for a photo cd with a release of the pictures and then got a few prints for free.  I love owning the pictures and always opt to go with a photographer that gives a cd of pictures.

I put Fletcher in blue outfits to match his blue eyes and am anxious to frame some pictures for our house or maybe have a few canvas prints made.  I splurged on two monogrammed outfits for Fletcher so far and love how sweet and classic this checked one is.  

My favorite monogrammed clothing shop is Smocked Auctions.  I follow them on instagram and check out their website regularly.  I usually buy Olive's dressed a size bigger than she's currently wearing so she gets to wear them for two years and pick up items when they are on sale.  I like to buy birthday gifts for friends and family from here and they always get rave reviews!!

My very favorite shots are the first one and the last one :)

Little man turns 5 months old next week :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dear High School Whitney

(My graduation open house 2000)

Dear Whitney,

It's 1996 and you're just starting high school.  The next four years will fly by and I want to make sure you do them right.  You'll be graduating with the class of 2000 in no time and I don't want you to miss out on anything.  You're going to LOVE high school and those memories will always hold a special place in your heart.

1. Join clubs and participate.  
You'll join French club as a requirement and say yes to going on as many events as possible.  Sell candy for them, eat at Le Petite Cafe and love it.  You'll fall in love with pottery and end up taking many years of classes to master your art.  Don't put off joining the yearbook team until the end of high school.  You'll love writing for and planning out the yearbook so start working on this sooner.  Look for things to be a part of.

2. Be friendly to everyone.  
You'll have your group of friends that you do things with outside of school, but work hard to be nice to everyone, get to know as many people as you can and always smile.  You may not be best friends with the people you sit with at lunch, the girl who helps you through your Econ class or the people you are partnered with, but it's important to be sweet to all of them.  They'll appreciate it about you and it's nice to be known as a nice girl.  You'll run into these people as you get older and it'll be fun to see them if you are nice to everyone.

3. Get a job and stick with it.  
You'll have to work when your friends are off, you'll have to wear a ridiculous Ponderosa uniform, but you'll learn a lot about working hard to put gas in your car, earn spending money and learn about people by waitressing.  Babysit, pet sit and do things to earn extra money because it's fun to be able to buy your own things.  It'll make you feel proud to earn a paycheck.

4. Don't date around.  
Guys will ask you out, older guys will hit on you and you'll be tempted to say yes at times.  Follow your heart and only say yes to someone you'd consider marrying.  Don't give your heart away.  Save it for the right boy and you'll be thankful you did twenty years down the road when you're married to him with two kids.

5. Be a good friend.  
Say yes to slumber parties, weekends away with their families, shopping together, Sonic milkshake dates and hanging out.  Enjoy the fun and how easy life is when you've got very few responsibilities.  Enjoy carpooling with your siblings even if they spill their breakfast in your car every morning.  Take home friends after school and look forward to getting to just hang out together.

6. Nothing good happens after midnight.  
You'll think your parents are a little crazy for making you have an early curfew when no one else does, but it'll keep you safe and really is for your own good.  Make your plans early and stay out of trouble.  Your dad is a policeman and no one wants him to get a call about you.

7. Don't spend so much time getting ready.  
When you're assigned swimming 2nd period of the day, it is ridiculous to shower and get ready so you look presentable for 1st period and then jump in a pool 2nd period.  No one cares that much about your hair.  Sleep in a bit and don't worry about it.  Also, you should probably rethink the royal blue mascara, glitter eye shadow, belle bottoms and platform shoes.

8. Go to events outside of school.  
Go to baseball games even if you're talking and not paying attention and get hit with a foul ball.  Go to football games even if your dad says he's dropping you off and just happens to run into some friends and stays the whole game to keep an eye on you.  Go to golf matches and follow your favorite players.  Go to musicals, dances and anything that's offered.

9. Go to all of the dances.  
Say yes to surprising invitations, invite boys when it's your turn, say no to boys who invite you because you know a friend is hoping they'll ask them and be sure to pick out a fabulous dress to wear.  You don't always have to go to a dance with your boyfriend or someone you love.  Go and have fun.  Take pictures with friends.  Get your hair done and have a blast.

10. Appreciate your teachers.  
You're going to have some amazing teachers over the four years so appreciate their hard work, their dedication and their enthusiasm for their jobs.  They will be inspiring to you as you head off to earn a teaching degree of your own.  You'll keep in contact with some as you get older and send Christmas cards to them long after you've graduated.

Love, Your Future Self 2016

What words of wisdom would you pass on to your high school self??

Linking up with Momfessionals today

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday Talk: Summer Faves

We are slowly, but surely collecting all kind of fun kid toys for our backyard.  Olive is three and we've been adding things to our collection since she was born.  Olive's birthday is late May so we often  ask for outdoor toys for her birthday.  

We have and LOVE our
water table
kid pool
Little Tikes car
turtle sand box
basketball hoop
side walk chalk
kid gardening tools

We recently added a bubble blower to our collection of backyard fun things.  I'd been looking at them for a while because I always ended up covered in bubbles when I was the bubble blower. I picked up the $10 Bubble Blitz Bubble Blowout machine, batteries, and the giant container of Bubble Blitz bubbles for $2.50 at Target.  There are a few different (read more expensive versions) available, but the $10 version is really impressive.  So keep your eyes peeled for end of the summer clearance.

I'd love to pick up a puddle jumper, pool toys or a fun sprinkler toy on clearance to save for next year.  We're also keeping our eyes peeled for good deals on play houses and those big wooden play sets.  Man, those are quite the investment!

What are your favorite outdoor toys for kids??

Kevin's loving his Ozark Trail Tumbler from Wal-Mart.  I'm sure you've heard about these insulated tumblers comparing them to high end Yeti versions.  Well, spoiler alert, the Wal-Mart tumblers are just as great at a fraction of the cost keeping your hot drinks hot and your cold drinks icy.  My SIL has been busy personalizing them for people with monograms, logos and anything else you could want.  I'm thinking I need to jump on board the Ozark train soon.

Ozark Trail Tumbler 20oz

It's time to link up with my favorite ladies for Tuesday Talk.
Join us with your favorite recent post.

Polka-Dotty Place

Monday, August 22, 2016

Good Reads

I've been collecting my favorite articles, blog posts and books to recommend to you today.  I am excited to share the best things I've read and hope to introduce you to a few new people.  

April from A. Liz Adventures posted about a S'more cookie and they looked tasty!  I love s'mores and these different than any other cookie I've made.  S'more Cookies

6 Things Moms Should do for Themselves as Often as Possible by Jennifer S. White got me thinking about my personal must do list for self care items.  Showers, walking, blogging, cooking, keeping in touch with friends... to name a few.

We love eating burgers at my house so I'm anxious to try A Little Bit of Emily's Thai Burgers

Andrea of Momfessionals always posts the most inspiring family book club ideas.  She works full time as a teacher so her book club days usually happen in the summer.  I'd love to plan out some book club ideas to do with my kids as they get older.  Her latest family book club day was themed around Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Is your house overflowing with kid art??  I really loved the way that Meghan documents her son's art work and saves it.  It's such a doable project that allows kids to look back through their art work regularly.  Organizing the Artwork

We love any mexican meal so I can't wait to give Jenn's Mexican Pizza a try ASAP

Annie always has the best DIY project posts.  I saved her How to Paint Cabinets Like a Pro: The Secret that Makes All the Difference to reference for future DIYs

I usually look for hair and make-up tips from Kate of The Small Things Blog, but her recent Vanilla Bean Homemade Ice Cream Recipe sounded so good.  I always buy vanilla bean ice cream so I'm eager to try to make my own.

I have pinned so many recipes for breakfast burritos over the years.  They sound so good and Sarah from Meet the Shaneyfelts shared her version of Breakfast Burritos recently.  I love that she uses turkey sausage and makes it sound so doable.

This post on The Dreaded Boob Light from Elements of Style made me laugh.  We definitely have a few of these boob lights in our house so I'm looking for other lighting options to replace them with in the future.

by Shauna Niequist

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist has gotten a lot of hype lately and I was excited to read it after hearing all the positive things about it.  The book definitely lives up to its expectations.  I found myself taking notes throughout, writing ideas in the margins, asking myself honest questions about my priorities and identifying with many areas the book addresses.  Niequist writes from the perspective of a busy wife, mom and writer trying to focus on what is really important in her life.

  She points out that there are a lot of people that put expectations on you and that it's your job to decide what you say yes to and what things you make a priority in your life.  We decide what we spend our time on and we have important choices to make.  The message is impactful, gives you tons to think about and reevaluate in your own life.  I loved the idea that less is better than more in all areas of your life, her emphasis giving yourself time to truly rest and connecting with real people to build relationships that last.  I would have love to have done it in a book club format so I could have discussed chapters with friends.  It's very thought provoking book and is my favorite one she's written.

*I was sent this book from BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review of it.

A few of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Picture your relationships like concentric circles: the inner circle is your spouse, your children, your very best friends.  Then the next circle out is your extended family and good friends.  Then people you know, but not well, colleagues, and so on, to the outer edge.  Aim to disappoint the people at the center as rarely as possible.  And then learn to be more and more comfortable with disappointing the people who lie at the edges of the circle - people you're not as close to, people who do not and should not require your unflagging dedication."
Page 55
"Present over perfect living is real over image, connecting over comparing, meaning over mania, depth over artifice." Page 130

"So much of adulthood is peeling off the layers of expectations and pressure, and protecting those precious things that lie beneath.  We live in a culture that shouts, that prescribes rather narrowly what it means to be a woman, what it means to be a success and what it means to live a valuable life.  
But those definitions require us to life on a treadmill, both literally and figuratively, always hustling to fit in, to be thin enough and young enough and sparkly enough, for our homes to be large and spotless, our children well-mannered and clean-faced, our dreams orderly and profitable.  But that's not real life.  That's not where the fullness of joy and meaning are found."
Page 191

Have you read or written anything great lately?
I'd love to read it so leave me a link in the comments :)

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Best Parts

We had a pretty nice week at our house.  Visited family last weekend while Kevin was out of town for four days, enjoyed some down time at home, made some major progress in the potty training department and then somehow we all ended up sharing summer colds.  So the kids and I are all sick :(  Nothing terrible, but we are never far from a box of Puffs due to our ever runny noses and constant sneezing.  Here's to hoping these silly colds are short lived and that Kevin doesn't catch it.  He's got his first week of Fall classes starting next week so that's no time for a professor to get sick.

The best parts of our week were:

// 1 //
We are having so much fun watching the olympics.  It's fun to cheer the athletes on all day long and all of the different events are so cool.  I may have shed a tear when Kerri Walsh won bronze in beach volleyball, love watching the runners and I think that the USA gymnastics team wins the award for being the cutest girls of all time.  I think they'd be a blast to hang out with.  What have you enjoyed watching??

 // 2 //
He's HOME!
I mentioned that Kevin was out of town for 4 days and it felt like an eternity.  He had a good trip and we were thrilled to have him home.  It's amazing how much longer the days seemed when my partner in crime wasn't there to help me in the evenings.  I am thankful he doesn't travel often.  He loved Seattle (Maybe I can talk him into doing a guest post about his trip :) and brought us back some gifts.  
Olive got a cute t-shirt and he picked out this polka-dotted scarf for me.  He went with a group of guys and he said that he mentioned needing to find a shop to pick out some gifts to bring home.  None of the other guys had even thought to pick up something for their wives so after seeing him shopping for me, they all picked up something for their ladies.  It made me smile to know he was thinking of us on his trip and wasn't afraid to let the guys know he was missing us.  He's a keeper and our gifts were perfect :)

// 3 //
I headed down to visit my parents while Kevin was out of town and the kids and I had a wonderful time.  We got to see lots of family, friends and packed a lot into our days.   It rained a lot or was super humid so we hung out indoor as much as possible.  We ate mexican, went to church with my family, played with cousins, ate with grandparents and had a blast.  I even made sure to get a breakfast sandwich from Hardees on our way home.  I love those things and usually only eat them on road trips.  Definitely a yummy treat.

 // 4 //
I stocked my fridge full of veggies this week so that salad making and eating would be easy.  I've eaten lots of salads and they all look similar to this one.  We also got our double stroller assembled and ready to go on walks.  We've been on two longs walks and I think this will be my best opportunity for exercise right now.  The kids love to ride, talk about all the sights and sounds in our neighborhood and I get a good work out.  Win-Win!

 // 5 //
This book has been getting a lot of hype on-line and I'm happy to report that it's living up to it!  I'm LOVING the book and have almost finished it in just a few days.  Come back next week for a full review, but so far it's inspiring, motivating, thought provoking and I'm taking notes throughout the whole thing.  Have any of you read it yet??  I'd love to hear what you think of it.

// 6 //
We've been scoping out bikes and helmets for Olive because this is what she has decided she wants to be her big potty training prize.  She's loving looking at the options, has definite opinions about what she wants and we have been her biggest cheerleaders as she's working on achieving this milestone.  Isn't this unicorn helmet adorable?!?! 
 Fletcher started eating rice cereal this week and I think he's a fan.  He pays such close attention to our food that I think he was happy to have something solid.  We've ordered some replacement parts for our high chair and are excited that he's ready for these big boy things.  He's also grabbing for toys, babbling all day and loving his toes.

Best Posts of the Week:
I shared my favorite recipe for Indoor S'more Bars

I hope you have a really great weekend!!
Do you have any fun plans in the works?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Save or Splurge: Curtains

One of the biggest decorating expenses we've had so far has been window treatments.  We ended up saving AND splurging on curtains.

The bedrooms all had blinds, but the rest of the house had virtually nothing.  The family room still had the original traverse curtain rods so we opted to use those instead of investing in new rods.  It took us a while to find curtains that would work on the traverse rods with the pulleys.  We had the best luck shopping on-line at JC Penneys and in store at Wal-Mart for our bedroom. 

// 1 //
Our Gold Curtains were a SPLURGE.
Our living room ceilings are 8ft, we needed the curtains to be lined, they had to be suited to hang on hooks for the traverse rod and we needed them to be wide to cover the big windows.  It seemed after tons of research that our best options were custom curtains or these curtains through JCP.  They were pricey, but I'm so glad we splurged on them.  They help keep the house cool when it's hot and it's so nice to be able to close things up for the night.

// 2 //
Gray Master Bedroom Curtains were an opportunity for us to SAVE.

They were $17.97 for a single panel.  They're really thick, are lined and are great at blocking out the sun.  I am debating spraying the curtain rod silver or bronze, but am waiting to get all the decor figured out before making that decision.  I've been so happy with them that I've debated adding another panel to each window to bulk things up a bit.

 A sneak peek of our bedroom the first week or so after we moved in.  We got new furniture when we moved and we love it.  We picked up a new comforter and I'll share a full reveal when the room is done.

 We still need to buy window treatments for our kitchen, playroom, bonus room and both kids bedrooms.  So I'd love to know where you find great deals on curtains or window treatments.  I'm in the market to SAVE on the other areas of our house.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Unicorns & Rainbows

My sister threw the cutest 6th birthday party for her daughter Allie a few weeks ago.  The theme was unicorns and rainbows.  It turned out to be such a cute party and I'm excited to share the details with you today.  It seems like unicorns and rainbows are everywhere these days so maybe these ideas will help you throw a themed party of your own.

Unicorns & Rainbows
Haley DIY'd the gold unicorn and made a cake from scratch.  She added a horn to a horse, then sprayed it gold and made a mayonnaise chocolate cake.  It was delicious and gorgeous!

We ate the rainbow with a salad bar for dinner.

 A photo op with the birthday girl and her cake!

All 9 of the cousins on my side were there plus some friends.  Olive loved collecting the balloons and loved the rainbow themed treat bag.

Fletcher got to sit in a high chair for the first time and he loved it!!  This was his face when he realized he was eating a spoon and we were all eating some delicious CAKE.  No fair :)  I'm not a big icing fan, but this chocolate icing was delish.

 Haley had this cute unicorn sign on her entry table to greet the guests and then we all tried to figure out what our unicorn names was during the party.  It was funny and we all had some good laughs.

Great party, sis!! 
She posted some more details and pictures on her blog so head over and say hello :)

My sister also has chickens in her backyard.  All the kids were playing in the yard and having a blast together.  She came in to tell me that Olive had been snuggling chickens.  You won't find me snuggling with the chickens with all of my allergies, but looks like Olive is doing enough snuggling for both of us.  She sent me the following pictures of Olive and Cutie.  Looks like she really does love chickens :)

We are always excited when we can head home for a fun birthday party with family.  It's much more doable with us just being two hours away now.