Friday, September 30, 2016

The Best Parts

Happy Friday!!  I hope you had a wonderful week.  It's homecoming week in our little town so we are excited to participate in the festivities.  We're planning to tailgate and inviting Kevin's students to stop by before the game, participating in fun homecoming activities for kids and are just enjoying being outside this time of year.  I'm hoping to plan a fun tailgating menu that'll be delicious for us and for students stopping by.  Wish me luck!!

The best parts of our week were:

// 1 //
We tried our very first Pumpkin Spice Latte drink ever this week!!  A sweet friend emailed me a gift card after mentioned I'd never tried a PSL.  It was such a fun surprise that we had to head to Starbucks to give it a try!!  We both really enjoyed the PSL.  I wouldn't not say it takes the place of my favorite drink (Caramel Latte), but it was a delicious way to kick off Fall and feels like a festive drink for this time of year.  Are you a fan of the PSL??  I've heard that McDonalds has a great one, but I have yet to give it a try.

// 2 //
It feels like Fall inside AND outside now!!  I've worn layers this week and loving all the mums and pumpkins I'm seeing everywhere.  I gave a little Fall decor house tour yesterday.  My nails are ready for Fall with NYC perfect shade of gray called 246 Park Ave.  I'm hoping to find the perfect olive green polish to try next.  Are your nails painted for Fall??

// 3 //
Best Salad of the Week
I ate this yummy combo a few times.  Lots of hard boiled eggs, chopped every veggie I had in my fridge, on mixed greens with Ken's Honey Mustard Dressing.  It was SOOOO good!  I'm heading to the grocery store today to pick up the ingredients for my first pot of chili of the season and some delicious Mexican Sweet Potato Skins.

// 4 //
Olive + Fletcher
Fletcher turned 6 months old yesterday so we sang him happy half birthday and ate donut halves in his honor.  He loved it and would have shoved the donuts in his mouth if I would have let him.  Sidenote: I love picking out little boy clothes.  I washed lots of Fall things for him this week and love this dino + stripes combo.

Something big happened for Fletcher during his fifth month... his big sister became really interested in him.  He's able to play with toys with her, laugh at her silliness and she thinks he's "ador-dable".  He's thrilled with this development and she climbed in his crib after nap time this week and said, "You can go now.  I want to be alone with Fletchy."  I love seeing their sibling love grow.

// 5 //
Indianapolis Zoo
We headed to the zoo this week and had a blast.  Olive's favorite part were the dolphins, the ocean aquariums and she was only slightly disappointed that we were not able to spot any mermaids.  Fletcher loved being along for the ride.  The Tiger was our favorite outdoor animal.  He was so friendly coming right up to see us!!  I blogged more about it on Tuesday - 5 Tips for Easy Outings with Kids

Best Posts of the Week

Sweet potatoes, BBQ, Nachos, Salads and Sprinkles!

I hope you have a really great weekend!!
Do you have any fun plans in the works?
We'll be watching a lot of football and staying cozy!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Feels Like Fall

We decorated our house for Fall for the first time a few weeks ago.  It's so nice that it's starting to feel like Fall outside to match the Fall feeling we have going on inside.

Let me give you a little tour...

Our family room.  I missed having a mantle to decorate last year so this was the first space I focused on this year.  It looks so pretty to have a long row of pumpkins and swags of leaves mixed in.  I love it and it'll probably stay this way through Thanksgiving.  I'll add some spooky touches when October rolls around, but the pumpkins are here to stay.  Daniel Tiger is still a favorite at our house so it's appropriate that he photo bombed my picture.
pumpkins - Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart, TJ Maxx
leaves - Dollar Tree

A candy corn foot print from Olive's first Halloween.  I love pulling this framed foot print out every year.  I'm already planning some foot print projects with Fletcher.

I add Fall touches to all of my tables.  I usually try to pick up a new accessory or home decor item when we travel to a new city.  They're my favorite kind of souvenirs to remember a place by.  This glass blown pumpkin is from Key West.  We hauled it home on a cruise ship five years ago.  I smile thinking of key lime pie, beaches, ocean and adventure when I see it.

I love how my table came together!  I got these burlap place mats as a gift from my MIL and I love them for Fall!  They add a nice texture and color to the table.  My fall florals are several years old, but I still love them.  I may pick up a few more stems to add to the mix, but I haven't seen anything I loved.  My cats adore the plate of acorns and I'm constantly finding them on the floor.

table cloth - TJ Maxx
burlap place mats - gift
pumpkins & fall floral stems - Dollar Tree
Acorns - Hobby Lobby
Ribbon - Sams

 My front door is still sporting this gorgeous Sunflower Wreath that I made back in August.  I'll probably leave it up for a few more weeks.  I ended up buy mums for our front step, but I haven't done that yet. Sams had some really pretty, HUGE options so I should probably check back next time I'm there.

 Do you decorate for Fall??

I grew up with my mom decorating our whole house for most holidays so I do the same for my family.  I love changing out the decorations every month or so and now that Olive is three is she's pretty good at helping me decorate.  We put non-breakable things down at her level and the fragile decor up higher.  She's always rearranging the things she can touch and saying "I decoratin, Mama!"  It's so sweet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Childhood Cancer: Noah's Bandage Project

I first heard about Noah's Bandage Project from my friend Justine a few weeks ago.  She blogged all about it and I instantly emailed her to see how we could participate.  I knew this would be a service project that I could do with a toddler and one that she'd understand because it was all about helping kids.  She currently loves band-aids so it was an easy concept for her to connect with.

Noah Wilson was diagnosed with cancer back in 2014 at the age of six and had a great vision for how he could help other kids with cancer.  He wanted to help other kids who were going through treatment like he was and he decided fun band-aids were a great way to bring some cheer to the hospitals.  Sadly, Noah passed away in June of 2015, but his legacy lives on around the globe.  The Wilson family has raised over $100,000 for cancer research and donated bandages all over the globe.  I cannot imagine the heart ache of having a child battling cancer so I was excited to do something to help brighten the day of these sweet little patients.  You can read all about his mission for Noah's Bandage Project here.

You can read more about the project over on 
She gives the PO Box address of where to send band-aids along with more details on this sweet family that are her neighbors.

We headed to Wal-Mart one morning and I explained to Olive what we were doing once we got to the band-aid aisle.  I told her that there were sick kids in the hospital that needed band-aids.  I showed her the plain ones and asked her which ones she thought the kids would like better - plain or characters??  She smiled big and said "the cartoon ones!!"

We got busy picking out band-aids for the kids.

 We ended up with a nice assortment and she kept saying, "The kids at the doctor's office are going to LOVE these!!"  I had her explain where the band-aids were going to Kevin when he got home from work and she nailed it!  She said, "We bought bandages for sick kids in the hospital to make them happy.  They don't like the plain ones so we got them ones with people on them!!" 

We both wrote notes to send with the band-aids and then mailed our package.

We are linking up with Just Another Day in Paradise today to help spread the word for Noah's Bandage Project!!  Let me know if you have any questions because I'd be THRILLED to share Noah's story and get more band-aids sent out in his honor.  Please consider donating band-aids!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday Talk: 5 Tips for Easy Outings with Kids

We had a fun outing at the zoo this past weekend and it went really well.  The kids enjoyed themselves, the adults had fun and the only meltdown came when the zoo was closing and we had to say goodbye to the ocean.  It was a little hot, but other than that our preparation went smoothly.

1. Plan ahead & buy tickets in advance
We purchased our zoo tickets on-line so we could just walk right into the zoo.  You could easily do this with annual passes, too.  It was nice to avoid the long lines of people waiting to get in and save some money by purchasing our tickets early.  It was helpful to check out the zoo website ahead of time to look at the map, show times, features, etc. so we could plan our day in advance.

2. Dress for the Weather & Wear Comfy Shoes
Be sure to check the forecast for the day and dress everyone accordingly.  I keep a hoodie for each of the kids in my car so that if it gets cold unexpectedly I am prepared.  Everyone seems happier when they are wearing comfy shoes.  So I wore tennis shoes to the zoo since I'd be doing the majority of the walking/pushing a double stroller.  I always stick an umbrella in the bottom of our stroller if there is a chance of rain.  The sun shades on our stroller would keep the kids dry and the umbrella would take care of the adults. 

3. Pack Snacks and Drinks for Everyone
Snacks are expensive when you are talking stopping at a drive through for several people.  I'd recommend packing snacks that don't melt for every person going on your outing.  Our staple snacks are Skinny Pop Popcorn, pretzel sticks, almonds, granola bars, carrot sticks, cucumber slices and a little candy.  I bag the snacks in sandwich bags so that everyone gets their own bag.  We can just pass them out in the car or when we are out and about and no one gets hangry.  I always pack water for everyone, too.  We have our own water bottles or I do a cooler with water bottles in it.  Cold drinks and a snack are sure to lift everyone's spirits :)

4. Do Your Favorite Things First
For our zoo trip this meant seeing favorite animals at the beginning of our zoo tour.  Olive requested seeing the tigers so we started there.  I knew she'd enjoy the ocean exhibit so we made a loop around the zoo and finished there.  The whole building is air conditioned so I figured it would be a fun place to cool off.  It was a great way to end the day and we were right next to the exit when we finished.

5. Have Realistic Expectations and Don't Overdo It
When we would travel before we had kids we would pack as many attractions, stops and fun plans into a day as possible.  Now we try to be aware of nap time, all meal and snack times and make sure to give us plenty of time so that we don't have to rush.  I notice that my toddler melts down quickly when the parents are stressed trying to hurry from one thing to the next.  So instead of squeezing in the zoo and the Children's Museum on the same day since they are right next to each other, we opt to visit one attraction per day.

The tiger was super friendly.  His mouth was hanging open because it was hot.  He kept walking laps in his exhibit to say hello.  We were the only ones there for a while and we LOVED seeing him up close.

Little man was happy to be along for the zoo ride.  

 The meerkats were hilarious.  They'd stand, slouch, fall over and run all over their tunnels.  It was so much fun to watch them.

 The Dolphin Pavilion was so neat!  We weren't there during any of their show times, but we went below to watch them swim.  It was so neat and Olive kept asking me, "So where do you think all of the mermaids are hiding??"

 The Oceans were so neat to see.  Both kids loved them and it was great to cool off in the AC.

 We stayed in this building for over an hour - there were so many neat things to see!  There was hardly anyone there since the zoo was closing in an hour.  I talked to a few local moms who recommended coming to the zoo around 3:00 and staying til 5:00 because things aren't nearly as crowded.

 Olive pretending to swim with the fish.  She would have stayed here all day if I let her.

Several of the tanks had built in benches in front of them.  It was perfect for the kids!

Thanks for a great trip to the Indianapolis Zoo!!  We missed the polar bears, but still had a good time.

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