Monday, August 31, 2015

Weekending at Home

We had a really low key weekend at home.  Olive wasn't feeling 100% so we stayed home the majority of the weekend and just enjoyed being together.  It wasn't the most exciting weekend we've ever had, but we still had plenty of sweet moments together.  The moments I want to remember...

This sweet girl learned how to say her full name this weekend.  She proudly introduces herself and giggles every time she says her name.  She also just realized there were letters hanging above her bed - OJK :)

 We BAKED several times.
Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend Whitney @ Come Home for Comfort has been talking about peaches a lot lately.  I had peaches on my mind this weekend so we made a my Mom's peach cobbler.
Olive picked out a shade of pink and we did matching pedicures.

 The cats NAPPED and Olive tried to snuggle them.

 We did lots of GRILLING.  I marinated the meat and Kevin grills.  It's easy to cook dinner when you're a team.  I made the sides and he took care of the main dish.

 We had our first family MOVIE NIGHT.  We had popcorn and snuggled.  Olive quickly realized that the best part of our family night is the POPCORN.  Shovel it in :)  We put her to bed, finished the movie and caught the end of the VMAs.  I barely knew anyone that was featured and just ended up feeling OLD since I really didn't understand any of the performances.  Anyone else watch?

 How was your weekend??
Hope you have a wonderful week.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Best Parts

It was a lovely week in the Midwest this week.  The weather was in the 70s almost every single day and it really makes me ready for Fall.  I'm loving these nice, in between days and trying to get out and about as much as possible.  The best parts of our week...

1. PUMPKINS - Wal-mart got their fall decorations out and I just loved these tiny pumpkins.  They were $0.98 each and there were so many different ones.  I picked my six favorite and am eager to get out the rest of my fall decorations.  Have you started decorating yet?  I'm thinking I'll wait until September and then get started.

2. I've been eating strawberry shortcake for dessert this week and it's so good!  My MIL made us some for dessert and then I just had to come home and make some for us.  They were both really tasty.

3. I threw a woodland creature shower for a friend last weekend and it turned out GREAT!!  The decorations were so cute and I loved all the fun patterns.  We had a breakfast buffet for guests and the food was so good.  Stay tuned for more details on the shower next week.
My sister and my mom helped me throw a lovely shower.
 My high school friends gathered to celebrate baby Simmons :)

4.We had a great day at the park.  Olive is far too brave for her own good.  She quickly bypassed the little playground and set her sights on the BIG kid playground.  She had a blast until it was time to go.  She threw a fit, we drove home and then she hugged me and said "Thank you park" when we got home.  So I'm going to forget the tantrum and focus on the sweet thank you I got when we arrived at home.  Toddlers are funny little people!

5.  We had a quick visit home to see family and friends last weekend.  It was a busy time, but it was so nice to see everyone.  Olive wanted to see with Mimi & Papaw when we went out for pizza.
 We had a fun lunch date with cousins :)
The fountain was almost as much fun as the delicious Mexican food.

Any fun plans for your weekend?  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Learning to be Thankful

We are starting to do little things with Olive to teach her to be thankful.  She's just two, but she is starting to get the hang of it.  We include things we are thankful for in our prayers and we just got the book Thankful by Eileen Spinelli.  I'll start by sharing something I'm thankful for and ask her if she's thankful for anything.  She's included our neighbor, mama, dada, our cats, her bunny and pizza in her list.  All very true for her favorite things these days.

I was familiar with Ms. Spinelli from my days in the classroom and was excited to be gifted this book to review for my family.  I really loved her book Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch as well as many books by her husband Jerry.  

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli is a darling book.  The story is so sweet and relatable.  It talks to every day people and documents the things they are thankful for.  The story really gets you thinking about the things around you and how we all have a lot to be thankful for.  I love the sweet illustrations and the simple text.  It would be an easy book for beginning readers to try to read independently.  My two year old loves the book and I think it'll be a great book to read with her for years to come.  It's the perfect book to teach kids about being thankful and to kick off the Thanksgiving season.

We made a Thankful Tree last year to celebrate the Thanksgiving season and I'm looking forward to incorporating this book into our holiday traditions.


I have some favorites to share with you today.  All of these items came from small shops that all sell amazing items.  You've got to check them out!!

My favorite travel bag is from Coralee.
I won it from a contest another sweet blogger was hosting for this bag.  The shop owner, Courtney, is from Mississippi and was so sweet!  She was quick to get my order placed and shipped to me.  She also included a sweet thank you with my bag.  My weekender bag came monogrammed and I've already used it for several weekend trips.  It is the perfect size, is sturdy and holds so much for a medium sized bag.  The ikat print is so pretty and the navy monogram looks great.  I also love that the bag has short handles along with a shoulder strap.  I have a feeling this bag will be my go to travel bag for a long time.  Check out Coralee's shop at

Custom state stamp (any state). Rubber return address stamp. Perfect for weddings or as a housewarming gift. 2" x 1.5" with a wooden handle.
Indiana Return Address Stamp
I always look forward to buying a new address stamp when we move to a new place.  Lately, that's been a new one a year for the last three years.  I'm thrilled to have found Paper Street Press.  They are an etsy shop located in Indiana and they make the cutest stamps.  They are top quality, great detail and so nice to work with.  They're fast to send a proof and make sure to get the stamp just right.  It arrived quickly and I'm looking forward to shopping at Paper Street Press again.  Check out their shop to see the prettiest invitations, stamps and prints.

Woodland Baby Shower Invite with Forest Animals 5x7 JPG
Woodland Baby Shower Invitation
I just hosted a woodland creature baby shower and these invitations were darling!  The shop owner is great to work with, makes changes quickly and the finished product is perfect.  She emails you the invitation and the quality is great.  I printed them on my own and was so impressed.  I'm saving this shop and keeping it in mind for any future events I plan.

My in-laws cat was eager to help me try out my next beauty products.  I had been wanting to try the elf blush pallet and blush brush.  The pallet was $6 and the brush was $3.  I love 3/4 of the blush options and they look really pretty on.  I am avoiding the bottom right option due to the visible sparkles.  I'm not really interested in sparkly blush.  So I'd highly recommend this elf combo!  I also got the Sally Hanssen Diamond Shine clear coat, but haven't used it enough to give it a fair review.  Stay tuned on that one :)

Uveez Unbreakable sunglasses for toddlers
100% UV protection
Olive has worn these all summer long and they really are indestructible.  They are cute, don't pinch and are really light weight.  It took her a little while to get used to them, but she loves wearing them in the car to keep the sun out of her eyes.  We found her for $8 at Toys R Us and they came in tons of different colors.  Definitely worth the money.

What are your favorite small shops or faves you like to share with me?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August Recipe Club

It's nice not to be living out of boxes and be settled in our new house so I can cook regularly.  I have been making a lot of meals for my family and enjoying lots of grilling options.  I have several new recipes I'd like to try for Fall - new soups, appetizers and lots of pumpkin recipes.

Our favorite August recipes:
// 1 //
I marinate the chicken with BBQ sauce, Italian Salad dressing or seasoning and my husband grills it.  We end up with enough meat for several meals and only have to grill once.
cucumbers, eggs, noodles, sweet peppers, carrots, snap peas, broccoli, 
cauliflower, cheese, bacon bits and mixed greens.
 We usually do a lite honey mustard dressing or vinaigrette.

Grilled chicken, lettuce, sliced swiss cheese and honey mustard
on a whole wheat tortilla was a delicious lunch

We ate pasta, grilled chicken and marinara sauce for lunch one day
and it was delicious!  I made the pasta in advance, the chicken was already cooked so it was a super easy lunch to whip up.

 // 2 //
shredded chicken, sharp cheddar cheese with all the fixings
I do the chicken in the crockpot, shred and season it with taco seasoning.
We have a TON of meals from one batch of crock pot chicken.
We also had taco bowls with chicken.

// 3 //
green beans, new potatoes & onions
and cornbread
was an easy comfort food dinner

I wrote about our favorite toddler meals yesterday
and I'd love to know what you fix for your kids :)

We also made some yummy cupcakes this week

Linking up with Momfessionals

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday Talk: Toddler Meals

Being a toddler chef is a fun and frustrating job.
You think you've found things they'll eat and love one day and they hate them the next.  My little one announces I DON'T WIKE IT when she's not a fan of the meal I've prepared.  We are working on finding consistent favorites while still trying a variety of food.  It's tricky and frustrating some days and fun other days.  I thought I'd share some kid meal ideas with you today and maybe you have a few new ones to share with me.  Olive and I would appreciate the variety :)

Olive gets so excited when I put her meals together like this.  The little compartments, the variety of food and the fun presentation really does get her excited to eat.  She will almost always eat more when I present her lunch this way.

I bake a batch for the week and we eat it for breakfast for several days.
& Bran Muffins are favorites

I often make BIG salads for lunch and then we share.
Olive tends to eat more this way than if she had her own plate.

I try hard to give Olive the same food we're having for dinner.  There are some exceptions, but I want her to learn to love a variety of things.  I've noticed that she prefers to have her food separated out so I'll usually deconstruct our meals and give them to her like this:
Instead of a grilled chicken wrap:
Toddler version of a grilled chicken salad:

Sometimes we do COLOR themed lunches:

Our go to toddler food right now:
carrots, cucumbers, nectarines, edamame, cheese and almonds
Olive will always eat these items.

I put her favorites on her plate and then include a few new things with it.

What are your favorite, kid-friendly meals served at your house?
I'd love some new ideas :)

Linking up with my favorite ladies today.
Join us with your best post from the week :)
(Starting from the upper left:)
Beth - Our Pretty Little Girls ~ Michelle - Grammie Time
Keri - Living In This Season  ~ Christina - Waltzing In Beauty
Tara - Mrs. Coach Sims ~ Lauren - Simply Free
Jess and Katie - Sweet Little Ones ~ Whitney - Polka Dotty Place
Becky - BYBMG ~ Elizabeth - All Kinds Of Things
Polka-Dotty Place